Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ephemeral Sculpture

Clay was formed and deposited all around the world over a series of geological epochs spanning hundreds of millions of years. The clay we see in the ground may have been formed by shifting, depositing, scraping, and smashing of minerals.

It is the product of crust instability, continental movement, glacial flow, and many other phenomena large and small. Sometimes at a nearly unimaginable scale.

We mine the clay and we make a cup. Or a sculpture. We can see clay objects in museums as old as 8,000 years. But most of the clay objects that are made by the hand of humans are much more ephemeral.

The other day someone asked me whether my garden sculptures are suffering from the freeze-thaw we’ve been having the past few weeks in Boston. I’m sure they are. But my bottom line thought is, “they’re pieces of clay.” The joy was in the making of the objects.

It got me to thinking: Isn’t there a place in the cycle of making ceramic art for its dissolving back into the environment? It seems natural.

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