I was given two new groups this term. A junior group of 10 year olds and a senior group of 17 year olds. Looking back, I remember how the young ones greeted me that first day, asking if they could also make cups like the previous group, and how welcoming the older ones were, as they carried my clay and heavy buckets, day after day, from my car to their classroom. Not even the crisp winter air could stop them from wanting to learn this new thing called pottery.
To me, making a sculpture of a person in clay is always a wonderful experience. You somehow always end up with a person that seems like yourself, even when you sculpt from a live model. Only last week at a sculpture workshop, I was told that I was adding curves where the model had none and took away where she had plenty. I marvel at this, because form speaks so straight forward with no fuss, as it reflects your own self back at you and does an amazing thing by mixing the present with your dreams and hopes for the future. I wanted both pottery groups to have a taste of this and see if they would marvel at this too.
I put a visual outline of a person on paper before them. They filled it with clay, picked the body up, carefully turned it over, attached a bottom and then made it sit upright. They contemplated themselves and then accordingly dressed their persons with clothes, made final tweaks to their postures and painted their colours. And then, they were all amazed, they could not believe what they had made!
With cries of relief, they smiled their big smiles, because they had arms and legs that didn’t break off. Form said to them, ‘Well done, you have made your peeps just right!
As I looked closer, I was astonished to see that the over-confident ones had made persons too large and the shy ones had made peeps to small. How is it possible that our hands can see what we hide so deep inside?
And then the light falling through the window, gave me one more gift: