Wednesday, 10 July 2013

The intimacy of clay


my student's creation is the small domed yurt in the foreground

The helter skelter is my favourite one

In art M's class have been making a city out of clay. They started by drawing 'footprints' on paper to determine the shapes of their buildings, and then using the coil process they built up the walls, added roofs and windows and doors, and other features for decoration. As my vision-impaired student has been off for two weeks of this seven-week term she's missed a lot of lessons, and when we returned to the class we were amazed to find what the others had achieved. We appreciated the progress of their constructions and worked hard to catch up with them so that ours could be part of the city too. As we did, I looked around for inspiration, and I was suddenly struck by something about their shapes. Many of the buildings were round and very tall, with domed, mushroom-like roofs…a couple of them even had a hole in the middle 'to let the smoke out'. I caught the art teacher's eye and nodded my head at these rather explicit creations. She winked and laughed, and agreed that all the other art teachers had remarked on this curious phenomenon. We looked down at my effort. Still in the early stages of construction, it was kidney shaped, with grey leathery walls which grew outwards. Strange, how clay inspires us to create such intimate reconstructions!

I hastily put a roof on mine - it's far more decent now.


  1. No photos?!!

    Sometimes a cigar is only a cigar (except when it's a house made of clay).

    Actually, I'm often struck just how...'intimate'...the process of throwing on a wheel is. The coning process especially. Everyone in my class maintains a strictly straight and decorous demeanour.

  2. coning… do I even want to ask?