August 22, 2008
Clay Tree Stump

In getting into the spirit of a new season of ceramics classes, I decided to experiment with some Italian air-dry red clay. I started playing around with a chunk of it (it’s more rubbery than the white ceramic clay we use at the Choplet ceramics studio), and the next thing I knew I was working on this little hollowed out tree stump.

I like the idea of a hollow tree stump, its carcass an open shell to contain new life or just air, or in my case, perhaps become a pencil holder. In other words, the little form that took shape in my hands made me think of real tree stumps, having passed through a life so full and rich that it grew wide and strong… and then passed into the phase we call “death,” rotted away on the inside, and eventually dried out. The whole process providing life cycles to countless organisms, I find it fascinating to think of the decades involved in the process of the creation of a real hollowed out tree stump, which in turn, provides the perfect little hiding place for a raccoon to peek out from, or for a child to come upon, and imagine fairies and nymphs throwing soirees.

My little tree stump took several days to dry out on my windowsill. It was fun getting a practice run at ceramics again before starting a new class – this fall, I’m learning to throw on the potter’s wheel!

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