Why clay? Why sculpture?

November 9th, 2008

I was asked today why I make sculpture? Why clay?
The true answer is that I don't know. It simply seems like the right thing to do. There is a tremendous truth in it for me, a deep satisfaction in the undeniable, simple DIRT of it. It is raw earth that I slake down; tenderly wedge into usable form, and then shape into something that seems meaningful. This shaped rock dust is then transformed back into stone through a process of FIRE. HEAT. Unbearable, torturous heat. The clay endures a process that would transform my flesh into ashes. For centuries it will have an integrity and identity.

Why do I make  female figures? I began when I was eight years old. For some reason, instead of making a bunny or a teacup in third grade art class I made a goddess. She was Cycladic in form: elongated and abstracted. I used to call them goddesses, or madonnas but those terms have a dogmatic connotation that bears the weight of centuries of oppression.  Now they are Venus figurines or divas: strong women full of song and power.  They sing to me.
Additionally this body of work has revealed to me a near-obsession with the moon. I am intrigued by that mysterious light: a glowing orb, a perfect circle in the sky, or the curving sliver of light that hints at the fullness to come. It energizes and fascinates me, whether filtered through winter branches, reflected from snow or water, or warmly revealing the curves of canyon walls.
I've also returned to the vessel for some of the work. Truly ancient techniques. The challenge of involving the full form of the vessel in a meaningful way is intriguing.

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2 Responses to “Why clay? Why sculpture?”

  1. Thank you Liza for explanation of your long interest and skill with clay. The
    results are impressive. Andy Towl

  2. Very thought provoking article.

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