I’ve been swamped with freelance writing work this week and that’s a very good thing! By the end of the day, I’m mentally exhausted and my ability with words nearly depleted. That’s when I busy my fingers with enjoyable endeavors beyond the keyboard and start playing with clay. Eventually my creative experimentation will evolve into more polished pieces but for now, it’s just a meditative process and a constructive way to recharge my imaginative energy.
While typing my words out is one way of working with my hands, that’s just one exploration of my creativity. As my father was into woodworking, working with my hands runs in the family but my medium isn’t wood. My chosen medium is one I recently rediscovered a love for: clay.
My renewed interest in clay as an artistic medium was inspired by my visit to the Weedon Island Preserve in St. Petersburg, Florida. The museum there had various types of pottery on display, all created by the natives of the region. There was an interactive exhibit where the fabricated broken pieces of pottery had to be reassembled and I found the greatest joy in doing that.
It reignited a creative spark within me that hadn’t seen light since high school.
As soon as I returned home from Florida, I began researching clay. I can’t afford, nor do I have room for a kiln, so I decided to use oven-bake polymer clay. After some research online as to what I’d need, I purchased some clay and tools. I thought I might make jewelry or some small decorative pottery to paint but I wasn’t quite sure where to start.
The moment the girls saw the clay I got, Jordan wanted to make all sorts of things and Jaycie wanted me to make her the turtle pictured on the package of colored clay. That turtle was the first thing I’ve made since a built a little clay village in school. The turtle was a bit rough but Jaycie loved it and it now resides happily in the play castle.
After those projects, I decided to create a small samurai figure as a gift for a friend and that’s when my clay muse really came to life!
From that gift of a small samurai, came the suggestion that I make more of them and other types of warrior figures. These seemed like a fun idea to me so I set to work building my little army out of terra cotta clay. I love working with the terra cotta because it feels natural and earthy to me and can be left as is and look beautiful without any paint.
By the time the sun sets I’ve gone back and forth to my toaster oven numerous times baking the pieces at various steps of the process, my fingers and palms are reddish-brown from kneading, rolling, sculpting and molding the terra cotta clay and I can’t stop smiling. This latest expression of my creativity is truly fulfilling and as with all my art, I seek to share it with the world in any way I can.