My friend commented that a traveling companion for my previous piece was "extraneous." In this new piece, what he said is obvious. The squirrel appears unaccommodating. It will be removed. I am hoping to include some animals in this series. I'll have to give more thoughts to how to incorporate them....
I'm still debating whether to add a little migratory bird to this piece. Lone travels were, for me, opportunities for self-discoveries. Having a traveling companion, on the other hand, gave me chances to nurture the relationship. I learned from both. Conceptually, the latter seems more appropriate for this little buddha, but I'm not sure if it is so visually....
Oops, the maquette at the bottom left corner is more expressive than the actual piece. That's ok. I'm going to make another one. With a joint exhibit squared away, I am now preparing a bunch of small figures for a sculpture show scheduled in Loveland, CO in August. I'm thinking of calling this new series "Kokoro no Jizo," which can be translated "a jizo of your center" or "a guardian of the heart."
An year-and-half long preparation for the joint exhibit, which was just concluded at Prairie Arts Center in North Platte, NE, was filled with opportunities for me to reflect upon what were essential in our lives. Kit Watson and I, each, contributed 15 pieces - from a semi-e from 33 years ago to the most recent 3D work. Although Kit does not wish to tackle another show like this, I am going to continue to visit her. What I will learn from her may be expressed in my future sculptures.
I made one more piece for the show. The brightness portrays who Kit is.
Playfulness, creativity, and empathy are powerful tools that make communication without a common language possible. Using these tools, we can connect with people even in an advanced stage of dementia.*
Let us laugh together. Kit has been teaching me its importance.
* TED Talk: Reconsider Dementia by Vibeke Drevsen Back
Many people helped me with this piece. Chuck and Marie posed beautifully for me. Paul and Gene assisted with the kiln loading and unloading. Darrel and Chris helped me transfer the figures from a temporary base to the one on the photo. Experts on the Ceramic Month Forum advised me how to add supports to the base. A few of my friends brainstormed titles for this sculpture. My reaction is a giant smile. A joint show with Kit Watson is coming up next week. Even for the installation, friends are indispensable. They truly make my world brighter. Thank you.
My show partner, who has been living with dementia, often watches the sunset from her dining room and recollects moments from her childhood - walking hand in hand with her father, helping mother sew her prom dress, visiting her elderly neighbors, and so on. Such simple interactions with adults long gone are continuing to blanket her lone evenings with warmth.
My friend, who helped me edit my proposal for the Archie Bray Residency Program, asked what was a success to me. Everything I needed for ceramic sculpting was in my home studio, but why did I desire to take the residency? I answered to her, "My utmost importance is to create artwork that will satisfy me. If my creations touch hearts, it's better. Still I have to make a living. Therefore the residency gives me exposure I seek." That answer made me reflect upon what I can do best with my life and with my art. I will probably continue to look for the answer for the rest of my life.
I hurriedly finished this sculpture in order to include the image in the proposal. It was submitted a week ago. I am now crossing my fingers and toes.
Sculpting interlocking figures is challenging. The joints can separate or crack as the clay dries. This piece may crack, but hopefully, under the blanket or the clothing. Here is the accompanying text:
In a nursing home where I worked, residents had half an hour to eat a meal. Walter was one of a few who needed to be syringe-fed. One day, his wife visited, and we set his tray in a corner away from the busy cafeteria. When she requested a spoon, I asked, “Does Walter open his mouth?” She answered, “Yes, you may have to wait a little, but he does.”
The lunch ended, and other residents were back in bed for a nap. Walter’s wife was still spoon-feeding him, restoring some dignity to the life of this old rancher.
I'm not happy with the title "Unfading Love," though what I want to express is that. Any suggestions?
I painted two different backgrounds for this sculpture, simply because I wanted to give a positive twist to this otherwise depressing image of an old woman. For now, I'm leaning toward not using the background at all. I'm still working on the accompanying text and title as well. I'll share what I have for now. Your feedback is much appreciated.
HOW CAN I LIGHT THE DARK CORNER OF YOUR WORLD?
We forget so much but can remain haunted by unresolved moments. The same is true for people with dementia. The pain continues to stub the heart, even though much has been wiped away from their memory.
I cannot forget the sorrowful expression Kit made when she told me about an irretrievable thing she had done. It was a matter that could be easily forgiven, but the person concerned had been long gone. The incident has been smoldering in a hidden corner of her heart. How long more will it continue, or how can we help her forgive herself?
About This Blog
This page is an window for you to see my creative process. I would like to encourage you to leave your comments here. What kind of thoughts did my art provoke you? What viewpoint do you agree/disagree to? Your feedback will feed my art going forward. Thank you.