Tuesday, January 24, 2012


At last, the sculpt on my latest creation, Raven, is done. That nasty virus really set me back, time-wise, and I am now officially sweating the deadline to submit for Feats of Clay, which is February 2nd. (Did you know that's next week, already? I didn't! Eek!)

The sculpture has to finish drying, get fired, cool down, survive the firing without cracking or exploding, get the color put on, survive the second firing and cool-down, get pics taken and sent off, then (fingers crossed) get chosen for the show. I'm honestly not even confident it will survive the firing process. (And in looking at him, there are already flaws I perceive that I'd do differently next time...)

I found out when I came home from Christmas vacation that my sculpture is too wide to fit my kiln. Stupid oversight on my part. Fortunately, my boss at work said I could use that kiln, so there's a ray of sunshine. But, I have to get the sculpture there in one piece, and then it has to be loaded into the kiln without breaking or dinging it in any way. The kiln is a top-loader, not a front loader, and the sculpture is heavy. I was up half the night thinking of how it can be safely loaded, assuming it survives the car ride and the short trip from the car to the kiln room.
If I were firing it here at home, I would fire it Saturday, add the colors on Sunday and fire it Sunday night, but Parks and Rec is closed on the weekend, and we have a policy of not firing the kilns when no one is there, which is only basic fire safety. Still, that cuts my time down. I also hate to put it somewhere where some random person may look at it and start touching it and potentially break something. You'd be shocked at how many adults still can't keep their hands off of breakable things, so really, I'm not being needlessly paranoid! I promise! :o)
I've literally been having nightmares about this piece, just because of all the logistics involved in getting it finished in time to submit it for the show. I'm totally having Gnorman flashbacks. (All that's left of Gnorman is his head, which migrates from rose bush to rose bush, depending on the volume of Mr. ShellHawk's complaints at having a skull in the roses, year-round.)

On a philosophical level, this really is an exercise in learning how to let go. (Clearly, I need to work on the concept!) There are truly so few things in life that are under our control, aren't there? We have a neighbor up the street who is roughly our age (mid-40's maybe) who just had a major stroke. I'm sure she had no idea that's what would be on her schedule that day, but it happened and her life will never be the same, and it certainly was not under her control! I can't help but be forcibly reminded that control is an illusion.

The Kiln Gods will either smile on me, or they won't. At this stage, most of the process is out of my hands.

But why is it so damn hard?

Alright, ShellHawk. Put on your big girl panties and change the attitude!

The sculpture will be fine. The sculpture will be fine. The sculpture will be fine!


UPDATE: Raven made it into the kiln at Parks and Rec nearly without incident. Someone there helped me lower him in. He'll dry there peacefully for the next couple of days before I start the candling cycle. I figured it would be best if he just went straight in so nothing else could happen to him!


  1. He's so cool!! Man, I'm loving this guy. The feather details and pose are great. How big is he?
    Good luck to you, Shelly.

  2. That is awesome! Best of luck in the firing. I can't wait to see the finished color!

  3. This is awesome and it's so strange to see this concept as I've been sketching my own concept of a raven/man type of character.
    My inspiration came from a clip in the movie Black Swan, where the main character sees this swan/man character dancing on stage in one of the final scenes of the movie. He was creepy and compelled me to start working on my piece to accompany my Poe tombstone in my haunt. I'll have to post some of my sketches on my blog so that you can see my take on a raven man :) Great minds think alike! ;)
    I cannot wait to see your piece when it is complete! =) Beautiful work!

  4. Wow, you have done a super job, I love the concept, just had to sit and take him in! I can understand you worry over getting him finished and delivered to his final destination, you've put a ton of work into this piece! Crossing my fingers and toes that he will not meet any calamities along the way. Looking forward to the finished product.

  5. Beautiful. And worth any and all hardship getting to this point (except the sickness thing, that just plain sucks).
    One ravenmaker to another, it'll all work out -- and you have ART to show for it.
    Wonderful concept, well-realized.

  6. The inspiration was from Charles De Lint's short stories set in his imaginary town of Newford. (I think the first book is Moonlight and Vines)

    He's nearly two feet tall, give or take.

  7. Shell, I am speechless! This guy is really unique. I love that he has a bit of mass to the body...very 'large' in his form. I can't imagine the stress and anxiety of seeing this thru to the finish with such a great start. I'll send some good mojo your way to make it all happen smoothly!

  8. Oh....I thought of Raven from Some Place to be Flying by Charles De Lint. One of my favorite books. Will he be for sale at the art show? Well, I know he will survive firing and make it in to the show. :0 )

  9. that is just beautiful. love the position of the feet. nice touch.


In order to protect my readers, I screen all comments. Spammers will immediately have their comments deleted, so please, if you are a spammer, just go away. I will promote your blog or site if I know you, but if not, please accept my invitation to the world.