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repeating shapes – letting myself work intuitively

My Intro to Sculpture class at PAFA, taught by artist Steve Nocella, was much more fulfilling than I expected. Working in 3D tends to stress me out. I don’t think my mind works that way. Or rather, I haven’t trained it to. Or maybe that’s just something I was told earlier in life that I’ve let it take root.

This is the class I also built my kaleidoscope in.

Sculpture class macaroni experiment

This first project is, you’re right, essentially pasta art! It was a funny way to start the class. The assignment was to construct something with store bought packaged goods. So, maybe to be a smart ass, I bought pasta penne, flour, paper plates, tooth picks and cupcake liners. Behold my masterpiece! I basically made the round bases with paper mache. It was a mess. It even smelled and molded before completely drying. But it being a gross mess is what made it fun. I put it together with no plan. It’s like a sci-fi cloud city. Except made out of wheat products.

This then led me to make some meteors out of paper mache, styrofoam balls and toilet paper rolls. The goal is to make objects to use in future still life paintings so that I am not beholden to glass bottles and tea kettles next semester.

papermache meteors

The photos below are fired white clay that we built into shapes as a one day shot project.

clay experiments

Repeating shapes are a lot like little anxieties that never truly go away. Going through the same motions. There are patterns to recognize. Letting myself work more intuitively is challenging but also therapeutic. I believe it might be a bit like meditation(that golden place in your mind I don’t know how to reach, at least not through sitting in the quiet or listening to guidance podcasts).

It was like doodling mindlessly. Which is something I can’t seem to do anymore. It felt very strange playing with the clay and returning to that place. It’s like I forget how to do it with a pen/pencil/paintbrush, but something in my hands still remembers.

There wasn’t time to glaze them, so I decided to embellish them with acrylic paint I have left over from years ago.

I’m glad these projects unlocked that more childish way of creating. I am hoping it will help me sketch more creatively and naturally. I assume this is a problem others have, considering there is a whole slew of Skillshare classes about creating a sketchbook practice and so on.

To me, they initially seemed corny, but now I think they are addressing a kind of creative constipation we all suffer from sometimes.

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the you in my nightstand

It’s face was the used pages of a diary,
all bleeding ink and bent corners.

Voice like a scratched record,
no one to listen to it.

A dried ink pen for a spine,
chewed up brittle plastic.

With a brass locket for a heart,
hung on tangled chain and empty of sentiment.

It peered at me with mica-flake eyes,
squinting into fluorescent light.

I paid it with a copper penny to suckle,
closed the drawer to no complaint.

My memory smelled like cedar and lint,
felt like a knuckle in the eye.

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making wishes – the origins of our superstitions

superstitious kitsch print

I did another little print design to go along with my bad and good luck prints I debuted in this post.

This one, based on the superstitions behind wishing, took me longer to develop. There aren’t as many obvious symbols to illustrate a wish so I did have to take to google to find, or remind myself, of some. I can’t believe I didn’t remember wishing wells or fountains on my own! The wishing fountains I remember the most, were in the mall…which is kinda disappointing. I don’t recall there being any signage expressing where the accumulated pennies may go, but I could be wrong. I mostly remember the sparkle of copper against blue tile through the water. I remember wanting to reach into it and touch the pennies but never doing it because they weren’t mine. They belonged to the wishers. Little bribes to some unknown power.

As for the other symbols, I actually had never thought about the act of blowing out candles to ‘make a wish’. Maybe because I’m no longer a child? When was the last time I blew out candles? I have no idea. But I liked remembering this and realizing how it was another example of childhood rituals. I tried to find out how the tradition started. This article does a good job of summing the possibilities up. If you know of any other theories please leave me a comment!

I haven’t wished on many stars. So many of them are hidden by light pollution. Which is a funny idea. Something hidden by light rather than revealed. Light can blind or expose. Living in the city again, I do miss the dark mountain skies outside of Asheville, NC.

The ’11:11′ one reminds me of being a teenager. I remember late nights and being told to make a wish when a digital clock reached it. I imagine this superstition probably didn’t come around until we had digital clocks, since it seems to be about the symmetry of the numbers. — Wait! I’m wrong! Here’s a wikipedia page about it. We have numerology to thank for it.

If you remember any other ways to wish please explain them to me. I’d love to hear about them. Take a moment and think about it. You might realize you have a ritual you do automatically, out of habit or tradition. Or maybe you have one you made up rather than inherited.

Also, I have put this work for sale in both my Redbubble and Society6 shops.