This Is Not An Art Blog.

by Lori Dwyer on August 20, 2013 · 4 comments

I really suck at any type of visual art activity. Not even kind of suck. I really suck. I’ve always sucked at it, and probably always will suck at it.

Thinking in shape and texture hurts my head. I’m better with words.

Anyway. Can you tell, already, that I am a pale lime shade of green with envy?? Last weekend I attended a Soft Stone Sculpture class thanks to Red Balloon. And I was reminded that I do not like being bad at things.

It’s a generational thing, perhaps. I’ve been told my whole life that I can do anything. And goddammit, I will do everything and be good at it. Or completely give up that activity and never, ever try it again.

Which is pretty much what I’ve done with all things arty and/or crafty. Up until Saturday’s sculpting workshop, anyway. It was another one of those “I didn’t really think this through properly” moments. I thought I’d be pouring mixture into moulds and what-not.

Wrong. Soft stone sculpture is, of course. just what it claims to be- sculpting soft stone into durable garden ornaments. That’s the afternoon part of the day, anyway. Before you get to that, you have make your cement and sand and sculpting stuff mixture, and allow it to set.


Making messes.

Making messes.


That bit was lots of fun. Kind of like mud pies for adults. The class is held in an actual pottery room, complete with drop-clothes on the floors and tables. And the general rule was that if you weren’t making a mess, you weren’t doing this properly.

Making a mess (and not being the one to clean it up)… I can totally do that.


Messes into moulds.

Messes into moulds.


After making our messes, we poured our mixture into rectangular moulds so it could harden for a bit. Then we set about drawing our designs on paper.

That’s where I started to have a bit of trouble.

Using the book of suggestions that Robert, the instructor, handed out; I choose myself a very zen looking curly abstract thing to create with my soft stone mould. I had enough issues just drawing a valid representation of it, never mind making it 3D.

The next task was to carve mini prototype models from soap. Soap behaves a little bit stone, apparently, so the whole idea is to get some technique happening and a few ideas of what could go wrong. Poor Robert must have said to me “Patience, Lori, patience!!” about ten times as I hacked into the unsuspecting bar of Sunlight.

My soap model is awesome, despite my hacking. But you can begin to see my sculptures gradual metamorphosis  from abstract curl to chunky snail/wave/dolphin/seal hybrid.


Soap model, and it's hybrid seal/wave/curl cousin.

Soap model, and it’s hybrid seal/wave/curl cousin.


It’s after lunch when we remove our stone from its mould and begin sculpting. Soft stone sculpture is so relaxing. There were five students in the class, and two instructors who roamed between us, cleaning up our piles of mess and making hints and suggestions  The whole thing was very chilled and everyone was quiet and absorbed, concentrating on what they were doing.

Even after my lopsided, top-heavy snail/curl/dolphin/seal/thing sculpture broke clean in half, I was still zen. Robert and I just tipped the sculpture on it’s side, patched it up and continued on working. And all was well.

Kinda. To be honest, my sculpture wasn’t that bad. It was passable. The crack mended well, and we added a sparkly stone and another curly thing as an embellishment. But, as I said- visual arts, not my thing.

And self-comparison is a bitch. The chick working next to me was highly talented and managed to turn a ragged block of soft stone into this gorgeous face, 3D face in two and a half hours.


Actual art. What can be done with soft stone, if you have talent.

Actual art. What can be done with soft stone, if you have talent.


Dammit. So Jealous. But still, proud of my curly snail/wave thing.

Unfortunately, pride comes before dropping the curly snail/wave thing on the ground the next day. Curly snail/wave thing was just wet enough to crack right at it’s weak point. But not wet enough to be able mend it.

Dammit, again.

Anyway. At the time I chose this activity, I had no idea we’d be moving. I wanted something to add to my fairy garden. The new plan was to take it to Melbourne to put in the garden there.

But, considering the way the curly wave/snail sculpture is cracked in the middle, it’s probably for the best that it stays here, in the Broken Garden at the TinyTrainHouse. With a little dry leaf camouflage, it looks like it was meant to be here all along.


The broken seal/wave/curl thing in it's natural habitat.

The broken seal/wave/curl thing in it’s natural habitat.


Red Balloon Blogger

Thanks to the team at Digital Parents  Collective for inviting me to be a part of the RedBalloon Experience Program. Stay tuned- more awesomeness over the next few months. As always, all opinions are my own (because no one else would want them…?) however the experiences are complimentary.
And, just for jellbeans, 

there’s a special offer for RRSAHM readers- Spend $79 or more on any RedBalloon experience, and receive $20 off.
To redeem: Visit and enter the promo code
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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Danya Banya August 25, 2013 at 3:06 pm

I like it! I’m not a ‘creative’ person either, but since I want to inspire the kidlets I’ve decided that I’m just going to do it anyway, even if I suck at it. And you know, I’ve found the process quite therapeutic (even if the results are, well lets face it, quite terrible). :)
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Melissa August 21, 2013 at 11:15 am

It looks like it is smiling in your garden?? I also suck at these kind of things, so much so that my creations in Technics or Home Ec would always be the best in the class as the teachers would always take pity on me and take over… Best wishes for you in Melbourne xx


Whoa, Molly August 20, 2013 at 2:21 pm

We had to do sculpture in highschool, I believe the stuff we used was called Hebel? Anyway, I was about as good at it as you are!

I totally hear you on not being interested in doing stuff that I’m not good at right away. I’m glad I’m not the only one!

I think it looks lovely in your garden, and totally like it was supposed to be that way :P
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Lori Dwyer August 20, 2013 at 4:58 pm

Ha- thanks Molly :p x
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