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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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