Monday, August 10, 2009

The Survivor

The Elm Goddess, aka “The Survivor”. Like many of us this Goddess hides her scares behind a pretty face. She was created during the same time as the Oak Goddess. The concept of the two pendants was derived from the idea that all things are connected and alive.

We cohabitate on a living planet, Earth is not just some rock floating in outer space. It is alive, and fluid – both internally and externally. Molten Magma push against the tectonic plates and the Ocean Waters caress the coastline of every continent. Earth will always continue to change and evolve – sometimes quietly and sometimes violently.

During the firing process the two pendants (The Elm Goddess and The Oak Goddess) both slipped off the kiln shelf as I was loading it into a hot kiln, and landed in the back of the kiln. As I reached in with a pair of tongs to pull the Elm Goddess out first, it slipped out of the tongs and crashed on to the table. Leaving the shattered pendant lay on the table I retrieved the Oak Goddess from the kiln; it was now on fire as the organic binder in the PMC (precious metal clay) had started to burn. I managed to blow out the flames, and allowed it to cool. To my amazement the Oak Goddess was unharmed. I rearranged the kiln shelf and proceeded to fire the remaining items.

I then looked at the disfigured pile which had been the Elm Goddess just minutes before. Feeling disappointed at what seemed like such a waste of materials and time; I could not bring myself to throw it away. I had heard that broken PMC pieces could be repaired using paste, so it would be a project for another day. I placed the pieces on a saucer and set it aside on a shelf in my studio – where it sat for a long while.

The next spring as new leaves were forming, I noticed the elm trees which grow sporadically out were we live. They reminded me of the Elm Goddess sitting on the shelf. Her leaves had all broken off and her face was cracked in two. One afternoon I started to put her face back together. The front matched up fairly well, but it needed a heavy layer of paste to hold it together from the back. After it dried, I repaired the oval ring on the back that is used as a support for the piece. Once the face and support were stable, I proceeded to layer new leaves around the face. Carefully placing the leaves to hide the scars, she was once again transformed into something beautiful.

After being fired, polished and finished with a antique patina, the evidence of her rough beginnings was only visible from the back. The pendant reminds me about how funny life can be sometimes. We have all had times were we have had to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and put things back together again. In a way we are all survivors.

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