Monday, November 17, 2008


How many times do I have to learn that you don’t know what’s supposed to happen until it happens? What I mean is, I keep on saying that I’M not the one making the work and calling the shots, it’s the MUSE, or whatever it is that wants to make art happen in the world. My job is to get my ego out of the way and let that force operate.

Case in point: I came into the studio this morning bringing materials I had stored in my barn and grabbed when I came in from jogging -- some fibers I had collected on the beach a few years ago, four wonderful stubby little easychair legs, some animals I’d made for an installation at the Firehouse in Burlington over ten years ago, and a wedge-shaped hunk of wood. I knew that I was going to make some Dogs! I had made some clay “hair” last week that Georgia Landau fired in her kiln. She’s straight out finishing work for the Vermont Handcrafters show this coming weekend, so it was really good of her to squeeze my stuff in.

So immediately I started work on the first dog. I used one of the old animals, cut the legs down, put some ears on, and started affixing the “hair”. It didn’t seem quite right, but I persevered. Got the top all covered with the clay pieces, and ... and... I took it down to Georgia’s studio and asked, “What’s this?” “A sheep,” says she. Sure enough, it was a sheep. I painted the legs black and accepted it as a sheep. Where does that fit into the Circus? Got me.

When I don't have any idea what I'm doing, I rummage through my materials (junk in my studio). I found a figure I had started a while back and abandoned. I remembered about making Sentinels. I thought it might stand on tall legs like the Bondage piece. Its old-nail arms were spread wide. I added a headdress, and knew it wanted to have wings, so I used some of the long “hair” pieces. It was an angel! A Herald Angel (as in Hark the Herald Angels Sing...)!

The bottom image shows the back of the figure. It has striped legs and dots under the wings, and it flies. It is a very odd piece, like an alien insect. It needs something coming out of its mouth, like music.


Unknown said...


I love the sheep. And the reminder about letting things flow by getting that pesky ego out of the way.

janetvanfleet said...

Yah, it's hard to know when to kiss it goodbye and when it kiss it hello...