I have vague memories of modeling with clay in grade 1 but I had not touched clay after that.
The interesting thing about clay modeling is that you work in 3 dimensions. I thought it would be easy to produce what I imagined but that was not the case. For example, I was instructed to make a mask. How do I make a nose? I should have put clay around my own nose and but I thought of that trick once the mask was complete.
We used ceramic clay instead of terracotta clay.
My biggest challenge came in shaping the clay. I would damage the slab when I tried engraving. The answer was to use cooky cutters to get the shape I wanted.
My biggest surprise was the shape of the sphere. For the shapes I made, the first thing that I was instructed to do was to form a sphere with the clay. I then took a rolling pin and flattened the ball. Once that was done, I could begin shaping. I mentioned this to my father who pointed out that the sphere is the symbol for infinity.
Another thing to be aware of was the pressure. If I put too much, the clay would begin to disintegrate. If it was too little, the clay would stay as is.
My thanks to Aparna Choudhrie, founder of the Clay Company for her incite on design. I had asked her how should I decide what shape I want in a design. Her answer was that “each shape should tell a story.” This was just the right starting point for my writer self. I can now begin to think of creating shapes that have meaning without my brain freezing on fractals, perspective, solid geometry etc.
As always, special thanks to the volunteers from The Clay Company and from Planet Abled. The class would not have been the same without you.