Type: Hatchery

“At this point it is the head of the elephant I’m most focused upon, not letting the rest of the body interfere with my drive to recreate the ears, trunk and brow of the elephant and last but not least – the eyes. I’m so mindful of the elephant, whose ears are used to cool the body and hear the voice of an elephant miles away. The trunk, the elephants hand, able to perform complex activities just like ours, and the brow hiding that marvelous brain and most of all the eyes – the window to the soul of an elephant.”

I wrote these words a number of years ago not knowing I’d someday have a complete elephant. The following story of how my whole elephant finally emerged can give you a window into the soul of how my art “happens”. Stress turning clay into peace.

10 years ago when Phil and I met, I soon was introduced to Jason and Delores. They are our nearest neighbors. We can watch all the activity in their garage and drive way. Normal activity hasn’t been taking place there for a long time. Jason is a retired master boat builder. And also loves flying. So Phil and I had the priviledge of watching Jason build a thre-quarter sized Italian flying boat. Jason had a stroke a few yeara ago and it has been amazing to see what he’s done with only one arm.

To make a long story short I want you to picture a lovely Fall day. So wind to speak of. All of us trveling to a lake north of Grand Haven to watch the second flight. I learned to fly when I was 16. So as we drove north, I carried with me a lot of excitement but also fear. Things can go wrong! The man that was to fly her was very experienced but his wife and two sons were with me.

When I’m stressed, I always have the clay in my hands. So it was this day. A lump of gray clay. One that was full of lots of colors to make gray. And I made my egg and found myself making the back legs of a dinosaur. But something inside me clicked! “These legs look like the legs of an elephant! I’ve been going at this all wrong. I shouldn’t make the head and ears first but last!. So that’s all I needed to do! Most mammals are born feet first! This little tidbit of insight came just now as I wrote this. Birth a mammal feet first.”

I now am thinking about my bears. I start with the legs and feet. My whale; I start with the tail. My bison, same thing; feet first. Pigs too and otter. Seals, sea lions and walrus-feet first.

Now this doesn’t mean all mammals give birth this way; just helped me to focus and learn a bit more about my personal muse.

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