Here’s the first head in my 20 heads in 20 weeks series. I guess I’m really doing it. This one is really a sketch in clay. I did it in about an hour and a half using a combination of slabs and pads. I wanted to use texture so in addition to the “interesting” hair, I put a crawl glaze everywhere but the hair. The test on the crawl glaze came out very dark green – almost black – with squarish flat chunks of glaze. I put this guy in the kiln this afternoon so soon the count will be 1 done, 19 to go. Well, 18 and a half since I finished constructing another one today.
The second one is not exactly a sketch. I started much more tentatively -and have worked more self-consciously on it. Maybe I want to have already gotten the knowledge I hope to have after 20 heads. Bleh, learning is a lot of work. I am doing some sketching of faces. I rode to San Francisco on the BART train the other day. Great place to look at people with out them knowing because they are talking or asleep. Lots of sleeping on BART which means you get to see parts of people’s faces you don’t usually get to look at, like up their nostrils.
I wanted to play with expression with the heads so they don’t all look like they came off of a Roman frieze and this one has a kind of smirky smile. For awhile he had a bird on his head. I tried not to put it there but it just seemed that this guy needed company. Luckily, by this afternoon I had come to my senses and lifted the bird gently from the top of the head and gently wadded it into a ball. Possibly reacting to the loss, the head toppled over onto the table a couple of minutes later when I turned away to get something, leaving some flattened smile lines that got plumped back up after this picture was taken.
This head is about life size. The next head will be smaller. I plan to make it solid, then cut it apart, hollow it and put it back together. I have done this with heads that are about softball size. I plan for this one to be about pomelo size – about twice the size of a grapefruit.
[sidebar: I had never heard of or seen a pomelo until we went to Burma, where they are sold, already peeled, by street vendors. They are called kywègaw thee which might (or might not) be pronounced something like joe-ga thee. After eating one and loving the mild, sweet grapefruity flavor, I wanted another, but had second thoughts about eating unpeeled fruit, so I insisted on buying one that wasn’t peeled. The guy shook his head, but I insisted, so with a shrug he took my dollar -dollars much preferable to the kyat (official exchange rate in 2005 was 7 kyat to the dollar but the wildly variable unofficial street rate could be 1000 kyats to a dollar). I knew I would need a knife to cut off the skin, but I had no idea of how long and hard I would have to work to get the thick skin and tough white rind from around the fruit. Then each segment had to be peeled. But it was worth every bit of time. I have had California pomelos since then, but they just don’t have the same intensity. OK, end of sidebar.]