I’ve been taking a class in my newly adopted hometown of Mountainair New Mexico. Although I’ve been an animal jewelry artist for over a quarter of a century, in all that time I’ve never learned to work in earth clay, which is somewhat amusing since everything I design is originally created in clay. (Polymer clay)
But getting my hands “muddy” in clay that comes from the ground is another thing entirely. Clay from the earth doesn’t respond the same, it dries and cracks if you take too long, and even if you are relatively fast, it has a tendency to dry out quickly. It is a humbling experience.
But I am learning from some of the best clay artists around. We meet every week for several hours, and I can create (really, it’s more like play) whatever pops into my consciousness! I’m not concerned with creating my next best seller, I’m not worried about how long it takes me, I don’t give a damn if it comes out so poorly that I just wad it up and start over again.
So for my siblings’ Christmas gifts I created these petroglyph-inspired goat magnets in raku clay. Personally, I adore them. In fact, I didn’t really want to give them away! So I did the next best thing…I took a photograph of them.
I live in an area saturated with ancient native American artwork. Just a mile or so away down the canyon near my home is a cliff with pictographs, artwork created with some kind of natural ink and depicting everything from a woman giving birth to what looks like a Spanish soldier sitting atop a horse. My effort in creating these primitively inspired goats is really in honor of those early artists who were so capable at capturing the essence of an animal or a person. Their creation of the mysterious symbols that decorate the world here in New Mexico with pictographs and petroglyphs add beauty to an already gorgeous landscape.
I feel so fortunate that creativity in my new environment is part of life for so many here. The artists who live in Mountainair (and beyond) are some of the best, most lively and interesting people I know. What I’m learning from each generous teaching spirit is helping me look at my own work in a new way, and inspiring me to be more creative with my art and in my life.