Specializing in naturalist fine art, writing, and education since 1996
Iceberg, Evening by Beverly Baker
Stuff Happens, The Life Lessons Art Teaches Us
Not long ago, some of the educators at Blue Heron Nature Preserve were talking about the lessons clay can teach us. Yes, clay, that cool, smooth material we work with our hands to form into—well any thing we want! It changes as we manipulate it, pound it, smash it, and pull it apart. Once we settle on what it could become, we want our clay to stay in that final shape. But when it dries, that’s when stuff can happen:cracks, breaks, or full on shattering, as we deal with the loss or change of the permanent piece we had imagined would stay that way forever, frozen in time.
FletcherWitzigreuter worked on a clay portrait, and he used the coolest thing for the center, a jar. He worked the clay over the jar so that you couldn’t see it, like an Egyptian tomb sealed for the ages. By using wire, he made a hand that actually waves! When the clay dried, he painted it, art apron, pony tail and all.
Then, one day, gravity happened. Theart lady went from standing and waving to cracking like Humpty Dumpty, and Fletcher was understandably upset. But he did what great people do, he accepted that loss. Then he even rebounded into seeing a new life for his work as he realized that the decapitated head could now be removed like a stopper to open a secret treasure jar. Eventually his amazing sense of humor kicked in too as he laughed at his own sad self upon the earth-shattering event and saw how far that clay had made him come.
Sometimes clay teaches us that things work out even better than we might have thought, like going from that sealed jar to a treasure bottle you can actually use. Clay can also teach us to enjoy the creative process and be prepared for changes.
That’s what art can do for us, my friends, so don’t be afraid to keep on creating. What you make right now is just as important as whether or not it lasts. And because I had taken a photo of the clay before it broke, it will live on forever anyway!
Christy writes environmental fiction, including the titles below. She is currently writing a novel based on her experience working at a museum of natural history. To read some of her completed stories, please visit @talkingflowers on Wattpad by clicking the links below:
Read a Water-time Mystery by Christy Baker Knight:Hot Pressed
HOT LIST RANKED #4 in SLEUTH,
#7 in WILDFLOWERS
A Featured and Prize-Winning Botanical Novella on Wattpad