Things Are Looking Up. Literally.

In the glaze fire video I mentioned how the creatures I make all tend to look up. This has never been a conscious decision. It is how they turn out in the process of making them. My mom says there must be something psychological in it. That it must mean something.

And it does mean something. It means they are looking up.

Now if you had a real live tiny wee chicken sitting on a side table it would not be looking straight ahead now would it. No, it would be looking up at you because it is a friendly wee chicken who wants to be friends. The creatures I make who face straight ahead never feel quite as successful or have quite as much life as those who are actively engaging a viewer by looking up at them.

It is almost as if they are asking a question or giving advice or even telling a joke. Why did the chicken cross the road?

I like to think that they are only looking up at you when you are there. That they make the effort to engage because someone is there and that person matters. You get to participate in a piece of art because the piece is not complete without someone for it to look up at.

This looking up is also partly the result of how they are made and how much life I put into them. When I am making a creature I am looking down at it from above. It seems natural to make it so that it is looking up at me. It makes it easier to talk to and find out from it what it wants to be.

I have been making creatures all my life. I started out in plasticine and playdough and cried when they had to be wadded up and put back into the plastic tub. As an introvert it seemed a lot of effort to make friends with other kids when I could make my own friends quite literally.

Thankfully my social skills did improve but I still make creatures and each creature I make is unique. It has its own name, its own life story. I don’t really make creatures at all. It is more a case of them revealing themselves to me.

One or two have become little icons and I make them again and again. There is something in them that needs to be repeated or they are just fun to make and people seem to like them.

Most of them are one offs. I might make other chickens but there will never be another Mango Frango. Hub and Bub on the other hand will probably get lots of brothers and sisters. There is something joyous in these little bubble doods that brings me back to them over and over again.

I think that Sugarbubs was a sort of unconscious prototype for the Bubs. Who needs hands and feet when you can look at the big blue sky all day and laugh in the sun? So there probably won’t be another quite like him again.

There are others that I really love how they turned out but I cannot reproduce no matter how much I want to. Claytoo is an example of this. She was a totally spontaneous creation that came out of nothing and no where. A little lost star child. I have tried to make others like her but they come out totally forced and fail to capture the same feeling. They all went into the recycle bucket and I have stopped trying.

Maybe looking up does mean more than just looking up. Small creatures looking up at us big creatures. There is trust, expectation, and optimism and the need to reach out and engage. Sometimes I feel kind of sorry for them because they can’t look at each other but only up at me. I wonder if I meet their expectations. If only they knew how many of their siblings went into the  recycle bucket!

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