October 28, 2013

A Mosaic of Conjoined Twins

I had made a mold of a head of an old China doll and used it recently to create the mixed media mosaic above of conjoined twins. Like most of my mosaics, it took several steps. The heads were first made with stoneware clay pressed into the molds. I then hand sculpted stoneware bodies onto these heads, spontaneously melding their bodies to make them conjoined twins. Why? Perhaps it is a subliminal self portrait of myself and the illness I battle - lugging along an unwanted appendage throughout the day that makes for difficult maneuvers to get anything done.

I stamped a print of a stone seal in the oval space joining the twins which reads, somewhat sardonically, “the breath of life.” Instead of glazing the stoneware, I burnished the raw clay surface before bisque firing then smoke firing in the outdoor pit kiln. A final cleaning and wax polishing gave the figures a surface look like a metal patina - which was what I was trying for.

The figure at the left rests on a stoneware cicada that I cast from a mold I had made earlier. The cicada represents a hope for rebirth and restoration of natural balance.

The background rocks come from various sites in the Carolinas. These were quartz pieces in white, gold and topaz that I carefully cut with a hammer and anvil then fitted around the figures. In some spaces close to the figures I used the white quartz and even some white marble to help delineate their form. In other areas I blended them with similar background colors for an embedded and amorphous look.

No comments: