I have been somewhat down recently, as I suspect has much of the country in lockdown. There is nothing really wrong, as I am healthy and have stayed employed throughout the Pandemic. There is still a feeling of loss and stasis, however, and in many ways it has inhibited my creativity. This work, however, flows directly from that feeling and is an attempt to capture it in a work. As part of considering the work I looked into sculpture that captured sadness and found some work that captures the concept almost too strongly. The work in Fig. 1. for example embodies the emptiness of grief, but is far too strong to represent this feeling. The work in Fig. 2, with its negative space tear, is more the level that I was looking for. I did spend some time looking for references on sadness or depression as a thematic idea but was more successful at finding literary references, such as Shumeiko (2018).
The basic idea for my work is for a mobile with droplet shaped elements falling from a spiral shaped support. The droplets are intended to represent raindrops, and the title of the work comes from the song by Ella Fitzgerald and the Ink Spots. The sketch used as the featured image shows the basic idea.
Making the elements of the work:
One of the challenges of the making of the work was that I needed to be able to string the parts up, and I wanted to make absolutely sure the droplets were pierced to allow air out during the firing. The answer was to drill very small holes when the clay was partly dry. I applied a base coloured slip before the bisque firing and then another colour over that before glost firing to make sure the pieces had interest.
Stringing the work:
The finished piece:
As with other works in this part, there are significant lessons from the making process that I need to reflect on and develop solutions to. The finish could be improved, and the hanging spiral should have been bigger to allow a more expanded drop pattern. I am fairly convinced, however, that the finished work fits what I was trying to achieve. The process of considering it and making it has also lead me to other ideas that I can develop with very different forms but a similar feeling. This concept of trying to embody emotional reactions within a work is likely to be a significant element of my practice in the future – whether explicitly, like this one, or more implicitly like the ravens and organic forms.
List of Illustrations
Fig. 1. Penwell-Gabel Cremations (2021) [Photograph] of Gyorgy, A. (s.d.) Melancholy. At: https://www.penwellgabeltopeka.com/Blog/6245/Melancoliesculpture (accessed 02/04/2021)
Fig. 2. Saatchi Art (2021) [Photograph] of Den Os, A. (2018) Quiet sadness. At: https://www.saatchiart.com/art/Sculpture-Quiet-sadness/1076741/4545533/view (accessed 03/04/2021)
Shumeiko, O. (2018) The Concept ‘Sadness’ аnd Its Metaphorical Models in the 21st Century American Fiction. American Journal of Philology, VOLUME 139, Number 4 (2) (Whole Number 556), Winter 2018.