Thinking in Clay

The road to a project’s completion is often a long and winding one. That’s why it’s worth taking time along the way to enjoy the view. The installation I’ll be doing at TICKON in Denmark later this summer began last year with an invitation from the art park to submit a proposal. Over the months, conversations and emails have taken the proposal through a series of development where I now feel that all the parts are in place to begin the work.

The piece will be situated in a grove of towering beech trees. The stone will be collected from farm field cast-off piles. The final design has moved from an initial concept that combined a cylindrical form made of stone with a spiral shape made of timbers, to a low parallelogram enclosure containing a web of pentagonal and triangular hollows.

Making a 3-D sketch in clay allows me to engage in a building process as I design. It informs the design in a different way than a 2-D drawing would. I find I need the physical activity of making shapes and forming spaces to fully develop and understand a design. The small-scale building process helps me see how the full-scale piece can be realized.

This August I travel to Langeland to begin work on the newest addition to TICKON’s environmental art park. In the meantime, I’ll be helping Chuck Eblacker on a project in Rochester, New York, building a front stoop on a log cabin in Dummerston, Vermont and teaching two weeks of stone workshops in Newfoundland, Canada. Summer is here. It’s the busy season for working on the land.