It was the first time I have ever worked with modeling clay. My hands were very anxious yet excited to craft and mold from this foreign material. From the sense gathered by my wobbly hands, it noticed that the clay was oily and smooth— nostalgia of eating a chocolate bar on a hot summer day. While holding the chocolate bar in the heat, the exterior slowly starts softening, yet still mailable. Then the oils in the chocolate bar starts excreting, giving it the same texture as the clay.
As my hands worked hard getting familiar with the feel of the tough clay (or maybe my weak hands are to blame for the “tough” clay), my eyes were transfixed on the dusty-copper color. As my fingers made delicate smooth textures on the surface of the clay, the baby dusty-copper color became dynamic with shades of old dried blood or a melancholy beige. After playing and observing the clay for a bit, I started created a cylinder shape. As I worked and worked, I felt that it started representing a tree.
I worked with it and made the tree look as though it were leaning. Inspired by scenes from Corpse Bride, I wanted to create something spooky and weird, as if it were a dying tree. At first, my tree had a very smooth surface. My hands had an obsession with smoothing the clay out and making it look “perfect”. However, as my hands kept smoothing and smoothing, the tree was lacking something. I stared for a long time—personality, life, branches? I couldn’t think of what was missing. However, as I looked around at the work my peers were doing, almost everyone had some sort of texture. Instead of worry about the smooth texture like I was, everyone was busy working on the form. I saw how not obsessively caring about the texture of the sculpture gave it more life and it was beneficial for my particular piece because it subtly gave the look of tree bark. In the end, I feel like the organic textures that my fingers made really added a new dimension to my piece. It was obvious that I started imitating other people’s work the minute I felt something was wrong with my sculpture.
I looked around for inspiration and got it. From what I see in the final version of my piece, I see that my hands did a good job marrying my own vision and other people’s techniques to create a unique and beautiful Drifty Tree.