‘le premier oiseau”, alabaster, 2010
Dimensions: width 30 cm, height 31 cm, depth 30 cm
Special thanks to my teacher, Dominique Rivaux.
Shortly after starting ceramics lessons, I fell in love with the work of Barbara Hepworth and Constantin Brancusi, and it so happened that one of the pupils at the hand-modelling ceramics lessons was taking stone carving lessons. I thought I should just go and see what this was all about, and the moment I stepped into the small suburban garden where the lessons took place, I knew I was just going to have to go for it.
I loved everything about working with stone (although perhaps I should make it clear right now that I’ve only worked with alabaster, which is a tender stone – I’m not so sure how I would feel about working with marble or other harder stones which require more physical strength). Instead of being depressing, the very fact that I would need months and months (in fact close to a year) to complete my sculpture seemed to me to make the whole experience even more special.
I’d thought ceramics required patience, but *this* was something else, a patience of a different nature. In ceramics, apart from the learning process which of course – as all learning processes – requires patience and repetition, what requires patience is all the different stages of drying, decorating, glazing, firing, etc… With stone, it’s the material itself that makes the working process a slow one: you can’t go faster than the stone will allow you and than the number of hours actually spent carving the stone. And of course you have to be extra careful never to take away too much from the stone, as there is no turning back.
I didn’t know I had such patience within myself, nor that I would be capable of working in extreme temperatures (from 3° Celsius in winter to over 30° in summer).
Working in the garden with the passing of the seasons, with the occasional visit of birds and a local cat, in such a friendly atmosphere thanks to the wonderful teacher and the no less wonderful “classmates”, was an experience I’ll never forget, a feeling of finally being out of time constraints, which helped me to get ready to leave the busy city and get back to making music at another pace.
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