Dan and I went to see the Kiki Smith exhibit at the
Whitney, where I stood in front of the little wolf girl the entire time.
want to look at anything else?” he asked.
everything already. I’m ready to start sculpting.”
“I’m sorry. What did you say?”
“I said, I want to go home and
sculpt something. Maybe a full-length
statue of Kim.”
“Why not start with something
smaller, like an ashtray?”
“Because I know I can do this, but
I have to move quickly, before I lose the urge.”
Dan is a perfect husband. He rarely laughs at me. He took me to Pearl Paint that night where I
asked the man behind the counter if he had a wire aperture the size of a
seventeen year old girl. HE
didn’t. But he had one the size of a
large doll, so I took that and a fifty pound box of clay.
That night I
started my sculpture of Kim. I began by taking a small ball of clay and rolling
it out with a rolling pin on a plastic cutting board on our dining room
table. I cut out the shape of a person —
roughly — and was planning to stick it on to the aperture and work from there.
A few minutes
later Kim came in the room with two of her friends.
“Look at what
my mom’s doing,” she said, covering her mouth.
gingerbread cookies?” one of the boys asked.
working with clay,” Kim said, as though the boy were an idiot.
“I know, but
it looks like she’s making clay cookies.”
Dan walked in at that point and
looked at what I was doing.
“That’s way too
small, Steph. What are you doing?”
“I’m practicing first.” But I
wasn’t. I have no sense of
proportion. Dan took over and started
attaching little clumps of clay to the aperture in all the right places so that
a human form was now available for me to begin transforming.
you can do your thing,” he said, and sat down to read the paper.
“But her feet
aren’t touching the ground,” I complained.
“You have to
add the feet,” he explained. “I only gave her legs.”
I sat down and
started to sculpt the small figure who appeared to have hung herself in my
later I was done! Except for the hands
and the feet and the face. I haven’t
mastered that type of fine work yet. But I do have a very realistic figure that looks exactly like my Grandma