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Where do ideas originate?

A few years back, I saw my spirit dance. It was translucent and graceful. From that came a quilted self portrait. DSCN9272

The beads around the heart are sterling silver and a gift  from a good friend. 

I had to crash my mother’s funeral a few months back. My mother hated me and made sure I knew it. When she died, I was surprised to find such a feeling of freedom. I took that feeling and attempted to translate it into clay. IMG_1087IMG_1086

This is greenware. It will be bisque fired then glazed and fired again. It’s okay, but not exactly what I had in mind. 

I tried again – this time as an assignment for my writing class.

I’m Not There Anymore so My Spirit Dances

In life, the dress was made from medium pale aqua linen/rayon blend fabric. In depiction, the dress was…. not yet fully formulated. There’s a dress and a jacket. I have to be careful how I make the jacket because her arms are raised. The jacket has to move appropriately. Perhaps a matte shino for the jacket. There needs to be some bit of texture on the jacket for the shino to be effective. The dress perhaps a glossy tourmaline with the addition of deep blue/green celadon. There should be more and different texture on the dress. Enough texture to stop the celadon but not so much texture as to prevent movement. Or maybe the jacket should have more texture and the dress less texture. This time, the eyelids will have eye shadow. Lavender celadon? Eyebrows and hair purple perhaps? Purple underglaze with a wash of white after bisque firing? Purple underglaze with a wash of red after bisque firing? The red could be interesting and not indicative of gray hairs. Maybe, to be safe, speckled deep sienna? But she’s not safe; she’s free. Purple and red. Definitely purple and red. Spikes? Curls? Braids? Braids. Braids will highlight the purple and red better. Two braids and a cowlick, circular progression

That shows what’s going on in my head when I figure out how I’m going to make a ceramic piece. For ceramics, it’s important to know what size the piece will be, is there any armature to make, how it will be glazed. 

Then, as often happens, I saw a sculpture in my head – a fabric doll. In order to not forget what I wanted to do, I grabbed my sketch book and did a rough sketch. 


Armed with the suggestions for how to keep the doll upright (dowel, armature, metal stand), I now need to make a pattern for the doll and for the outfit. I’m thinking of using green beads for the eyes (my eyes are green) and haven’t decided what the mouth will be like. 

I’ve been making ceramic female sculptures for about 6 years now. They didn’t start out as self portraits, but that’s what the ended up being. My favorite is entitled: Fuck You, I’m Still Alive.

I did some research on bullet wounds – entrance and exit – and thought I was putting the bullet holes in non-lethal spots. Alas, at least three of them are kill shots. I kind of like that better – she survives even lethal wounds. 


To be continued. 



I retired from the Public Defender Dept. November 12, 2015 after 21+ years as a criminal defense attorney. Now, I'm a full time multi-media artist and writer starting on a new adventure. As an artist, I create with beads, fabric, fiber, and ceramic clay. Sometimes separately; sometimes in assorted combinations. You can find my on-line store at:

2 thoughts on “Where do ideas originate?

  1. Deb that is some intense closure….good for you. The mother/daughter love/hate thing is a sticky web where danger can lurk behind every corner. I admire that you waited for her exit to excise the poison. ‘Having’ to respect a parent that is cruel, is cruel.


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