This work was recently juried into the fifth Women of Appalachia Art Exhibit on display in the Multicultural Center Art Gallery, Baker Center, Ohio University. The exhibit runs through December 10 Then I believe it moves on to Chillicothe, OH.
There will be two events with spoken word and musical work performed on Nov 1 and Nov 7 details at www.womenofappalachia.com
“Scarred Woman” above epitomizes the Appalachian woman who has been through the fire and may be marked by life but not broken. The resilience and creativity that my friends and neighbors bring to every day life is truly inspiring.
Paw Paw Green Man is also in the show hanging beside his sister.
The process for making my green men and women are basic hand building techniques. I start with a large lump of clay and form a shallow oval bowl shape about the size of a face. This is pretty thick and the sides are 2-3 inches tall. When the clay is ready, and this is crucial, it’s time to start pushing, pressing, shaving and adding clay to form a face. The clay needs to be pretty pliable for the first roughing in but not so soft as to collapse.
I use some photos of faces and my own face to get the proportions and I usually go large as the clay shrinks in the fire. I only need to do eyes, nose and mouth because the edges of the face are covered with leaves.
It takes a few days of a few hours each to finish the face. The clay is kept in a plastic bag so it will dry slowly. This allows for finer finishing at the end.
The leaves are cut from slabs of clay, using real leaves. A large Green Man can take up to 36 leaves.
The assembly has to be done on the kiln shelf as the bone dry piece is very fragile. After the piece is completely dry it is bisque fired, if it survives I either spray on stains for a soft finish or dip into glaze for a shiny finish. It is then fired again to a much higher temperature.