With the November 1st opening coming up fast, Deborah mentioned the other evening that she could use some help making the small chairs. Maybe it was the martini talking, but I immediately volunteered. Sure I can make little chairs! My sculpting resume is pretty limited, but Deborah took me on anyway, and Rick too, who actually worked with clay quite a bit in college. My only real experience was way back in high school, and the only thing I remember making was a box that looked like a cheese burger. Not much to go by, but Deborah was desperate, so I got the gig.
On Saturday morning, Deborah brought over a big block of clay and a few tools. Her only instructions were to try not to trap air bubbles in the clay, and not to do any research on the Juarez murders. She didn't want us wrapped up in the story. Instead, we were to just make things that looked like they would come from someone's home. Pleasant little domestic bits of normal, simple lives.
So we set to it, working in my studio in the house, where there's still a large metal topped table. We loved every minute of it. I started timidly, with a tiny three-legged stool that amazingly looked exactly like a tiny three-legged stool. Before long I was making straight backed kitchen chairs, fluffy upholstered chairs, bar stools, and fan-backed butterfly chairs. Rick made a beautiful, cozy looking, overstuffed chair and a rocking chair, of all things, the big show off. So when I got to the point of adding the legs to my high chair, I handed it over to him to finish. Those spindly parts were just too intimidating for me, but he did it perfectly.
I made a few more chairs on Sunday, before Deborah came to pick them up. They still need to dry, and then be fired and glazed and assembled to fit the rest of the piece. Lining them up here on the table, it was like we'd made a tiny furniture show room. I'm really pleased, and I wanted to have pictures of them in this happy phase of their existence. I'm really honored to play my small part in getting this piece made, and I hope at least some of the chairs make the cut. I know when I see them in the finished piece, they'll have taken on a whole new, much sadder meaning. That's OK. At least I'll know, that like personal belongings of the women in Juarez, these started out as simple, mundane, everyday objects.
Maybe now I'll dig a little deeper into the story behind the sculpture. And maybe not. I only know a little bit, and maybe that's enough. It's so hard for me to deal with other people's pain, and with the insanity of the world. Maybe it's better if I don't know too much. I can't fix it by feeling the pain, but maybe I can help in some way if I'm able to shine my own little light, and add beauty to the world at every opportunity. I want the vibes I send out there to be of love and light, not sadness and fear. It might look like I'm hiding my head in the sand, but it's self-preservation, and it's better for all concerned. If I'm a mess, I'm no good to anybody. If I stop the daily download of bad news at just enough, I can better transform the information into inspiration. And that's how a block of mud becomes a table full of beautiful little chairs that will help carry a message to so many others.