This past July, I had the wonderful opportunity to take a sculpting class at the local junior college, College of San Mateo. I was looking for a holiday adventure that would be fun and refresh me from the year-long doctor appointments from my car accident and melanoma.
Hmm…sculpting, that sounds fun. I have always wanted to see how artists sculpt out of stone or glass…and make statues. I am going to sign up.
For the next six weeks, I found my hidden gift of sculpting. 20 students and I, almost all younger ‘kids’ in their teens and early twenties, learned how to sculpt a nude statue out of red clay. Our professor, Rory, a famous sculptor himself, warned us it would take two hours to make a foot. And it did. Not having any experience with this, I thought as an artist, it would be easy. It was not.
We met twice a week from 9-3:30 and boy were we busy! I came home every day bone tired form the mental and physical energy it takes to sculpt, to sit and stand all day long. But I was delighted to find how excited I was to come to class and do art all day in studio with other artists. This was an exhilarating experience for me and I felt completed as an artist.
We had to pick one medium to use so I chose glass. Rory warned us that “glass is fussy” but I did not heed his warning! I learned how to buy glass with a trip to the local glass store and chose my three projects: a blue/white Star of David plate for Jewish holidays, a cross and glass base, and a Jewish mezuzah with Scripture, which hangs on doorposts of Jewish homes. I shared my faith as a Jewish Christian, and while most were accepting, some gave me funny looks!
Sculpting with glass is an extremely frustrating thing to do, and with just some instructions from the professor, I was off, soon begging for help from Helen and Peggy, volunteers in the class. Wearing goggles, I measured my designs, then cut and sanded them. Then the next foray was to fire them in the kiln. Firing is a lot like Christmas morning, you don’t know what you are going to get until you open the package, or in this case, the kiln! My blue Star of David plate melted over the corners, a no-no, but I liked how it looked, so kept it that way. My purple marbled cross came out beautifully contoured and I was pleased.
I next made a mold out of clay and plastered it, filled it with cut green glass and fired it, making the base for the cross. I filled the mezuzah mold with colored glass bits, and fired it, satisfied to have it for my new home in France one day.
Our grade was based on all of our work, and I was happy to get an A- in the class. My clay statue, Gabriella, was given a “B” because her arms were not totally proportional. Oh, well, I did my best, and while she turned out looking like an idol, she sits on my bookshelf now at home.
We celebrated the end of our class with a potluck and photographs on our iphones. I am now ready to lay my paintbrush aside, and hope to continue in glass once I move to France where I will give God the glory through my art. Enjoy the pictures!
So see my art click on ‘my art’ above of go to giftsofhisglory.com