The Story of the Lion


The Lion is a piece that has gone through many changes since the first idea.  Origionally I wanted to do a monster with a cat on its back, inspired by the purple monster with a bird on its head in “Singing and Listening”.  After several sketches the idea was abandoned for impracticality with the making technique used in creating the work.  Instead I chose to morph a monster with a cat.  I studied the bodies of mountain lions for the model.  The making process was thrilling for this piece and really changed how all future work was constructed.  I learned a great deal about how to control the coiling slabs, and when it was finished I felt it was very successful.

For a partner I settled on a meeting moment.  His original partner was probably the most beautiful monster of the group.  Very tall and lean, she was caught a moment of surprise as if seeing the lion for the first time and being afraid.  After the success and learning of the lion I chose a new way to build the leg-arms, a much more aggressive technique that sacrificed the stability of the long slab in the back for a slab on slab straight build.  The arms were to heavy then to support their weight and dropped off while loading.

I decided to save the rest of the piece and build arms of another material.  Looking at the other monsters it was decided that the rules for replacement had already been established with the baby, that they had a skeleton inside the exoskeleton and the replacement would be wooden bone arms.  I spent a solid week hand carving humorous, radius and ulna from a hemlock handrail.  It was difficult work.

The problem then remained how to secure them to the ceramic in a way that would ensure the life of the piece.  Knowing the work was to be handled by others in its life as a gallery object, I wanted to be sure that it would need no special handling or set up.  After several months of frustration I decided to edit the piece.

It was a difficult decision and I really mourned the loss of the pair for a while, thinking that the lion would not be paired.  I therefore sent him to a show last month, thinking the piece complete.  Pulling it out of the studio and putting it into its intended environment really caused me to see him with fresh eyes.  I decided I would try another monster and really change the context of the relationship.  For this second piece I wanted a partner rather than a victim, and so the hunters came to be.  More notes on this pair coming soon.

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