Personal Comments on Shattered Pieces

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We all have different ways of dealing with adversities of life, with loss or with pain.

Last summer, I took a sledgehammer and started to smash many of my pots. It was something I simply had to do when I saw no more need for them. I had saved them for many years; sort of like an artist keeps an old sketchbook. The pots were not masterpieces, yet they all contained a hint, a touch of what I felt I would still want to work out some day …

The pot fragments were scattered all around me. Suddenly, I looked at them from a different point of view: instead of destroying the pots, I discovered that I was making new shapes. I found my accidental creations were quite stunning. They seemed too promising to turn back into chunks of fired clay; to use as road fill. I realized that there really was no other way I could get to see the profiles, the inside curves of a large vessel, except by destroying the finished object.

I have always been fascinated by the hidden spaces inside vessels. The part one can not see or feel. I have collected remnants of many pots — some of them thousands of years old — searching for their secrets: the reason for their existence, the way they have been made, the fingerprints of the maker. Whatever potsherds can tell you. Here I had started to make my own history.

The shards of my former pots made me meditate on how it happens that destructive acts can lead to something unexpected and beautiful. Those bowl-shaped shards were like open hands; they invited offerings. So I filled them with emotions … La Condition Humaine.

People ask: are you still working with clay? I have to reply that clay is still working on me.

Elke Blodgett
September 2001

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