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Ramble: The Hero's Journey into Clay
Date:  Fri Nov 10, 2000 4:25am


Re: Album: African Chop N Toss
Name: Nancy Welch
Message: You just amaze me girl!
I came to read the posts, and always get carried off to your albums~~not a bad thing! These canes were beautiful, and then I couldn't believe you were chopping them all up. I watched you go step by step to from these beautiful
mirror images,~~~~what a HOOT at 5a.m.!
You must be on the east coast if it was 5am for you and 2am for me when I received your sweet hooting. Thanks sweetie...
I have been nattering for the longest about taking 4-6 canes and doing a chop and toss and I thought, well let's just kick the slats out of this chop and toss thing. It has to be seen to be believed really. I mean if you tell someone, "Ok, take like a dozen canes, all different, all complex and then chop them like egg salad..." the person listening will put up their hand and say, "Whoa Nellie, you want me to do what?"
But honestly, gang, how are we to get a medley of colors and images that mean something to us if we don't do this?
Ok, my thoughts on this are these:
It doesn't have to be Africa.
It can be things and colors from the sea.
It can be any symbol that means something to you. We've been discussing symbols with the good luck charms. If we made canes of Hearts, Moons, Stars and Clovers, and then did a chop and toss where some of the cane had been reduced to the full design and sliced, and some chopped up, we would make a background with colors that match the design elements. So the colors that are in the Hearts, Moons, Stars and Clovers will be in designs around them when they are not faced forward. The fire roses are a case in point in my African Mix. Reduced to see the whole item, but where it gets sliced sideways, and it will because it will tumble and fall in the toss, it provides a matching color element in the riot that is the clay around the full design element. That riot has a pattern, there's a truth to how these clay bits fall.
Patterns created by the randomness of the toss will hold a truth in the design, the truth that came from the physics of tossing the bits about.  Ever notice that natural things have their own patterns?  I was looking at how smoke rose from a stick of incense. It had a randomness but yet it had a pattern. Fire is like this. Running water is like this. Even though those things are random in their movement there is a pattern that is caused by the physics of life. Gravity, air flow, those sort of laws effect the randomness.
Well it's like that with the toss. There is a randomness but there is also a pattern that emerges.
When you combine colors, designs and symbols that mean something to you what will emerge is a medley that is powerful to you. For me the animal canes, the colors of Africa, all these things mean something, what results is a clay mix that has powerful personal significance. It invigorates me when I look at it. I don't consider myself to be much different than other folks who grew up in the mass media environment. If these speak to me, the mix will speak to others. For those who share a cultural construct will react to similar colors, designs, and symbols, just stands to reason.
You have your own cultural construct and beliefs, all filled with colors, designs, symbols that have relevance to you.  If you use these things when you design your canes you can make a mix of chopped and reduced whole sliced cane and make a pattern that will mean something to you.  It will also mean something to those who share your culture. Each culture holds dear different symbols, but these symbols stem from the same inner workings, they are just dressed differently. 

I think that Joseph Campbell, who's main study was myths, said that the symbol is the "concretization" of the metaphysical. Taking a belief and carving it into stone. Your beliefs get made manifest in the life by way of icons, symbols, lucky charms. The pitfall is when folks believe in the symbol and forget the metaphysical thing that symbol just stands for.

So the discussion of lucky charms and chop and toss are oddly connected, you see. If you thought about it, while sipping tea and looking out the window, if you thought about what are your favorite colors, what are your favorite design elements: curls instead of straight lines, for example; what symbols mean something to you, and married all that together, you'd be on your way to designing a medley of personal significance.
Future themes for my exploration into this self inquiry: Symbols and colors of Japan. Dream symbolism...the color and shapes of the good dream/the bad dream. CyberPunk futuristic biomechanical. There are many themes in your own life, it is up to you to find out what they are, what significance they hold for you. So what if we do find it, then what?
Then you take what you find, make your canes, do your chop and toss and go cover an egg with it just so you can have it around to look at, get invigorated by it. 
But it starts with you being true to yourself. Don't make what others are making, using colors that others are using, just because the book or kit told you to. Travel inward and find yourself through the colors, designs and symbols, that mean something to you. Make the things that release the energy of the need to tell your tale, not the things that seem to be selling this season.  This is part of our Hero's Journey on the road to clay.
This is also the end of this Ramble.

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