Children of clay

Here’s another piece I’m planning for the upcoming wilderness exhibition. I’m not sure whether it will work or not, if not you can be witness to my failure (see if I care!).

I’m in the process of making 40 figures in clay. Leaving the clay soft, rather than allowing it to harden they will then be sent out into the world. I will leave them in and around Sheffield, out in the open, totally exposed for forty days. In the city, the suburbs and the countryside; some for all to see, others hidden away.

I don’t know what I’ll find after the forty days – maybe they will all survive intact or be washed away by the rain, or stolen, or cleared away by a street sweeper, or trodden on. They will be at the mercy of the world.

This is a photo of the first batch:


I feel quite attached to them now, strange how we have an innate instinct to see personality in inanimate objects (a quirk in the way our brains work that probably led to belief in god – but that’s another story). Perhaps it was a mistake to give them faces, like naming an animal that you will soon slaughter for food. Nevertheless, I will overcome my paternal instincts and send them out on their adventures.

 Go well, children of clay, and may some of you return in one piece…

6 thoughts on “Children of clay

  1. love these!i’m wondering how you’re planning to show them in the exhibition… photos of them in location to accompany the recovered physical objects maybe…?really looking forward to seeing them…

  2. thats the plan. Ive put a ring in each of their feet to attach a photo of them in situ. If they dissappear it will just be a ring with the photo on.

  3. Good question – i think I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to make all the figures and send them out into the world in time. Now they’re out there I’m not sure thetre can be a failure – even if they all dissappear. Although if I get fined for littering in a national Park that might count as a failure.

  4. What would be funny would be for the clay person to remain and for the ring to have gone – perhaps its how my mind works but I could see the irony of it, throwing off its chains and actually embracing freedom.

  5. Pingback: The Children of Clay go to Iona | I ask for wonder

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