i sculpted my transformation figure from 9a to 1p today, taking one break for water and one to pee. i can barely believe more than an hour passed during that time. i heated my clay, dug out some sections of the foam armature that were too large for the changes i needed to make, worked on the shape of the bear legs and feet a bit, then concentrated on the head and faces. the bear ear needed to move down on the head and the bear face needed reworking. i used the sculpting i did yesterday as a conceptual guide for the progress i made today. i changed the facial structure of the bear at least three times and each time felt a small pang of regret as i undid my sculpting. i soothed myself with the famous admonition to always be willing to kill darlings in one’s process, willing and patient enough to begin again and again.
just over a month ago, still working full-time in public health, i expressed to a friend the stress and sadness i experienced every time i walked by my figure sculpture on its stand. i’d started it half a year ago but hadn’t been able to make enough heart and head energy to progress. each of the handful of days i’d spent working on it produced an entirely new gesture. once, the bear was crouching, once lunging. the woman was waving hello at one time or maybe she was trying to stop traffic, i can’t be sure. but i know that working through a concept, developing an idea, listening to the clay and finding its story takes more energy and concentration for me than the every now and again effort i’ve been able to spare.
i’m finding it easier to begin again when the beginnings have some clear relation to the endings before them. and i’m grateful that these moments are mine to find out what’s ready to be uncovered. get set, go!