Rodin, I Aint! (OS010)

It’s been a few weeks since I walked out from my job in the biscuit factory, 17.14 weeks to be precise (or 17.2 if basing the calculation just on a five-day working week). I really burnt my bridges that day. It wasn’t all bad though. I’m missing some of the people; Con Straint, the Business Analyst whom I shared an office with, Ali Teration from the product testing department and even Con Pliance, the accountant who precipitated my departure but was generally friendly. However, as for Miss Ann Thropy, the director and Ann Tagonistic the Head of Department, I was glad to see the back of them.

Ali rang me, last week, out of the blue to say ‘Return. Reconsider. Really regret refusal to realistically re-evaluate rift.’ I was quite moved as she only normally alliterates a couple of words. Despite the request, I am steadfast, staunch, firm, nay …. resolute in my decision. No way am I going back. I’ve not been idle though. Not until now at least. This week, I guess I’ve been licking my wounds constantly watching daytime television and eating takeaways. I was starting to enjoy it and my Lazy Boy chair was beginning to creak like an unoiled bearing on the digestive production line so I knew I had to break these addictions and find a job. What kind of job do I want though? Not IT again. Something where I can see something for my efforts; build a wall, paint a mural, landscape the garden (not just a water feature). Then it came to me. What did I really enjoy when I was young? It should have been obvious, I was surprised that I’d not thought about this earlier, pottery or more accurately sculpture.

Before I go on, I must apologise for my prolific use of phrases or sayings. I don’t know what’s come over me.

  • ‘Burnt my bridges’.
  • ‘Out of the Blue’. What on earth does that even mean? I know it means unexpectedly but why ‘out of the blue’. Strictly speaking, the call came out of my mobile, a Samsung, not a ‘blue’.
  • ‘Lick my wounds’. I’ve seen Ted, my neighbour’s dog do this but as for myself, no, never. I’ll stick with Germolene.

and ‘Strictly speaking’ now. Apologies. I will stop using them. Easy to say but please read on. Proof of the pudding and all that.

Back to pottery / sculpture. It was a real favorite of mine. I produced an awesome mythical animal and a novelty egg cup which would have been great had a fellow student, Di Latory, not failed to remove the air from her mug causing it to explode making my egg cup collateral damage. Having some skills in this area, I thought, I’ll use it to create some much-needed income.

My new goal was to become a sculptor and set up a small workshop in my shed. Towards this end I enrolled on a pottery and sculpture night school course. I bought all the gear (apron and blunt wooden knife) and attended the first session. It wasn’t clear from the description but this was year two of the advanced course, and the first session for life sculpture with a model who was wearing less than my mythical animal which I made at school. We were all given a length of chicken wire which I wrestled with but let’s face it, chicken wire is good for keeping chickens in and not so good for moulding into legs, head and other things!

The tutor Sara Micist, saw me struggling and assured me that I would ‘make the grade’ (darn it!) whatever that meant. The chicken wire did eventually resemble a body, just not the model’s body. After adding the clay, it was looking pretty good, I thought. However, I would say it was 98% tutor, 1% me and 1% luck. I did the feet … in the wrong clay. Sarah did say that if I continued to the same scale as the feet there wouldn’t be enough clay in the school, possibly in the North West, to complete the sculpture. Bit cutting, I thought.

I probably need to explain the pixelations on the photograph. The completed sculpture sits in a leafy part of the garden and Pam, my housemate/lodger, was concerned about the anatomical features of the sculpture. She asked if I’d mind if she partially covered it for when her nephew comes to visit. I agreed that it would be fine. Initially, she fashioned a covering using walnut shells and grass but this didn’t fare well with the Manchester weather. After numerous other attempts she decided to buy two of the pixelating shapes used on TV and in newspapers when they want to protect someone’s identity.

That worked well but sadly, I had to conclude that I was light years away from being able to produce pottery sculptures that anyone would want to buy. More thinking required.

… Oliver Sudden  

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