By JEANNE HENRY
An Oregon potter for 38 years, I use my photographs from around world and the NW as reference for carving clay in bas relief, creating depth and emphasizing perspective. I layer, carve and texture the clay image, painting colored slips onto the dried clay before a high temperature firing.
Along with the sculptured wall pieces that I juried with POS, in April, I began a new side exploration: sculpting newborn lambs and different breeds of chickens!
Why lambs and chickens??
I had a dream about life size clay lambs cavorting in my yard. A visit to a farm followed. Making lambs led, naturally, to chickens and they kind of took over….
My home is an 1890 farmhouse on a 1/2 acre near SE 34th and Hawthorne. I think that, and my childhood in rural Ohio, have finally taken hold. I have embraced my inner farmer!
Chicken bodies defy gravity. They have spindly legs, teeny heads and fat bodies.
I throw several basic vessel forms on my potters wheel. Using chicken photos, I alter the vessel to fit the body shape. I adjust the feather textures depending on the breed and the glaze I will be using. Then I watch each hen reveal her personality. “Contrary Mary” fought me for two days, “Curious Georgia” has an inquiring head tilt, “Proud Mary” really wants to be an eagle. My leaping lamb was called, “Wheee!!!!”
Chicken Breeds so far: Astrolorp, Barred Plymouth Rock, Buff Orpington, Rhode Island Red, Welsummer, Dark Cornish Rooster, Ameraucana, Buff Brama, Welsummer, Buckeye, Leghorn
Advantages of Jeanne’s chickens over live ones:
Salmonella free! (You can kiss them without getting sick! Seriously!
They’re housebroken, kind, clean, friendly, quiet, long lived.
Don’t smell, wander, need feeding, coops or permits
Raccoon proof, don’t mind rain
Can stay outside all night