“Each reflection of myself echoes a different emotion at me – 20 Heroes from the City of Roses” – production diary (XLVIII) – drying time, waiting time
June 23, 2012
It is unbelievable, but somehow I managed to complete the figure forming part of this projects. 20 interviews and, if I don’t add small items like cups, tables, chairs, buckets to drum on and a rotary phone, I made 26 figures inclusive a horse, a Monkey King, an ostrich, a Komodo-dragon, a shoulder-cat and a buffalo.
It is hard to stop myself now from forming figures, but: I am moving house, and state for that matter, in seven days. So I have to get any formed figures dried and bisque-fired before the move of the likeliness of breaking is, taking fragile shapes like bunny ears into account, let’s say about 99%.
Massive figures may seem dry on the surface, but that doesn’t mean they are really dry throughout the whole figure. If fired like that they will crack (and I can start all over). So I am using the summer-swelter to dry the last figures in the sun, getting them ready for a last bisque before moving. Since it is a windy day and my porch is frequented by squirrels I put them into a box for safety.
Talking about safety for ceramic figures from being nibbled on by our beloved friends from the animal kingdom, since that has been a topic throughout making these guys, here some pictures of a parrot clay lick in Peru:
Brian Ralphs “parrots at a clay lick in Peru” (2009)
These pictures are taken by a man from Britain called Brian Ralphs. He is taking the most amazing photos of birds in the world. (So amazing, that you can find them now on wiki as well!) I contacted him about use of his images, and he told me the following about what we are actually looking here:
“The Tambopata Research Centre is a fascinating place to visit. To get there you need to take a 6 hour motorised canoe ride from Puerto Maldonado, which itself is a 2 hour flight from Lima. To see the macaws, parrakeets and parrots at the clay lick, reputed to be the biggest in the world, it requires rising about 90 minutes before dawn at the Reseach Centre, walking 20 minutes in the dark to the river, taking a boat across to an island in the river, opposite the clay bank, then sitting quietly for about 40 minutes, waiting for the birds to arrive. The whole “show” lasts about 2 hours, as the various colonies gather in surrounding trees, then gradually fly closer and closer, eventually taking turns to get onto the clay lick. Then the process gets reversed, as the various breeds gradually move further away, from tree to tree, finally flying away to go and eat the fruits for which their digestive systems have now been prepared. Once the whole social exercise is complete, the silent watchers from across the water are free to jump back in the boat and return to the Research Centre for a late breakfast. Words cannot do the whole experience justice.”
Wow. That’s all I have to say to that! Oh, and: THANK YOU, BRIAN! If you want to see other bird pictures of this series, check here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/birdbrian/sets/72157623477033427/
I encouraged him to make his own website, perhaps he can be convinced to do that some time soon, that would be wonderful!
And if you are interested in why parrots (and other creatures, such as humans) eat clay, here is an article about that:
And let’s not stop just yet! Talking colorful parrots. My most favorite painter happens to be Flemish Hugo Van der Goes (1440 – 1482/83), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugo_van_der_Goes
He was born in Ghent (now Belgium), elected dean of the painter’s guild in 1473/74. Around the following year he started experiencing bouts of depression with suicide thoughts and concluded he was damned. He entered the Roodklooster, a monastery near Brussels, originally to teach painting, and remained there til his death, always worried to loose his ability to paint. His fellow monk Gaspar Ofhuys, recorded his stay there in a rather cynical diary. However, due to his illness Van der Goes has painted perhaps less in quantity than his contemporaries, but nevertheless in my eyes the most amazing visionary images, such as the highly original “Fall of Man” (1470), part of a small diptych together with a “Redemption/Lamentation of Christ” scene, and it can be seen in the Museum of Art History in Vienna, http://www.khm.at/en/, (which is right opposite from the one of Natural History, after you visited the quetzal feather crown, see post XXIII on Pippa!)
Another one is the Portinari Altarpiece. It is a triptych commissioned by Tommaso Portinari, now in the Uffici in Florence, depicting the nativity scene. The center piece showing baby Jesus born and lying on a bail of straw, surrounded by the commonly expected biblical celebrities and a number of angels. Besides those with wings in the traditional white (lest side) or blue (background), in the right hand corner is a group of exquisitely dressed angels with wings of at the time at least rather exotic birds, inclusive peacock-feathers and macaw wings. I have never seen anything like that in any other painting of the time or from any other period. Totally breathtaking!
Hugo Van der Goes “Portinari Altarpiece”/
detail center piece, angels lower right corner (1475)
Now you can compare the angels with Brian’s pictures! And if you want to see the whole image, the next best thing to a trip to Florence is clicking here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portinari_Altarpiece