First, I like the idea of being a mystic, an initiate into a cult of beauty and awe. You know, a little mysterium tremendum et fascinans to take the edge off aging.
Second, I want to be able to make a beautiful face out of clay. Not baby-doll, starlet pretty, but feminine and lovely. I can make an interesting face, but they are always overworked and unrefined, slightly grotesque. (See my scrap heap above.) I want a minimalist Zen sort of face: gracious curves and powerful lines. Yeah.
The other day, I pulled out my kit, ready for another try. I even bought glass eyes to inspire the process. But the effort sent me into a tailspin of artistic despair. I hate polymer clay. I’ll go back to embroidered or painted faces. I’ll make papier-mache. I should be more abstract! Why am I making doll heads anyway???
After I ordered some air-dry stone clay, my angst temporarily allayed, I sat at my work table and pulled out the head-in-progress. I turned on my magnifier lamp, turned off my podcast, and sat up straight in my chair.
I calmed down. The clay finally warmed to my hands. Tiny, soft strokes began smoothing the clay. And I thought, be the clay. We became one.
Okay, that lasted about ten minutes. But I was like, holy cow, I was on the edge of an altered state, melding my consciousness with a lump of clay. It was damn hard and I couldn’t sustain it.
Is that why being a mystic is so hard? You have to find the quiet deep enough to become one with the divine, the something out there. There is a method to master, but there are no shortcuts.
The experience left me with a question. Do I want to get that deep? Am I afraid of failure? Or am I afraid of success?
Sewing is easier.