Sunday, November 22, 2009

There must be ravens in the air

Seeking a new direction with clay, I’ve been observing the many ravens sneaking on my porch for leftover dog food and feeling a particular kinship with them. Ravens, you either love them or hate them - and I never understand the detractors other than they see them as scavengers rather nature’s housekeepers, doing the dirty job of cleaning up road kill. Or maybe it is the misinterpretation of Edgar Allen Poe’s supernatural poem, “The Raven’, where he symbolized the bird as "Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance “; a natural human conflict for wanting to remember and wanting forget:

But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,

Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore -
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking `Nevermore.' Edgar Allen Poe 1994

Like blue jays, ravens are corvids and the most intelligent of the bird species; tough, scrappy, curious; traits that I identify with which explains my lifelong fascination with this mysterious bird. Seeking inspiration to paint a raven plate as a Christmas present for my beau, Joe, a biologist and birder (but not a fanatical birder), I want to emulate the ravens from this series of casein paintings I did long ago. I’m thinking of using colored clay slip (which I haven’t tried yet), or experimenting with a cool set of glaze water colors I picked up from Bailey’s clay supply. Is it possible to combine both techniques without disappointment? There must be something in the air because I’ve spotted quite a few clay bloggers talking about ravens too. Great minds think alike. Off to the studio before the day gets away from me…


  1. Hi Sue, How beautiful those paintings are, I was on Cindy's blog and said these were tiles and now I see they are paintings. What are you thinking of doing in clay? Please check out my original inspiration post for my raven bowl and you will see the raven's flying in the sky and can read about why I called them dancing ravens. I may have to check out a book from the library by Poe, it has been along time since I have read any of his works.

  2. Thank you! Although I've tried many art mediums, painting has always been my main thing. I'm at the point though that I enjoy the collaborative aspects of clay and am working on merging the two mediums. I have some green ware stacking up and am currently using my class kiln but the teacher only wants to fire pieces made in class and in stoneware. I trade my IT services with a local potter who works only in porcelain but the Christmas rush is on and I don't want to intrude. It's strange driving around with carefully packed green ware in your car, isn't it? I'm close to buying a small kiln and have done my research but am hesitant because of finances and where I'm at in my life right now. I enjoyed reading your Raven post - as I do your blogs. It's amazing how ravens in particular are so inspirational in a supernatural way.


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