by Beth Peterson
Sphinx (as used to show contours on 3-D forms)
Way, way back when the earth was young and so was I, I discovered the joys of clay in my family's pasture. The cattle and horse had skidded down and opened a really nice hillside of red-orange clay, which I promptly found. (I think I was about eight.)
I had fun making figurines of the animals and little cups and plates.
Unfortunately, we had no way to fire them, and eventually all my clay creations returned to the earth. But that same fascination with clay came back even stronger when I was in college.
I began as a drawing major, but then I had my first ceramics class. The clay challenged me as no other medium or academic class had --- it had it all...manual skill, artistry, and scientific knowledge and inquiry. MAGIC!
My very first pots for that class were handbuilt (although we were learning to center on the wheel at the same time). I still have one of those first pots, a stoneware vessel in a stylized sphinx shape, decorated with cobalt stain and nothing else.
I find I am still quite happy with it whenever I look at it on my shelf!