The Intimacy of Scale / by Amanda Gentry


The form is now close to four feet tall, a little more than half it’s final height, and I am finding that with each ring of clay I put down that I am working the clay differently. When my hands became tired I began to leverage the strength of my weight against my wrists to push and pull the clay as I formed the curve. Yet beyond my hands and wrists, the scale of the work has invited the involvement of parts of my body that would never have come into play with my smaller work. When the walls had reached my inseam I noticed how the curve of my thigh fit perfectly against the inside wall as I propped it up and beat on the outside with a two-by-four, pulling up the thick wall of clay in between my thigh and the wood. More recently I have found that when standing on the inside of the form I can press the curve of my belly against the wall as I reach over to the outside and plane the surface with a straight-edge.

This new intimacy with the work is both soothing and visceral, taking me out of my head and putting my body at the helm as I intuitively utilize the curves of my form that fit the curve being formed. It’s the fulfillment of a relationship long in the making. The truth is, clay is the only medium that has elicited from me a willingness to listen to it, an eagerness to learn from it, and a desire to be one with it. And finally at this scale I truly am.