Play-doh and polymer clay squish and crack as I work them into clay paintings of urban and suburban scenes. There is a playfulness in using these materials of childhood, yet there’s also something dystopian about the way the clay wiggles and cracks. My thigh squishes a bit like wobbly clay. My living room overflows a bit like the clay pushing just outside its precise borders. I work with precision, using clay tools and a sewing pin to help position tiny bits of clay, yet the clay rebels, as do my students, as does my daughter. I’ve learned to allow that rebellion, to embrace it rather than fight it. I forfeit control and seek materials that force me to give up a bit of control.
Color sticks in my memory. The saturation is slightly exaggerated, while the precision of light and shadow highlights the everyday, the scenes we rush past, the colors we take for granted. This work advocates for the importance of play, of slowing down, of taking time to squeeze clay in your hands and notice the particular grays of the sidewalk and road. It advocates for the importance of mothers and mothering, saying this craft material is Art.