Here's the result, just before bisquing (it's about 30" tall, per usual):
It's a little "busy", I know. Maybe I didn't know where to stop. As with the "Gris" piece, I didn't have a plan for what it would look like before I began, or anywhere along the way. I finished a section, then just imagined the next section and possibly the one after and built it. Then there had to be a sort of "flourish" at the end - a gesture that makes the entire piece come to its service. That's how I think of the ribbon-like top piece, which flows down to the base in a graceful, if tortured, way. At the top, from certain angles, it looks more like a dragon's head than a ribbon (although maybe that's just because I watched "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King" again last night) and if you go with the dragon idea, it might look like the dragon is emerging from a chaotic cloud of, well, ashes, and voila, you've got your basic phoenix sculpture. I suppose every artist at some point channels a phoenix, dontcha think?
(March 6, 2011) A funny thing happened as I was on the verge of taking the piece to be bisqued... karma from just a smidge too much hubris? And I had though hubris was just part of the "making art" deal.
I keep thinking about this one Roz Chast cartoon where the character had purchased a lovely ceramic vase and on the way home the bag "just tapped" against something and when she got home discovered it had shattered into 1 million pieces. I "just tapped" the work-table with my knee, and, ka-boom, it was all over in a split second.
I have to say, I'm deeply appreciative of the words of encouragement, post-disaster, I've gotten from like a dozen of my compatriots at the ceramics studio - urging me to continue working in this vein, despite the, um, "structural failure" of this piece. Thanks to all for boosting my morale!