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Thursday, November 3, 2011

New favorite tools, new favorite houses

I got these new rubber tipped tools at the art supply store last week. I'm using them to try and seal the seams better on my barns and they appear to be doing what I thought they would do. I can really tell a difference in the seal at the seams of my slabs. We'll see with the next firing. I like these tools, they are comfortable to use and very efficient. I can also use them for some detail work and clean up around edges of holes and letters and things like that.

I made these houses after reading about the construction of slave quarters on the rice plantations in South Carolina. The art library at UNC has an amazing collection of books on slavery in the south. The African craftsmen made these houses out of clay and then later wood. Many of the large plantation homes are long gone while these well constructed little structures still stand. I love the thought of that. I love the way they are placed all in a line, the way they look so plain but yet they look so interesting. I can't get these little houses out of my head, and I am going to keep working on them until they say what I want them to. I think about the people that lived in these places. I imagine them being almost empty except for the necessary things. I think about the conversations that must have taken place in the nights by the fire after a hard day of work, I think about the fear that lived in these places. But, I also think that there had to be happy moments too, times filled with songs, story telling, sewing, hopefully some laughter. I want to celebrate the lives that lived in these spaces. And so I will keep working until I get where I want to go with them....
I found this one statement I read interesting. I love that they thought of pottery as an essential item!

Everything that most slaves "owned" could probably be put in a small pile. The archaeological evidence suggests the emphasis was always placed on "essential" items, such as pottery. "Non-essential" items, such as decorative objects, are so uncommon they must have been treasured by the slave community.


6 comments:

Linda Starr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
M E Garde said...

Tracey I really love the soul that you express in your work.

Michèle Hastings said...

i have one of those rubber tipped painting tools and use it often for seams... i need to get some different sizes.
the life of a slave was very difficult and because of that i think their family life and lack of "stuff" was probably richer than many people today. your barns definitely speak to that richness of simplicity. i don't even know if the way i worded that makes any sense!

Tracey Broome said...

Linda, definitely get one, with all the handbuilding you do!
Maureen, you are very kind, I'm so happy you have one of my little house, in fact you have one of my favorites, they all become like little children to me that I send off into the world :)
Michele, you said that exactly right. That's what I believe too, the life of a slave was horrible, and no one should live that way, but I believe as humans, when faced with circumstances like those we strive to find some happiness in our suffering to make it all bearable. Just look at the quilts they made, and the music, beauty from pain.....

andrea said...

Girl... you are coming into your own... each time I see another piece I am stunned, in awe and inspired. So exciting. Raise the roof!!!! heehee

Verda said...

The slave cabins are beautiful. So hopeful! And sturdy.