Cast in Potato Salad, Carved in Stone
The last thing I ever thought I would do would be to pose for a nude sculpture, but when I married a sculptor, I guess it was inevitable. Since I never had children, this probably marked the longest period in my life that I ever lay nude being observed by a second party. I remembered having no reservations about doing so, in spite of the fact that I am really rather modest–that is about revealing myself physically. Words are another matter all together.
My husband first sculpted me in plasticine clay. (No, not the ubiquitous Sculpey, but a very dense artist’s clay used to make the originals for bronze sculpting.) He then made a plaster mold followed by a rubber reverse mold that would enable him to make further plaster molds once he destroyed the plasticine original so he could reuse the plasticine. After mastering the intricacies of wood carving, bronze casting, welding, clay, sandblasting, paper making and stone carving, he was in a difficult spot. A tool junkie, he had already purchased or made every tool necessary for working in these media. How could he justify buying any more tools or building another studio addition to add to the seven studios he had already set up?
The answer came when our artist friend Diana moved to town. Her medium was cast glass and Bob soon became fascinated with the process. Of course, this necessitated the purchase of dozens of large jars of different colored glass casting pellets as well as books, chemicals and other supplies necessary for the process. Unfortunately, we already owned a large kiln, so he couldn’t justify buying a new pristine kiln to be used only for the melting of glass. True, some molecules of clay might permeate the glass castings, but he decided at least for his first project, to use our existing kiln.
I can’t remember what his first few castings were, but after a few experiments, he decided that his first large glass project would be–ta da–a glass casting of his recumbent nude wife!
The thing was, this necessitated ordering a good deal more glass, and in the meantime, he had this wonderful rubber mold just sitting there unused! He tried to busy himself with carving stone and wood, but meanwhile that mold beckoned! Enter fate in the guise of the next show at the Santa Cruz Mountains Art Center, where we were both members. And the next show was–Edible Art! In addition to food-centered art themes, there was to be a cookbook of artist’s favorite recipes and the piece de resistance was–an edible category, to be consumed at the reception!!! Thus it was that I came to be cast in potato salad–first molded in “the” well-washed and disinfected rubber mold and then fine-sculpted by Bob’s hands.
I must admit I felt some trepidation about first being viewed nude, then being consumed by my fellow artists and friends. This smacked of the Donner party or some sort of sixties orgy, but how we suffer for our art. I requested Bob not reveal who his model was and all went well. Later, the judge told us that he would have won first place for edible art if I had not forgotten and used some of the water I used to boil the eggs to add moisture to the potato salad. I had forgotten that I always put a half cup of salt in the water to seal the eggs in case they cracked during the boiling process and that addition made the potato salad totally inedible. The judges could do nothing but award his sculpture fourth place prize in place of first, right ahead of a jellybean mosaic in the Byzantine style, but behind my third place for my “Garden of Earthly delights!”
Yes, the glass grains did arrive and yes he cast the sculpture, but what happened during the further fiasco of my chain of nude effigies must be left to another time and post lest this one grow too long for certain (unnamed) friends to read. Suffice it to say that once cast in potato salad, twice in glass, it seems only appropriate that my grave be marked by my magnificent if inedible body rendered into stone!!! It will be the sensation of my little town, I can promise you.
(photos and copy above taken from the Valley Press)
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Immortalized in Stone.”Your personal sculptor is carving a person, thing or event from the last year of your life. What’s the statue of and what makes it so significant?