Order (Of Sorts) Instilled in Difficult Play Date


Order (Of Sorts) Instilled in Difficult Play Date

Terra Cotta
was not exactly
terra firma.
Not like play-doh
which could make my say-so
for I was a pro
at play-doh
and the ability
to form beings
out of clay–elephants, turtles,
little blue guys–
grants, in childrens’ eyes
a God-like guise.

But terra cotta
was what we had to hand,
an old birthday gift
of stiff mud (tan),
and would have to do.

Messy, still, absorption
as we molded, between our palms,
it came
in little wet lumps
with eyes, ears,
rocket ship cones,
taking us for whole
half-hours completely out
of this world.

Here’s a rather silly little poem for Fireblossom Friday, on With Real Toads, to write something prompted by the work of Guido Vedovato, a naive painter and sculptor, whose works may be found here. In my case, the inspiration was his very sweet sculptures that look as if molded from clay. I used to take immense pleasure making play doh objects and, yes, even terra cotta–though it is a much much harder medium–with my children and their friends when they were small.

Note that although Vedovato’s sculptures (particularly of horses) were the inspiration for this poem, the above picture is of a little terra cotta elephant made by me. His images may be found at the website, where they are protected by copyright. (Mine are too, by the way! Ha!)

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18 Comments on “Order (Of Sorts) Instilled in Difficult Play Date”

  1. I love your little elephant and remember how my kids loved to see me make something for them in play doh… now they are far better than I ever was at molding in plastic icing and crazy clay.

  2. Susan Says:

    O to be an expert at play-doh! I only used it to copy Sunday comics. But clay! I loved the dirtiness of it, how it held form and dried over night without a plastic cover. I like your poem of bringing the imagination alive through clay play.

  3. What parent hasn’t been presented with a clay modeled childish work of art-only very unfortunate ones. I love this “silly” poem.

  4. hedgewitch Says:

    There is indeed a sense of that complete absorption of creation that we are able to tap into so well as children(as adults, quite a bit harder, I think) and the way it was both message and vehicle, very connected to self, yet also an outreaching. Vedovato’s work seems to have that single-minded concentration and full-box -of-crayons delight in primary colors, and his sculpture is truly a lot like something a very talented child might execute. I love your elephant,too, who seems to have grown organically from the clay, and the last three lines here are exquisite.

  5. brian miller Says:

    its cool to be creative….when i used to volunteer at the elementery school and do art with them it was some of the funnest times…getting my hands dirty again, finding form int he chaos….

  6. Helen Says:

    Elephant ~~ impossibly sweet! Poetry ~~ impossibly delightful.

  7. lolamouse Says:

    Your elephant is adorable! I miss those days of playing w/my daughter and her friends.

  8. I LOVE your terra cotta elephant so much! Love your poem too, how wonderful to have spent time with your kids creating animals……..

  9. Arushi Ahuja Says:

    I miss my play doh days now… I loved loved play doh… bestest thing ever… very very nostalgic poetry M!!!

  10. Kay Davies Says:

    I’m older than the first play-doh generation, and I’m sure my parents couldn’t have afforded terra cotta when I was a child, but my dad and I made do with some sort of flour-salt-water concoction mixed by my mother.
    As it turned out, I wasn’t the artist in the family. He came much later, long after play-doh was established as the go-to choice for youngsters, so he and Dad used that.
    Meanwhile (have you noticed how old ladies go off on tangents of remember-when?) I love your elephant AND your poem.
    Luv, K

  11. journalread Says:

    LOL – I loved the poem, but the terracotta elephant had me in tucks – you are a talent, k. Brilliant πŸ™‚

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Oh, thanks, Polly! It is an old one that I made when we had terra cotta once. Thinking of it made me want to get some! I used to do a great deal of play doh with my children, but, of course, we don’t have that any more except for a few old christmas decorations baked with a horrible smell! k.

      • journalread Says:

        heh-heh… I remember plasticine was a favourite with my children, they thought play doh was ‘cheating’ – funny how things come back to you πŸ˜‰

  12. coalblack Says:

    That’s what writing does for me…in the time that I’m composing, I’m Goddess and Creator (garsh!) and am utterly lost in my own world. And in the end, I have something to take back with me.

    ps–If Guido Vedovato should swoop in and use your elephant for his own sinister purposes, i would send in a team of cutthroat lawyers and take him for everything he’s got! πŸ˜‰

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