Since I first discovered the whys and wherefores of it’s existence, the RATTLE has also been a source of fascination for me. Ceremonial RATTLES have been used for centuries to celebrate beginnings. They were the gift of choice among Victorians wishing to commemorate the birth of a child but as far back as the humble Egyptians, rattles were utilized to memorialize each new chapter in the life of the individual.
Many cultures believe in Healing RATTLES and their capacity to dispel illness & dis-ease. These Rattles are credited with being able to awaken the human spirit, drive out negative energies and center personal focus. My versions of these Rattles are hand formed and adorned with symbols of wellness; they are shaped to be grasped. During times of despair, medical treatments or loneliness, the Rattle should be gently shaken to the beat of one’s heart. RATTLES do help us to ground; their sound is powerful & magical, producing an incomparable energy all their own.
The gourd Rattles made by the American Indian were filled with plants they raised & considered sacred – corn, tobacco, and rice. My fired clay Rattles are filled with dried bits of clay which I revere as the complete gestalt of life. These fired bits provide the sound of the earth as my Rattles are shaken or handled. Both my Pillow and Crescent Rattles are “birthed” in the same way. Once the basic shape is formed, I tenderly blow my own CHI (breath of life) inside, sealing the opening quickly closed with pursed lips. These Rattles are then fired & finished with something as simple as a leather handle, semi-precious stones, clay, bone or shell beads or copper – details which enhance the importance of the Rattle.
My awareness of clay beads evolved from the construction of the rattle. After all, what better way to adorn a clay rattle than with complimentary clay beads! The beads grew into focals & pendants which I offered for sale as components as well as developing my own line of Clay-to-Wear. (My exploration into clay-to-wear really began years ago with sculptural clay pin/pendants sold in frames for hanging on the wall when not wearing but it took my passion for the rattle to demand that I make my own clay beads.) Now my clay beads and components are combined with copper and other complements to form very wearable bracelets, necklaces and earrings most of which are finished with terra sigillata instead of ceramic glazes so they are ‘open’ to absorb the essence of the wearer. I have also produced several YouTube How-to videos on ways to form and finish various ceramic clay beads.
I love teaching workshops and classes through art centers in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York. I am able to share my own as well as other artists’ techniques for hand building clay and my passion for the magic of clay. There is always something new or forgotten to re-discover and a class doesn’t go by without someone exclaiming, “WOW, that was worth the price of admission!”
CLAY… I love where it takes me!