Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Ake Inspiration

We were traveling in the Yucatan the way we do, no car, second class buses and combis, flexible plans. We landed in Izamal, a very small town that sits atop an enormous ancient Mayan city, and decided to stay. While we were there Janet said why not go to see Ake? So we got in a cab (the only way to go) and paid the exorbitant fare of about 30 dollars to go the 15 miles or so to Ake.

Once we got to town we were saw how utterly isolated we were. Not a town really but a street or two of houses. But the Ake site was amazing. Most amazing were the pillars of Ake, situated high above an acropolis and outstanding in their individuality and as a group.

Each pillar was a marvel of sculptural sense, balanced, nuanced, alive. I came home excited and tried to make sculptures that referenced these mammoth pillars. Here are some of my efforts:

Ceramic Tower

Ake Installation

Red Clay Pillar

Tower Spirit Lines

It wasn’t until the last one that I finally got the feel of lightness that I wanted, and that sculpture set me on a whole new trajectory. I learned more from the Ake experience and surprisingly, I did it through sculpture. More on that later, but it also got me to thinking….how can we use sculpture as a way of problem-solving? Can making sculpted objects help us learn? What is it about sculpture making that combines so many things about heart, body, and mind?

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