April 30, 2015

Nguni cattle clay


I'm editing this post since I first wrote it because it turns out there was more to the story. I was asked to produce 12 of these little animals for a friends wedding and were presented as a 'labola' gift to the father of the bride, a traditional custom indigenous to the region more or less. It was a marvelous break from my usual pursuits and allowed an insightful experience of being able to shed the usual perfectionisims and self critisims.


I used a regular self drying clay which was provided me. The stuff is a treat! Slowly drying and hardening as you work, but with a little wetting in your hand, soaks it up and again soft as is desired. I may also be manipulated and dried to achieve quite a detailed effect. I did the twelve deciding on only the upper form and at the end, due to being quite delicate, I set them in a clear resin base cast onto a flat surface. The resulting reflections in the base and visibility of the wire underneath were quite pleasing to me.

And here is the rest of the story.. Yesterday I had lunch with Nicola and the crowd where I live and she told me all about what followed between the time I sent the finished sculptures and Clifford presnted them at the wedding. Although I did do some preliminary sketches before to get to know my subject, it seems there is allot more to be known about these animals. That can be found in a book called The Abundant Herds: A celebration of the cattle of the Zulu people by Marguerite Poland.

Below is what Nicola sent to me thismorning and refernces to the book.

Fiscal Shrike (pg 47 )  and Old Person (pg 70 )

Owlets (pg 63)  and Puff Adder (pg 64 )

Redwinged Starling (pg51 ) and Woman Crossing Over (pg 71 )

Sugarbean  (pg 69)  and Sand (pg 73)

Spitting Cobra (pg 63)

    Clifford and his patent: Black Eagle

Jenna and Victor Charles with their designations

... and the final product(s).

This was a real honour. They look amazing!! Congrats again guys and many many happy herding years ahead! 

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