“Unearthed”- Lyn Belisle – Mixed Media Sculpture – 18″x 8″x 6″- 2019

Much of my new work is influenced by the Archaeological Investigations report which describes the 1979-80 research and discovery of 13 Archaic period human burials removed from a prehistoric cemetery by Olmos Dam. The investigation provided important information on the cultural practices during that period among people who lived almost exactly where I live now.

I call this new sculpture “Unearthed because I deliberately followed a process by which the clay shards that I created were fired in pieces that would be assembled like an unearthed archaeological puzzle – I did not have a plan about how they would go together, but rather worked on instinct. I let the piece “tell” me how it wanted to be built.

Clay shard pieces at the bottom of the kiln

It was harder than I thought. First of all, engineering a stable form from diverse clay pieces was a challenge. I used a combination of wood, plaster gauze (a gift from Shannon Weber) and a product called Platinum Patch in a few places where stability was critical.

Creating in three dimensions means paying as much attention to the sides and back as the front. The back of the piece shows the intricate textures pressed into the clay shard.

Here’s a detail of the texture on the front. I really like the way the plaster gauze looks like aged fabric remains.

I actually created two heads for this piece and ended up using the larger one.

A large head suggests child-like proportions, while this body suggests armor, so the whole piece resembles an ancient child warrior. Again, when I started out, I had no idea what this creature wanted or how to get there, but — trust the process!

You’ll be able to see this guy (and more of my brand new 3-D work) at  St Mary’s University Library in February as part of the exhibition called  “Naturally Inspired: works by Sabra Booth, Lyn Belisle, Jesus Toro Martinez, and Tim McMeans.” 

It’s gonna be a creative new year!

15 thoughts on “Unearthed

  1. I really love the 3-D work you’re doing, Lyn. This piece and the indigo horse are awesome! You inspire me to try new things…and my motto for 2019 is “Trust the process!”

  2. Never seizes to amaze me what you come up with.
    Somehow these new sculptures remind me of Pompeii – the ruins, the people burnt/eternalized in lava. Can still “see” them – over 40 years after actually seeing them. Kind of creepy – but also fascinating.
    Love your pedestals with these sculptures, too!!!

  3. You honor this tribe/family by bringing them back to life. I wonder about them and think about their lives and the times they lived, Can you imagine someone thinking about you thousands of years later because a wonderful artist/person brought your story back? Rosemary U.

  4. I would love to hear more about the archeological report. There must have been lots of Indians, then later settlers in OP. I once found a very old toy doll arm that emerged from the soil around my house and there is a stake with some old barbed wire. Really love this piece and the history behind it.

  5. I love everything about this piece – the shape, the detail, the coloring. You are a very talented lady and a very inspiring one! Thank you!

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