Clay under my fingernails now, even after a thorough hand washing. Serves me right for taking a class that involves visual art.
Bill couched it carefully to me… Production Design… it would help my emerging directorial conception. Very useful for identifying and bringing forward the thematic elements of a play. Close textual analysis of a Greek tragedy of my choosing, as well as The Tempest. Assurances that my less-than-meager skills as an artist would not limit my academic success (and threaten my near 3.7 GPA).
All of the couching in the world, though, could not have stemmed my alarm at spending forty whole dollars in an art supply store this morning. As for the clay, well… i do have that GPA to protect.
The first project sounded fairly simple. Pick a geometric solid and create it in any medium of your choosing. Pick a play. Create all of your set-pieces out of that geometric solid so that they can be puzzled back together into it. Simple enough; i bought bricks of super-light clay. It still makes sense… it will never solidify, so i can tweak it up until the last minute, and it will be easy to squish back together if i make too awful of a shape. I choose an irregular polyhedron that resembled two pyramids crashing into each other — figuring that something essentially square would be much easier to deal with than something that resembled a multi-sided die.
There i was, thirty minutes ago, in my sculpting glory: making a sturdy rectangle of clay, marking off the lines i need to cut, slowly peeling away the outer layers until i was almost there — one more slanted side to uncover with a quick slip of my newly purchased modeling knife. And, slip it did, directly across the knuckle of my left thumb, leveling off the entire side of it.
To my credit, i did not panic, even when the innocuous-looking flattened side of my knuckle turned quickly into seeping red. I calmly held my hand away from the clay and finished the cut to complete my polyhedron, and then walked to the bathroom and scrubbed the clay off of my hands. I intermittently passed my thumb under the water, transfixed by the way the steady running stream carried away the blood, leaving my thumb looking perfectly fine except for a vague squareness.
Satisfied that i would not lose my appendage to some strange clay-based infection, i left the bathroom only to be faced by my unsteady geometric solid, all-but tottering in place amidst a pile of scraps. I could see my mistakes immediately… too rash in tracing the sides, my crashed pyramids looked more like rectangles caught in the act. So, before heading off in search of a bandage, i decided to piece my clay back together into a rectangle so that it would be ready for another try sometime tomorrow. There i sat, bleeding thumb held back away from my hand in an attempt to forget that it was conveniently opposable, pressing together the clay i had just so painstakingly cut apart.
And this is only 5% of my grade…