Self Portrait
Stoneware
14"x12"x8"
1998

“Caught between Remembrance and Resilience” was a phrase from a newspaper article that grabbed my attention. Those words seemed to be an accurate description of the emotional struggle that was raging within my spirit. It was this phrase that I tried to represent in my self-portrait.
I felt the sense of resilience could be achieved by having the head tilted and gazing upward. This upward gaze is symbolic of a hopeful longing. I was essentially attempting to portray an outlook of resilience and hope.

I was surprised by the overwhelming sadness that emerged from the clay in the earliest stages of the work.  If I had wished to portray such an intensely emotional, piece, I could have allowed it to continue to develop as it was, but I really needed some aspect of hope. I do not think I achieved that to the degree I wanted, but I decided to let my clay speak as my heart directed.
By placing the hand over the heart, I could feel the pains of remembrance. The rings on my fingers are copies of ones that belonged to my mother and my daughter. The folds of the clothing emerged as I worked. I felt that the carving and curves added a sense of energy needed for the process of moving forward.

When the portrait was completed, I smashed parts of it with a hammer. Then I tried to put the pieces back together. This was an extremely necessary part of the project for me. It is symbolic of how broken I feel. Yet, in spite of the roughly shattered pieces, I have tried to put things together again.

Although the sculpture has been repaired, it will never go back together the way it was before! Some of the pieces are missing and lost forever. It will forever be a broken sculpture in spite of the fact that it appears to have been glued firmly back together and in one piece.
~Peggy Clover

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