“Not Ours To Paint” (Elephant head sculpture from the other night…)
I was just finishing painting my miniature Victoria sponge cake earrings, when for no reason at all, I interrupted myself, grabbed black clay and started sculpting.
Half an hour later, I was tracing the last bits of texture and turning the oven on; I’d made the head of the elephant (without the ears) without thinking or realizing; as if it wasn’t me the one holding the tools and shaping the clay. My mind was somewhere else…
The thought of sculpting elephants, floats around in my mind from time to time; I think of the texture of their skin, the colours I’d like to use and how I would it like it to feel at the touch. But, at that moment, I wasn’t thinking about any of these things; I was focusing on making the cake sponge look drenched in strawberry jam and how I’d like to turn them into earrings…
So what possessed me to suddenly drop the earrings and sculpt an elephant baffles me. You could say I’d thought about it for so long I had subconsciously made up my mind. Yes, but elephants are not the only thing I think about. I also think of horses, unicorns, mermaids, mushrooms, more cakes and so many other things not even related to “clay”, that an elephant seemed random.
Looking into the elephant symbolism in different cultures, I found that some of the most common attributes are strength, patience, wisdom, memory, guidance, leadership, apparently deep thought is the specialty of the elephant; and among so many other similar attributes I think my favourite one is “compassionate strength”. Was something trying to tell me to pay attention to one/some of these qualities? Did something/someone connect with me?
As soon as I’d finished sculpting it, I knew what colours I was going to paint it. “Not ours to paint” doesn’t only mean that we shouldn’t as human beings be literally painting elephants for tourism, it goes beyond that. It means that we don’t own them, that our only responsibility when it comes to elephants or any other creature on this planet, is to protect them. How many will have to die before they (some humans) wake up?
Has this “sudden impulse” to create something ever taken over you in a way you couldn’t explain? Or created something that you don’t really remember making and you suddenly blink and it’s there? Wherever this impulse came from, whoever sent me this message, I can only be grateful for it. I will never know for sure, but then do we really know why we create the things we create? Why do we do any of the things we do?
I turned my elephant into a necklace and it's available for purchase in my shop.