Sculpting the Indian War Elephant
WAAAAY back in September 2017 (it’s February 2018 at the time I’m writing this..) I was soo excited to start the next animal in my Animals of War series. It was going to be an animal I had not yet sculpted – an Indian Elephant. I did my research, had it all printed out, and was ready to create this glorious animal from the Punic War era. I started having some increased hand weakness issues but I didn’t let that stop me. I even created a blog post with sculpting hacks on how I overcame that minor set back (yay for wooden spoons procured from the kitchen!)… This is how far I got.
And then there was none...
As in no further work to be done because my health tanked. We had been working off of the theory that I had a neuromuscular autoimmune disease called myasthenia gravis but up until the point where I was hospitalized because I couldn’t eat and would choke on/aspirate liquids..nothing had been done about it. I was taking a natural supplement I found and avoiding known triggers. Finally, after an almost week long hospitalization, my team of doctors agreed to put me on a medication known to treat myasthenia gravis on a trial basis. I had doctors appointments every week. I was adjusting to a new normal… working on Christmas orders and small sculpture commissions…and the war elephant fell to the way side. I thought I’d wrapped it up tight enough to keep the sculpture the consistency that I needed to work on it…but I was WRONG. A few weeks ago when I went to go work on it, I uncovered it to discover that it was dry as a bone. So my 30 pounds of clay that was in the elephant sculpt up to this point… is in my reclaim pile to be run through my pugmill to make it workable again and to be used another day.
Needless to say, the Indian War Elephant is no more….for now. It doesn’t mean that it won’t be on my work table ever again. Just means I need to refocus my efforts. I’ve been busy building my Patreon page, developing a new steampunk animal line, and promoting my small animal sculpture commissions. The larger sculptures, like those in my Animals of War series, are my passion pieces. They are the pieces that get entered into art shows and competitions. At the moment, I am dedicating time to these smaller pieces because they are in a more affordable price bracket for my average audience.
I know a lot of artists who feel like a failure when things don’t go as planned. One thing that I learned early on, especially because of all my health issues, is that it’s important to go with the flow. Shit happens. Having the ability to adjust fire when plans change and don’t go as plan will serve you well, regardless of if you’re an artist or not. So while I’m bummed I have to start over on my elephant sculpture, I’m excited as well. My skills have already improved as a result of working on the smaller pieces. I can’t wait to see how I’ll be able to apply these newly learned skills to the larger pieces when time permits. But right now…I have art supplies I need and a studio to save for. So my time and energy are being focused on the pieces that have captured the attention of the people who follow me and my art.
Shawna is a ceramic sculptor and mixed media artist who loves sharing her passion with others. She is a teaching artist and a strong advocate for the arts being accessible to all. To support her endeavors, consider subscribing to her members-only group! There are a variety of subscription levels starting at just $5/mo