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  • I sculpted years ago. I found a deep peace in the resistance of the clay as I fought and formed against the pads of my fingers. I liked the smell of the Rembrandt brown and the way it looked lingered beneath my fingernails after a session. The clay left my hands smooth and dry, a reminder that I had created that day. There was less satisfaction in the finished fired object for me than in the play of the earth in my hands.

    Last weekend at the Museum of Science, my grandson, Robert, and I sat in front of the kinetic sculpture and I was reminded of the clay bodies I had made and the armature inside them, holding up arms and legs, like the moving parts of the mechanisms in the sculpture in front of us two stories high. Together, we picked out the engines and tracked the different sizes of balls rolling around, bouncing against chimes and paddles, and being hoisted back up to position 1 after rolling and dropping along their assigned paths. I watched Robert while he tracked first one ball and then another, naming each kind that he'd never seen before - candlepin bowling balls and LaCrosse balls. He studied the whole structure, broken into its parts before he stepped back and took it in as a whole. I liked that this was a sculpture like my earthen ones, not quite alive, but full of life.

    We talked about building one of those things. I said maybe we could find a kit online and we could build it together, both of us learning something new about physics and motion and creation. I just may buy some hunks of clay too.
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