2017 Bozzetti

About the Bozzetti

You may be familiar with maquette, the French term for a small version of an intended sculptural or architectural endeavour. A bozzetto is the Italian equivalent. Just as a sketch for a master painting may retain a spark unique unto itself, one that may not translate into the larger, more finished work, the tiny bozzetti often have their own charms. I began making them daily during a portion of my residency at Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site. Each is generally born as an hour-long exercise without a direct source or model: I sit down and follow what I sense in the clay or other material. Unlike daily sketching in a sketchbook or writing in a journal, the bozzetti eventually take up lots of space, and many are squished! Some pieces may be developed further, transitioned into a permanent material, and produced in a limited edition when a collector expresses an interest or there is a quiet moment to pursue one that interests me personally.


In October of this year, the daily creative challenge is being modified: four days of exercises per week for balance during this busy month, and we are taking turns writing the prompts in a bid to deepen and expand the process.  Anyone can join in!  My focus will be on further immersing myself in the natural world, where two long-term residencies are underway.  There may be a delay in images or updates due to travels and charging one’s equipment.


A basic knowledge of or training in a subject.  The act of connecting a conductor to the Earth.  A practice of connecting the self to the Earth’s core.  All three of these at work in the artist-in-residence’s practice of examining the floor of the forest and that of other upcoming natural environments.


At first the tire tracks were at odds with the pristine sand: the longer I gazed, the more beautiful they became, and they may serve the sculptural endeavor that begins on the morrow.

No. 12 – When you encounter something with a negative connotation today, transform it with your creative act.


No. 11 – Make a map of your journey.


Graphite commission underway

No. 10 – Back to basics: using a simple pencil, interpret or record something beautiful on your path.


No. 9 – Make a collaborative digital sketch or sketches expressing hope.


Graphite doodle

No. 8 – Take a trust walk with someone and each experience being the sighted and the blind.  Then create a piece based on the seen and/or unseen experience.


The worthwhile competition?  The pursuit of that which these symbols may stand for – the giving, not the getting.  Slate, casein, acorns        

No. 7 – Make something that will carry a blessing for the place you live – and then place, bury, or otherwise leave it somewhere it can give its blessing.


Oil on board

No. 6 – How did you fall, and who or what caught you?  Use any medium/media.


A hearty rainstorm dictated a brief exercise: we were soaked through, kneeling in the sand. Seaweed, rose hips

No. 5 – Make something at the beach using natural materials, and with a friend.


Gentle hooves struck the ground near my head: St. Giles.  Clay, needle

No. 4 – Lie down somewhere beloved, and with your eyes closed, note how many different sounds you hear.  Make a piece based on one or all of these observations.


A return was made to a little experiment begun after being shown the cornerstone of a building and the “weeds” growing there.  Walnut ink, plaster, wood

No. 3 – Think of a light that the Divine is giving you at this time – a light that shows you one of your next (big or little) steps.  Make something that symbolizes this light.  It can be an image, words, music, or found object…


Between two priests upon a hermit’s path grows a tree: His, and ours —

Quiet words are spoken but in their pause

We know the sight to be a shard

Of an ancient, luminous cause

The reflection of three and of all, sieve

You’ve seen what is left behind, how it becomes

Guardian of what it means to be and bear the wound, yet live.

No. 2 – Compose an ode to a favourite tree.


No. 1 – In silence and intuitively, take a walk through the woods, and at a spot that feels right, together make something with materials from the woods.  Together, feel when it is complete.


In April of this year, I am participating in another daily creative challenge (the last one was in October 2016).  Each piece is made in response to the provided prompts and is completed within approximately one hour.  Theme: CONSENSUALITY (in particular, the archaic usage: accord, concord, harmony)


Day 30. Create a trophy or another award for yourself.  May those who have helped to sustain my creativity receive the award/reward.  Blessings to each of you, known and unknown.  Photograph


Day 29. Take something you have made during this sprint, rip it up (literally or metaphorically) and create something different with the pieces.  This was a tailor-made concept for the bozzetti, which are meant to be rapid in execution, quite imperfect, and easily reworked.  It was a tender destruction (one which both preserved and created anew).  Clay

Day 28. Collaborate with another [participant] and make whatever you want!  Offer to collaborate accepted/rain check…


Day 27. Create something that you can wear.  I wore a cloak of invisibility today – stitched together by a conversation, man, and God, it would be a specific shade of blue if visible.  Thank you.

Day 26. Tell a story about your family – its history, its identity, a family motto, or words of wisdom – in exactly six words.  The Universe: my family, no exceptions.


Day 25. Make something inspired by the song that always gets stuck in your head.  We changed the lyrics and the melody a bit and sang it that the other songs might not plague you. I sang it while old when young and then young while old, until there was nothing else to make, sense, or be.  May these four remain beside, within, and around you.  Clay


Day 24. Choose an element from the Periodic Table as your inspiration for today. Collage


Day 23. Make a piece inspired by all the places your shoes have been.  Clay, flora, traces of pigment


Day 22. Celebrate the Earth!  Stewards: with the celebration comes responsibility.  Clay


Day 21. Make something inspired by an event that happened today in history.  These three were born on April 21st.  Charlotte is sharing a silent insight with John about their contributions to humanity when Rollo appears and agrees.  Clay


Day 20. Make five small identical things and give them away or leave them for people to find.  We have taken something both simple and pure and complicated it with our so-called knowledge and egos.  Then we while away our lives attempting to decipher it.  Ask the sun: he will smile the answer to you.  Paper, paint, ink (P2E16G1I6M2T14R3V3F1H11Y3O7K3S7A8U7L7N4W4)


Day 19. Emulate your second grade self and use only materials that could be found in an elementary school classroom.  This is the power of training our senses to perceive harmony – or the possibility for it – in any cloud of discord: the gifts are ever before us and greater than whatever it is that troubles our souls.  In the middle of Portsmouth, NH, around the bend from the Weeping Tree in blossom, my companion and I were given a view of Turkey, Rabbit, and Robin peacefully co-existing.  Construction paper, chalk


Day 18. Use your horoscope as your inspiration today.  We’ve a mutual exhaustion this week across our earth and water, but we work anyhow.  Clay

[The] one thing I know to be true is an unconditional love that we are sometimes able to create or experience glimpses of.  May this empty space some day be filled with such an offering.

Day 17. Finish this statement any way you want: One thing I know to be true…


Day 16. Recreate your favorite work of art.  Perhaps it is the one-hour time limit, or the sanctity of another’s work…as with the last time that this prompt was received, a choice was made to respond to a work of art instead.  There is no favourite.  Odilon Redon’s Captive Pegasus was in mind.  Love does not seek to possess, but to set free: this is how more of it is made.  Clay, wire


Day 15. Create something using an old map or something that ends up looking like a map.  Map, light,  destinations


Day 14.  Today is National Look Up At The Sky Day!  Make something inspired by what you see when you gaze upwards.  While the eyes registered today’s blue sky, this is how it felt.  Paint, tears


Day 13. What’s below your feet?  Use that as your inspiration today.  Clay


Day 12. Create a frame using any materials you have at hand.  Take it with you during the day and use it to capture the things you find beautiful.  The prompt wasn’t read until the evening, at which point the advertising from a box of contact solution was quickly snipped.  What do you frame/see with?  What is your truth?  Framing with love seems a good practice – and a ‘multi-purpose solution.’  I framed five things that I am grateful for on this day.  Recycled paper

IMG_1867 (2)

Day 11. Pick a participant whose work you are enjoying and make something inspired by their work.  A random search straightaway yielded this graphic designer’s work.  Her recent piece read: only stand and wait.  How many times need one witness this unfold before it is more fully embraced?  Clay

Day 10.  Write a poem or make something inspired by a poem you like.  Poem


Day 9.  Work with balloons as your material or inspiration today.  Clay



Day 8.  Spin around three times with your eyes closed and use the first thing you see when you open them as your inspiration for today.  They opened on an image of evil being conquered by good.   Then I was led here and reminded that when confronted with darkness, one response might be to make a joyful sound (should it seem less than pleasant to the ears, may its harmony be understood by the heart!).  There wasn’t time to add the dozens of birds that swooped around and around and around the tower – as if they too were a part of the exercise. Graphite, casein, and gouache on paper


Day 7.  Use something sticky as your material today.  There was a choice between plasticene or toothpaste; the former won.  Consensual response.  Clay


Day 6.  Transform something you thought was trash into something you want to keep.  Ah, transformation – one (the Divine) waits, and the other (you) only has to say yes – extraordinary, that.  The studio floor was swept and the contents of the dustpan explored.  Collage (paper scraps, metal and wire scraps, gold leaf scraps, plastic hardware bag for washers (STAINLESS), melted wax bits, fragment of shell, spilt pigment)


Day 5.  Go outside (or look out of a window) and spend some time looking at the natural aspects of the environment around you.  Make something inspired by what you notice.  Outside of the window and beyond a tattered fence rests a tree stump – a reminder of what was once enough.  Clay


Day 4.  Break something to make something new.  Broken soap glass ornament becomes tiny vase for propagating cuttings (text: O you who broke the vessel of those dreams, did you not know who dwelt within, and sang to her of New?  The same sings your name.)


Day 3. Open any book to a random page and use what you find there to inspire what you make today.  Clay, sisal

The children moved together through the grass

And cloudiness that seemed uncertainty

Of earth – they searched for clarity and signs

That though this was a man, he would not hurt.

Thaliad, Marly Youmans


Day 2.  Make a tribute to your spirit animal.  The spirit animals come and go.  Hummingbird is here these days, and pictured with one who treated women as equals in his lifetime.  Graphite on paper


Day 1. Make something that fits in the palm of your hand.  A tiny boat carving underway.  Who is at the helm, and who are your passengers?  Do you rock the vessel, or sleep soundly in the midst of any storm within or without?  Mixed media carving