Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Release Day! Holli's Clay

Holli picked up her newest vase. It was still leather-hard, still able to be carved, due to the cool dampness of the cellar. She didn't plan to carve it, only to paint it, and she hadn't planned to play with her clay tonight. She'd meant to crash on her couch and do nothing but watch whatever she found on Netflix, maybe the new female Avenger show. She forgot the name and then she laughed at herself for sounding like Brenna who forgot the name of everything. Bren always remembered every detail of every piece of clothing and accessories someone wore two weeks before, but never their name.
Holli would have to call her back since she finally listened to her messages and had missed several. First, she had a calling to work on a vase, something different, something ... maybe something to represent Isaac's name as a return gift. But what represented Isaac?

She had to do some research. Trudging back up the stairs, Holli turned her laptop on and went to pour herself a drink while it booted, but she changed her mind and made coffee instead. She was tired enough already. She needed more up, not more down.

Letting the coffee maker do its thing, Holli went back to her laptop which she kept on the edge of her kitchen counter for easy access to the outlet, and typed Isaac meaning in the search bar. 

Laughter. It meant laughter? How did you symbolize laughter other than with a big open-mouthed smiley face, which she was absolutely not going to put on a vase? Shouldn't there be an actual symbol for laughter?

Isaac was the son Abraham was told to sacrifice and an angel stopped him. Maybe she could do something with that. While searching, she found an illustration of Isaac having wells built to replace those his father had built that were destroyed.

Wells of stone. She could do that.

Pouring a cup of coffee before it was done brewing, Holli took a swig and enjoyed the strong rich black taste. She didn't mind the heat. Her mother used to bitch that she didn't let things cool first, usually pizza straight from the oven, but it didn't bother her, so Holli didn't know why it should bother anyone else.

She set the mug on her table and picked up her small wood knife. The clay was dry enough to make rough edges along where she carved out alternating lines to simulate rectangular stones. Except she wanted the wall to jut out, so she set the straight-edge pot aside and pulled out new clay to roll in a thick slab. Instead of creating a pot on the wheel and then carving bricks into it, Holli decided to hand cut the slab into individual bricks and build it the way a wall is actually built, placing one by one, using slip instead of mortar to hold it together. It would take more time, but she didn't at all care how much time it took.

Planning in her head while cutting out bricks, she could see ivy crawling up through the outer crevices and from the smooth inside to meet along the top. It maybe didn't make sense, since water came from wells, not ivy, but that's what she saw, so that's what it would be, whether or not it made sense. Art didn't always, and it didn't have to. That was one thing she loved about art. She could do as she pleased and it would only be called creative, not crazy.
(from Ch.8)

Holli Jacoby is a bipolar artist who paints intricate jewelry for a living and works with clay in her off-time. The physicality of working with clay (pounding, rolling, slapping, and scraping) gives Holli a needed emotional release and reflects the aggression aspect of her disorder. The patience and calm needed for the more intricate work of shaping wet clay on the wheel and carving and/or painting the hardened clay reflects the depressive, quiet aspects typical of the downs of bipolar disorder. 

There are many ways Holli uses her art as personal therapy and she both includes it as part of who she is and separates it from herself as just clay, depending on her need at the time.

In Shadows of Rust & Reels, art itself is a metaphor. Holli has an ongoing fight within as to whether she's crazy as has been inferred by others or if she's perfectly fine and it's just others who don't understand. I doubt there's an artist on earth who doesn't understand this inner fight.

Holli and Isaac's story is now available in E-format at most major bookstores and by request from your library. Here are a few buy links to get started:

Smashwords  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Amazon (coming soon)

Find it at Goodreads (I love reviews!)

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