Detail from "Rain Dance," an original quilt by Sherrie Spangler

Monday, July 18, 2011

Clay babies, clay birds and beads

Some rare "clay babies" from the shores of Fox Island, WA
Soon after moving to western Washington, I started hearing about the rare legendary "clay babies" found only on a certain part of Fox Island. Today, I finally got to hold two of the precious formations.

The occasion was today's book club meeting, where we discussed "Clay: The History and Evolution of Humankind's Relationship" by Susan Staubach. Beth brought two of the clay babies to show us. A google search of "clay babies Fox Island" turns up quite a bit of information, which boils down to this:

These rocks, which are found along a portion of the western shore of Fox Island, are concretions. Veins of high quality clay extend onto the beach and the clay is exposed to waves, tidal action, and the sun. These are the perfect ingredients for forming the unusual projections on the concretions, which often look like plump little baby figurines.

Here is just one of the many links to clay babies:

Then we headed into Barb's wonderful backyard pottery studio, below, where she taught us all how to make clay birds. It was amazingly simple!

Hops adorn the walkway.

Some of Barb's finished birds with one in progress.

Barb shows how to pinch the clay into a beak.

Side view of Barb's studio.
We started by making a pinch pot, then sealed the lips to form a hollow oval and then pulled out the tail and beak and embellished them with designs. After they're fired, we'll return to glaze our creations.

And here's today's update on my yoga mat quilt. I started adding beads last night and now my mantra, as I stitch, is "Three golds, one green, three golds, one green, three golds, one green ..."

Have a colorful day!


Pam said...

Those clay birds are so pretty. I'm loving how you're doing the beading on your yoga mat quilt, too.

Ladybug said...

I, too, have a few claybabies around somewhere that a friend gave me some years ago. I thought she said they came from inland near Seattle, but I may not remember correctly - I'll need to ask her.

What a fabulous idea to combine your book club discussion with the clay work lesson and wonderful little birds! The book club I'm in has been going for over 20 years, but we do not meet in the summer. We have, however, taken field trips, gone to movies, exhibits, etc. in connection with books we've read. I find it all very educational, inspiring, and exhilarating.

THANKS for sharng!

Contessa Anna Dani said...

Hello, Sherrie,

I have a question about the clay babies for a book I'm working on about beach combing. Could you reach out to me at anna (dot) hyle (at) gmail (dot) com ?