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  • Writer's pictureMadeleina Kay

MA Play with Clay Day

For the last session of our first year on the MA Fine Art: Digital course - we had a “Play with Clay” session. I was so excited – I relish the opportunity to get “physical” and use art materials I don’t tend to use much in my creative practice.

I thought Jonathan was particularly adept at facilitating a meditative atmosphere that enabled a spiritual connection with the material through his prompts regarding handling the clay – which was particularly impressive through a digital session. He asked us to create a “vessel” which could hold something. – without being too prescriptive as to how that might materialise.


I had been somewhat violently attacking my clay by jabbing my fingers into its surface (perhaps I was channelling the intense pain I had been experiencing as a result of tearing a muscle in my rib cage?) and decided to make a cave out of the textured surface I had created. I then fashioned a small, human-ish figure (I had intended it to be female, but it came out pretty ambiguous) and located them within the cave, peering out of its entrance.

Jonathan put us into pairs and asked is to describe each other’s creations. I was delighted to be with Martina, who had sculpted a diamond shaped creation – she held it up to her face and it made me think of a bird’s beak.

Back in the main session Alexis spoke to us about his work with clay and read us some beautiful poetry. Whilst listening to Alexis, I took the rest of my clay and wrote troll comments (with a matchstick – a symbol of violence) into its surface before pummelling them into non-existence. I went through several rounds of writing the words and pummelling them, before Jonathan started another activity.

He put on some “music for airports” he listens to whilst working – Kafka the gumpy cat showed up at this point and was somewhat transfixed by the sound. Jonathan fed us various quotes describing what “love’ is (a sore topic for me at present – as I am seemingly unable to distinguish love from abuse) we were instructed to create something for our pair’s creation. I made some worms to feed Martina’s beak.


Jonathan put us back in our pairs and I showed Martina my squirmy worms – she had made a friend for my figure – to pull them out of their cave.

After the clay had dried, I decided to paint it -  I made the troll comments black with red streaks splashed over – to add to the violent imagery. I then made a video of me destroying the hate by throwing, kicking and stamping on it – it was very cathartic. I shared a video of this process on my social media with the comment ‘Returning the hate back to y’all who gave it 😘🖤❤️🧌👹 I don’t want / need it!!!’

I also added some grey paint to the person in the cave – I like the emphasis this has added to the piece but I think it needs something else. I’m thinking about using dried flowers and epoxy resin – but this is going to be a messy job which I don’t have time for at the moment! This will be worthy of another blog post when I get around to it...

I also painted Martina’s worms in a fleshy pink colour – they are currently living in my Bonsai tree pot.

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