November 19, 2008


Here is a picture of the Fortress Threshold tile when it was in progress. I carved it over the summer, over the course of many days. I did it simultaneously with the key tile (which I haven't shown yet). It seemed appropriate to do them both at the same time. I didn't have a sketch for them, or even a really solid vision, before I started. I had this idea, and a few symbols, and I just rolled out the clay and started in with my carving tools. I wanted to create this series of tiles and have them all fit the same format (the shape and size) and have elements of repeating imagery. Most of the tiles so far have the image of bricks in them, one of a few very strong symbols for me lately.

The brick represents the building and unbuilding of walls. The bricks are a symbol like the keyhole with layered and sometimes opposing meanings. The brick can be a protective symbol, like the walls of a fortress. Building such walls with bricks is an image of strength and safety. Perhaps it represents the building of confidence, or pride, or friendship. But there are also times when things need to be unbuilt, when bricks can keep one imprisoned when they want to be free. So the brick symbol has this dual meaning, it also represents the taking down of walls that keep one bound. Perhaps this is symbolic of one becoming more comfortable with the world around them, taking down the walls that one hides behind, and smashing down one's walls of fear. A third symbol of the brick that I connect with are bricks of not a wall, but a path. A path to life, to love, to joy. In my mindscape, there is much construction happening, and bricks are moving around everywhere. Building up, tearing down, and moving forward. I am also particularly drawn to bricks because of their material: fired clay. My house is made from rusty fired clay brick, and I feel very comforted by its earthy presence. I wanted this layered symbol to be a central image in this series.