tools of the trade photo by Brenna Busse
August 29, 2017

I love my hands, so grateful for our common prehensile possibilities. I rejoice in all that hands can do -- and yet, there is a point where our original tool needs some support. That is when I reach, almost automatically to extend my hand, for one of my favorite tools. Of course the project or art medium defines which tool, and I have a whole new vocabulary of tool as I continue my exploration of clay. Wow, I could really "geek" out in the clay tool department, finding stamps to create images and textures, beautiful wooden pieces for shaping and carving, metal loops for hollowing out excess clay. All of those work well, great to hold and use, but I find that one of the most useful tools when it comes to creating detail in my images --- is the everyday, humble toothpick! So sometimes I find that need calls the tool -- and we get creative -- finding what works, so it might be a drinking straw for design, or a pine cone to imprint texture or a stiff brush used for painting, now creates lines in wet clay. Tools are about whatever works!!!

Here are some of my new clay pieces