wall sculpture by Don Dougan

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wall sculpture by Don Dougan

The work is part of an on-going series of pieces using the imagery of human lips.
Lips, conditional to so many human activities, can imply a diversity of meanings. The series explores the subtle shades of character and meaning that the lips allow, and both humor and sensuality are major factors in the portrayals.
The lips are modeled in clay from which a mold is taken. The mold is then used to cast the form into a variety of materials, which are then further worked through carving and finishes into unique versions.
In the case of this piece, the mouth was modeled first in an earthenware clay body and then — while still the clay was still plastic — a plaster mold was made. After the plaster had set, the original model was removed, and the mold cleaned, and allowed to dry. Then a white stoneware clay body was pressed carefully into the mold to pick-up all the detail of the original model. The pressing was removed while the clay was still soft and malleable, and the form was then further manipulated into the existing shape with the rough and crumpled edges. The high-temperature ceramic firing produced a pure matte white surface, with the gray toning only being decided-upon and then applied some considerable length of time after the piece was fired.
After the ceramic was toned the slate and marble pieces were selected and worked. Their final forms were the result of a lengthy trial-and-error design process for determining the cut, carved, and tooled result to be appropriate for the stoneware lips.
The title — almost always the last step in finishing a piece for me — is the distillation of the perceptive insights gained during the physical process of making the work. The title becomes a mnemonic key to unlock the conceptual metaphor of the visual form. In that way I find the making of sculpture to be like finding meaning in my dreams.
Zephyr is the gentle wind of the west, spring flowers, and travels between the living and the underworld.