" Hannun" shown here is on display in Weber Center, Adrian, MI.
As a student, Jeanne had studied painting, drawing, and other media, of course, but it was clay that seemed to speak her name and, not surprisingly, Jeanne’s first important sculpted piece was a head of St. Dominic.
“The relationship begins with the preparation of the clay. A long kneading process is required to expel all air bubbles, smooth out lumps, and transform the raw earth into the desired consistency. When it reaches this condition, the artist declares the clay mature. You knead it like dough for bread and then roll it out like pie crust or throw it on a potter’s wheel. Regardless of the image you’re sculpting or the vessel you’re spinning, the main task of the potter is centering. Spiritually, centering amounts to getting your life focused on essence.
“The final stage of creating with clay is also rich in spiritual symbolism. When the desired figure or vessel is complete, the piece is ready to be fired. Now the artist’s craft meets its greatest challenge. If there’s a hidden air bubble or if the clay has been contaminated by plaster in the ambient atmosphere, the piece will fracture in the heat and even destroy the entire work.
“I believe that working with clay can bring you into contact with the sacred. Your hands touch and grasp all four of the essential elements of Creation: earth, water, air, fire. For a Dominican artist, working with clay becomes a tactile centering prayer.”
Jeanne served on the Board of DIA for many years. She has also been a member of many planning commissions and was archivist of DIA.
FOR THE ARTS
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