In 1999, I collaborated with a close friend and talented artist, Mary Lou Deal, on a series of tables for the Hand Workshop Craft and Design Show. At that time, Mary Lou had already been diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Although, perhaps neither of us realized it then, its clear now that there's a strong metaphorical undertone to these pieces that reflects Mary Lou's impending demise -- a trio of snakes headed toward oblivion under a semi's wheels, a frog trapped in a tiny pond with no way out, another frog with the spectre of Death looming over him. These are not messages one sees in my other works.
Yet, despite this, the humor of the pieces shines through. Look at Mr. Frog in the first table -- he's poised to snare a juicy bug while a happy fish looks on. In the end, I think the real message is to make the best of what life throws at you and keep smiling.
This trio of fish seems none too happy about having to hold up a table, especially with their tails forever stuck in the water.
This poor frog doesn't have a lot of room to maneuver and he has to share that pond with a fish besides! Both he and the fish seem happy with the arrangement though.
Mr. Frog, on his lilly pad, seems blissfully unconcerned about the big yellow snake just above him. But that old snake looks like he might be thinking about a tasty frog lunch! Note that the snakes tail and head are carved from wood and added separately.
The tire tracks on the top of this table should be fair warning to these slithery snakes that crossing roads can be hazardous. Better watch out!
Copyright, 2009, Clifford Earl - All rights reserved.
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This page last updated November 14, 2008