Middle school memories for some reason pop up at the strangest times. Back in the day when wood shop class also meant you had an art class as well as the horror of having upper-class men the size of Goliath. I hated wood shop. We made tie racks. I did not wear ties in sixth grade. But, making a sculpture in art class enchanted me. While some were creating ash trays, pencil holders, and primitive dishes or mugs I embarked on the controversy. I made a bust of Richard Nixon. Why? Well, an artist does things for reaction and even in Middle School politics were fun. This was the late 70s after all.
So, I made Nixon with the jowls and all. Everyone was interested in what I was creating. People sneered, giggled, smirked and some gasped that I would make the image of a fallen Republican. My family of Democrats would even love this when I took it home, I thought.
The day we came to class to fire our pottery and sculptures I opened the cabinet to discover Richard as flat as a pancake. Everyone was a suspect, including the liberal-hippie art teacher. Wow! How could anyone have the gall to turn my creating into a blob?
Not to worry. I rolled the former President into a flat surface and created something fun and useful for the ten minutes remaining. My creation became a large die pencil holder. People liked dice hanging from their rear view mirror so maybe this could be cool.
It turned out OK and at least my grade did not suffer. However, I realized that as an artist I was not going to get much appreciation at times. Being misunderstood does not make you an artist, but artists surely are misunderstood.
By the way, I remember having that thing in my room until I got married.