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  • Ellen Hunt

Heaven Shape

Sometimes, the inspiration for a shape comes from the bottom of a bucket. Literally.

I’ve been doing a bit of work on discovering the physical traces that remain in an African American historic cemetery in San Antonio. We found the original cemetery gate posts and wire fence, and even though all the headstones had been removed decades ago, there were a few objects that were neither modern (like plastic soda bottles) or related to the cemetery (like place markers or crosses). One of those things was a very old, very fragile, bottom of a metal bucket. Like an old milk bucket.

My partner, Everett Fly, FASLA, brought the piece of metal to me, and I was hoping I could use it as inspiration for a piece of jewelry. I looked at this rusted out piece of metal, and my original idea of molding the surface with wax was immediately discarded. The surface was so fragile, it would be impossible to mold it with clay or wax and not peel up part of the rust. Then I decided to do a crayon impression drawing, like we did as kids on gravestones. I think the cemetery theme was inspiring me…

The impression drawing of the rusty metal showed lots of circles of rust that were joined in clusters. Like clouds. I drew outlines around a few of these clusters and the Heaven charm came directly from one of those outlines.

My initial idea of what to do with this metal fragment was impossible to execute, but the final results were heavenly. I love this simple shape and the outline of the cloud. And it was all inspired by the bottom of a bucket.

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