Scary old clay man

Scary old clay man

I found this piece of pottery-work hanging, for sale, in a nursery. My first thought was about whether or not the intent of this piece of art was to keep kids away from a particular place in one's garden... but then I realised that it may in fact be intended to scare away would-be burglars! :D

Seeing this clay reminded me of how much clay was around when I was young. I remember several red clay dams in our area as well as marsh-like fields of white clay, known as plastic clay (or plastic fire clay, or ball clay). I remember walking through these wet fields, either soiling my shoes, or feeling the fine white clay squishing up between my toes. Today we have few such fields where kids can play and get really dirty. While we still have a huge amount of open space, most of the large open fields that were in our suburbs are now filled with buildings and roads.

Incidentally, according to the South African Institute for Mining and Metallurgy it seems as though Brackenfell (the suburb next to ours) and Kraaifontein (the suburb next to Brackenfell) have some of the finest white clay in the land. Had I appreciated this fact, I would many years ago have started selling it off to potters!

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