Thursday, December 5, 2019

Artsy-Craftsy Marian Jane McClure Wood

Ceramic sculptures by Marian Jane McClure Wood, 1950s
Aren't these lively little creatures? They were all sculpted by my late mom-in-law, Marian Jane McClure Wood (1909-1983), the beloved only daughter of Brice Larimer McClure (1878-1970) and Floyda Mabel Steiner McClure (1878-1948). Marian married my dad-in-law Edgar James Wood (1903-1986) in 1935.

When her children were in high school, Marian began studying ceramic art with a world-famous sculptor, Edris Eckhardt, who--like Marian--was born and raised in Cleveland. Edris was in the vanguard of glass sculpture, inventing new processes and making a name with her innovative techniques.

My mom-in-law found joy and satisfaction in learning from Edris how to depict the animal world through careful crafting. She studied proportions and anatomy, trying different sizes, shapes, and colors to create lifelike ceramic animals with a touch of personality.

Marian was so serious about her ceramic art that her husband and father build a kiln in the basement of the Wood family home in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. They had to install special wiring to operate the kiln. This enabled Marian to fire pieces at home, at her convenience.

To share the story of these sculptures with descendants, I've written a brief booklet liberally illustrated with photos of Marian's sculptures. Each of Marian's great-grandchildren will inherit one of these sculptures, along with the story, at some future time.

My goal is to write a page or two about every family heirloom, so the next generation understands why these items have been so treasured. This way, they'll inherit the provenance and the backstory along with the heirloom itself.

Thanks to Amy Johnson Crow for this week's #52Ancestors prompt of "craft."

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