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three clay figures created by members

A congregation in clay

Members of a Massachusetts congregation made self-portraits in clay.
By Janet C. Bush And Bob Rundquist
Fall 2013 8.15.13

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Members and friends of the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence in Northampton, Massachusetts, got to know each other a little better thanks to a creative project called We Are, in which they created self-portraits in clay. The resulting statues are as diverse as the people who made them: whimsical and serious; human figures, animals, and objects; some colorfully painted, others left natural.

Member Harriet Diamond, a professional sculptor, conceived of the project as a community celebration and a way to bring people together. She provided the materials, and each Sunday, over several months, five or ten people at a time gathered after the service to create their clay selves. The statues were fired and then people returned to paint them. The resulting 200 personal sculptures were assembled as a display at the congregation’s Annual Meeting Sunday in May 2012 and later went home with their creators after a ceremony during the Thanksgiving service.

“We Are is a representation of our Society,” said Diamond. “What we didn’t know, but what we should have suspected, is that we have some dragons, a rock, a tree, a couple of goddesses, and a genie in our Society. Out of so much diversity we are one in some wonderful, wacky way.”

This article appeared in the Fall 2013 issue of UU World (page 7). Photograph (above): Three clay congregants created by members of the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence in Northampton, Massachusetts (Bob Rundquist). See sidebar for links to related resources.

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