Decorating a Clay Butterfly

Delivery Method: 

In this video clip George uses color to define segments not delineated in the bare clay structure. Someone looking at his painted work can now more easily “read” the symmetrical sections of the clay as the wings of his “beautiful butterfly.” Color clarifies the symbol. Additionally, the choice of making small segments instead of broader segments creates a pattern. George probably realizes that a checkerboard of small squares is a better symbol for butterfly wings than one homogeneous color. Notice how he never places the same color in adjacent squares. To do so would violate the rule that generates a patchwork of colors. George delays painting the head because he is using color mostly to symbolize the multicolored wings. But when the head remains as the only unpainted surface, he avoids green and yellow and chooses red, perhaps the best compromise for an insect body part among the three colors that are available. He may have used black if it had been available. When asked why he wants to add color, he says, “I want it to look nice for Emily (a present to his friend)." One wonders why he thinks color makes it nicer. Color “catches the eye.” Thus, he may hypothesize that Emily will marvel more at the clay figure with color than she would marvel at the clay figure without color. Color increases the aesthetic joy of reading a symbol.