My plan is to craft a Māori-style Hue Puruhau.
I plan to throw the vessel on the wheel, then burnish and alter a bit to break up the symmetry and evoke the gestalt of a proper gourd.
There’s something almost Holy about the visibly innocent, however. The Kakapo, both through its essential character and through its history of near-extinction, evokes this quality in spades.
As one example, consider the cover photo from ‘Rescued from the Brink of Extinction’. I'm reminded of a thousand different photos of war children and refugees- the moral accounting weighed out in a simple gaze.
Douglas Adams comments on this quality in ‘Last Chance to See’. In the following scene, a tireless Kakapo conservationist/tracker named ‘Arab’ has just located one of the birds. (‘Boss’ is Arab’s dog…)
Arab was sitting cross-legged on the mossy bank, his long wet grizzled beard flowing into his lap. And cradled in his arms, nuzzling gently into his beard, was a large, fat, bedraggled green parrot. Standing by them in quiet attendance, looking at them intently with his head cocked on one side, was Boss, still tightly muzzled. Duly hushed, we went up to them. Mark was making quiet groaning noises in the back of his throat.
The bird was very quiet and quite still. It didn't appear to be alarmed, but then neither did it appear to be particularly aware of what was happening. The gaze of its large black expressionless eye was fixed somewhere in the middle distance. It was holding, lightly but firmly in its bill, the forefinger of Arab's right hand, down which a trickle of blood was flowing, and this seemed to have a calming effect on the bird. Gently, Arab tried to remove it, but the kakapo liked it, and eventually Arab let it stay there. A little more blood flowed down Arab's hand, mingling with the rainwater with which everything was sodden.
I’ve been dabbling in some preliminary sketches.
I'm also faced with some intriguing stylistic decisions. While kakapo have some striking features that could lend themselves to the sort of impressionism that I like, I may go a slightly more representational route (see the sketch at the top of this entry).