Sara Fairfax's Clay Head

One evening I arrived at Taunton Association for Psychotherapy (TAP) to give a talk on play. A woman arrived carrying the most captivating clay head sculpture and rather audaciously I asked her if the head could accompany me on stage for the talk. She agreed! The woman, Sara Fairfax, I discovered later, is a highly accomplished artist and a counsellor who had brought the clay bust to promote a workshop she facilitates. In the workshop, participants are given an amount of rich, red clay and invited to create a bust of themselves which can be literal or as fantastical as they want.
I was drawn to Sara’s clay head because of the expression in eyes that seemed to look directly into my soul. Although obviously a newly made piece, there was something primordial about it – as if it had just been discovered in an archeological dig. And of course, the trumpet-like ear – what was that about?

The head stood on a table next to me as I shared my passion about play with an attentive and generous audience. There was much play in the air. At the end, Sara spoke about her experience of listening to my talk whilst her creation stood next to me. What I had expressed in the abstract, Sara had experienced experientially through the head sculpture.

Afterwards, we talked and have continued talking through the ensuing years. Although I didn’t realise it at the time, the head also came to symbolize a particular line from Starhawk’s retelling of the myth of the Goddess Inanna, ‘The call from the Great Below’. Ah, this is what the trumpet ear can hear. That subtle beckoning to listen beyond the clamour and noise of the everyday to something else. I have shared some of Sara’s reflections on her process in the book and for the clay head to be adorning the book’s cover.

For me, Sara has shown how play can be so much a part of psychological wellbeing and not only the process of play but also in the creations of exquisite pieces of art in their own right. Her curiosity seems boundless and she is open to experimenting with any material she can find.
Marveling at her artistic work, I’ve included some of her treasures here but encourage you to discover her for yourself…

I especially love

‘one year sewing and thinking’ because it reminds me of time passing, how we weave and stitch our lives together in some kind of narrative, the cloaks we create…

I also love ‘Birthday Box’ because I adore containers and things having homes. I like too that there are layers in the box which reminds me of how we each build up our sense of ourselves, superimposed one on top of these other.

These are just my thoughts…