THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT

I lovingly call this sculpture of a collage-like dwelling “The House that Jack Built” after a popular British nursery rhyme (I included it below). The poem was translated into Russian and worked into a cartoon which I saw many times growing up but forgot over the years.

Halfway through the construction of my piece I remembered about the cartoon and found it online. It amused me how much my porcelain sculpture resembled Jack’s house as it was imagined by the Russian illustrators in 1976. Clearly, the sculpture had a nostalgic component. Without a well thought out premise, I was trying to collage from bits of memories an environment of wonder and whimsy, a visual get-away.

I added cast bronze elements to add another layer of detail and visual interest to the piece. The wedges were a practical solution to stabilizing the wonky sculpture. They helped balance the piece and prevented individual elements from falling off. Instead of making them discreet, I painted them orange and yellow, to complement the blue of the porcelain and to actively point to the imperfections of the sculpture.

Although simple conceptually, Jack’s house presented me with enough technical challenges, since all of its elements were individually sculpted and loosely stacked, which turned every assembly and disassembly into a game of Jenga (later I discovered PC-11 white epoxy and that particular issue was resolved).

 

You can watch the Russian cartoon I mentioned by clicking here.

 

THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT

(a popular British nursery rhyme)

This is the house that Jack built.

This is the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the rat,
That ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the cat,
That kill'd the rat,
That ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the dog,
That worried the cat,
That kill'd the rat,
That ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the cow with the crumpled horn,
That toss'd the dog,
That worried the cat,
That kill'd the rat,
That ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the maiden all forlorn,
That milk'd the cow with the crumpled horn,
That tossed the dog,
That worried the cat,
That kill'd the rat,
That ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the man all tatter'd and torn,
That kissed the maiden all forlorn,
That milk'd the cow with the crumpled horn,
That tossed the dog,
That worried the cat,
That kill'd the rat,
That ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the priest all shaven and shorn,
That married the man all tatter'd and torn,
That kissed the maiden all forlorn,
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn,
That tossed the dog,
That worried the cat,
That kill'd the rat,
That ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the cock that crow'd in the morn,
That waked the priest all shaven and shorn,
That married the man all tatter'd and torn,
That kissed the maiden all forlorn,
That milk'd the cow with the crumpled horn,
That tossed the dog,
That worried the cat,
That kill'd the rat,
That ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the farmer sowing his corn,
That kept the cock that crow'd in the morn,
That waked the priest all shaven and shorn,
That married the man all tatter'd and torn,
That kissed the maiden all forlorn,
That milk'd the cow with the crumpled horn,
That tossed the dog,
That worried the cat,
That killed the rat,
That ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.