Friday, July 24, 2009

Here's a Tobacco I Can Like!

Light Tobacco color glass by Gaffer, that is. Spare you, and spare me, the debates and opinions about tobacco, the plant, but give me Tobacco, the glass!

Actually, I guess we're gonna have to talk about tobacco, the plant, if I'm gonna tell you exactly why I love this glass. Dried tobacco leaves have different textures. The "trash" leaves at the bottom of the stalk can be so crumbly and raggedy. The smaller "tips" at the top of the plant feel pretty gummy, even though they are dried. The big, smooth "lugs" are the leaves from the middle of the stalk, and they can be beautiful. Those leaves feel smooth and pliable. They have such incredible tones of rich, warm browns. The whole look of those leaves is akin to leather, especially the way the browns move in and out of one another. There will be the dark lines which were the veins of the living plant. There will be the occasional lighter patch of browns with a moth wing texture. There will be little spots that look like nothing so much as bits of burled wood.
When I pick up this face sculpture, I see so many of those characteristics. It instantly makes me say "cigar." I am not a cigarette smoker, but there have been times in my adult life when I have enjoyed smoking a good cigar. I don't think I've done that in a decade, but this glass makes me want to find a tobacco store and buy a single nice cigar. I don't want to smoke it. I just want to look at the wrapper leaf, smell it, touch it, visually drink the rich brown colors.
As I sit here writing this, I am realizing how sad I would be if tobacco were no longer cultivated anywhere. . .almost as sad as I get thinking about the effects of smoking too much of it. I've had family members whose deaths were most assuredly hastened or complicated by years of smoking, so I'm not here to glorify cancer sticks. What I am doing is realizing, once again, in yet another situation, that moderation is a good thing. I find that I can't completely wish away the existence of the tobacco plant. I find myself wondering how Native Americans actually used the plant hundreds of years ago.
A quick search of tobacco leads me to a new-to-me word, entheogen. In a nutshell (and it could be a fairly cracked nutshell, you never know with what you read online), tobacco was used with reverence and as part of rituals. I hope that is accurate, because that notion pleases me. . . it somehow squares away the varied opinions (both bad and good) concerning this plant. Ah, see, moderation.


rosebud101 said...

Ang, she is stunning, and what a good use for tobacco! So glad you are torching again! I missed seeing your sculptures.

Deb said...

Yum! She is stellar!
I love the Gaffer light tobacco - such a warm colour, but then again I like the latte & the weimaraner brown too....& the, hmmm think I shall stop here!

Ellen said...

Wow, Ang, I love this sculpture and love, love, love the color.
When we used to attend the full moon drum circles led by a good native friend, we always started by dropping some sage and tobacco into the fire. It always made me feel like I was honoring someone.

Capt Elaine Magliacane said...

Lovely Ange... good to see your sculptures again.