What: a meerkat, 36 cm high ( ca. 14 in)
Made of: white clay, Barock glaze
Made by: Sarah
Meerkats belong since I was little to my very favorite animals. They´ve always impressed me with their unrelenting courage and determinacy to protect their family from all dangers.
Meerkats are highly territorial mongooses that live in complex groups, often called mobs, clans or gangs, of up to 50 animals. Their society relies on cooperation, and helpers of both sexes play a crucial role in raising the pups of the alpha female to adulthood.
Meerkats depend on their clan in many vital ways. A clan digs a series of multi-level tunnel-and-room burrows in its territory where all its members sleep at night and rest during the hottest part of the day.
In the morning, they emerge to warm up in the sun. They spend the day foraging and taking turns on lookout duty.
While the clan searches for beetles, lizards and scorpions or digs for tubers and roots that provide them with water, sentry meerkats keep watch for predators of all kind (jackals, snakes, birds of prey), often staying at their posts for hours.
When alerted to danger by an alarm call, the clan members retreat to nearby boltholes or mob together to ward off the predator. If an adult is surprised it even uses its own body to protect nearby pups thus often sacrificing itself.
Last time I visited one of Berlin´s many beautiful museums I landed, as is often the case, in the museum shop after roaming through the exhibition. There I literally stumbled upon a life-size meerkat standing in the doorway made of hideous black plastic. Although I very much disliked the material it has been made of, I immediately noticed the beauty of the idea and could already imagine making a similar meerkat using clay.
So I searched for a couple of photos that could guide me in the process and set to work on my so far largest statue.
With its 36 cm my „Meerkat on Lookout Duty“ is actually a little bit taller than the normal meerkat that reaches a height between 19-29 cm (7 1|2 – 11 1|2 in).
If you want to watch these wonderful animals in their natural habitat, you need to go to South Africa, a land of immense beauty that stands on my need-to-see list.
If for some reason or other that is a bit inconvenient to you, just visit a nearby zoo, most parks have a clan of meerkats in their repertoire. 😉
Because glazing helps to lend all ceramics more stability, I decided to glaze my “little” meerkat. For this I chose a glaze called “Barock”, a metallic glaze with a hue of warm bronze that reminds me just a bit of a meerkat´s actual coloring.
The eyes and their surroundings as well as the toe nails I glazed in black.
He stands now on lookout duty on a chair placed near a window where he can observe the skies for birds of prey 😉