Pictured above is the start of our large clay mural for a wall on the outside of the house. Nils and I have 2 large tables pushed together and covered in heavy-duty black plastic, which serves a couple purposes. The first, of course, is to keep the clay from sticking to the tables. The second, and much more important one, is so that when we cut the big clay slab into tile sizes for firing, the knife will leave a mark on the black plastic. Then, if a piece gets broken in one of the two firings, we have a template for its exact size when wet. For those who aren't familiar with claywork, the clay will shrink about 12% during drying and its two firings, and it is very hard to make a replacement if you don't know the original size.
At the stage pictured above, we have made a series of slabs of clay to cover the 9x6' space. This is our background. We are just starting to add texture as we join the slabs together. From here, we'll keep adding clay, dimension and texture.
Because of our shared philosophy of creating from a standpoint of play, we have no preconceived idea about where the mural is going. We just keep playing with it and waiting to see where it will end up, and when that moment will come that says "finished". We both work on all areas of the mural, so it doesn't look like two separate people's work. In this kind of collaboration, the artist must let go of his ego and his attachment to his work to free the other person to come and wipe away what was just put down.
One of the biggest limitations in art is the attachment to the "precious". Often we think something is so wonderful, we cannot bear to eradicate or change it, and right there the creative process ends.