When I was a boy, I would look with wonder at the intricate ceramic figurines displayed proudly by my grandmother on her living room shelves. Each dusted daily, and enshrined atop a hand-woven doily, these figurines taught me about exotic Japanese costumes, French ballerinas, and animals from the wild corners of our earth. It seemed to make so much sense. To truly appreciate the natural world, all you had to do was capture it, mount it, collect it, and display it. Place a wild thing in a zoo, or a circus, for everyone to enjoy. But to truly honor a beautiful and dangerous animal, we recreate it in art. There are those who say that we should preserve natural habitat, prohibit poaching, curb environmental poisoning and global emissions. We all know that’s not going to happen.
So before that last rhino dies, cast it in plaster. Before the gorillas disappear from the mountains, fire them into ceramics. Create a porcelain menagerie, an ark, and gather all the exotic, fragile and exquisite creatures that may not survive our success as a species, and for eternity, let nature be remembered.