“Clayworks”: More of Nelfa Querubin’s Ceramics in Manila (Part 4)

It did not take another week to see more of Nelfa’s works in Manila. After three days from the opening of “Terrain” at the Ayala Museum, comes “Clayworks”, an exhibition of Nelfa’s most recent works in clay at Izukan Gallery in Makati City.

IMG_4917The show didn’t have an opening ceremony and before the show has reached a week in the gallery, the works are almost sold out! When an artist says, “This is going to be my last show”, one would want to hoard all of his/her artworks. If there is anything that I wish I saved up for, it is Nelfa’s work. I told her that I am head over heels with one of her pieces. She stopped me and said, “Focus on your work, Mia.” I have nothing else to say, but to keep myself calm, sigh, and utter, “Ok, Nelfa.”

IMG_4862Nelfa has paddled through calm waters and wild waves of trials in her life as a daughter, auntie, Ceramicist, and a friend. Challenges in life did not stop her from traveling through the ups and downs of the realities that come into her everyday life. Through these, she discovered her spirituality, and deeper sense of meaning in her life, which continue to mold her until today.

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IMG_4975After forty years of being a Ceramic Artist, one has mastered techniques in forming clay and glazes.

Looking at all of Nelfa’s works, I feel her emotions: The enthusiasm in slicing her clay with a sharp knife. The frustrations of looking for the perfect place to create pots. The sweat from too much heat, crawling down her neck, from her earlier years as a Potter in The Philippines.  The chills she gets from very cold Colorado. Her struggles with sickness from her respiratory problems. Her drive to travel back and forth from Denver to Manila almost every year. The sleepless and prayerful nights she has experienced through trials and joys in her life. The sadness from losing her mother. Her success in winning awards, joining group shows, and having her one-woman-shows. Her strength and overwhelming happiness as she creates big pieces with slabs of clay. Her weakness as she centers a one-kilo lump of clay in her 70’s. Her longing to love and be loved. Her contentment in finding the one who transforms her life day in and day out.

All these are seen in the works of a great artist, Nelfa Querubin-Tompkins.

Someone in this world worth meeting.

Thankful for her existence in my life. She is a dear friend and inspiration…

Thank You for your generosity, Nelfa.

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