clay sculptor

The Clay Sculptor, 2



fright recover stage fright
tar savant as long as
wax accident incidentally
clay accurate bring/brought
brain glance respect (2)
injury severe in this respect
weight take part institution
shape part-time Special Olympics
3-D full-time weight lifter
mold intriguing institutionalize
pane overlay figures (3)
wild scrape transform
stage mustang fascinating
wiring chip (3) hemisphere
theory compel prodigious
putty amazing residential
comb facility maintenance
dorm ability







Alonzo Clemens from Boulder in Colorado doesn’t experience stage fright either. He doesn’t even know what it is.

As long as he can do what he does best, he’s the happiest man on earth.

Within only a few minutes, he can mold perfect animal sculptures out of any piece of clay, tar or wax.

Incidentally, we brought Alonzo to a horse farm in his neighborhood only to let us and you see how accurate his clay animals are.

Alonzo himself doesn’t actually need a model. In this respect, he is a genius. Alonzo shapes his figures without even glancing at the horses.

But when it comes to shaping sentences, Alonzo faces huge problems.

Nancy Mason: “What happened to Alonzo is when he was a young boy, maybe two or three years old, he had a bad accident — he fell on his head.

That accident caused severe injury to his brain.”

Alonzo’s brain never really recovered from this accident. He can neither read nor write, nor can he calculate. And he will never drive a car.

Only his friends understand him when he speaks; and Alonzo doesn’t speak much. But he has taken part in the Special Olympics, as a weightlifter.

After years of being institutionalized, Alonzo now has a part-time job and a flat of his own.

And he shapes animal figures — thousands of them.

Each of them are absolutely perfect.

Alonzo knows most of these animals only from books. One of the intriguing talents of some savants is their ability to immediately transform every photograph into a 3-D figure.

Experts now believe that we all have similar talents, that they have become overlaid by more complex abilities, such as language.

Nancy: “What kind of horse is that?”
Alonzo: “A wild horse.”
Nancy: “It’s a wild horse? A mustang?”
Alonzo: “Yeah.”

Nancy: “For the last year, he has been very interested in doing sculptures that have both an animal and a person. What is fascinating to me about this, is that his savant chip or his wiring in his brain that works so wonderfully when it comes to animal sculptures is simply not there for the human form.

So far there is no single theory that explains the amazing talent of all savants because not everybody with injuries in the left hemisphere develop similar to Alonzo’s.

He is only one of one hundred prodigious savants worldwide.

He is not able to sculpt animals, he is compelled by his brain.

Dr. Donald Treffort, Wisconsin Medical Society: “With Alonzo Clemens, when he was in a residential facility, they took his clay away for a period of time and said, ‘look, you got to comb your hair and tie your shoes; and when you do that, we’ll give you your clay back’.”

Nancy: “In the dorm where he lived, there were windows with panes of glass. And sometimes the pane would get broken. He was so observant, he knew that pretty soon, the maintenance man would be coming along, removing the broken glass, putting in a new pane, and all around the edges of that, would be putting in glazy or putty.

As soon as the maintenance man was gone, there was Alonzo, scrapping off that putty, so he could use it to sculpt with.

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1. Does Alonzo get nervous or scared in front of a lot of people?

2. Money and fast cars make him very happy. Is this correct or incorrect?

3. Is he a normal person? What is so special about him?

4. Alonzo was born with his talent. Is this true or false?

5. He speaks clearly and articulately. Yes or no? Describe Alonzo’s life.

6. Do scholars believe everyone has latent talents and abilities? Are savants common in society?

7. Alonzo has to try very hard and put in a lot of effort to make clay sculptures. Is this right or wrong?
A. Do you know of any savants? Describe them.

B. Would you like to have a super talent? If you could have a super talent or ability, what would you like to do? I would like to . . .

C. Do you think everyone has natural, innate talents and abilities? Is it possible for people to awaken or blossom their innate talents and abilities?

D. How should the government and society treat savants?

E. What will happen in the future?

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