clay sculpture savant

A Savant Clay Sculptor, one




mind watch (2) addition (2)
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explain part-time write/wrote/written
sculpt rest of us make/made/made
fill breathe meticulous
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mane research astonishing
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Mind Matters: A special addition of Sunday Morning.

Jane Pauley, Host: “The mental abilities of savants never fail to astonish.

Throughout the morning, Susan Spencer will be introducing us to some remarkable people.”

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

Alonzo Clemons is able to work part-time.

Susan Spencer, Reporter: “Do you like your job at the Y (YMCA)?”
Alonzo Clemons, Clay Sculptor: “Yeah. I pick trash.”

But a childhood accident left him with a traumatic brain injury. He can’t read or write or do math.

Susan Spencer, Reporter: “This is your studio, as it were.”

And yet, astonishingly, he can do this . . .

Susan Spencer, Reporter: “When did you make him?”
Alonzo Clemons, Clay Sculptor: “On the weekend.”
Reporter: “This past weekend?”
Alonzo Clemons, Clay Sculptor: “Yeah.”

As naturally as the rest of us can breathe, Alonzo can sculpt.

His meticulous creations fill his Boulder, Colorado apartment. He’s made hundreds of them. All with his bare hands.

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

Susan Spencer, Reporter: “When you make an animal, what do you think about?”
Alonzo Clemons, Clay Sculptor: “Running around in a pasture.”
Reporter: “You can see it running around in a pasture?”
Alonzo Clemons, Clay Sculptor: “Yes.”

Susan Spencer, Reporter: “This is the clay. And this is how you start every piece?”

He can’t explain how he does it . . .

Reporter: “What are you going to make?”
Alonzo Clemons, Clay Sculptor: “A horse.”

But he loves to show you how.

Reporter: “So you just use your fingers?”
Alonzo Clemons, Clay Sculptor: “Yeah.”

We watched him work out every detail, from the mane to the muscles — all with apparent ease.

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

Reporter: “Is Alonzo a savant?”
“Yes. No question about it.”

Psychiatrist Darrel Treffert is research director of the Treffert Center in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin.

Child Prodigy: “And this is the largest planet.”

And is a leading expert of savants of all ages.

Child Prodigy: “Sixty-seven satellites.”

Darrel Treffert, Psychiatrist: “Savant syndrome is a rare but remarkable condition in which someone with a disability has a striking ability, which stands in stark contrast to the overall handicap.

Dr. Darrel Treffert says that Alonzo is what’s called an acquired savant. It’s believed that his head injury somehow rewired his brain, damaging cognitive abilities — but freeing up extraordinary artistic gifts.

Reporter: “That took you fifteen minutes, at most. I could take fifteen years, and I couldn’t do that.”

Reporter: “Do you think Alonzo would be making horses today if he didn’t have that accident?”

Dr. Darrel Treffert, Psychiatrist: “Probably not.”

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

Nancy Mason has worked as Alonzo’s assistant for more than two decades.

Reporter: “What is it like for you when you watch him work?”

Nancy Mason, Assistant: “It’s a joy and blessing in my life.”

And in Alonzo’s life as well.

Reporter: “Can you imagine not doing this?”
Alonzo Clemons, Clay Sculptor: “I’d be miserable.”

*     *     *     *     *     *     *



Statue, Sculpture. Alonzo Clemons works as a computer programmer. True or false? Does he work forty hours a week?

Clay. Was Alonzo born with a low IQ? Is he literate or illiterate?

Ceramics, Pottery, Vase. Alonzo goes to an art studio away from his home. Is this right or wrong?

Metal, Bronze, Gold, Silver.
Has he created seventeen clay sculptures in total? Does he sell or give away all his creations?

Drawing, Sketching, Painting. As he makes a clay animal, does he think about earning a lot of money?

Paint, Paintbrush. Does Alonzo take many days to complete a sculpture? Are his animals abstract or lifelike and realistic?

Pastel, Oil Colors, Acrylic, Water Colors. Is Alonzo a savant? What is a savant? Was he born a savant?

Wood Carving, Wooden. Nobody cares about savants. Yes or no?

Marble, Stone. For Alonzo, is working with clay tedious, grueling, hard work? Does he toil and labor to make clay sculptures?
Chisel and Hammer. I know some very artistic and talented people. True or false?

Weaving. Do you know any geniuses or very smart or skilled people?

Knit, Crotchet. What are your hobbies, talents or abilities?

Furniture Maker. Do you wish you had a special talent or ability? What talents or abilities do you wish you had?

Metal Work, Engraving. What might happen in the future?

Leather Work. What could or should people, schools, educators and societies do?

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