Saturday, August 17, 2013

The weather of life: Sunshine and clouds.

Thinking about what to write here this week many topics crossed my mind, which were then crossed off?  Clay, again?  My dogs? My bumper crop of tomatoes? None of this seemed very exciting, not that I try to be exciting.  I leave that for reality TV shows.

Sunshine: Living the creative life.

In this blog I want to show and tell stories about living a creative life in every way.  Because I truly believe that life is meant to be creative whether I’m cooking, gardening or decorating.  And I want to honestly share my art process with all its ups and downs

Clouds move in: Clay isn’t always play. 

Sometimes, it’s work.  It’s sticky or lumpy or just plain stubborn.  This week, it’s been hot and humid here in the Pacific Northwest which is unusual.  The clay behaved just like the weather.  It was sticky, too dry, then too sticky again.  I threw a few mugs but getting the handles on the next day was a test of patience.  The bowl I threw was, again, not good enough.  So after staring at it in disgust, I put it back on the wheel, put my hand on the rim and pulled.  It pulled off like a ribbon and revealed this amazing fluted, scalloped edge.  I just stared at it in wonder. 
The clouds parted.

I realized later that I really didn’t want to make another big bowl right now.  I have these sculpted busts that I did a while back.  From the depths of my studio closet, they’ve been calling to me.  I tried to ignore them.  It didn’t work.  And it doesn’t have to, because there’s no one telling me what to do, but me. 

Letting the sun shine in.

Time to get out of my own way and own up to this whisper of desire: finding a way to combine wheel throwing with hand built sculpture.  I used to hand build only because I couldn’t throw.  I learned to throw and haven’t hand built much since.  Now, I see life wants me to do both.

Clouds again.

Ah-ha moments are sunshine for your soul, yes.  But living isn’t always creative, is it?  There are bills to pay, errands to run, wash to wash, weeding, cleaning and feeding the cat and dogs.
I do love my cat and dogs.  And they do present challenges, especially with the addition of Apple (see more about her here), a lively two-year old terrier mix who doesn’t always mix well with Terra, my 11 year old tabby cat.  Overcoming the bumps does require creativity on my part and flexibility on theirs.  And every time I think I’ve figured out a way for them all to eat their own food, in their own spaces, they figure a way around it.

I moved Terra’s food to the desk out of Apple’s reach.  Terra fell several times trying to get to her food.  I moved her food upstairs to my bathroom.  Apple ran up and ate it all.  I put up a gate to keep Apple away from Terra’s food.  Terra insisted on jumping the gate and re-injured herself.  Now, I’m trying closing the door to the bathroom to keep Apple out of Terra’s food, but did Terra like that?  No.  And she decided to show her displeasure by vomiting in my closet.  Yeah.

Sun breaks through anyway.

Even in this unpredictable weather, my tomatoes are red, ripe and ready.  My zucchini is getting too big and, though my lettuce is done growing for the season, I harvested enough to make salads for another few weeks.  I love being able to make a fresh green salad with my own home-grown veggies.  And to me there’s nothing better than bright, ripe tomatoes sliced with salt, pepper and fresh basil leaves.  Yum.

Sun, clouds and rain mix.

I see now that I learned a lot this week. One: I might have started out throwing a bowl, but I was really creating a new sculpture.  Two: Mistakes are not losing your way but finding it instead. Three: You can take the cat upstairs, but you can’t keep her there.  Four: Barricades are made to be broken through in more ways than you can imagine. And five: Sculpting a life means living it all, rain, clouds, sun and eating tomatoes warm from the garden sunshine. 

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