The word of the year for 2016 has been curiosity. I love that word. To me, it has the aroma of a delicious dish baking in the oven, the sound of a light flute playing, the taste of a cilantro leaf, the pale shimmer of a crescent moon rising. It's expectation and wonder and the unknown all rolled into one.
This year has been a very curious in many ways.
Artistically, my work evolved in a way I hadn't planned or expected. For the past 6 years, my focus has been on throwing functional work: vases, mugs and bowls. This year, my functional work is evolved into a 50/50 split between throwing and hand building.
Where before everything was smooth and carefully thrown; new work now combines textures, colors and patterns in one piece. Edges ruffle. Colors blend like wet into wet watercolor paintings. Marks are more free form and spontaneous. My hand building pieces are heavily textured with playful color combos, cut out lids or flower shapes and I'm using a staining process to get layers of color.
Curiously, my work and life is more playful.
Domestically, the family has grown to include a new daughter and granddaughter. After many years of living with adult children, I now have a large toy basket in my great room, a crib, high chair, baby gate and shelves filled with rocket crackers, pb&j bars, fruit snacks, juices and sippy cups. The lower cupboards are re-organized with non breakable, toddler safe items and outlets are plugged. I read board books, play with wooden puzzles and dance to Raffi songs on Pandora.
Outside my studio, events of the last year are an ongoing curiosity.
I could never have imagined what has happened here in the U.S. I am shocked and embarrassed and upset. As I watch decades of social progress retreat into playground bullying on the world stage, I can't help but be curious about how this happened in this country. As I work to figure it out for myself, I try to remain open and hopeful that in the end, this will bring us all back together again.
The question isn't what will happen this year but how will I handle what happens? It's too easy to shut down and close it all out. Curiosity, this year's word, lead me to watch world events with wide eyes and a questioning heart.
A new word of the year?
Finding my new word of the year is always a personal process but perhaps, this new year, it will be a way to connect inward and outward. As I work to deal with the wild swing of last year's change, I need to dial in my focus of world events, to be local before global, to be see through the eyes of my own truth and my own heart.
As I look for the light through the dark, I make a wish. For all of us to find the light on New Year's Eve and bring it with us into the New Year.