Saturday, December 22, 2018

Solstice, Fire, Creations and Vacations.

The Solstice always brings a time of contemplation, rest and renewal. The shortest day and longest night of the year gives us all a bigger space in which to slow down, put our feet up in front of the fire and feel its warmth and safety. 

Fire seems to be a big part of my life all year. I’m a Sagittarius which is astrologically a fire sign. Maybe that’s why I’ve always loved sitting in front of a fire. Watching the flames is a meditative practice for me providing a flowing movement to calm me, a visual mantra to center me and light to help me see through the darkness of doubt and fear. 

Having a new gas fireplace for Christmas has helped bring more serenity to my space in a way I would not have anticipated. The old fireplace was drafty and unused and made the room cold and almost unlivable in the winter months. Now I can sit here and write, listen to music, watch the flames feeling the cozy warmth on my face. 

Kiln time.  

On the Solstice, I also loaded and fired a glaze load in my kiln. Yes, the world’s shortest day was a long work day for me. Truth be told, it’s been a longer work week for me than usual. This time of the year, I give in to the demands of the season and suspend my studio work until after the New Year. 

This year, I have a gallery delivery date the first week of January. There is a theme for the January show called ‘Winter Dreams’. I admit I don’t always do well with ‘theme’ work. But this one snuck up and crept into my clay work. At first, I was just collecting leaves, playing with shapes without any agenda. 

Then the shapes became bent winter trees. And the leaves that fell in the fall became frosted, winter sculptured bowls and a platter. And shapeshifter bust came out of the closet to become a new, small sculpture. 

Now the kiln is cooling and I won’t know if all the pieces made it through, let alone came out as I envision. I never open the kiln until four days after I fire. The waiting and not knowing is always hard. 

Time for a vacation. 

With Christmas ahead, taking a vacation from the studio gives me space to enjoy the holiday, create in a different way. 

Instead of clay, I bake shortbread, cherry cake and candy. Instead of painting, I create with flowers, wrapping paper and ribbons. Instead of feeling the sun on my face, I sit warm and delighted in front of a new fireplace. 

My wish for the solstice is simple: peace, warmth and light for everyone near and far. 

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