Monday, July 23, 2012

“Expect the worst and you’ll never be disappointed.”

Driving to my friends the other day, this phrase popped into my head. I laughed out loud. This is a ridiculous phrase, isn’t it? This was a common saying in my family. Growing up, I heard it over and over. And now, that I’m an adult, I thought I’d grown up and away from this phrase.

Maybe, I have.

Because when it popped up like a bubble in my thought stream, I didn’t go with its flow. I didn’t listen to it or swallow it, ignore it or get angry like I did growing up.

I saw it. And I laughed. That old thought bubble just popped and disappeared into thin air.

But it did get me wondering about all those common phrases and sayings that we all hear as children and adults. Some are wonderful. If you’re like me, you copy them out and post them on your fridge, by your desk, in your studio. Some are not wonderful. They can hurt, scare or anger you. If you’re like me, you try to ignore them or fight them. If you do that, too, you know that it doesn’t make them go away. In fact, I think it makes them stick to your thought stream like a post a note to your fridge.

Here’s what happened to me that changed the flow of that old thought.

First, I laughed at it. I didn’t try to, it just happened but when it did, something changed in me. Somehow my own laughter at the absurdity of the saying turned it into harmless confetti that was now free to float away from me.

Second, I shared the experience with my friend. We both laughed. And I asked her if she grew up with a similar negative saying. She did. Her mother’s was, “Life’s a bitch, then you die.”

There was a pause as we both let those words hit the walls around us.

Then, we both laughed. Sitting there, we were both shocked and amazed at the nasty negativity of these parental mantras. How as parents, we would never have uttered anything like that to our kids. We sat there perplexed, trying to find some wisdom in it. We couldn’t. We laughed again.

A funny thing happened later, though. Walking through the woods, a new phrase bubbled up in my thought stream. This felt much more positive than my friend’s mothers mantra.

“Life’s rich, enjoy before you die.”

I wondered if I could find a new phrase for my negative childhood mantra. I worked at it, but nothing came. A few days went by and talking about it with my husband, a new mantra was born.

“Accept. don’t expect and you’ll always embrace life.”

I don’t know about you but both of these new mantras not only nurture me, they give me hope. I feel lighter accepting rather than expecting. And even if I’m not rich, I know that enjoying the riches of living my life each and every day on this amazing planet.

What were your family sayings? And how did they help or hinder you?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Process to Product.

I always love to see the process of other artists, so I thought I’d share a bit of mine here. Below is a wine goblet that went through the bisque just fine, but I think the top shelf of my kiln got a little too hot. Let's just call it the 'tipsy' wine goblet.

I throw porcelain on the wheel, sometimes it works out better than others.

Here is one bowl that got a little too wide for itself one day, so I hung it upside down and let gravity work. I played with the shape after it had set up a little.

Here it is bisque.

Here it is finished with two glazes layered on the inside and one on the outside.

Here is a series of vases and urns out of the first firing.
Here they are after final glaze firing.

I did the black and white group differently this time. Using the porcelain clay body as the ‘white’ and adding a black underglaze, then covering it all with clear in the final firing.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Empty bowls fill the Oregon Food Bank

Portland is known for its Fourth of July Blues Festival. Big name groups from all over the world come to play on the Waterfront and people line up to get into the park every year. This year was different for me.

I volunteered to sell bowls, cups, vases for the Oregon Potters Association's Empty Bowls booth. The proceeds from this booth are donated to the Oregon Food Bank. As I helped set up on Tuesday, I was amazed and a bit overwhelmed at the amount of pottery ready for sale. Little bowls sold for as little as a dollar and up.

What amazed me even more was that every box, and there were stacks of boxes, was emptied to fill the Oregon Food Banks fund. This wonderful booth was stocked from Wednesday, July 4th through Sunday, July 9th with ceramics from the members of the OPA and glass from the Oregon Glass Guild.

Bill and Sandy Sanchez were the real heros, working the booth all 5 days with the help of many OPA and Glass Guild members. It was a great cause and a great group of artists working hard to help others.

I helped unpack, price, stock, sell and wrap up purchases. I enjoy every minute of it. This was an amazing way to spend the 4th of July! Can't wait till next year!!