Saturday, September 28, 2013

As the wheel turns: Throwing the day away.

I haven't had my hands in clay for a few weeks. For me, now, clay is as necessary as sleep.

So while everyone needs time away from work, I get itchy to get back. It hasn't always been this way. 

I've done many types of creative work in my life from watercolor painting, pastels, fiber art to copper repousse', sculpting window screening and mixed media work. And I've had vacations and sabbaticals from all of them, some by choice, some by life changes. Some of these breaks helped me realize that it was time to move on.
Fiber is where I started in art. I loved making doll clothes and doing embroidery as a child. When I got older, I became fascinated with quilting. After taking fiber arts and pieced imagery, I created several projects using my own hand painted fabrics and drawing portraits on the sewing machine. The product was satisfying but the process was not. I found that sitting over a sewing machine was too loud and stressful for me.
It was a sculpture class that headed me into another direction. I had to work in clay in the class, but at home I experimented with other media. Combining fabric, window screening and eventually copper sheeting. While I loved the magic of pressing into copper and creating a landscape and figurative image, the palette of patina colors felt too restricting.

Clay is like an old friend that keeps comming back to visit. I did clay in high school, college and even in my later classes. Without a kiln, it couldn't go anywhere. When the universe delivered a kiln and wheel to me a few years ago, clay moved in permanently.

Porcelain is soft, sumptuous and beautiful. Throwing with it is relaxing and challenging. Hand building and sculptural work is an ongoing process of creative discovery. It's white base makes a beautiful canvas. For me, porcelain clay combines the lusciousness of cold press watercolor paper where I can play with colorful washes of oxides or under glazes. I can draw into the surface with a variety of instruments to create different lines and textures. I can paint the surface with opaque glazes creating a shiny surface like an acrylic painting.

Hand building and sculptural work is an ongoing process of creative discovery. I can make masks and figures. I can combine hand built with wheel thrown. I can combine clay with screening, too!!

And, of course, there's the sheer delight of throwing, glazing, firing and, then sipping out of a mug I made myself. So at the end of a throwing day, I can have my clay and eat off it too.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Falling into Fall.

I'll admit it I'm not a fall fanatic. In fact, there's something about fall that makes me sad.

Maybe it's the end of summer.

I love all the berries, blossoms and brightness that summer brings. so, for me fall means the end of summer. No more flowers to gather. No more fresh lettuce, tomatoes and zucchini picked from my backyard. No more barbecue dinners with toasted olive oil french bread or sweet cherry tomaote salads. No sitting and sipping chilled rose out on the patio.

The kid in me wants to stay outside and play until it gets dark. Read in the sunshine sipping a glass of lemonade. Ride my bike. The kid in me sighs over homework, and bedtimes.

Grown up me groans over shorter days, more clouds and rain.

Whether or not I like fall doesn't really matter. it happens anyway.

I can either fight it or fall into it.

Embrace the sweet smell of rain and cinnamon.

Allow myself to slow down with the rhythm of the season.

Crochet a new scarf or hat.

Drape the table in deep red and top it with pine cones, candles and gords.

Cuddle up in a soft sweater with a glass of Syrah.

The kid in me can search for spider webs glistening with rain drops.

Gather up crimson and gold leaves.

Carve pumpkins.

Eat ginger snaps and pumpkin bread.

Drink cider.

Ok, maybe fall's not so bad after all.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

New scenes, scents and sounds.

I admit I like to work, feel productive and creative.   It's hard for me to take time off, sit around relaxing with nothing to do.  I feel a little lost.

Here's what I found out on this week long vacation.

Sunshine reflected in the rippling water of the Deschutes. The trickle of small eddies and whirlpools. A cool, freshness along the river bank.

A backyard filled with natural grasses and pinecones. A dry crispness in the early morning. The softness of footfalls between the firs revealing a fawn 10 feet away from my yellow lab, Jilly.  Then the sound of her barking and giving chase to this new creature in her yard.

Green algae growing on the Surface of Lake Aspen. Quail cooing and fluttering from ground to tree
branches. The sharpness of pine scent.

Sometimes feeling lost is necessary to finding peace.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Saying summer my way.


It may be September, but Summer's not over yet.  And I always hold onto every last bit and bite of it as long as I can.  Reading some of my favorite blogs, I Ways to Say Summer by Emily Brisse.

was inspired by this wonderful poem and blog post,

Here's my was to say summer:

Zucchini sizzling on the grill
Cherry tomatoes bursting with warm sweetness
Chilled fizzy water
An open book
A sun-dappled patio
Surrounded by green, magenta, pearly white
The trickle of water in the fountain
And the hum of hummingbirds sipping