Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Samhain!

Today isn't just about tricks, treats, costumes or pumpkins. It's an ancient festival that celebrates the abundance of the harvest. It's also about endings and beginnings.

In the ancient Celtic calendar, the end of October marks the end of the summer season and the end of the year. A time to look back on all that's happened both good and bad, births and deaths. It was their New Year's Eve. So, feasting, dressing up, visiting neighbors and honoring those who had died was part of the festival.

And we continue it today with treats, costumes and parties as well as displaying ghosts, headstones or          spirit creatures in and around our homes.

Even the pumpkins we carve have their origin in the Celtic festival of Samhain. They hollowed out gords and squashes put candles inside to use as lanterns to light the way as they went out to visit their neighbors.

This ancient fire festival is in my blood and yours. That's why it's still around today. I'm glad to greet my neighbors, share my abundance and honor all the people who have come and gone leaving their wisdom and love for me.

No tricks, just treats! Happy Samhain, everyone!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Peaceful Coexistence.

Dogs and cats live together all the time, some peacefully, some not.

Let's face it, when a new roommate moves in everyone has to adjust. Doesn't matter whether it's a two footer or a four footer, adding a new member to the mix is going to chance things. When Apple, a Chihuahua Boston Terrier mix moved in, everyone coped with change in their own way.

Jilly, my yellow lab, had to make room for another dog in her pack. She is a sweet, easy going dog who was used to her space and routine. She heaved some heavy sighs at first as Apple curled up on her bed, played with her toys, stole her treats and jumped for attention.

Terra, my mixed tabby cat, was not as patient. She didn't appreciate Apple's curiosity and energetic attention. To protect her and give her space, I closed doors and put up gates. After a few months, Terra wanted her freedom back to roam the house and told me so by jumping the gates, injuring herself in the process.

Apple, at 2 years, did not understand the ways of the world. When she came to live with all of us, she had some behavior issues and bad habits. She had some big things to learn and it took all of us working together to teach her how to be a better pup. You can read more about it here .

Jilly set her boundaries as pack leader. Now, she and Apple play chase, take walks and forage for plums together in the backyard. They sleep on their own beds and sometimes curl up together, too. The gates are down and Terra prowls the house whenever she wants, ignoring the still curious pup. Apple is calming down, getting used to the cat, the routine and her place in the mixed pack that is now her home.

It's taken six months but peaceful coexistence is here, hopefully, to stay.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Resting up.

Chatting about art. Letting others see my art in the making. Sharing art and heart stories. Laughing. Hugging. And waving goodbye to my sculptures, mugs, masks, bowls and vases going out from my studio into new homes.

It was exciting, energizing, heart warming and wonderful. My open studio was a truly great experience. 
From beginning to end, I said hello to neighbors, dear friends and met new friends. 

I demonstrated sgraffito on a plate. I showed the beginning stages of making a clay mask. I led some out to my cold garage where I throw, explained how a pottery wheel works and llet them peer into a partially loaded kiln which I'd never seen until I had to start using one myself.

People I'd never met wandered through my home, looking at my work on tables and shelves. Some even went outside to see my garden screening sculptures and outdoor masks. Children from the neighborhood made clay ghosts and pumpkins. ​My daughter baked ginger snaps and pumpkin bread while my husband served coffee and apple cider.

It was fun.

It was also a lot of hard work.

I moved furniture and dusted. Organized mugs, vases and bowls. Hung masks and broke one in the process. I made displays and swept and mopped dried clay off my garage floor and filled the kiln.

It was one of the most amazing art experiences. I loved it even when it got crazy busy!

That's why today, I'm not in the studio. I'm sitting on the window seat. Soaking in the sunshine streaming through my newly washed windows. Drinking tea. Snacking on pumpkin bread and writing. 

In silence.

I sit here with only the lazily ticking clock and the soft snores of two doggies and one kitty in the background.  While I unplug out there and plug in here to recharge and rest up.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Opening Up.

work alone. I'm not complaining. As a studio artist, that's just the nature of my work. But next weekend, that's all going to change.

On Saturday and Sunday, I'll be putting signs in front of my house with arrows pointing to my studio. The door will be open. As part of the Washington County Artists Open Studios, my studio will be open for free tours.  And people will be walking in to see what I do all day.   

I'm excited.

I'll be making masks, doing scraffito and maybe under glazing.  And encouraging visitors to get their hands in clay, too. I've taught classes, done demos and shown my work in many different places over the years, schools, galleries, museums, art fairs. So, I'm comfortable with show and tell. ​

And a little nervous, to be honest.

Because I love what I do, it's scary to put it out there for people to see. It's a lot like holding your baby up for all to see, hoping everyone will love them as much as you do. Some will love it. Some won't.

Either way, it's out there. My work is out there, and now, even the neighbors know what it is that I do all day. The curtain has been pulled back and the Great Oz(the magic of art) is revealed. When people come, they'll see what Dorothy saw in Oz, just a man with a microphone. Or in this case, just a woman, a wheel and some clay.

Here's my hope...that everyone big and small who touches clay, lifts a cup, sees art in the making let's it touch them, lift their heart and see the art in themselves. Because no matter what you do all day, it's there, always. All you have to do, is open up.

If you happen to live in or around Portland, Oregon, come and visit Saturday, October 19 or Sunday, October 20th from 11am to 5 pm.  Tour map and info for the Washington County Artists Open Studio is available at  And it's FREE!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Sunshine and Pumpkins

When the sun shines on an October day, I just have to sit up and take it in. Yes, there are chores to be done and errands to run. But this is one of those rare days to sit and savor.

In the spirit of fine fall sunshine, here are a few of my shimmering finds.