Monday, December 30, 2013

The day before the day before.

It’s the day before New Year’s eve.

It seems timely to write about the end of the year or the past year or something like that, but I don’t really have a clue what to write that hasn’t been written before by others and me. Really. There’s all the usual stuff about the past years ups and downs, or the resolutions about the year to come, or the hopes and dreams and goals.

But I don’t want to write about any of that.

And it’s not because of anything bad. It’s been a really good year. All in all everyone’s healthy and happy, abundant and successful, loving and loved. I could yammer on about the details, but they’re not important. Really. What’s important is the overall picture which is, good. Maybe that’s what I’m having a hard time saying: my life is good.

I want to write that my life is good. Why don’t I?

Because I know that not everyone out there is living a good life right now? True as that is, why am I letting my light dim? Guilt? Fear? Ok, maybe all of those things tangled up in the lovely Christmas lights I took down from the tree the other day. Just because I took the lights down from my Christmas tree, does that mean my life has to have less light in it? I have to dim my good bulb so that it doesn’t shine too brightly because someone else is having a bad time?

No. Of course not. I think I’ll pass on the guilt and fear gravy this year. How about you?

Instead, I’ll make up a different plate for a change filled with good feelings covered with a dusting of a warm smiles and empathy. Empathy is acknowledging someone else’s pain not taking it on. The light from my life is supposed to shine not just for me, but for others, too. I remember years when my life was a struggle and fear gradually dimmed my heart and soul. During those times, it was the good from others that lit the path ahead of me. A smile from a stranger was good enough to make a bad day lighter.

So, on this eve of New Year’s Eve, I am lighting the candles in my home and heart with the flame of laughter, love, freedom, abundance and good from my life. I hope you have good in your life, too. But if you don’t, let a little of my light shine into yours blessing it with a dusting of good feelings, warmth and smiles.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Most of the year, I spend my time in the studio. Throwing. Carving. Painting. Glazing. I have a routine and a rhythm to my days and weeks.  Months fly by and then the holidays arrive.  I used to try to do it all: studio work and the holidays all at once. It didn't work too well. Both my art and my family suffered. ​
Time to relax.

Not easy for me, ever. I'm dedicated, organized and hard working.  From decorating and baking to wrapping and standing in line at target, the holidays require all of those skills. A friend said to me one day, just because you can do it, doesn't mean you have to.  Every year, I catch myself racing around and I always have to re-realize that I can't do it all, all of the time.

Time to slow down.

Time to Sit. Savor. Walk and watch.  Laugh. Hug. Sing and dance.

During the holidays, time moves from slow to fast, days disappears into years in the blink of an eye. One Christmas you have toddlers, then teens and suddenly adults with homes of their own. Where did it go? 

Now is the only time to be in because time just disappears so fast. Except, of course, when you're in line at a store and you're in a hurry. Then, time screeches to a halt.

Time to enjoy it anyway.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Sites and Insights.

Taking a few days off during the busy holiday season might seem a little crazy.   Maybe, that's exactly the reason, during the season, to fill a few days with less do's and more where to's.

We arrived at our Seattle hotel on the waterfront with no specific places or agenda planned out.  I hoped to see the African masks and sea lions.  Eat some delicious food, taste new wine and local beer.  But even though we had the internet and mobile devices, we explored on our own two feet instead.

We headed down the waterfront, up the lift and over the bridges to Pike's Place market.  A famous local tourist destination, it was a bustling place filled with a mix of locals and visitors.  The craft vendors were packing up for day but the fish market was busy wrapping up dinner for the locals.  We stopped to chat with the man behind the counter and got several suggestions for local seafood restaurants and wine shops.  

The next day, our first stop was the original Starbucks and onto SAM(Seattle Art Museum).  It was a fascinating and enriching morning.  

The African mask exhibit was wonderful and filled with inspiration.  The display of the masks themselves was unique.  Set up on poles, the masks were at different heights, angles and lit to cast shadows onto the wall behind them elevating the pieces artfully and giving an understand of how it would feel to be sitting down, watching the masks being used in dance or storytelling.  The surprise was the Peru exhibit.  An extensive immersion into the rich history and art of this ancient culture. 

Lunch was a great local pub and brewery.  Then a waterfront walk seeing sea lions outside the aquarium, watching the ferry and Ferris wheel, passing the touristy peer.  Taking our own tour of the outdoor sculpture at the Olympic Sculpture Park.  

Public art always amazes me.  The scale itself is daunting but the materials, subjects and concepts span from the beautiful and amusing to the ridiculously awful.  Seattle's outdoor park devoted to sculpture is no exception.  

I loved, laughed and hated it.

I laughed at the fun, funny and functional eyes scattered along the path allowing visitors to sit on and see art as well as the waterfront sunset.  

The silly gigantic eraser sited on a freeway exit.  

The 'Calder-esque' orange metal sculpture, so predictable and iconic to almost any city now.   

I hated the ridiculous 'concept' piece that was sold as a homage to the shipping industry but in reality is three old wooden piers strung up by chains attached to a steel tripod.  Sad to see a crucifiction labeled as art.  Shook my head at the grouping of various steel generic geometric modern pieces.   

Then, at last, a great piece, that to me, shows what good public art can experience for all your senses.   I loved it!

These huge rusted iron structures envelope you in the majesty of huge seagoing vessels.  The sides curve in and around each other and stand as one ship and many ships all at once.  The gravel crunches underfoot as you walk between these pieces giving you a feeling of both land and sea.  Up next to them, you feel insignificant.  Far away, you feel awed by the power and movement of sea vessels in the ocean.

Back through Belltown's condo blocks, we headed for Pike Place to gather food for our own indoor picnic dinner.   Some of the very best food was from La Panier...baguette with brie, croissants with almonds and chocolate, blanc de noel and, an elegant latte.

From the artistry in the foam of my latte to the massive iron sculpture, the sites of Seattle gave me food for body, mind and soul.  Delicious fresh foods.  Masks and sculptures to challenge my imagination.  And a glimpse into the past lives of a vibrant soulful society.  

Yes, I had been busy here, too but seeing new sites lead me to many new insights.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Seasonal Affected Disorganization: Or life, art and the holidays.

My blog didn't get written last week. I'm not sure what happened to my week, it just seemed to disappear. The to do's to do today grew from one day to the next. I was out and about running errands, in and around doing chores and decorating and still trying to get my studio work done.

Do I sound busy and productive? Or do I sound scattered and disorganized? I'm not sure.

Here's what I feel: breathless and pressured, tired and sleepless with a craving for hot tea and sugar cookies, a good book or movie and an easy crochet project. Here's what I need to do: paint greenware pieces, make a copper angel, write my blog, answer email, bake cookies, buy presents, decorate for the holidays. ​

I usually balance my studio work, family work and business work.  I make a list and schedule my time and get it done.  Then why does it seem so complicated?

I get it: ​Seasonal Affected Disorganization.

The solution: Mindfully Attentive Moments.

It did work, when I gave myself over to a day of decorating...only. (I really do love decorating. I even love shopping for new decorative elements, just not the crowds.) I mindfully spent an hour in the studio. 

I gave an hour to tree cutting, a rest for tea, a spot in the studio, tea, tree decorating. I picked up some new yarn, put my feet up and crocheted away while watching a favorite non-holiday program. I also learned something from my dear husband:  walk slowly through the noise and bustle. Do not rush because everyone else is rushing around you. Take your time, sit and savor the eggnog latte and walk at your own pace.

The house is decorated. The tree is up. The studio is clean and silent, work has sold and new work waits for its moment. My job isn't to do or organize but be attentive to the moments. Yes, MAM!