Thursday, September 25, 2014

Writing about Writing.

I've been writing as long as I can remember.  At first, it was just scribbles with pencils on any paper I could find.  It got me into a lot of trouble.  Until, I went to school.  There, I was supposed to use pencils and paper and I loved it.  I loved spelling and reading and writing.   It didn't matter if it was a book report, a research paper, news story or essay, I dove right in.  

Ok, I didn't like writing stories in Latin, but then, who would?

In high school, I was editing my brother's college papers.  I wrote in my journals.  In college, I took creative writing, journalism for print and broadcast and got my first job writing ads at a local radio station.  This led to a career as a writer in advertising.  In between ads and diaper changes, I wrote poems and essays and journaled. 

I still write in my journal.  And I write here on my blog about walking in the park, throwing clay, decorating my home, making masks, training my dog and sculpting a life with love and creativity.   

Lately, I've been sharing my love of writing and the creative journey by writing artist profiles about artists on my local open studios tour blog, Washington County Open Studios.  I feel grateful to be able to combine my advertising skills and writing to shine a light on the journeys of artists in my own community.  

But most important, I get to hear and read and learn from all of these artists.  I learn about the beauty melted wax and paint, the excitement of horsehair raku, the serenity of flowing watercolors and the magical mysteries of  the creative process through other artist's eyes.

Creativity and imagination opens so many doors and windows into the soul of all our adventures in life. Words and pictures, writing and art allow us to share the journey with each other.

I'm grateful to be able to do both.  Writing and Art.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

As The Wheel Turns: Goofing around pays off.

I take my work seriously.  Very seriously.  Ok, maybe too seriously.  So sometimes, it's important to put in some serious goofing around time.  
This week, I unloaded a glaze load from the kiln.  Loaded another load with greenware, bisque fired it and unloaded it.  I have shelves filled with finished pieces, pieces to be glazed and others waiting to be bisque fired.  With my shelves filled up, there's no room for a normal week of thrown work. 

Instead of focusing on throwing my usual mugs, vases and bowls, I experimented.  I rolled out a slab and created a handbuilt jar.  I rolled out coils into branches and gingko leaves, attaching them all around the jar.  I cut out a lid, put on a handle and more leaves. 

Hand-building with clay is a lot like going back to kindergarten for me.  Remember the brightly, colored play-dough?

But wheel throwing is so peaceful, if I go too long without it, I get cranky.  So this week, I decided to combine my kindergartner with my adult artist by throwing two halves of a vase on the wheel and using hand-building to put it together.  Of course, I couldn't resist adding a layer of heart-shaped leaves and whimsical dots.

know this sounds like a lot of serious work.  But it wasn't, really.

Without the expectation or need to fill the shelves, I could goof off. Get out the clay and just play.  I goofed around, had fun and discovered some new ideas for more pieces.  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Bouquet of Freshly Sharpened Pencils.

"I wish I could send you a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils." This quote is stuck in my head this week.  It's quote from the movie, "You've Got Mail". It was voiced by character, Joe Fox(Tom Hanks) as he is writing an email to Kathleen Kelley(Meg Ryan) about the wonders of Fall.  

It's the beginning of school for many families.  I've had years of the ritual: new shoes, binders, backpacks, notebooks, crayons and, yes, freshly sharpened pencils.

I didn't think I'd miss it but I do.  And not for the reason you might think.  

Of course, I miss my children's cute, freshly scrubbed faces twinkling with hope and excitement.  But what I really miss is starting a new year, a new grade, in a new classroom with a new teacher which all adds up to a new beginning.

New beginnings are exciting.  They're full of potential and opportunity and wonder.

As I work away in my studio day after day, there's no marker for my work days or time.  There's no bell to signal the beginning of the day or a bus to take me home at the end.  There's no anticipation of hunting for the perfect studio outfit or getting just the right shoes.  I don't need a backpack filled with new school supplies.

And while, I love my life and seeing life as my own teacher, I sometimes get so busy I forget to let myself out for recess. With my studio as part of my home, I can forget to get on the bus and leave my work behind. 

My new beginnings happen all the time, but I don't have a designated day.  So, I don't stop and see it.  Or let myself wonder at the potential or opportunity or discovery.

So, maybe it's time to do it.  Officially, designate a new beginning, everyday start my own first day of school by living it.  And maybe, honor it by getting something new?

Here's my very own bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils.  Recess anyone?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Change to smile about.

I've changed.  Over my life, it's happened in many ways, some expected and some not.  But one thing I thought would remain the same was my art. 
Why am I smiling?
Because I'm glad I've changed my media.  I love working in clay.  It feels like coming home after years of being away and being greeted by an old friend.   
I started doing clay work in high school and college ceramics class followed by watercolor, ink, jewelry, beading, embroidery, fiber art, oil painting, pastels, masks and copper repousse. In my professional life, I was a writer.  I still enjoy creating with words which is probably why I love my blog.  

Working on the wheel creating functional work is just peaceful and meditative.

Making masks and creating clay sculptural work inspires my imagination.  Adding color to all of this is just plain fun!

Which is why, I now have a brand new website.  Created by my talented son, it showcases the new feeling in my studio as well as my new work.  

And after many years of watching other artists on Etsy, I've opened my own store, SusangtCeramics.  

Yes, I've changed.  And I'm still smiling about it!