Thursday, October 27, 2016

Two Steps Forward. One Step Back.

This is the dance of life.  I read these words years ago and, obviously, never forgot them because they struck home.  This simple thought goes right to the heart of the problem of living on this planet.  Caught up in societies march of success, I had spent many years pushing myself to move faster and work harder only to find myself slowly losing my way.  

I didn't know how to dance.

So I tried it.  I started on one side of the room and made myself take two steps forward and one step back.  Again and again and again.  I made it across the room.  And that proved progress is possible without running faster or working harder.  

Now and then, I still forget to dance.  

But this week, when the peaceful, quiet house got drowned out by my fears, I remembered.  Two steps forward and one step back.  I smile and look up at the sky.  I look around my studio and see beaded art treasures from long ago got framed. 

New bowls were thrown.  Vases and platters were made and stamped with leaves and lace.  

Small delicate porcelain lilies got mounted into a new black frame.

All while I was dancing...two steps forward and one step back.  My art and my heart moved forward together.  

Thursday, October 20, 2016

This Week is a Walk in the Park.

Last week was a whirlwind of activity getting ready for my open studio.  I made new work and got two demos ready for visitors.  I cleaned my studio from top to bottom, arranged the shelves neatly while my daughter staged some of my work around my home.  It was a wonderful weekend.  I met wonderful people full of curiosity and great questions about how I do what I do.  And I watched my work find new homes.  

It's hard for me to take it easy without feeling lazy and unproductive.  But after a weekend of meeting and greeting and show and tell, I need a little walk in nature.  

Nature nurtures my spirit.

I walk everyday.  Rain or shine.  And where I live, it rains more than it shines.  But I actually like walking in the rain.  The ripples in the lake.  The drips on the leaves.  The soft sound as the rain lands on the hood of my coat.  I drink it into my body but even more deeply into my soul.

One thing I've noticed again and again.  There aren't many people walking in the park in the rain.  I think that's a shame, because they're really missing so much.  Although, I like having this wonderland all to myself, I want and need to share the wonder.  

Wonders from my walk: Spider webs with bejeweled rain drops, a birch tree figure, the eyes of birch bark close up, a garland of spider webs on the bridge.


Friday, October 14, 2016

Welcome to My Sacred Place: My Studio.

I work alone.  And I like it.  As an artist, my studio is not a home office but a sacred, meditative space where I let an air of warm comfort surround and guide me. Usually, people see my finished work out of my studio at shows and galleries. But once a year, I let people come into my studio space and watch me work.

I love my solitude, but I love open studios.

Yes, I do a lot of prep work getting ready for the open studio weekend.  Floors get cleaned.  Shelves get dusted.  Work gets moved around into more of a display rather than shelves of disarray.  I bring my work out of the studio into my home space too, so visitors can see what art looks like 'at home'.  So often when art is seen in a show setting, it's hard to imagine how it would look or feel in your own home.  The interesting thing, is seeing my own pieces around my own home inspires me to create more in the studio.

And best of all is show and tell. 

I love talking to people about clay and art and color.  I love seeing their eyes light up when they pick up a ball of clay, roll it around and out.  As I show them how I build a vase from a clay slab, I tell them how I found my way to clay.  I listen as they tell me their stories, too.  

Creation is sacred right for all of us.  

I show and tell everyone, no matter where you are in life, you can create something you love.  There are as many forms of art as there are people in the world.  Everyone is creative.  No matter how you might have thought you failed, don't give up. Your creative spirit is there waiting for you.  All you have to do, is ask it to find you.  

I always hope that opening up my studio will help others find their own sacred space.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Changing Seasons.

Fall always creeps up on me.  Usually, I cringe away or dig into denial or force myself to embrace it.  But it's not really Fall's fault that I struggle so hard with this one season.  

It's change.

As an artist and writer and a person who spent my career in advertising, you'd think I'd love change.  I've changed and re-arranged my life many times over.  My work, my home, my media, my mind changes moment by moment and year to year. 

The really truth: change is scary.  It doesn't matter if it's a big or small change, either.  For example: I just bought a new couch.  Not a big deal, right?  It was for me and, it turns out, for my kids as well.  We've had the great room sectional for over 20 years and my 'kids' grew up on that sectional.  It's wasn't just a piece of furniture, it was a part of our lives. 

Now that my children are all grown up and have children of their own, it was time to make a change.  I ordered a new sofa and waited nervously for it to arrive.  Would it be the right size? Color? Would I like it in the room as much as the family sectional?  

I love it.  Many times, change is really a good thing.  It may be good right away or it may become a very good thing in time. This time, it was a good change for everyone, especially my son, who is now happily sitting and watching TV on his 'family' sectional.

It's new.  It's exciting.  It's challenging.

Changing with life in all its seasons is challenging.  Sometimes the new is exciting, but whether it is or not, like the Fall season, it comes anyway.  Morning into night. Planned or unplanned.  Everyday turns in its own rhythm.  Whether I create my own change in my art and life or not, I'm learning to settle in and breathe into it.  

One I make happen.  One happens and remakes me.

Just as the green leaves turn to gold and fall.  So must we.