Thursday, January 26, 2017

As The Wheel Turns: Throwing Hope.

So much is going on in the world around us all. It's outrageous, enraging and a very bad episode in reality. I've written about it before and I really don't want to write about it anymore. I want to live, hope and dream of a better day, a prouder day, a wholesome, whole-hearted, whole world for each of us. 

Making my day means just that: making.

I am an artist. I am a writer. I am a maker. I throw cups, bowls and vases. I sculpt faces, figures and masks. When my wrist was broken and I couldn't sculpt, I got a gel pen and drew in my sketch pad. When my husband was laid off and I had to work, I taught art classes, mask classes, held an open studio to sell more work. No matter what the world brings to my door from a broken wrist to a broken heart, I make something anyway.

I fill my kiln and my wheel keeps turning.

Throwing yesterday was a retreat for me, a place to sit and center, a place to ground myself into the earth. I had no agenda, deadline or concept in mind. I took out the clay, sat down and let myself be. Here's where the miracle happens, because many times, I fight with the clay to get it centered, to get it to form into my preconceived idea of what it should be, but this day, I was tired of should, of right or wrong, of fact or fiction. I let the clay be what it wanted to be. 

What rose up from my fingers were 2 vases and 2 plant urns. It wasn't my best throwing day or  my worst. And it didn't matter. Will they make it through the kiln process? Will they sell?  Will I like them in the end? Again, it doesn't matter. What matters is that I was there, embracing the clay, centering myself with earth in my hands.

I can't stop the war of mean words out there. But I bring the inside out with hope and peace.

One vase, one pot, one turn of the wheel at a time.


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Sometimes We Get What We Need. And It's a Kick in the Butt.

My goal for this blog is to talk about the joy of living a creative life. But life, especially lately, is not at all joyful in this country. The majority of people did not vote for the man taking the office of president. This individual, whom I can't call a man because a true man would never belittle or bully anyone regardless of age, sex, race or religion. Especially not a president. 

But the bandaid has been ripped off and it stings.

This is a politician. A member of the 1%. An entitled, white man born into wealth who believes himself to be better than anyone. He lies. He cheats. He thinks he can run the country like he runs his business empire. And he is, sadly, not alone. Members of the Senate and Congress sit in their cozy offices with their salaries, pensions and health plans also thinking they can run the country the way they want, too.

But they forget. They were voted into office. They can be voted out.

And we have forgotten, too.  We put them there.

I have spent my life, living as best I could. Working. Taking care of my family. Creating a home that nurtured body, mind and soul. And all the while, I trusted these politicians to have my back, to take care of education, health and safety. Instead, they were busy taking care of themselves and covering their own butts while they made millions of dollars from corporations interested in taking even more money from me. And you.

I am not getting what I want from these elected officials. But perhaps, I am getting what I need.

A kick in the butt. 

I was too young in the 60's to demonstrate against the war or racism. I grew up believing we'd stopped the war and started living together in peace. I was so focused on living my own life step by step that I didn't see how out of step we'd all become. And I didn't see how the greed and corruption had eaten away so much of my country. 

I see it now. I'm mad. I'm marching. I'm writing. I'm liking and standing by the people whose hearts are in the right place. I'm continuing to love my children and grandchild and husband and friends because now more than ever, we need love. And I'm creating with love and as much joy as I can shine into this darkness so we can all see the true light.

I'm not taking  this sitting down.  I'm standing up for what I know is right and true.
We can all get what we truly want:  education, health, safety and freedom for all. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Speeding Up and Slowing Down.

It's been an opposite week. Last week was slow, contemplative, relaxing and almost boring. From the very start on Monday, it's been fast, furious and fun. Emotions have run the gamut from post-holiday blues as I un-deck the halls to giggles as I played hide and seek with my granddaughter. My studio work did progress, in and around sippy cups, crayons and snowy walks in the park.

Life is such an ever-changing adventure.

I had my week all planned out, you see: one day of granny daycare, an outing with friends, errand running on another and two concentrated studio days. I penciled in a lovely, balanced week but, that is not how it turned out  I don't know about you, but my life never turns out quite the way I plan. And yet, somehow in life's wisdom, I get so much more than I could ever plan or foresee. 

It's not always sunshine and giggles. I've had my share of down times, too and I can be just as pissed off as anyone else. I could go into all those past events, but I'd rather stay in the present. Right now, I'm just as scared and shocked about the state of our union in this country as many of you. And yet, when I look out my windows at the drifts of snow shining in the sun, I remind myself to savor the moment. This moment. 

Right here. Right now. I'm safe, warm, loved and full of love.

My granddaughter is fed, changed, and tucked in for her nap. 

My yellow lab, Jilly played in the snow and is now snoozing in the sun. 

Outside, the snow covers the world in a shimmering blanket.

Inside, my studio awaits.


Thursday, January 5, 2017

2017 Word of the Year.

This year's word has not been a clear choice. Truth be told, it's been a struggle to find one word that feels right to me. The struggle led me to question many things. How does the word fit into my creative life? What do I want from it? Why is this such a struggle this year in particular? Why do I need a word at all?

The answer is I'm searching for a life line. And one word may not be enough.

With the political climate drastically changed, I find myself flooded with feelings I did not ever expect to feel about my life, my country and even my neighbors. I fear my basic rights as a woman are now in question.  I'm angry to see a blatant racist misogynist elected into one of our country's most visible worldly positions.  I am sad to know women actually voted this person into this office causing me to look at my neighbors with different eyes.

I don't like what I see. I've struggled to find a word to hold onto, to calm me, to lift me up.

Truth. Hope. Humor. These three words rose to the surface of the muck pulling me down on a daily basis. How to pick one? As a writer and an artist, my first instinct is to research by pulling out the Merriam Webster Dictionary and Thesaurus. Here are condensed definitions of all three words.

Truth (search popularity 20%): sincerity in action, character, and utterance; facts
Hope (search popularity 1%): to expect with confidence; trust
Humor (search popularity 40%): a sense of the ludicrous, absurd, comical or amusing; laugh

The Thesaurus led me to an insight: the feelings I didn't want to feel were, in fact, the exact opposite of this year's choices.  

Antonym of Fear: Hopeful, Calm, Courage 
Antonym of Anger: Delight, Humor, Joy, Peace
Antonym of Sadness: Hopeful, Honest/True, Humor/Joy

Ah ha.  My key feeling has been sadness and the antidote, I see is all three. But I only pick one word for the year. I use it as a touch stone, a mantra, a light to guide me on my daily path and this year, I truly needed a strong word to hang onto, to lift me up and out, feel true and give me a sense of possibility.


This year, let it be the small flame in the darkness.  The glimmer of truth.  A knowing laugh that this too, shall pass.