Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Time to Act Like an Artist

What does it mean, to act like an artist? I’ll admit I’m not sure there is an exact definition or description because just like all people, artists are individual and unique. But that said, we all know there are many words, labels, and stereotypes out there. 

We all get labeled from birth. You’re a boy. You’re a girl. You’re white or black or yellow or pink or green(ok, maybe not green unless you’re Kermit, the frog). You’re a lady or a gentleman. You’re smart or strong or talented. Later, maybe you’re an athlete, an actor, a writer, scientist, lawyer, banker, singer, musician, teacher, reporter, doctor, legislator, chef or computer coder. And there are so many more I’m sure I’ve missed. 

But what is an artist?

There are as many artist labels as there are artists. You’ve heard or even embraced them. Painter. Sculptor. Writer. Potter. Jeweler. Quilter. Designer. Again, these are just a few of the labels we might all know. And that’s the point, no label can really define me or you. 

Because it’s the essence of who, why, what and how we live, do, and be that is truly our art. We are all the artists of our own lives. We all create everyday in what we choose to do, say, make, dress, read, think and love. 

Acting like an artist can mean many things to many artists. 

To act like an artist, I need to make something. 

A day in the life of this artist is sitting down at the wheel in front of a fresh ball of soft clay. Or cutting a chunk of clay off a block and slamming it down on a canvas covered table until it’s flat enough to roll out. Or pulling handles. Or shaping beaks. Or rolling clay into jars. Or stamping, drawing, imprinting letters, laces, hardware or charms into clay. Or painting colored underglazes. Loading or unloading the kiln. 

After the holiday joys and rush, I was tired and cranky. I felt a little lost. Then, I remembered my word of the year: act. And I knew how to solve my malaise. 

Act like an artist. 

Get out my clay and get into my studio. I threw a few bowls. Rolled a few jars. Experimented with new bird sculptures. And filled my kiln firing the first bisque on new pieces. As I sit here by the window waiting to turn the kiln up to the next level, I realize that of all the labels I’ve had in my life, this is the one that truly fits. 

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Cleaning and Dreaming

The first week of January was spent cleaning and clearing. Away went the Christmas tree, decorations and dust. Lots of dust. 

While not a very exciting or entertaining activity, it’s an important step into the new year. Dusting and cleaning all the surfaces in my home, helps me de-clutter my mind and body too. As I wipe each fingerprint, I remember Christmases past and present. I think on how much everyone has grown from my babies to new parents. And how much my life has changed as well. 

With the memories comes new insights as I see the past informing the future. I see the past, even the painful parts, as necessary stepping stones to this new year. 

10 years of growth. 

It’s important to see and know and grow from the past. And as I clear the surfaces of my home, I see the changes of the last decade all around me. 

Two children living at home moved through college graduations, master’s degrees and doctorates. They decorated and set up their own places. They had their own children. 

My husband moved into a new job he loves and so did I. From difficulty, success emerged for both us. We are healthy and happy and grateful people, parents and grandparents. Very grateful. 

Wishes and Dreams for the new year. 

I see that 10 years ago, my New Year’s wish was to take clay classes. I wanted to learn to throw my own cups, bowls and vases. I wanted to use my kiln and wheel in my own studio and, hopefully, produce some new work to use and sell. 

I took those classes, made that work and sold it too. I’ve been in open studio tours, shows and galleries. Some surprisingly good experiences and some not. But that’s what life is really, a series of experiences that help you savor all the flavors sweet, spicy and sour. 

As I redecorate and refresh for the New Year with white pillows, candles and art, I wish and hope and dream. 

May this year bring new opportunities for growth in life and work and family. 
May this year bring new ideas, creative projects and opportunities. 

May this year’s word, ‘act’, help me to reach beyond my past into a better future.  

Sunday, January 5, 2020

2020 Word of the Year: Act

Three simple letters. A small word but one with, perhaps, the biggest potential of all. This simple, small word is my 2019 word of the year. I’ll admit I’m a bit intimidated by it. And for that simple, small reason it may be the most important word of the year I’ve ever had. 

As a writer, I love words. I love the way they move me when I read and when I write. The biggest reason I write this blog is because I love sharing words and thoughts and inspirations with others. 

 As an artist, I use words to describe my art, its origins, intentions and features to art galleries, art shows, art buyers and art sites online. I love the creativity of communication whether through color, texture, sculpture or words. Maybe that’s why in the last few years my words have literally been part of the design of my bowls, vases and masks. 

Simply: I love how words create pictures in our minds. And pictures create words.

Act: to do something.

The example from the dictionary: “they urged Washington to act”

Well, isn’t that a timely and interesting definition. If there is one thing I definitely want to see it’s our elected officials to act to impeach Trump. There is plenty of evidence of wrong doing, abuse of power and danger to our country here. 

The way could not be clearer. It is time to act. 

Act: a pretense.

Dictionary example: “she was putting on an act and laughing a lot”

I know and you know, we have all put on an act in our lives. Especially as a women, I was taught to put on an act. Act like a lady. Act like a good girl. Act pretty. Act happy. Act like your mother or father or employer or teacher expects you to act. 

And I’ll admit I’ve always had trouble and gotten into trouble because my ‘acting’ isn’t good enough. It’s always been hard for me to act happy when I’m sad. Fine when I’m mad. Or act like I like someone who is despicable, mean, dishonest or egotistic. 

So this year, maybe it’s time to uncloak myself from all those acting directions. Maybe it’s time I acted, well, like me. In the moment. No shame. No game. 

Act: a thing done, a deed. 

Dictionary example: “a criminal act” or maybe, “a creative act”

We all know and see and hear a constant stream of criminal acts all around us everyday. But I want to act towards change. I want to see more worth, help, honor and safety in this world. 

I’ve always picked words or rather, had them pick me, as a way to lighten and inspire me. This year’s word is definitely much stronger. While it feels heavier, I still see it as a way to enlighten my path. Inspire me forward. And create more work.

I want my creative acts inside the studio and out to lift up someone’s day. Inspire better thoughts. Bring more love and peace and light into daily life. 

In this new year and new decade: it’s time for me to act.