Sunday, August 16, 2020

Forward into the Past

This week in the studio, I stepped forward into the past. Long before I had my own children, I took care of and taught little children in a local pre-school/daycare. 

I loved setting up the tables every morning with colorful toys, play dough and paints. Making wall art from their art. Setting up learning stations, reading corners, dress up and home areas. One day, I set up a long piece of butcher paper on the school patio with trays of paints and empty thread spools, small balls and sponges for the children to roll, toss, drop and splat with abandon. The mess was all easily sprayed away with the hose. The giggles were priceless. 

Teacher to mother to artist. 

When my own were born, I gave up my job as a creative in advertising to be a creative mom. And had the joy of setting up toys and paints and craypas for my own little children. I volunteered in their classrooms and taught art literacy. 

As their lives moved on, I moved onward too. I took classes and worked in watercolor, pastels, oils, copper and finally came back to clay which I did in high school. 

Around it goes again. 

I am so fortunate to be here for my grown children and their children. I love my Mondays with Meyer and now Cieran gets to come and play, too. I have a trunk of toys, a tiny kitchen, books, a dress up area and, of course, a storage cube filled with kid-friendly art supplies. 

Last week, we honored Eric Carle’s book, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” again. This time, we made individual ornaments using Cieran’s toes for the caterpillar and a beautiful butterfly out of clay. These will all be fired and painted and ready in time for his one year birthday. 

Remembering the joy. 

This is what I so easily forget: the sheer joy of creating. The soft, squishiness of fresh clay. Colors flowing and mixing. Finding a new line. Adding a dot. Pressing a stamp, a piece of lace or hardware to make a new texture. 

Pressing the words into the wings of the new butterfly is a different kind of writing. It’s still a way to hear my soul speak. And especially now, to pass on those messages to my children and my children’s children. And to you, too. 

And hopefully, as we move forward from this time maybe the joys of the past can come with us in a new way.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Moving while Staying in Place

I’m the first to admit, these past five months created many new challenges, difficulties, sorrows and fears. As an artist, I saw my opportunities fall like bricks one by one and the bricks keep falling. As a mother, I worried for my sons, daughter and grandchildren’s health and safety. As a friend, I lost connections when I needed them most. 

There were many times, I felt my heart and soul cringe at the hard shell building around my city and country. Seeing violence and fear shatter so many lives, I found myself building a shell around myself, too. 

Creating from inside helped me out. 

With more inventory than opportunities, my head said it was time to stop making. Stop throwing. Stop building. Stop painting. But my heart cried out louder saying making, throwing, building and painting is your only hope right now. 

Creating is your only move toward light, even if everything you create has to stay home. 

It became a very slow process. I had no normal routine. I didn’t set a schedule and there was no deadline to meet. But I threw small bowls. I built new teapots and painted new birds. 

Moving closer. 

I know I’m lucky in many, many ways. I am healthy. My spouse and children and grandchildren are all fine. Even as they struggle to juggle home, work and babies. They are finding their way in this crazy covid world. 

And they are moving closer to home. This month, after 6 years away, I welcomed my daughter, son-in-law and grand-baby back to Oregon. And my son also moved closer to us. 

Now on Mondays, we have Meyer and Cieran and Colin and Caitlin and Kyle to see. Now we  get to walk with them to the park. Watch them swing. Slide down the slide. All at the same park where my now grown ‘children’ used to play. 

Learning a new pace in the same place. 

This difficult time forced me to break the shell of routine. Work away worry. Discover moving slowly is my new pace. And welcome my family home while staying in place. 

How about you? Is it possible to stand aside from the pain and fear, just a little? To look beyond these five months and see some light, movement, possibilities and maybe, some good?