Sunday, May 30, 2021

Merry Making Again

What do I love most, other than my husband and family, of course? I love making. There is just nothing like putting my mind and heart and hands to work creating something new. And I know, I’m very lucky to find and do work that allows me to use a wide range of skills. 

For the last few months, I’ve worked finishing work, glazing, firing, sanding and cleaning. I’ve worked hard rebuilding my online platforms, editing copy, taking pictures, adding hashtags. Then there was marketing on social media, which can be overwhelming to me. Even as I love seeing, reading and even creating posts for others, doing it for myself is hard work. 

Taking a studio retreat. 

This week, I went back to work in the studio. I opened a new bag of clay and rolled out huge slabs. I wedged and slapped and rolled some more. I cut out new shapes. Stamped new words and hearts and spirals and suns. 

I even made a tile for my grandson, Cieran. When he comes over this week, I’ll help him put his little handprints into the soft clay to make a belated Mother’s Day present for his mom. Like the one I did with his cousin, Meyer, for my son.

Grateful. I’m so grateful. 

All of my loved ones are vaccinated. All of us are well. All of us are stepping our way back out into this covid world. I’d say “post-covid” but we all know, covid is always going to be part of our world now.

I’ve worked very hard to be strong and fight it but it’s time for acceptance. To feel the tears and maybe even, the fears we’ve held back to be strong for others. I’ve felt it all flowing through me this week. I’ve noticed my shoulders lowering and my jaw loosening. 

And I’m so grateful for the love and support of my family, friends and my art customers, in person and virtual on Etsy or Ceramics Showcase. 

Making always makes me better. 

I’ll admit, I felt a little off my studio game at first. And I was surprised when I realized it’s been a few months since I’ve put my hands in new clay. So much of this year is a blur, isn’t it?

So I’ll ask a question: what can you make to make you feel better? 

Because it’s time for us all, to begin again. 

Friday, May 21, 2021

Celebrate Health, Sunshine and Blooming


This week, I took my daughter to get her second covid shot at the convention center. I feel like a pro since I’ve been there 4 times now for myself and family members. And, really it’s amazing, so well organized from the parking to the waiting area. Everyone is friendly, helpful and supportive. I had to laugh though, when my daughter compared it to her many visits to Disneyland in California. 

I agree. There are bright color coded signs everywhere. Parking lot staff with lighted wands. Color coded roped off walkways, maze like waiting lines. Smiling, colorfully uniformed people directing you to your next stop to get your vaccine. Even after your shot, there are smiling people to give you bottles of water, a chair and a countdown clock to time your after-shot wait.

On Tuesday, we were there when cheers went up to celebrate the 500,000th covid vaccination. Wow, 1/2 million people are protected. Now something healthy to celebrate!

Sunshine in my heart and soul. 

Oregon isn’t known for its sunshine. So when I see it, my heart lifts and I get busy. It’s time to clean the patio. Scrub the furniture and grill. Empty out the old soil, fill the pots with plants and hang new flowering baskets. 

This weekend, it’s time to plant the veggies and replant some strawberry plants. Get out the bird netting to keep the jays from eating all the blueberries. And turn on the lily fountain to give the hummingbirds water to drink.  

Art, adhesives, butterflies and bubble wrap. 

This week in the studio, it was time to finish the butterflies. I made metal antennas for all of them and added copper tubes to the bigger ones. Glue is not my favorite ‘art’ medium but it is a necessary one. And there are so many different kinds of glues for so many different surface treatments. I’m lucky I have an in-house ‘glue guru’, my husband to help me figure out the best adhesive for the job. 

I have a new job: shipping clerk. Yup, never saw this coming, right? But with online site sales and virtual shows, I’m now a website builder, online marketer, virtual sales cashier and in-house shipping clerk. I never trained for any of these jobs, but thanks to other artists, friends and family, I’m learning it all. 

And I’m grateful. After a year of living under a covid cloud, finally, I feel the sun coming out. Just like butterflies bursting from their cocoons, it’s time to spread my wings. 

Inside and outside life is blooming. 

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Clearing and Opening Up

Creating creates beauty and, sometimes chaos. But always, it creates mess. Not just the daily studio cleanup kind of messes, where brushes need washing, wedging boards need scraping and the floor around the kiln needs sweeping before another firing. 

I’m talking about clearing out the deep mess that gets pushed into the corners and the bottoms of drawers and the back of closet shelves. Not every bag of clay or glaze works. Not every piece created is wonderful, useful or something to sell. And that’s ok. 

It’s all part of the process. 

A year ago, when the pandemic started, I was given a box of free clay. It had been delivered by mistake and the artist offered it for free. I took it gladly. I made a few nice things with it. 

Hungry Caterpillar birthday favors for my grandson’s first birthday. 

And Peace Dove ornaments. 

But in the end, I realized I just didn’t like the smell or texture of clay. I tried to pass it on again but that didn’t work. So I cleared it out and recycled it. Now I have room for new clay and new glaze. 

This clay that I didn’t like, led me to create a few new little things. It led me to a new experiment: little plates.

 I always thought that plates had to be big to be useful. Dinner, dessert, salad plates or platters. I do love design but I also love function. When I made these little plates, I thought they might be good as teabag holders for my teacups.

What a surprise: these little plates can do a lot! They can hold jewelry, keys, charger jacks, paper clips, candies or nuts, a small candle or soap and yes, a teabag. 

Opening up. 

I’ll admit clearing out isn’t fun or colorful or obviously creative. But facing the messes and mishaps help in the end.

Sometimes things need to go to make room and space to create more work. Sometimes it’s a germ of an idea that needs time to sprout into a different form. Sometimes it’s just something to get you to something better.

Most of the time, it’s an opening waiting for you to go through. 

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Creative Resting

 I’ll admit it, I’m not good at taking time off. I know resting and relaxing are important and healthy but sitting around for hours and hours at a time is just impossible for me. But after spending the last three months getting ready for my first virtual Ceramics Showcase, I know I need a few days off. 

The problem for me is how to take time off and not feel I’m falling behind. Because as a self-employed person, there is always something that needs to be done. Some of the things I love to do and some not. Either way, it’s my job to get it done. 

My lists have lists, if you know what I mean. But maybe I could take a few days and make another kind of list. 

So what is resting, relaxing and re-energizing for me right now?

Arranging flowers is one of my favorite things to do and this year, my yard is just bursting with lilacs. I love how they smell, the shades of purple to pink to white. So I spent some lovely hours clipping, selecting vases and arranging them around my house. 

Walking in the woods is a huge retreat for me. Hearing the geese honking. Watching an egret fly. Leaning against my favorite cedar tree. And marveling at a mischievous otter float around the lake on his back. I wish I managed to get a picture of the playful otter, but he was just out of camera range. I think trying to stay out of the way of the angry mama geese on their nests. 

Staring out the window and seeing faces in the trees. Reading a fun novel. It could be a ‘beach’ read, romance, fantasy or historical novel. Right now, I’ll admit to being sucked into the Bridgerton books from the new TV series. 

New colors, brushes and equipment. Oh my!

I couldn’t help myself. New colors of underglazes looked so pretty. A few new goat hair brushes. And kiln stilts that I just needed to glaze my new butterflies. 

I can’t wait to try them all. I see new little heart magnets in every hue. Newly glazed butterflies shining in the sun in pretty flowerpots. 

As I sit here on the window seat, looking over the hills with the sun shining, I realize I can be creative and rest at the same time. At least for a few hours anyway.