Tuesday, September 28, 2021

More digging. More discovery.


In the last month, I’ve been digging deep. I could blame it on covid or the flood in my kitchen. I see it’s a combination of both that’s sent me into the dark, dusty corners of every closet and drawer in my home. 

First, I excavated a 4 drawer file cabinet, a smaller file cabinet and some shelves in my studio. I wrote about it hopefully, thinking I had cleared enough of the old to start anew. Alas, I was just beginning the dig. 

Everything and the kitchen sink. 

One day as I was doing the dishes in the laundry room(our current kitchen), I looked up and wondered. What was in all those cupboards? Yup, time for another dig. From there the dig site expanded to the pantry, kitchen cupboards, desk drawers and shelves and the closet under the stairs. 

From used up candles, batteries and Christmas light bulbs to flip phones, cds and a telephone book, yes many pieces of past lives were uncovered. I found tooth fairy treasures, prom pictures and a note my dear Gram sent to me when I was in college with a box of chocolate chip cookies. Please note: no crumbs were found. 

Piles grew. Somethings went to Goodwill. Some were given away. Some were recycled. And some like report cards, test scores and prom pictures went back into the hands of my children, now grown. Colorfully crayoned, handmade Mother’s Day cards and notes were sweetly tucked away again. 

Deep discovery. 

In the cupboard under the stairs, I found rows of paintings. Oil on canvas. Watercolor landscapes. Framed acrylics. And pastel portraits of my children. All packed away and forgotten. 

Once upon a time, I spent time painting on canvas or paper, drawing in pastel, using pen and ink over watercolors. None were signed or dated. I didn’t think about it at the time, I just did it. Then I put them in the closet. And forgot them. Completely.  

Creative digging. 

Ever since the flood in my kitchen, I’ve been unable to throw, roll, underglaze or glaze. Part of my damaged kitchen cabinets were pushed up against my kiln, so I can’t use it. And I see now, all that creative energy went amuck mucking out drawers, shelves and closets. 

Now, I don’t regret it. Clearing out is always refreshing. And the dig revealed sweet family treasures from the past. But the biggest discovery for me, was not just the old art I’d done, but the fact that I’ve always found a way to make art. Whether I had minutes, hours or days, with only scraps of paper, cloth, canvas, or clay, I found a way. 

So even if I can’t do clay right now, that’s all right. All I have to do is follow the dotted lines or colorful drips wherever they lead me. Who knows what I might dig up and discover?

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Take a breath


Where are you today? What are you thinking or feeling or looking at? 

Are you tired or rested? Is your mind blissfully wandering or skittering here and there?

I used to meditate. Ok, not very well, but I did it anyway. It helped slow down my mental gymnastics but it didn’t stop them. I thought that meant I’d failed and after a while I gave it up and moved on. I find yoga helps me more because focusing on the physical movement redirects my monkey mind. It gives it something ‘to do’. 

I’ve written many blogs about my war with ‘doing’ vs ‘being’. I know I’m not alone and that is a comfort. But I think what I really need to do is end the war. 

Waving my white flag. 

More than a year of covid is getting on all our nerves. Add scared parents and grandparents seeing their sweet little ones head off to school without vaccinations. It’s enough. No, it’s more than enough. Right?

We all need a break right now. And I don’t mean a vacation, which for some is helpful, but for me that would only add more to my mental and emotional stew. What I really need, and maybe you do too, is a rest. Waving a white flag in the face of fear. 


Looking out at today’s beautiful, blue sky I picture a cozy, quiet hammock underneath a huge oak tree where I can lay back my head, look through the gently swaying leaves. Still green against a blue sky, I watch the leaf patterns change as the air moves. 

I breathe in the sweetness. 

I hear a caw.  

I feel supported. 


Although there is still so much swirling in the heads and minds of the world. Mine and yours. 

Right now, I am here. 

Doing the best I can. Maybe doing the only thing I can right now.  

Taking a breath.  

Sunday, September 5, 2021

“I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils”


This quote always comes to me this time of year. It’s from the movie, “You’ve Got Mail” written by Nora Ephron. The message is delivered by email from Joe Fox, played by Tom Hanks to Kathleen Kelley, played by Meg Ryan. 

It makes me smile and remember some simple joys of childhood: going back to school shopping. It means getting a new box of crayons, pencils, a pencil box and new lunch box. I wore a uniform, so I didn’t get pretty new clothes. Just a few new white blouses and a pair of regulation dark shoes. 

But I loved my colorful new crayons. Sometimes, I got colored pencils, too. Which is why, even now with my children all grown, I can’t help buying new school supplies. 

Notebooks and folders and pens, oh my. 

Really, I was just going to get a refill for my journal. But then, the 24 pack of multi-colored sharpies was on sale. 

And then, there were pocket folders with black and white flowers. And, of course, I needed a new notebook to keep track of our home reconstruction. 

And then, well there was a combo sketch and notebook which is just perfect for putting all the kitchen details in and design ideas. 

Well, then, how could I leave this wonderful black and white folio file? Perfect for all the insurance, contractor and subs information. Right?

Back to School.  

I’m so encouraged by my successful first outside sale two weeks ago. I look forward to finding more ways to get my ceramics out there to new people. But the hard reality is, with all the house reconstruction due to happen, I won’t be able to create new work in my studio for a while.  

So I may have to learn to create in different ways. The first step is already happening: letting go of the old. Old files, dried up supplies, unfinished and broken pieces. Saving and rediscovering notes, stories and sculptures that need a little love and attention. 

I may not be school age anymore, but that doesn’t mean I stop learning. One thing I learned this week from my ‘end of the school year’ type of purge is to see the room I have for the new. 

Colors and design ideas for my 20+ year old home. 

Better ways to save things I love. Empty shelves waiting to be filled with new creations.

And, yes, maybe a bouquet of newly sharpened (colored) pencils.