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.
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.
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?