Long time no see, eh?
My last post in this space was half a year ago, but I stayed productive up until November, when some medical issues finally got the better of me and sent me limping home from the studio. I'm back now, feeling great and the pots are FLYING FROM MY FINGERS LIKE SPARKS.
Okay...so that's not entirely true. It's been slow going. But that's by design. I did a lot of reflecting under the watchful eyes of Mom, friends and family over the holidays. Here's some quick notes on the reflections that came from my time in repair.
Consider the allowances you make and receive.
In life, at work and in clay, we make allowances. For personalities, for behaviors, for actions, for feelings, for practices, for beliefs and sadly, for our own emotional and physical state of being. Sometimes the choice is inconsequential. Other times, the cost is bigger than we anticipated and often at our own expense. We are only as good our intentions and only as memorable as the sum total of our actions. I'd like to live every moment and create with the intention of producing and giving the best of me to the world. If it's anything less than my best...I'd like to have the courage to scrap it and try again.
Be open to love, feedback and new experiences.
I am the most closed open book you'll ever meet. Anyone who knows me well, can attest to this. When I'm struggling, that is when I isolate the most. But...I'm working on that. For the bulk of last year, I struggled physically but kept the bulk of it locked away in my mind, which later rippled over into my emotions and made me a grumpier, less than sunny version of myself. As I drew nearer to the time to take a pause for the cause, I was forced to share with the folks who would most notice my absence. It was during those conversations that I realized just how much I've overlooked the abundance of loving people in my life. During my convalescence, I was surrounded by warm thoughts, care packages, reading assignments (lol), visits and consideration from potter pals/sages/kindred spirits/fairy godmothers/fairy godfathers and friends who reminded me that choosing to suffer in silence is folly. I was scolded, hugged, fussed over, entertained and loved to within an inch of my sanity. And my cup runneth over for it. Now that I'm on the other side of it all, I feel refreshed, renewed and ready to engage the world creatively. With that comes new expression and the desire to share that expression of life in my work.
Slow down, long life.
Upon my return to the studio, my friend Bobby (the self-proclaimed "Grandma Moses of Pottery"), gave me a sound and sticky bit of advice. Slow down. Long Life. She wasn't referring to the speed of the wheel. She was specifically referring to the speed of me. In this world of multi-tasking, we give too much value to the notion of being expeditious. My day job is a demanding one where I'm whirling from one project and deadline to another. Somewhere along the way, I carried that expectation over into every aspect of my life. I'm constantly in a rush to get nowhere. Bobby reminded me to find the "zen" in the art I love so much. To slow down. Appreciate the moment within the moment. To breathe. To think through my thoughts and words and actions and remember that the only fire is the one I've created in my own mind. Every action has a purpose. Make it a meaningful one.
What does that mean for me this year?
Less production style throwing. More patient, critical review of what makes it through the final stages of the process of making pottery. More workshops. More reading. More time with loved ones who center and nurture my spirit. More wine sipping. More laughter. More concerts. More memories. More interaction with the artists who inspire and motivate me. More daydreaming. Less time devoted to the activities, personalities and behaviors that don't bring out the best in me. More time meditating, getting inspired and bringing that inspiration to clay.
I hope you'll come along for the ride.
Big thanks to the cheerleaders who physically rallied me through the last few months of 2015 with laughter and love, particularly: My family (chosen and otherwise), Tracy (my other mom) and Wendell, Susan, Deb, Wes and Frank. Not sure who among you will read this, but I love each and every one of you to pieces.