I was in my pottery studio all morning finishing up some bowls and plates that I had started during the week. Now I'm choosing glazes that I'll need to mix. Focus has found me, or I've found it. Finding the beauty in winter's peace and working with it is such a change for me. Six winters of restoration construction, unreasonable deadlines and harsh weather coupled with busy seasons have worn down my resistance. Which is why we decided that this winter, there would be no construction. There would only be peace and quiet, regardless of the amount of snow or fog or rain in the forecast. Even harsh weather like extreme fog can be beautiful if taken in the right context and without judgement. I took the picture to the left yesterday from the highest point on our hill. Although being caught from down below is grey and damp, to see fog from this perspective is beyond magical.
I've cleared out a space in our B&B kitchen and put down my lambswool yoga mat directly in front of the wood burning stove. Since we really use this kitchen in the season, I have absolute privacy there during the winter. This gives me a space to think, to pray and to clear paths to creativity.
One of the things that I have been contemplating is beauty and our surroundings. Living with so much construction and having things be so torn apart every spring only to rush around for three weeks before the start of the season to try to make things as beautiful as possible before the guests arrive had left me in a difficult, unhappy place. I can see, now that I have slowed down, that I want to absorb more of the beauty that inherently surrounds me instead of constantly focusing on what has to be done.
Appreciate what is because what is is fleeting and won't always be as it is.
Not having construction going on here has let me take the few fog-free days we have had and get into the gardens to work. I cannot do gardening when there is construction going on here. The noise and the trucks and the cement make me fret too much. I have not enjoyed winter gardening here since 2004, and this year I can. Mild days, soft earth, pruning and cutting back. It gets my body moving. It feels so good.
Connect with nature because it's where we all come from and where we're all going.
I've decided on a definitive line of bowls and plates that I want to make. This is a huge step forward for me. All the winter construction meant interruptions in my ceramic work that took a huge toll on the quantity - and quality - that I was able to produce. I would see beautiful pottery on line and would feel insecure instead of inspired. I couldn't fulfill my own creative goals because there was too much going on that needed my attention in every direction. Lots of starting new things and not following through with a complete concept.
Pottery work takes unbroken concentration, over days. Right now I know that I can do work today, and tomorrow I will be able to go in and complete what I started. It's a huge gift and just having these days has **poof** shown me the pots I want to be making. It just became crystal clear to me. All of the false starts of the last years are behind me. I'm finding my creative style as a potter and am working to hone it.
Give yourself the time and space to create. Don't compare yourself to others, or even your past self.
Our property is not completely finished. One of the outbuildings needs a new roof and internal restoration. It will need to be finished at some point in the future. But taking this time off for ourselves was the best thing we could have done. It's opened up new channels of thinking, of creativity and of appreciation. And those things impress me as being very significant and worthwhile.