A Special October

The water's edge in Bromma, Sweden 

The water's edge in Bromma, Sweden 

How are you, friends?  Opening up to new energy? Calming and releasing old stories?   

The year is entering its final sixty days - hard to even imagine.  The days are shorter, the shadows longer.  The air is crisp and the leaves are whirling in their final descent to creating next spring's fertile ground for new seedlings.  

It has been an intensely emotional month for us on so many fronts.  So many things have happened, and this weekend I'm taking time to simply put all of the impressions and emotions into a place of calm and rest.  

I  traveled to the south of Europe, visiting Italy.  The vendemmia or harvest of the grapes in Serralunga d'Alba was extraordinary this year and we walked for miles, tasting the sweet nectar of the prized Nebbiolo, absorbing the last truly warm rays of the season, allowing ourselves to be caressed by the beauty and magic that only the bel paese can offer. 

I traveled to the north of Europe, visiting Sweden.  The hint of winter was not far away, although it was mild and sunny and beautiful.  We spent a few precious days in the company of close friends, trading stories and eating beautiful food on white table cloths lit with tea lights in Orreforrs crystal candle holders - as beautiful and as cozy as you might imagine.  

Between those two visits to the south and to the north, we lost a most precious family member.  My mother in law, Ingeborg Baur, transitioned in peace at the wonderful age of 95 years old.  She had been struggling for months and although we will miss her beauty, her tenacity, and her warmth,  we are grateful for the amazing years we had with her and know that she is far better off. We feel her love every moment. On the morning she left this earth plane, I was standing by the window in my dining room thinking about her when a small yellow bird appeared and landed on the sill.  We looked straight at each other, and then she turned and flew away.  Inge's spirit is free now, and it's exactly as it should be.

Her love makes me a better person.  I will carry her with me all the days of this life and beyond. 

Through all this, I have felt compelled to create. First of all, I am taking on the Diva of ALL Divas - porcelain clay.  I have to admit, this has never been my favorite material to work with but I am determined to see what kind of role it will play in my creative life.  I have started making some organic platters, and a few have just come through the bisque firing process.  Although they will need their glaze firing, I find them very interesting.  I am using the technique of stamping the clay with textured fabric.  

One fabric in particular is close to my heart.  My father, after returning from World War Two, took a job in Brazil laying electrical lines.  From there he brought back for my mother (who had been waiting forever for him to come and marry her) a group of lace table linens.  I used those table linens at my B&B - the first person to actually use them - and decided to try making a free-form platter out of imprinted clay.  Here it is so far, after the bisque firing but before the final firing: 

The next platter is simply a piece of ancient burlap I found in the attic of the house we are living in now.  I like the thought that the burlap comes from one of the farming families who lived here at one time, therefore giving continuum and depth to the design. 

I am not settled on how I am going to glaze them yet.  

I find myself wanting to add layers of history and meaning to creative projects such as these and am pushing hard out of my comfort zone to see where this all takes my art.  

I want to create in that tangential space where meaning and substance connects to personal style and design.  And I have made a commitment to myself that I will exhibit the results of this process at some point during 2016.  This involves not only planning, but my stepping out into the public arena in this new place that I live and introducing my work.  That scares the living crap out of me but it is what I need to do to move forward with my art.   

 I am so intrigued by this concept:  that personal spiritual growth is enhanced by creating beauty, and that beauty is created through spiritual growth.  

So now it it is about taking in all of the impressions and deeper meanings of a very complex and emotion filled month and allowing the spirit to heal.

And it seems there is no better time to do that than at the end of the year, when the days are shorter and the shadows are longer. 

Be well my friends.  Let me hear how it is for you.  

Darkness, Light, Truth and Art

Stoneware bowl, thrown and altered, exterior glazed and interior raw black. 

Stoneware bowl, thrown and altered, exterior glazed and interior raw black. 

These days I find myself worrying less about creating things to please others, and thinking more about creating things that express my point of view now. 

Stoneware bowl, thrown and altered, interior glazed and exterior raw black. 

Stoneware bowl, thrown and altered, interior glazed and exterior raw black. 

Exploring creativity in this way enables me to work more freely, unaffected by anything more than my own desire to move forward with my own process.  

What this requires is honesty.  Honesty with myself.  And digging deep into a place where technical understanding, artistic ability and creativity join to produce the best of what I am able to produce.  

But more than that, it is about the work.  I am feeling my way through this stage with curiosity and a good deal of trepidation.  

Because everything about the creative process and about growth and about facing who you really are and not being afraid to stand up and be that person is full of vulnerability and trepidation, isn't it?   

Stoneware vases, burnished and glazed 

Stoneware vases, burnished and glazed 

 

Creativity is enhanced by vulnerability.  Vulnerability comes from understanding one's own authenticity and living it as fully as possible.  Authenticity comes at a price - and that price usually involves, in one way or the other, living - and feeling - the way through darkness. 

There is nothing that darkness does better than clarify things.  The pinpoints of light that present themselves in our darkest moments are the lights along our path to authenticity. 

So when you fall, and when you are down, and when you think you might not be able to get up again, realize that the earth around your poor and tired self is the most fertile place you can be. 

When you are down on that ground, the truth presents itself to you.  The cold, hard ground is not a place you can run from - not when you've exhausted all of your escape routes.  It is there that you will learn how critical it is not to stand up and move on, but to look up and to see.  

To see exactly where you are.

And to see exactly why you are there and how you came to this point. 

To see truth and to see that if you can forgive yourself for everything that got you there, the tiny points of life that you know are all around you in that darkness will get brighter, will get stronger. 

You will be able to understand better what you need to do to move forward.  

And then, just then, when you forgive yourself, you can take those baby steps to move yourself in the direction of those points of light. 

And you can start creating what you were meant to create and you can stop pushing to do things that will make everyone around you happy except you.

Simple place setting, glazed and burnished

Simple place setting, glazed and burnished


This is what this new art is about for me. 

It is about finding a way out of darkness, about forgiveness, and about learning to create straight from the heart.  

This is resilience at its most personal and vulnerable place.

You can find pieces from my new collection in my on line shop.