Saturday, November 30, 2013
I wanted to make some wall hearts as Christmas gifts for my siblings. So, on "Small Business Saturday", my very small business cranked into gear. I'm so thankful for my brother and my two sisters. They have always been my best friends through thick and thin. As the youngest in our family, I've always looked up to them and admired all that they do.
Friday, November 29, 2013
Political ranting. Why do people subject others to it? Why does it have to ruin all other conversations? Why do the people who rant, have no ability to read the facial cues of others? I was told, on the drive to Thanksgiving dinner, that there is going to be a revolution. I delicately changed the subject. I was told again about the revolution. Apparently, people with health insurance are going to lead it. Well, I have health insurance, and no one sent me a memo about the revolution. Also, I'm kinda too tired. Maybe I have iron poor blood, despite my health insurance.
I have decided that people, in general, need to read more books. This would enable more interesting, less rant-like conversation. People need to stop listening to radio and television diatribes. How about less opinion and more fact? Huh, how about it?
We read a book about Wilma Rudolph in my class last month. Now there's someone to talk about. How about being learned, instead of just being alarmist? When we parrot back the opinions of others, instead of thinking for ourselves, we become irritating to all those around us.
Thank you for reading my rant about ranting.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
|Mom, Jana, Liz and Brad|
There are such mixed feelings this Thanksgiving holiday. Our family is so lucky to have our mom return to us. She was so near death. I actually left the hospital late one afternoon, and sobbed through my walk to the parking lot, thinking that it was the last time that I would ever see her. After the work of many fine people at El Camino Hospital, and at her rehabilitation center, she went from being bedridden, to being wheelchair bound, to now moving about with a walker. Watching this progression has been nothing short of miraculous. It is through grace, and through her own iron will.
The greatest gift, has been the opportunity to see the deep love that my parents have for each other. It was sometimes hard to see that growing up in our home. My dad chose a work path that lead him to be away from home much of the time. He was always traveling to Europe and Asia for his company. My mom seemed extremely unhappy to be a single parent, raising four children. During my mom's illness, watching my parents treat each other tenderly was unusual and touching.
All of this wonder is contrasted with the death of William's mom. William was a student in my class last year. Like my mom, his mother suffered from leukemia for a couple of years. William would come in and eat lunch on Fridays, with my sister and I, in the hope of finding some answers about leukemia. He even invited his mother and little sister to join us for lunch one Friday, when she was home from the hospital. I watched as he daily composed heartfelt binder paper letters to God. He started wearing a rosary necklace. He stopped playing at recess, and became an extremely sober person. When his notebook piled up with letters to God, I went out and bought him a special box in which to store them. The letters were so heartfelt, so sacred.
With his mother's death, must come the death of his faith. How could his earnest prayers not work? At the start of this school year, he showed me a photo of his mom in her hospital bed. She looked so frail and weak. I know that look, it was the look that my mom shared back in October. A person sitting in the palm of God's hand. Could William possibly see it, too?
Now that she's gone, he doesn't want to talk about it. I will bide my time, because I know that one day, he will open up. It may take a while, but I know that we'll eventually talk.
I am grateful for my mom's life. And, I am grateful for a job where I can possibly be an instrument to make someone's burden a bit easier.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
|Washing out the plate molds with the garden hose...|
At the end of December, I'm going to be in a show at the Pajaro Valley Arts Council Gallery. It is a fundraiser for the gallery. Last year, while in the same show, I had good luck selling some work. Hopefully, my new work will move this year. Today, I put together some wall pieces. Hopefully, they will provide a strong backdrop for my shrines and plates.
|The wall heart backing pieces...|
|Drying in the kitchen...|
|Second heart on the counter...|
Monday, November 25, 2013
This morning I used my favorite temperamental tool to add a bit of color to these wall hearts. First, I mixed up some brick red, and some yellow ochre underglaze. These were thinned down with water. Next, I took the pieces outside and sprayed them with the atomizer. When I was done with both pieces, I felt like my cheeks would explode! Now, they're set to dry in the garage. Hopefully, the color will provide a nice base for further glaze finishes.
Saturday, November 23, 2013
Today I began my vacation by selecting some materials for my "this year's basket". We make baskets in my class, and I create a new basket every year. This time, I found some deep, dark eggplant colored string. I can't wait to get started! There was also a good assortment of supplies to start all 35 of the student baskets that I need to begin, as well.
In addition, I started to attack the massive pile of plates that I made a few weeks ago. They've been bisque fired, and are ready to have some color and pattern added. Looking forward to filling the kiln soon!
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Last night, while driving home from the rehabilitation center to visit my mom, I reached my freeway exit, and the ramp was closed. It forced me to take a long, circuitous detour through my town. I was completely dumbfounded. My city is fairly small, yet these were streets that I didn't even know existed. It was exciting and unusual. It was an out of the ordinary experience.
Sometimes I feel like I'm a major procrastinator. I let many things interrupt the flow of my work as an artist. Yet, I've started thinking that these things maybe don't simply keep me from my work, they are actual contributors to my art. Here are some examples of things that "interfere":
1. Day Job: I spend hours preparing for each week's lessons. There is also a huge emotional investment, too. The question is always, how do I help this young person find out what he/she needs to know about himself/herself? Multiply that by 30 children each year, and it's no easy task. But, working with children has endless rewards. My art work is free and playful because of the time that I spend around kids. Their humor, enthusiasm, and intrepidness rubs off on me at every turn. They suck the energy out of you, but they are the very reason that you have energy at all in the first place.
2. Reading: I spend a great deal of time reading novels and such. But, I feel that this prepares my brain for creative endeavors. At least I hope it does.
3. Relationships: My mom and I talked about how sometimes, in our family, we are neglectful with one another. We let other priorities get in the way. I have so many New Year's resolutions about being more present and thoughtful towards friends and family. It seems like each year, these resolutions fail. But, where would my art work be without the connections of friends and family? The answer is nowhere. Relationships and connections sustain us.
4. Television: I refuse to have cable. As a child, I was enslaved to our television. I am a visual person, and so movies and television really appeal to me. Limiting this is good for me. That being said, every now and again, it's necessary to watch every Cary Grant movie ever made.
5. Other Projects: Sometimes other activities and projects get in the way of projects that I really should be completing. This can be a bad thing. But, I try to keep in mind, that I always learn a new skill set with each project. And, there is constant refinement of craftsmanship with each project, no matter what it may be. I'll try to remember to keep this in mind when I am starting baskets, firing student ceramics, or threading weaving looms for my students…
6. Chores: Living alone in an old house with a middling sized yard is a constant challenge. It's both a time suck, and a money pit. A few years ago, I gave up on my own repairs. Now, I'm saving for large scale repairs, such as a new kitchen and bathroom floor! Soon, it will be time to paint the bathroom, yet again. Constantly maintaining my home takes up a great deal of time, but it helps to give me an art home base. My house is a happy place, where I feel safe, and relaxed. It is a place where creativity can be explored, and where it can flourish.
Monday, November 11, 2013
|The back of one wall heart...|
Today was a day to get back into the thick of things. I decided to make a couple of wall hearts. I used Navajo Wheel Clay for the bodies of the hearts. Then, in the very back of the clay storage cupboard, I found a quarter bag of perfectly ancient Hawaiian Red Clay. It was so hard, that it was perfect for making flowers. It looked like I was rolling out really hard fudge.
Hopefully, these two pieces will survive. They are covered with plastic and set to dry S-L-O-W-L-Y…
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
|Marked and marked again...|
Today I took some time off to relax after school. It feels like there's no time to stop and think or reflect anymore. Report cards, meetings, visits to the rehabilitation center, commuting, paper grading, and more… So, it was off to our beach, for a little rest and relaxation. I put in some good think time about my mom's dramatic life "do over", and my school woes. There was also time to worry a bit about the next clay endeavors. All in all, a very satisfying afternoon…
The beauty of Rio del Mar, is that it's never the same beach twice. Sometimes the tide is high, sometimes it's low. There are always different animals on each visit. Today was "Pelican Day". There were huge numbers of them flying and diving. Usually, they are further south, down near Moss Landing. It was a treat to see them gliding in formation above the waves.
|Towards the pier...|
|Me and my shadow...|
|I'm not speaking to you...|
|Various prints and divots...|
|My new nom de plume...|
|The babies look like pterodactyls...|
|Having some "me time"...|
Saturday, November 2, 2013
|Where we left off...|
I've had a sore throat off and on, so today I didn't want to visit my mom at her rehabilitation facility. Instead, I worked out in the shed. It was a relief, after a tough week at school, to finally pop open a bag of clay, and to make a few things. Yesterday was Dia de Los Muertos, so I was taking some time to reflect on my grandma. I have a picture of her in my shed. It was taken either at her wedding, or right before. I wish that I could see her again and hear her laugh. She laughed constantly, chuckled, really.
Today's tally of work included about a dozen plates, and a couple of hamburgers. Open Studios cleaned out my plates and my hamburgers. Hoping to get more work done next weekend, since we have a Monday off from school.
Alberta in the shed...
|Passel of plates...|
|Aldair tea mug...|