For my birthday this year, my mom sent me a subscription to Martha Stewart Living. Each month features (among other things) a calender of Martha’s plans for that month. Let me tell you what Martha Stewart did today. Today, January 30th, Martha “Begun forcing more paperwhite and hyacinth bulbs for displays”. How nice. And me? What was on my calender today?
I cleaned the bathroom.
I love the irony of looking at Martha’s schedule and kind of laughing that she can plan a whole day to “Take Down the Christmas Tree” (January 2nd), or “Bring a bowl of fresh eggs to the office” (January 9th). Really, Martha? That’s all you’re doing, all day?
I think she forgot to “clip coupons and go grocery shopping” this month, cause I didn’t see it in her plans.
Sometimes I wish I could have a team of experts to carry out my creative wishes just like Martha. She comes up with an idea and poof, they carry it out. In some ways, I think that is brilliant. She’s the classy version of Thomas Kinkade (Brandon and have chatted about how it is that Kinkade gets such a bad wrap by the art community, but Martha’s empire seems to slide by under the radar. I think it’s kinda like how people who hate Walmart shop at Target, when really there isn’t that much difference between the principle of the two stores). Sometimes I think it would be nice to pass off my ideas to a team of experts and have them build the rough drafts for me. I would design my own line of bookbinding papers, functional dinner wear, sculptures, textiles, etc, etc….But then again, I’m so in love with the trail and error, the success and failure, the adrenaline that comes from little break throughs and pushing past the limits that I suppose art wouldn’t be any fun if it was delegated to other people. If art could be totally delegated it would be about managing people instead of making art, and I’d much rather make art than tell other people what to do.
Tomorrow Martha plans to “clean and organize the potting shed”. I think I will clean and organize my little potting table. Potting means two different things to us, but this might be the closest my schedule aligns to Martha’s for decades to come.
(And yes, I did make it into the studio tonight. 30 minutes. There. I have accounted for my clay time!)
Be my guest to take that title as a punn. Just thought I’d post a picture to show the rock forms I was talking about in the last post.
I have discovered the ap for WordPress, which means it is now 100% easier to upload pictures. Hooray !
For me, the whole idea of “arriving” is kinda silly. But I would say that if I did have to pick a time when I felt like I was beginning to really understand what I was doing with clay, or perhaps gain some small form of mastery over my skills, it wasn’t really getting into a certain show or making a certain piece. I felt like I had “arrived” in some sense of the word when I realized I could work in clay without making a mess. As a beginning pottery student, I often felt that the more clay I had on my clothes, the more “hard core” I was. But as I watched guest artist after guest artists, I realized that the true clay artists worked without ever seeming to get dirty. This boggled my mind when I was 20 and proved to be an impossible achievement until the age of about 25.
Working in a studio in my bedroom has given me the challenge of working as clean as possible. I sleep about 3 feet from my workspace. Ha, at least ‘sleeping in the studio’ is a lot better now that it doesn’t mean sleeping on some sagging, dusty sofa in B-66. And now that my life has changed and my studio time is nap time, I have to be ready to hop up at a moments notice to pick up a crying baby. The result? Working cleaner than I ever imagined possible.
Additionally, as I’ve been continuing to make my little rocks (morphed to stacking rocks from stacking mom and baby bird like things), I’ve been trying to think about why I enjoyed natural childbirth so much. I can’t help but think it is linked to why I love clay. I love process oriented experiences. Working in ceramics gives one plenty of opportunity to experience pain and grueling hard work (I specifically think of chiseling shelves, making wadding, loading the soda kiln and bricking up the door in 25 degree weather in the dark), with the promise of success and satisfaction at the end of the labor. I guess clay has taught me that after the hard parts come the blissful parts. I didn’t feel afraid of the pain in child brith. I just accepted it as part of a beautiful process and tried to focus on how powerful my body was.
Okay, okay. I’ll stop with childbirth and bring up something more universal. Let’s talk about sacrifice in general. I wonder if we focus so much on sacrifice as self-deprivation that we forget that sacrifice has a purpose. Sacrifice is about giving up something good for something BETTER.
Here is a little snapshot of the forms I just started working on. I am a bit obsessed with birth at the moment, having just given birth to our baby girl 5 months ago. I remember watching EVERY pregnant woman in my college clay studio go through a phase where they had to make art about uteruses or childbirth, and I swore I would never do it. Well, so far parenthood has been all about things I swore I would never do, so what the heck, right? Anyway, these are evolving into some smoother, closed forms that resemble rocks a little more. Brandon was teasing me that I’m falling pray to “put a bird on it” (Portlandia reference for any fans out there). They do look a bit like birds, I will admit. Everyone needs a starting point, though, and this is mine. Anyway, time to work–she’s asleep. 🙂
B and I finally finished the set up of our duo studio. We each have space now to create anything we can think of…well, more like anything that will fit on the little tables we each have. 🙂 It’s been months since I’ve been making things, so I’m starting with some ‘warm up’ pinch pot type vessels. I made a few while I was student teaching about a year ago, but never got to expand the ideas I had because I was trying to focus on my BFA final show. I figured that idea would be a good place to start.
Noah Coleman send me an email about this show that I’m thinking about entering. Deadline is Feb 1st, so I don’t think I’ll be able to make something new, but I do have a few cups lying around here and there (and in a number of large bins in the closet) that I might be able to enter.
Other than that, I’m planning on applying to a show in Philadelphia. I think it’s national, so I might not have that great of a chance to get in, but why not, hey? Looks like they take a lot of new and emerging artist each year, so I figure I’ll try my luck.
I want to make things out of clay. It’s pretty simple, really. I just want to make things in my little studio, enter them into shows, sell them, make the world a better place through form, function, beauty.
I decided the best way to start that would be to make myself accountable…so here I am. A little ol’ blog for a woman who recently graduated college, moved cross country, had a baby, and became a stay-at-home mom.
So here goes nothing.
I hope someone reads this.