Archives for posts with tag: art

Typically, when you hear that a potter found a surprise in their kiln, it’s a good thing.  You know, maybe a sweet shino, a luscious crystalline matte, or a blue celedon the color of a tropical beach.  I could wax nostalgic and talk about my first wood kiln opening and the sight inside of such beauty that it moved me to tears….but I’ll save that for another day.

Anyway, when Kath and I discovered this surprise in her kiln, suffice it to say it caused a scream, but NOT of elation:

Yeah.  That’s right.  You are looking at the biggest, nastiest, fuzziest spider I have ever seen (minus a tarantula in Costa Rica).  Isn’t that thing huge??  I spent a good 5 minutes debating what to do with it…seeing as it was already in the kiln, I was tempted to put the lid on and cremate it, but there were still more pots to load into that kiln.  So after a few minutes of debating (and maybe a few clucking noises on behalf of Kath) yours truly cut a piece of cardboard to trap that sucker in the cup and then I took it outside and freed it.  Yes, essentially I carried that thing outside in my hands.

Hopefully the next surprise we get out of the kiln is a good one!



Sometimes the best place to start is the place you left off. I made a few mugs with similar handles a year or two ago, but revisited the forms for the sake of finding a little momentum. This is the start of a ‘dessert service’…it’s like a tea service, but for dessert. I think it will get a little tray to go with it. Can’t you imagine scoops of homemade ice cream, mini brownie a la modes, or servings of fresh fruit salads in these sweet tiny cups?

Something amazing happened this summer. In the backwoods of Arkansas, I discovered that I really do like New Jersey. I’ve spent a lot of time and energy over the past year complaining to my family, friends, and even God about how much I was less than thrilled to be living 3000 miles from the west coast….things are expensive here, I wish we lived closer to family, the winters are cold, the summers are hot, the property taxes are too high to even think about buying a house, etc, etc….
But the more and more I focused on the one thing I thought I needed to be happy (living on the west coast), the more miserable I became. And not only did I become increasingly unhappy, but I blinded myself to actively receiving other blessings that Heavenly Father wanted to give me because I was too preoccupied with what was lacking in my life.  I can see now that what the Lord desires to bless me with is much better than anything I could have dreamed of. I was so silly–I thought i needed one specific thing to be happy when in reality, the Lord had already prepared something 100 times better for me…I feel like I was so busy searching for a lost penny that I didn’t take the time to see I had a winning lottery ticket in my hand.
 I learned a good lesson from my dinner plate dahlia this summer.  It was uprooted a few month ago right before blooming. My landlord mistook the floor for a weed and pulled it out of the ground. When I noticed, I was heart broken. I was pessimistic that it would re-root and bloom after spending day in the dumpster, but with the help and faith of a good neighbor, we replanted the sad looking stem. It took a few days, but eventually the flower thrived and produced half a dozen of the biggest dahlia blooms I’ve ever seen in my life.  Bloom where you’re planted, right?
I think I saw NJ much the way that New Yorkers do…as a big, fat weed. I didn’t want to be associated with any part of it. But with the help of the still, sweet Spirit and some patient friends, I finally feel like I’m seeing this ‘weed’ bloom into a splendid array of experiences, opportunities, and friendships.
I guess now I realize that New Jersey is my home. After all, it is the land of my child’s nativity! And sure, it’s home to crazies like Snooki, the highest percentage of Lyme disease carrying ticks, a huge population of bears, and Chris Christie, but it’s also home to Kath and her generous studio, lightening bugs, the best sweet corn I’ve ever had, and scenery that the Hudson River school painters couldn’t pass up the opportunity to paint.  I’m happy here.

Do you ever have those days where you think, “Dude, if I could just have 15 minutes to _______?” I definitely do. Most days, I just want the 15 minutes to make art.

This post is devoted to ways to find 15 minutes. Please, PLEASE, if you have any more ideas as to how to find 15 minutes, post a comment and share with the rest of us ways we can find more time in our day. Sorry boys, some of these are geared towards the ladies. Here we go:

1) Skip putting on make up
2) Wear your hair in a pony tail
3) Make a quick meal for dinner (or eat left overs…or order in…)
4) If you have a small child, give them a large pot to play with (or some other kitchen utensil…I can usually get 5-10 uninterrupted minutes if I give baby girl a spatula)
5) Facebook Fasting–skip checking Facebook for a day or two.
6) Put dishes directly into the dishwasher all day long, and by the end of the day, you’ll have 15 minutes free since you’re not loading the dishwasher
7) Turn off your cell phone for a few hours (you’re sure to save yourself 15 minutes in there somewhere by not answering a call)

Uh, that’s all I can think of.  That list was a little lame. I need more help brainstorming.

Thank you Google, for helping this post.  Here are a few more links if you are interested in finding more time. They’re all about finding 15 minutes for exercise, but whatever. I’d just my 15 for art. Or sleep. Ha, I guess you know where exercise ranks on my list! (Just kidding…I love a good run or some yoga, but right now, I have higher priorities. LIke….art…and….sleep….)

Anyway, here are the links:

15 Ideas for 15 minutes

15 ideas for 15 minutes for men


So, obviously I kinda took a bit of a break after the show went up.  It’s funny how excited I can get about a show, and then how much I want to swear and curse the whole thing about 24 hours before it happens.  My husband says I thrive on the stress (I totally deny it), but on the inside, I am starting to wonder if he is right.  There is something about the deadline of time and creativity that makes you really, really productive.  Anyway, things came together really well, and by the time time opening started, the show was up, title cards were in place, and my giant vinyl sign was hanging in the breeze outside.  The outcome?  A great opening for a terrific show!!   I’ve included a few pictures for your viewing pleasure. My pieces are the cairns/stacking rocks on the shelf, and the large hanging ‘birth quilt’ of 10 cm circles sewn together. You can also admire the work of Aundrea Frahm (painter), Dorothy Wasserman (b&w photo collage), Laura Reynolds (mixed media collage), and Elizabeth Allen (ceramics…the egg like wall pieces).  If I can ever figure out how to put captions onto the photos, I’ll do it.  I’m still figuring out wordpress.  Oh, and just for the record, I hung a lot of this show with my baby strapped onto my back.  I think I should become an official Beco baby carrier spokesperson.

Sometimes I feel like I’m dangling on the side of a mountain while trying to keep a grip on my baby, husband, life, church responsibilities, art, house cleaning, dinner making, budgeting, etc.  I’m scared when I look down and worry that if I let go of anything, it’s going to bounce and slide down the mountain into oblivion where I’ll never see it again (then again, maybe I do want to see my laundry fall off a cliff….)

So what do I do when I have those days?  I procrastinate whatever I should be doing, and I watch documentaries about Mt. Everest instead.  Small stuff seems small when you’re climbing a mountain.

I wrote down a quote I heard while watching “Everest: Beyond the Limits” (yeah, pretty much obsessed with that show…well, I love it until I’m so disturbed by people having to loose fingers and toes to frost bite that I stop watching it, and then a few months later end up addicted all over again….).  Anyway, Scott Parazinski, a climber who was also an astronaut, commented on how difficult it was to climb the mountain.  “The secret,” he said, “is don’t look past your feet.”

I think that’s my new mantra. I won’t be overwhelmed by the balance of laundry/life/love/and creation.  I’m just going to focus on what I’m doing today, and the rest will take care of itself.  Good advice from a mountain climber, and didn’t Jesus say something like that, too? “Sufficient is the day unto the evil thereof” or something like that?

I have two pieces (almost) ready for the show that is now 4 days away.  I’m trying to bust out one more piece, but it’s not coming the way I’d hoped.

Then I stumbled upon this article this morning, and I found it uplifting for me or anyone else out there struggling with art making…here are some steps to be more artistically productive:

First, go where the Spirit directs. Be still and listen. Your Heavenly Father will guide you as you draw near to Him. Immerse yourself in the holy word of the prophets, both ancient and modern, and the Spirit will speak to you. Be patient, ask in faith, and you will receive guidance in your creative efforts.


Second, don’t be paralyzed from fear of making mistakes. Thrust your hands into the clay of your lives and begin. I love how Rebekah of old responded to Abraham’s servant who came in search of a wife for Isaac. Her answer was simple and direct, “I will go,” 3 she said.


Rebekah could have refused. She could have told the servant to wait until she had the proper send-off, a new wardrobe, until she lost a few pounds, or until the weather was more promising. She could have said, “What’s wrong with Isaac that he can’t find a wife in all of Canaan?” But she didn’t. She acted, and so should we.


The time for procrastination is over. Begin! Don’t be afraid. Do the best you can. Of course you will make mistakes. Everyone does. Learn from them and move forward.


Third, support others along the way. Every person on this earth is unique. We all have varied interests, abilities, and skills. We are each at different levels physically, spiritually, and emotionally.


Finally, rejoice. Creation isn’t drudgery. Creation flows from love. When we do what we love, we rejoice along the way. ” –Mary Ellen Smoot



My first show here in New Jersey is really coming together.  My house is a tornado of creative energy–paper laying out on the floor ready to become sculpture, clay objects drying on the dining room hutch, the making of another piece sprawling comfortably across the top of the entry way table.  Somehow I’ve managed to involve every piece of furniture in our house into supporting my creative acts. 

My car is full of tacks, tape, and fliers.  My email inbox is full of messages back and forth from artists participating in the show with me.  The door step is home to works sent to me from all over the country.  My telephone has the local newspaper on speed dial, and even my kitchen table bears more artwork than food this week. 

I am working on a show.

I love it; when I was younger, I used to love the way the art work takes over.  Now, as an artist mom/wife/neighbor, I love that the artwork only takes over when I want it to.  Yes, that’s right, I loaded the dishwasher this morning.  I cooked dinner last night.  Finally–being passionate without being obsequious.  It feels so good–the final push before the opening night, the last details to take care of, the goal just a week away.

This is the same feeling I used to have when I would join my friends and go sail boat racing.  It’s like the last moments before rounding a mark and throwing up the spinnaker. There is shouting and commotion (well, at least on our boat), lines seem to be everywhere, everyone hops into action, and focusing on anything but your own specific job is impossible.  Then, out of the jumble of activity and movement and mess, up rushes the giant spinnaker, and with one giant, satisfying ‘puff!’ the sail catches the wind, fills to capacity, and the boat surges forward in a quiet rush of wind.  Everyone leans back, looks up, and even if they don’t say it audibly, there is a feeling of ‘ahhh!’ as the race continues.

Yup, that’s what it feels like the week before a show.  Can’t wait for Wednesday to stare up at the sails and have my ‘ahhh’ moment.



My laptop is currently perched on the edge of the kitchen table tonight, crowded out by dirty dishes, mail, my sketchbook, our seedlings (we started our veggie garden indoors this year), and a myriad of other things.  There are shoes strewn on the floor, baby D’s toys occupying the living room floor, and laundry in baskets that needs to be folded.

But you know, it’s funny.  While some days I look around my house at 9pm and think, “dang, today I get a D- in house keeping skills”, tonight I’m not bothered by it a bit.  This week, my messy house just confirms that I am a healthy person.  Why is this?  Because when my house is clean, it means I was actually home to clean it.  And when my house is messy, it means I’m spending my minutes playing on the floor with baby, sneaking off to Kath’s for time in the studio, chatting with my husband, devouring mind-stretching books, and building warm relationships with friends.

And those things mean more to me than a clean house.

I have a quote on my bulletin board above my little home studio.  My mom clipped it out of a magazine and sent it to me a few months ago.  It says simply, “Cleaning the house while your children are growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.”

I love having that quote up in my studio, since I usually have to talk myself out of cleaning something in order to find time for the studio.

Ironically tonight, though, I need to clean my studio to make room to make more art.  Off to the studio, I go!


Recently I’ve been reading this great book by Lisa Bloom entitled, “Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World”.  Each page leaves me dumbfounded at things I never knew about the world–like how eating beef contributes more to global warming than any other single factor (like driving, wasting electricity, etc) or how 3 million women are enslaved in sex trafficking.  I am in awe as I keep learning all the things that don’t show up on Google News or NPR (or maybe I just haven’t been listening to enough NPR lately).  Anyway, I feel like the past week I’ve been left contemplating ‘heavy’ things.  The more I read about the extreme poverty that one billion people live in, the stranger it feels to go grocery shopping or do laundry, you know?

So once again I’ve revisited that thought of, “really?  There are starving people out there, and I am going to spend the next hour making…art?”  Thankfully, that thought doesn’t dominate my mind very long any more, although I remember struggling as a teenager when I first fell in love with art.  I wanted to know how it was ‘okay’ for me to devote a life to art when I could devote a life to being an advocate for the poor, a physician for the sick, a voice for the silenced.  I read and thought and prayed about it for, well, years.   

Eventually I realized that these things were not mutually exclusive; being an artist doesn’t mean that I can’t be involved human rights.  I also realized that more important that what you DO is who you ARE.  And more than anything, I felt a divine voice encouraging me and whispering over and over, “keep going!  Be an artist! You can do it and make a difference in the world in the process!”

Now I have the combo of stay-at-home-mom added on top of that, and somehow making a difference in the world seems a lot harder when you can’t even get showered and dressed before noon.  I feed my daughter at dinner and can’t help but think, what can I do with the resources around me to help the other mothers who have nothing to feed their children?  I hop online to check my email and I wonder, what can I do personally to contribute to advancing education among women in developing countries? 

And how can I do it through art? 

I don’t feel frustrated by the thought, just challenged. 

So I’ll start by using the resources around me and ask: How would you do it?


Earthworks Studio

Kelly Averill Savino

365 Trinkets

Purging the clutter, one trinket at a time.