The Power of Play, the Power of Clay

IMG_0003My last show is done for the year and perhaps indefinitely.  I am relieved to return to my ceramics studio without the stress of deadlines.  It’s playtime!

There is so much value in play.  I’m talking about for children as well as adults.  Taking time to play in an art form gives that other part of our brain a rest that worries and analyzes so our spirits can be released.  Unfortunately, our culture undervalues play in favor of productivity. As our schools have stripped theeducation-1814187_1920 arts from their curriculums in favor of core subjects, the population is becoming culturally illiterate, more plugged in, and more isolated.

hand-845269_1920Clay is one medium that immediately can turn adults into kids again and turn kids into kids again.  It’s tactile, versatile, and gives immediate satisfaction. If you need more play in your life, consider taking a ceramics class.  Enjoy the satisfaction of playing in mud again.  I wish everyone had access to clay. The world would be a better place.

Hands in Clay

When my hands touch clay

I lose myself

Deep in the soft, smooth sensation of mud

Sliding between my fingers

 

When my hands touch clay

I am a child at play

With infinite possibilities

 

When my hands touch clay

I become the earth

 

When my hands touch clay

I am Navaho, Pueblo, African, Asian, Aborigine

And of the ancient ones

Sharing the spirit of creation

Hidden in the clay

Waiting to be born

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Celebrating Thanksgiving 2017

Thadinner-1060352_1280nksgiving is my favorite holiday in the U.S.  For the most part, it has escaped the commercialization of the other holidays.  We gather, share a feast, and give thanks. What’s not to like?  It’s been a tenuous year in our country and abroad, but tomorrow, let’s just forget about it and enjoy the day.  All the best to you and yours.

A Poem for Thanksgiving 2017

Come in and have a seat at the table

Ye pilgrims of life

Leave the troubles of the world and your worries

At the door like soiled shoes

 

Greet your people

Inhale the aromas and

Marvel at the glory of a feast

Prepared by loving hands

 

Before we raise our forks

Let us pause, join hands and have gratitude

Celebrating all that we have

And all that is possible

 

For we are still here

Friends and family at the table

Together

12 Winter,Twality 095

 

 

 

In the Company of an Old Dog

Dougie & A on porchDougan was adopted into our household when he was 8 months old.  He was a hyper golden retriever – too much dog for a professional woman and her 10-year-old daughter that owned him before.  There was no fenced yard at their house so he spent his days in a travel kennel waiting for his people to return from work and school.

Dogs raised like this are typically neurotic as adults dougie young and new kittieand can never get enough attention and affection.  I know because I have had them before. They live good lives out in my fenced yard in the country with plenty of attention.  He has been kept company by Bandit, an adorable 9 year old Red Heeler that also has had a questionable past.  We are kindred spirits as I too had some rough years in my youth.

Dougie & Bandit on porch VegiesDougie is now over 12, old for a golden retriever.  A few weeks ago I thought he was failing as he was refusing food and limping badly.  I thought it was the  end.  Luckily the vet just pulled a few bad teeth and gave him meds his joints and for an injured ligament.   We are happy he is back being his silly self.  I see myself mirrored in him as I age.

 

OLD DOG

Twelve years of observation

and you know my moods and intentions

without a word being spoken

 

It’s the landscape of the body

And of the eyes

And maybe a bit of telepathy

You and I intertwined in a cross species dance

 

You are bound to me like the moon to the earth

And I to you like a tree to a limb

Four legs to two legs

Fur to furless

 

As your face whitens with age

And your eyes hollow

I know we have measured time

But for now

 

Walk with me on these country roads

Let me feel your warm presence

By my side

My steady companion

In this tenuous world
Dougie at Beach

 

 

 

 

 

Passion vs Profit

There are many ways to structure a creative life.  I admire those that can make a living IMG_0395from their pen or brush.  For me, anytime I have attached profit to my creative endeavors, the business of it all can suck the very joy out of the process. In my experience, it takes at least as much effort to market and sell my work than making it.  Now in my 60s and retired from teaching for over 2 years I am asking myself “How do I really want to be spending my remaining precious time on this Earth?

This dialogue has cropped up again in the wake of my first holidayDSC00500IMG_0397 show of the season.  Yes, I walked away with a few hundred dollars in my pocket but was it all worth it? I could have made that money easily with some substitute teaching (which I don’t mind) and been far less exhausted.  By the time I crunch my time in my studio, schlep my stuff to the venue, sit and sell (hoping for good attendance), make my booth fee, schlep home and unpack, ask myself “Where is the joy in all this?”

IMG_0501Thinking about profit sabotages both my spontaneity and my passion, like a relationship gone stale. I have one more show and then that will be it.  My Etsy shop will remain up.  It will generate a few sales and act as a portfolio of sorts.  After the first of the year, I will be selling my big kiln as there will be no need for it.  If someone wants to buy my work, great, otherwise I will enjoy donating it to others and make just for the joy of making.

BettyBoop 1

Temporary- A Veteran Remembered

Dad Air Force
Bruce Pass, US Air Force circa 1943

I never thought too much about Veteran’s Day until this year in the aftermath of my father’s passing.  Dad was a proud WW ll veteran.  He would usually leave the house wearing his Air Force commemorative cap with lots of shiny pins on it.  How temporary life is.

This one’s for you, Dad….

Dad, Air Force Squadron
Bruce Pass (far left) with B-52 squadron

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Veteran Remembered

What was it like?

I should have asked

You tucked in the tail of a B-24 bomber

A machine gun your only company

Flying in formation at night

Above the restless waters of the Pacific

And foreign lands

Not knowing what the dark skies would bring

Continue reading “Temporary- A Veteran Remembered”

There is No Word For Art in Their Language

IMG_1344-001When I was in Juneau, Alaska last summer I had the opportunity to visit a wonderful exhibit of native masks in the Sealaska Native Corporation Gallery.  As I perused this captivating collection, I stopped and read an informational plaque on the wall.  I was struck while reading it that the SE Alaskan native cultures do not have the word “art” in their language.

When I returned home I researched further and found that many native cultures worldwide do not have the word “art” in their language.  In Bali the word for artist and human being are the same.  According to Aviva Gold on her blog “Painting from the Source”

……if we are all art makers by virtue of being human, why would we need a special word for art maker? And if “Art” is not a thing, but rather a natural way of life, connection with nature, daily worship, breathing, just being in the moment, then what use is there for the word “Art”? Art and living are the same. Art is complete living.

What a contrast to our modern culture where most are spectators to the arts.  We go hear music rather than play, go to art exhibits & revere artists as some kind of alchemists that should be worshipped.    We have been removed from our tribal nature, sectioned off into individuals on our own devices, so connected, yet so separated.

 

There is No Word for Art

There is no word for art in their language

It is infused in the fabric of their culture

Adorning their bodies and homes

With sacred symbols

On baskets, clothing, totems, rocks

 

It is the voice of spirit expressing

Woven within The Peoples’ memory

Through legends

Passed down through generations

 

Around fires on cold winter nights

The People share their stories in the singing of songs,

And in the dancing of dances

While the drums beat

The children watching intently

 

There is no word for art in their culture

Here everyday items, masterpieces

By everyday people

Not gods

For they are all artists

They know no other way

petroglyph-153860

 

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: A Peek Into the Past

A continuation of last week’s challenge- out in the “junk garden” of  the old mining community of  Jawbone Flat in the Opal Creek Wilderness Area.  The forest is slowly claiming the remnants of  a life gone by.

OC Cheerful

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