Monday, December 5, 2011

If You're Waiting for Inspiration......

You know some things stick in our minds and other things just go somewhere else.  (That’s a gruesome vision, “stick in the mind”.)  The “somewhere else” is very full.  The sagacious old Cruster says “Son, I’ve forgotten more than you’ll ever know.”  Well, I’ve probably forgotten more than I’ll ever know, too.  This is a good thing since I am the “forever” student.  There’s only so much room up there that something has to go. For the perpetual student there is never a shortage of lessons to be learned.  Discounting all that excess information is sort of like cleaning out the closet, if you haven’t used it for two years, let it go.  Yes, it will come back around in about 20 years and be in fashion again but carrying all that excess baggage will flat wear you out.
 “Wear you out” was a very serious statement my mama would use but never did it.  Just the saying of it would clear your mind of anything except what might be coming up next. “You do that and I will wear you 
 out.”  Threats to live by…sounds like life to me. 

Mama didn’t get to whack clay around.  She didn’t whack anything. 
  I, on the other hand, well... passion flows. 
It also whacks.                                                                                                                                           
 It’s It's downright inspiring to pound on some clay.  
It lightens heavy things up.  Stuff I thought was a clear reflection of the world magically turns out to be just mist on the water, suddenly vanished to who knows where, pounded into some clay.

There’s an art to traveling light.  One to which we can all aspire.   So why is it I did not take up some civilized medium like painting?  One can carry everything in two hands, easel, paint box, brushes and canvas; maybe a stool.  Done just like that.    
Good luck getting it into two rooms, very big rooms.  Two standard bags of clay weigh fifty pounds.  One in each hand and who needs to lift weights?  The ceramist does not travel light. Ours is a weighty world and grounded in the oldest of materials, clay.  I mean the stuff was once rock.  Heck it’s older than dirt, really. "Older than them hills."
I need tools, too, lots of tools, space, lots of space and more space, kilns, and more space.  I consume energy and make things really really hot.  I transform through fire.  I have a penchant for fire and space and earthly things.  Yeah, something has to go eventually.

Cleaning out a studio, even if it’s just to make more space, is dang near impossible.  Then I fill that space up and get more space.  We ceramists and sculptors see things as shapes and designs and if it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind.  Where did the inspiration go?  I needed that to remind me of some form or shape I want to pursue.  Ooops, I think I threw out that inspiration last time I cleaned-up the studio.  Kept it for like 15 years decided to get rid of it just the other day and now I need it.  Sounds like life to me.

Reminder:  If you are waiting for inspiration, you are wasting time.
 If you are waiting for inspiration, you might as well clean up the studio.  You will need the space.  Put trash bags on the shopping list.  

 Sounds like life to me.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Life Is Art


Somewhere, back there, I once heard that how we live our lives is our greatest expression of art.  That has stuck with me.  I was a college art student raw, green, naive, passion filled to take it all on, all of life.  This sounded like wise advice about living well. 

  I am surprised every time someone not working in “the arts” responds to the fact that I am an artist with almost a reverence of attitude.  A peek at the reality behind the curtain would startle them.  Their verbal exchange many times refers to “how lucky I am to be an artist”.   With this I can’t argue because I am lucky to be positioned in life to have physical outlet that allows me to express my response through creation…appropriately a self determined process of selection.  I choose the medium and I choose how adept I become using it and I choose to present that combination to an audience, viewers.  This is starting to sound like “control issues”.  Control, well, we all know that’s bogus. 

Of course, I don’t have an internal dialogue something like this:  “Hey Ann, things are really sucky, but you are lucky...just go take it out on some clay.  Get yourself down there in the studio and work this out.  Get to work. Crack the whip.  This will fix everything.”

Being that straight forward would be discounting the challenge.  We can’t have that!  Ease of life, hummm, not if all life is a challenge.  Perhaps those thinking me to be especially lucky are only expressing their own internal desire to have some modality of external expression for internal challenge.  Emotions could take on a manifestation of their own, something that helps process one’s own process of life; the mystique of the spirit, the weighty ephemeral stuff, felt not seen.

Whacking around some clay is certainly a lot more socially acceptable than dishing out justice
to whosoever might deserve it. ( You know who you are.)  


There’s joyful expression, too, non-political and aesthetically uplifting.  Those expressions can show our kinder gentler selves; the ones that don’t upset the audience and uplift our spirits.
Thank Heaven its only clay! 

Soft malleable, sensual, wet, receptive, impressionable, chameleon stuff 
that can be turned as permanent as anything can be.  
Sounds like control issues again.  So be it.  Ironically, when I started to let go “again” of controlling and using clay’s inherent qualities that I really fell in love all over “again” after all these years with the medium.  Inspiration, motivation, trial and error (lots of error) and process, process, process…sounds like Life to me.  In and out of love…sounds like life to me.  Needing to whack something around...sounds like Life to me.  I don’t think I’d have survived as a diamond cutter.  Just think one slip and ooops you’re out of a job, a career and in debt up to your caret.  Sounds like life to me!