vegetarian by accident

20130722-090747.jpgI will always see Betty (not her real name) as being responsible for my vegetarianism. I never made the conscious decision to stop eating animals…it was Betty’s fault (not her real name). I had gone to get my hair cut- we were visiting about world peace and cancer, like you do with your hair stylist, and she mentioned a mutual friend whose cancer was in remission. Apparently this friend had bypassed the accepted practice of chemo and radiation, and had gone to an alternative health center for treatment. The regimen included exercise, spiritual practice, stress management skills and a vegan lifestyle. She was raving about the food this friend now ate, mentioning the vegan “butter”. I asked for more information, and she sent me off with the direction to google ‘vegan butter’. Betty (not her…never mind) said there were dozens of recipes online and i would have no problem finding one.

There were DOZENS of recipes, but the first site I landed on when googling “vegan butter” was a site for animal rights, go figure… The picture of thousands of chickens in blocks of cages was horrific…I hit the “back” button immediately, but the image was already there…in my mind. I went back to the site and read…and read…i even watched a youtube video on slaughter practices…makes me sick to my stomach even at this moment- 2 years later.

20130722-090814.jpgthat was it. I was done eating meat. Not that millions of people don’t still eat meat every day…they do. Not that my silent protest keeps even one chicken, cow or turkey alive…it doesn’t…i just can’t do it…

never did make that vegan butter…thanks alot Betty.

treasure hunt

the creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with objects it loves. ~Carl Jung

Woke up to the sound of the rain…drumming on the neighbors’ garbage can. It was a nice rumbly sound. Had that muzzy twilight zone type of waking up, where your senses turn on one at a time, with images from your dreams still burned into your field of vision before you open your eyes.

I have an idea for a piece of work stuck in my head…it is so strong, so intense, I can almost touch it. I see the colors, the size, the words (there are words written on the edges)… I sketched it, thinking that would “photograph” it for my brain, so it could let it go…but it’s still there…becoming more vivid, if anything. The colors have filled in now, a pale yellow, large blotches of black and a blood red on the edges of the black. The black reminds me of magnified ink spills.

I am thinking I will have to go get materials and make this…it looks magical in my mind. I had a different plan for the day…but what are ya gonna do? I have to see what this looks like…

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once a dancer…

Pat Lindemann dancingI recently found this picture of my mother dancing with me.  The writing on the back says “Judy and Patti Jean on her first “birthday”.”  Its my grandmother’s writing.  When my parents married, they were in San Antonio.  Both were in the Air Force, and lived on the base.

I remember dancing with my mother…maybe not this time, but I remember a time.  I was little, but old enough to be walking…and we were laughing.  She was holding both of my hands and swirling them in figure eights, in unison.  I don’t know what the music was, no memory of that… although I wonder sometimes when I hear a song in a store or elevator that makes me smile for no reason, if it was that song…

dancingwithtashRecently Tasha and I trooped down to the park for a “concert in the park” night.  The music was jazzy and the park was packed.  We wandered around in the back, searching for a tree to lean on, since we had neglected to bring chairs like everyone else.  The band played the song “Brown Eyed Girl”, always a favorite of mine… and we were in the back…very few people were probably even paying attention…until I couldn’t stop laughing…but I totally see nothing wrong with dancing when you hear a good song. I like to dance with my whole body…none of this tapping of a toe, or a minimal shaking of shoulders, pfft!  That’s not dancing!  Dancing is feeling music in your middle, and letting it trickle out to your limbs. It was one of those moments when you feel so good, that laughing out loud is a tiny sound, compared with the light in your soul.

and the memory makes me smile…

no postcards…

this is a long one…grab a cup of coffee and settle in… ~ Pat

beherenowthere were only 8 of us gathered in the dining room. We all introduced themselves and it turned out that one of the eight was the yoga teacher, one was the clay teacher and one was the director of the clay center.

The clay center was a dream…a huge, like polebarn type structure, that housed 20 wheels of varying kinds, pugmill, slab roller, extruder, electric kilns, numerous worktables…and there was LIGHT! Enormous sliding doors on each side of the barn that they would slide open, so that the whole structure was open to the air and light of the outdoors. A deck the length of the building on one side with tables and awnings overlooked the next building- a shelter over top of a large 3 chamber wood kiln, with wood stacked to dry along the open sides. Further down the hill on the property was another building- this housed the artists-in-residence at the facility, as well as the director’s office and the center’s library. This was all surrounded by the wood of Wisconsin…a gorgeous setting!

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the clay studio at Adamah…a potter’s heaven…

We did clay and yoga thru the next few days, yoga 4 or 5 times a day- each time with a different emphasis. We worked in the clay center when weren’t eating or sleeping or doing yoga. I learned that the other participants had never potted before and that my teacher had apprenticed for a well known potter in North Carolina for 2 years- so a wide variance in skill levels. I learned some things, relaxed, walked, explored, but mostly just breathed and tried to be present in each moment.

bistro

a wonderful bistro called The Cook’s Room in downtown Dodgeville that had the greatest coffee in Wisconsin!

I had left myself 2 days to ‘bum’ at the conclusion of the retreat before I left Wisconsin to spend the 4th with family. I was told by the other retreat participants that there was an art fair in a neighboring town that I might want to check out. So off I went. The town was a tiny town. I wasn’t expecting much. >OMG< It was amazing!! It was the whole length of main street both sides and the work was juried. There was glass, and paintings, and quilts, and drawings, and prints, and mixed media, and fiber, and leather…and yes, there was pottery.

Lots of pottery! Nice handthrown pottery. I was walking back towards my car when I spied what looked like pottery by my all time favorite potter- Tony Winchester. Certain that someone was copying his work, I went in for a closer look. Oh hell yes! It WAS his stuff…and it was breathtaking. I was in awe…when the man himself came over and said ‘hi’. I was going to be so cool- none of this hero-worship stuff…after all, I was a potter too! And he was just a guy…right? Puts his pants on just like me…so when he said, “how are you today?”… all that came out of my mouth, in this strange deep garbled voice, was “I make pots.” I tried to fix it by saying that I admired him, but it was coming out in rushes of words…in the mental health world, we call it “slurred rambling pressured speech”… I bought 2 beautiful cups, and left the booth reluctantly. I almost turned around and went back to try to remedy my earlier gaff, but sadly realized that would appear stalker-like. I thought of emailing, but …really, Pat? Soothing myself by repeating “let it go…just let it go…” over and over, I made my way back to my car, clutching my 2 mugs.

MME

Me and Michaela sharing a moment on the 4th…do we look alike?

The next day I went to another small neighboring town called Mineral Point. What a beautiful town! It is filled with old old stone and brick buildings that have all been made into various shops and galleries. I walked up a street called High St, stopping in each shop and perusing. Johnston Gallery was exquisite- filled to the brim with a multitude of work! There was another shop that had a french name, and had a painting of pears on the sign. It was a double building with a fiber store on one side and an architectural salvage place on the other, just enchanting…in fact it was here that I found a framed chalkboard, with the words “be here now”. I also visited a gallery for potter Helen Story and painter Kate Bausch. Kate was there that day and we spent some time talking – she was one of the special people I met on my journey. I drove out to an old brewery that was a pottery and gallery- connected to Johnston Gallery. Tom Johnston visited with me, showed me the kiln and we talked pots for a bit.

As the sun set on my last day of bumming, I felt refreshed, and inspired. I knew that what had been missing from my life this past year was clay. I had no idea how much time I had been spending thinking and dreaming about clay when I wasn’t actually elbow deep in clay. It came to me that if I wasn’t making pots, I was firing or glazing or trimming or handling…that the cleaning of the studio before beginning a new cycle of work was a meditative activity to me…and that when I wasn’t in the studio, my mind was occupied with how to alter a glaze recipe, a new kiln design, a teapot I wanted to try to make. Being without a studio for a year was not just being without clay, it was taking a huge part of what I do, with my hands and with my creative mind, out of my life. So that was realization #1.

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Journi and I taking a selfie 🙂

Realization # 2 was that I can’t live in town. I have been trying to live in town, because I love historic houses…and there are a lot of them here…in town. But I am a country girl…raised in the country, and have lived outside of town most of my life, in one place or another. Being in the woods of Wisconsin made it clear that I need space to spread out, to build a wood kiln, to dream… so a hunt for a place outside of town, with an older house and an acre or two has commenced.I think of all I learned about myself on this journey…the people I met, the work I saw, the freedom and joy of traveling alone…and i know that just like the ragtag collection of tools I took with me, I am bringing home scattered memories of a place, a flash of thought, or an idea I had…they aren’t the standard vacation souvenirs, but I am not your typical traveler…

Brave enough now

Written June 28 @ 7:30 am, right before I headed out the door…

claytoolsI am on vacation! I signed up for a Yoga and Clay Centering Retreat in the woods of Wisconsin.  It combines two of my favorite things, and I have spoken and written on ‘centering’ so it should be right ‘up my alley’.  A bit nervous…not about anything huge, mostly that my ‘yoga clothes’ will be like the other kids’ 🙂  Do we ever get over that?

They say to bring your clay tools and I looked them over as I put them into a ziplock.  A piece of fishing line with a nail tied onto each end, a kitchen knife, a needle, a cast off sponge, a sea shell, a chop stick, and some stamps that I made… I will look like a clay hobo, I think, but I used to have the slick new tools, right out of the catalog…and they didn’t suit me. The things that I am bringing are the things that have purpose for me and fit my hands and my aesthetic.  They may not look like ‘clay tools’ to others, but they are mine, trial and error, collected over the past 25 years of potting.

I have only been to something like this once before.  Going on vacation by myself, with nowhere to be at any set time, no one to satisfy by myself- it seems selfish in some ways, lonely in others.  In some ways, I am looking forward to wandering thru towns, looking at art, shopping in out of the way places, and buying one special piece of art.  I don’t like touristy places, or the attractions on the main roads. In other ways, i expect it will feel somewhat empty at times, having no one with me.  That’s OK, I like the quiet.  I have been known to drive across South Dakota, 6 hours straight with no radio, no music…just quiet (drives the girls crazy!).

A bit worried about being away from Grisham that long, but he has a “sitter” and I think he will be fine.

A year ago, not sure I would have been game for this adventure…but I think I can handle it now.

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