time flies…

 

starry night startI have started painting again…i haven’t painted since high school really. I really enjoyed painting in high school, but then I got to college. And I majored in art, beCAUSE i liked painting- i liked the paint, the colors, the way I could get so engrossed that i lost time…however our college painting instructor promoted stepping out one’s comfort zone and painting in an abstract manner, which didn’t make sense to me. And I wasn’t assertive or sure enough of myself at that point in time to stand up for my own ideas.

I had a sculpture class that first semester too. It was fun, i liked the teacher, and i felt strong- learning to weld, and bronze cast.So I abandoned painting and became a sculptor for the remainder of my college art career.

Then clay took over and that has been my focus for the past nearly 30 years (my gosh, has it been that long…??)- with small detours into paper-nina's stormmaking, collage, watercolor, sewing…a rather large investment into fiber, spinning and knitting– but clay captured me. It was the fire, the glaze surprises, the accidental nature, the feel of clay, the predictable flow of throwing. There was always something new to learn, to investigate, to try. This is what has kept me coming back to it, over and over.

This winter I decided to paint one little tiny painting for one of the girls for Christmas. She loves sunrises, and every morning sends me a snapchat of a sunrise on her way to work– so I thought it would be fitting to paint one of those sunrises for her. So i did. I had a blast! So then I did another one…and another…  I decided to try my hand at my own version of Starry Night.  I was on a bit of a Van Gogh kick for a bit, doing studies of a few of his lesser known paintings. And now I am doing something of my own. I’m more adventurous than I used to be- I use my fingers, rags, rubber stamps…and a paintbrush now and then. I still have a comfort zone, but its a much different place than it was 30 years ago…

and you know …i still like the colors, and the paint, and the way I lose time…

mulberry treestarry night done

 

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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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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.

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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.

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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…

Kitty remix

photo(2)When I moved, I brought a big collage I had done many years ago. It is of my kitty at the time, Catrick (I know, cute, huh? :)) sleeping in the sun in an old wicker rocker I have. It was a monster of a project- made the whole thing out of torn paper- the rocker was grocery sack paper that I fashioned into the intricacy of the rocker. I used kids’ construction paper to make the pillows, newspaper for the floor, and some watercolor paper for the spindles and background- very low budget project, but turned out pretty dang cool.

I have always liked it, maybe because it reminded me of simpler times, of the importance of sleeping in the sun sometimes, or maybe just because it was a big project with found materials and it turned out. Its been years since I made it, and the newspaper has yellowed, the construction paper pillows faded to dull ugly greys, and Catrick crossed the rainbow bridge some time ago. I got it out of the frame last year, took it apart and contemplated it for…oh…9 months or so…and couldn’t figure out how to change it, update it, make it different. I just looked at it over there in the corner, all torn apart- gutted, so to speak- and had no answers.

When I got to this new abode, the walls were turquoise and browns, with great light- and I knew it needed to be hung here. Last week, in a crazy surge of spring fever creativity, I redid it…with new pillows and with Grisham as the sleeper 🙂 and updated the floor as well.

Can I just take a moment to say that my gray tabby cat isn’t gray at all!? I bought every shade of gray paper that Hobby Lobby possessed, only to get them home and find that not one of them matched this cat! He isn’t gray…he is actually this buff sort of tan, with dark brown, black and gray hairs over the top, arranged in tiger stripes with white patches artfully placed hither and yon.

As I put the finishing touches on Grisham’s likeness and placed him on the pillow, I was stunned at how much my life has changed since the first time I put that piece together, how much I have learned, about myself and my path, and about the necessity of sleeping in the sunshine sometimes…

Owning the energy…

Having worked my way thru countless art fairs, craft fairs, harvest festivals, farmers markets, gallery openings and gift shops, I have watched varied reactions to the price of fine art, and hand crafted items.  Too many times i have seen someone pick up one of my favorite pieces from a recent firing, one that shouted to me from the back of the kiln with its fire touched glaze, saying “look at me!! I’m here! I survived!”— and watched them glance at the price and quickly put it down, even saying to a shopping partner, “ooof, toooo expensive!”

A spinner friend of mine, Sarah, recently put a beeee-autiful piece on etsy.  Its a cowl (pictured to the left) that she knit from wool that she not only spun, but dyed previously to that.   She has taken workshops and worked for years on her own to perfect some gorgeous spinning technique.  When I asked her how she had made this piece- what kind of knit stitch and dying/spinning questions, she replied:

“This was the second half of the 8 oz roving I dyed in fiber form. I spun a singles in thick and thin, then coil plied it with three different colors of cotton/poly thread held together. It’s knit into a moebius – three rows of knit, three rows of purl – alternated.”

Wow…she did everything short of go out to the pasture and shear the sheep!  Sarah probably wouldn’t view any of what she did as a ‘big deal’… but not everyone can do that… and that is why hand crafted things cost more. They are not made by some machine in a foreign country, from a machine made polyester fiber that was made from recycled water bottles.

Items like this are made by real people, with lives and kids…pets and spouses…people that are trying to figure out how to fit in some ‘art time’, some spinning time, some potting time, in between their jobs, their obligations, their kids’ soccer games.  Real people that had a vision for the piece before it was birthed…a vision that they mulled in their mind how to make tangible, a vision that they wrestled thru with the fiber, the dye, the paint, the clay, the wire, the beads, the glass, the paper…real people that then created and breathed thru that process…and offered it to the public…

When you pick up a piece of art, a hand crafted item, you are picking up the experience of the making, you are picking up the energy of the artist, the process and birth of the piece.  You are being given the opportunity to own the evolution of the piece from birth…the story…

how do you put a price on that?

Woke up in manitou springs

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I can hardly wait for this little town to wake up! We got here after 8 last night. The plan was to find a campground, pitch a tent, and camp for the nite. But knowing myself, and knowing that we could only find a pavement type RV park at first, I knew if I was trying to put up a tent at 9:30 at nite in the dark….well, suffice it to say it would create tension…lots of tension.

So we opted for a motel, and took a walk downtown. OMG!! This is exactly what I wanted! There are like a hundred little shops, everything from glassblowers studios to coop galleries, to wine emporiums, a penny arcade, and a stream running thru town. Most everything was closed last nite, but I am looking forward to snooping thru them all today!

I took a few pictures last nite 🙂 but right now, if u know me, u know I gotta go find some coffee!

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