It can’t be underestimated – the sheer nurturing power of being with like minded women whilst walking, talking, eating beautiful healthy food, and exploring our creative worlds… I love and admire each of these women so much… (And the one that couldn’t make it)
I often think of my creativity as an impatient itch… or an eager puppy jumping around in my head all day demanding my attention. My work keeps her chained up most days. We long to be let off but allow things to get in our way. As Mary Oliver beautifully articulates – you need to be ready… you’ve got to be ready or that spark will pass you by.
That half finished painting sits idle in a back room – physically, and as if there was a back room in my mind… so many messy rooms to get through before I can get there.
My ‘go to’ medium lately – clay – is waiting there for me like a constant, loyal friend – non-judgmental. My fingers find kindness in the malleability. It just accepts whatever comes that day… and yet I am often the one critical of the final ‘product’ instead of just enjoying the process; the meditation, the beauty…
‘Getting inspired’ takes the form of many guises. Spending too long on the internet, trying to be comforted by contemporary writers that say stealing is ok… when really I’d rather be engaged with the windfall on the ground, bark of a tree or patterns of restless clouds.
Some days it’s all I can do to wear something that expresses who I’d like to be; what I’d like to be doing. Somewhere in amongst the ocean of black and grey and neutral a flash of colour presents itself from mismatched socks, textured hose or the glint of a cheeky hued jewel… If I could tattoo the sky, I would…
It was the first medium I felt really comfortable with. My year 12 folio was ceramics….
I’ve dabbled in it again at times over my years of teaching, but this year something changed for me. I picked up a lump of clay just for the feel of it. I had no end result in mind. It felt meditative – a total relaxation. As I pressed the clay together, worked it in my hands, made impressions with things from Nature – a form evolved – a vessel that reminded me of a female form – curves, neck and the stopper became a head.
It’s been with wonder as I look back on that day when ‘she’ became…. I’ve been tearful telling a friend about the formation of ‘her’… some healing has occurred. Whilst I have enjoyed making more since and adding to the family of vessels – the first one remains my favourite and important to me. Perhaps it symbolises that which has been filled, emptied and waiting to be filled again… and the marks on the outside tell a story… the pressures we yield to… ruminating but not sure…
What I love about clay is it’s plasticity in my hands. It’s own essence is apparent at all times – it’s texture and body. I feel the sensitivity in my fingers which gives me a connection I can’t seem to find with other media. She allows impressions from other things – the organic textures from Earth are immortalised in the surface just like eco-printing on fabric. It’s wholistic – clay from Earth herself.
And I look forward to developing a relationship with my own kiln sometime in the future (perhaps in a peaceful country setting!) – knowing about the baking and working on the permanence – and accepting the impermanence and imperfection when pieces break…. the accepting …. and letting go….