Divine Home Objects

The satisfaction of creating a functional object is divinely indescribable.

Our home has been sorely in need of new dish towels for some time now.  I realize this is a problem easily remedied by running to my local big box for a hectic minuet to choose between a selection of *blah* dishtowels that will do.  But where is the fun in that?

And quite honestly I am so over filling my home with objects that will do.

Enter thrifted table cloth that hadn’t ever quite found its place or reached its full potential in our lives.  (and a big dose of inspiration via Soulemama) And……

Ta-da!!!  One of a kind, handmade dishcloths made from a repurposed table cloth.

Imagine my delight as I went to place these precious dishcloths in their new home, only to discover that the entire drawer is comprised of items made by me, and vibrating to the rate of motherly love.  These are items bursting with the energy of afternoons and evenings at home, the precious days of my baby’s babyhood playing by my side, and me, exhasperatingly attempting to complete projects with a wee one at me feet.  Every object in this drawer holds a memory and a moment in time that is dear to me as it was being created.

The potholders are a pattern from Handmade Home by Amanda Blake Soule.  ( I heart Soulemama.)

I blogged about the dishcloths about this time last year.

And the placemats and napkins I made in a fit of color famine.  (I assure you there is no lack of color in this house anymore.)

Up next?  Well I have been working on a sweater.  Yup.  And we need dishes.  So it looks like there is some more delicious afternoons creating functional artwork in my future.


The Show

A couple of months ago I wrote here that I had set a goal for myself of completing enough work to participate in a show.

Well…. I made it!!!

It wasn’t the show I had originally planned on.  But it was definitely that show that I was meant to do.

It was amazing to finally get to take my work out of the studio and share it with my community.  It was amazing to do it all with a an almost 2 year old under foot.  It was amazing to to get intense with the creating process and take a journey and find that groove, the vein where what I am making is my passion.  These 3 statues here are the culmination of this era’s journey, and they are from the realm I am so excited to explore when I get back to the studio.

Dear Blog,

I’ve missed you.  And that is a good thing.  This past week we have been visiting family in Alabama and I’ve showed you to everyone, mostly for the purposed of showing pictures of our life and it was oh so helpful.  But it made me realize that I really do love coming here to post our pictures and talk about my life.  Its helpful to digest what is going on, and to honor projects completed.  There are so many things that I want to do, and many of them may or may not get done.  That list may change as my needs and inspiration shifts, but writing is something that is always therapeutic no matter what.  One of the greatest intentions of this blog has been to provide a public writing space, to draw out a different voice than I know in my journals.  Its a lighthearted, no pressure space to write, in safety and freedom. 

A lot has happened since I’ve been here and then again, somehow life is still just the same old gorgeous steady rythm of baby sweetness.  I’ve made a lot of ceramics and that area of my creative garden is in full bloom.  In fact it has been getting the most of my attention besides Cora.  On the horizon, is a beautiful future of bellydance taught by a new dear fellow Mama friend, which will provide much needed connection with other women and with my body.  I have realized that I have been putting care for my body too far down on the list and I simply cannot be happy without lots of movement in my life. 

Since I haven’t been writing here, I haven’t been writing.  And I feel like I am not using a valuable tool.  But I have been reading and processing life in different ways.   When the season changes and the earth gets cold, the viels thin and shadows begin to show themselves.  Its beautiful, vivid but its so intense.  I have been feeling deeply.  I have been feeling and healing things that have really just been needing the time and space to be felt and healed.  Sometimes I don’t know how to be a public person when this is going on.  But I know that is just fine, and beautiful and mature to give heavy feelings an appropriate moment. 

Now, I am lighter, and I am so looking forward to the future, this busy holiday season, my ceramic show, a bellydance performance, a weekly hoop jam, Cora’s birthday, baking and making in warm cozy home.   I also have a illogical desire to make a quilt tugging at my heartstrings.  And I ask, what on earth am I doing wanting to make a quilt?!?!  But projects excite me, hobbies are my reason for being, and the idea of creating a practical (and otherwise expensive) object that will drape my child in a fluffy embrace of warmth and made by Mama love?  I guess its not so illogical afterall.  It just may be sensible.

Tour of Artworks

I have been wanting a post of art pieces all compiled into one place.  Mostly for reasons of personal creative perspective.  I have heard at some point in time a saying about knowing where you are going by seeing where you’ve been.  So, I thought we could all take a tour of some (just some) of the artworks created in the last couple of years.  Its funny because I don’t consider the last couple of years to be a time of huge productivity in the art department of life, but apparently some things did get made.

A fairly old painting that marked the end of my wild scribbling with paint era.  This painting was informally titled “The Vagina”  Looking at it now I believe its may be upside down.  Actually, I could never decide which direction it should hang.

A bird.  Watercolor and marker.

A collection of tiny vases and fairy houses.  At first glance these appear to be successful pieces, but in fact they were all a part of a tragic kiln accident in which the temperature was held too high for too long.  Every single piece fired in the kiln (and its a big kiln, this was months of work) was melted to the shelves, and subsequently ruined.  But everything is a blessing, and this was a vivid lesson.  I payed a mighty tuition that day to the gods of the kiln.  I also now have an excellent and highly experienced mentor to hold my hand through sacred kiln firing.Some fun sketches.  Paper-dancing, I like to call it.

A petal?  Or an updated version of La Vajeena?  (the j is silent)  Created in my recent wildly goddess phase, that I’m still in.  Though the phase has morphed into an angel/insect phase, photos coming soon, and boy I bet you can’t wait!!

These two are paintings I made while sitting my big ole pregnant butt on the couch waiting for my baby to be born.  Its a little wild how the feel of them is so very different from each other yet the subject matter is essentially the same.  Also funny how I never noticed the similarity until now!  The pictures remind me of the tarot card “The Hanged Man”  how fitting that is for being pregnant, surrendering to a situation one cannot change or get out of.

And here is one of the first things I made after Cora was born.  Back in the days when she would sleep for about 22 hours a day.  It wasn’t long before she didn’t sleep all day long and she needed her mama all day long.  But I also know thanks to the bagillion people who remind me constantly that her needing me all day long goes by too fast as well. Before I know it she and I will both be enjoying clay time!  (and do already thought she has a slightly shorter attention span for it than I do.)

“Ode to the Squash Blossom”   Oh how those beauties made my heart soar this summer.  I made this painting recently.  And it makes me wonder why I keep trying to paint in acrylics when I so clearly am much more at home with the whole watercolor/ marker combo.  But I just keep trying.

And anywhooo… these days, weeks, months have really been all about the ceramics studio.  Very soon I’ll have a whole bunch of pictures to post here all about it.  In the meantime, a couple of sneak peaks…

Being Real

Soemtimes there is just so much to say.  I just don’t know where to start.

I am deciding to start with being real.

I wish I could say that this week has been a week of prolific creation, and in some regards it has.  But mostly it has been a week of me taking care of my family.  Holding my baby who is teething with an early autumn cold. And teething almost the very last of her baby teeth.

I’ve been taking care of a counter full of vegetables that I am very much committed to fully honoring.  They have been sliced and diced, cooked or baked and frozen.  Now I have a frezzer full of ready made cassoroles, breads, and soup.  As well as a few jars of raw pickles.   And man does that feel good.

My house is getting the attention that a house gets when the Mommy isn’t wearing side blinders in order to guiltlessly escape chores to get into the ceramics studio to make stuff.  This week I have been dilligently staying on top of the messes, the laundry pile.  Our bed is getting made.

On the flip side I wonder if I’m avoiding my studio and my creativity because last week I made a successful creative leap and I want to live up to the last peice and I don’t know if I can do it again.

or maybe I just need a break?  Or I just need to let up on myself and realize that I am a woman balancing all of the dream come trues of my present moment, with the dreams I am so excited to make come true.

There are mountains of projects and piles of dreams and ambitions longing to live outside of my being, that only have a fighting chance of being realized during an hour and a half at naptime, or after 9.

And instead of tackling those mountains, I retreat to the garden, because the days when I can do so without shoes on are numbered and I love to hear the buzz of the bugs all excited after its been watered.  They are my people.  It is my steady place against which I can compare the days to each other and notice that the air and energy is completely shifting, and so are the animals.  I get to observe slow things, like the leaves on the cucumber vine are beginning to brown on the edges and it is now in the shade earlier in the day than it was before.

I love being in the garden.  I am replenished there.  Nourished, and fed by those plants in so many ways.

And I suppose that that is just as important as the work in my studio, and my projects and dreams and ambitions.  So these days I’m enjoy my garden while the season lasts.  And being present for my baby while she’s still little.

Workin’ Through It!

Today I had a full day to work in my studio.  Todd had offered to take Cora out for the day so that I could really put some pedal to my metal.  (What a guy!)  And so I sat down set out to work hard and really get some things done.

And then I needed to go to the bathroom. Oh and change my clothes.  Hadn’t it been at least five minuets since I ate something?  I had to straighten up.  The whole studio.  Then every dumb comment that anyone had said to me in my entire life decided to pop by for a visit. Maybe I just needed to sit in the garden, clear my head.  Maybe it wasn’t a wheel day, maybe I needed to hand build.  Maybe I needed to meditate, to visualize myself excited, inspired, ready to bust out! I did.  And went to sit back down, to really get busy now.  Nope.

It was one of those days that wasn’t flowing.  Today I learned that flow of inspiration really is an unessasary luxury some days.  Especially when work just needs to get done. (Especially when one is a Mommy and a whole day in the studio is a precious thing that cannot be wasted!!!)  Today I figured out how to work anyway.  It wasn’t a great day to get innovative, fresh and brave.  Today was for doing some of those more grueling tasks that it would actually be a shame to waste a very creative flow day on.  I did easy stuff, no brainer stuff and I tried to make it fun.

My Inner Consultant

I have several critics that like to give their 2 cents, and sometimes 5 dollars worth of advice while I am in the process of dreaming and creating.  Most of what they have to offer to me is stifling and destructive, not uplifting and creative.  But I have been working on integrating these shadow sides of my life, and I have been thinking about the gifts I receive from my inner critics.  Namely, I appreciate that they help me have higher standards than I would without them.  I just think they don’t need to be quite so mean about it.  Tonight I have decided to replace the least helpful, and most grueling old sourpuss of an inner critic there ever was.

I have a critic that sounds much like an old crabby grade school teacher who has been at it way too long and no longer remembers that she once liked children.  Her patience and energy is about a dime thick. She has short gray hair, worn in a smart perm, and wears only sensible clothing.  She prides herself on never having broken one single rule in her entire life and whatever creativity she once possessed was long dismissed.  She gives me advice like,”why on earth would you bother to make a thing like that when anyone could just go to Walmart and buy it for less than half what you could sell it for!  Pottery is not supposed to look like that, and you should have gone to school. I don’t know who you think you are!” She makes me feel like I should buy a new wardrobe of sweatpants, turn on my TV, and spend the rest of my life answering phone calls in an insurance office forty hours a week.  With this woman on my side there really is no use in trying.

I would like to replace her.

My new inner critic is a wise woman with long gray hair and gorgeous flowing clothes made with luscious fabrics, and fabulous prints.  She wears big funky jewelry and has a wonderful sense of humor.  She has spent her life working with children because she is enchanted with their creativity and is energized by their imagination and enthusiasm.  She delights in helping people turn passion into finished product.  Her home is filled with precious handmade objects, rich colors, and magnificent art pieces.  She values the spirit that inhabits things made by hands, by artists, and is happy to pay for it, especially when it means supporting another’s dream.  I will call her my inner consultant instead of inner critic and I will consult her regarding my wild big dreams and ask for her help in turning them into reachable goals.  When I visit her she will make us licorice root tea served in cozy ceramic mugs and we will sit on her red velvet couches and get excited about the infinite possibilities that the future holds.

Aaaaaaaah.  Much better.

Pep Talk Time

This morning on a treasure hunt for my passport (ain’t moving grand?) I came across an old sketch book.  It hadn’t been used but a couple of times before Gypsy the puppy decided to chew it up.  There was a small sketch inside of it, one that I had done on the first buying trip to Tuscon we made right before we opened our store.  It was a drawing of a wildflower.  It was a purple flower with lots of lines and intricate funky details that look like a cross between a henna drawing and the inside of a mechanical device.  The drawing was very much my style. And right then it struck me.

I have a style.  I had almost forgot.

See, a couple months ago I (ambitiously) committed myself to participating in the annual Clayfolk show in November.  It is something I have so dearly wanted to do since moving back to Oregon 3 years ago.  I just haven’t made it happen, yet.  In the last couple of weeks the fact that Clayfolk is in 3 months has hit me like a heart attack.  I seriously need to get my a** in gear.  Like yesterday.

But I have been floundering in the studio since I started taking classes last spring. I have been forgetting to send those sourpussed old hags that are my inner critics to the library to shush happy excited children.  Worse I have been listening to them telling me I should really just get real.  Doesn’t Walmart and TJMaxx offer dishes?  So people really need more stuff in thier lives?  I hadn’t found the roaring surf to quiet unhelpful voices. I hadn’t found that old flow that I used to know how to ride.  Until today.

Finding the sketch helped me remember that I am not walking into this totally blind. Such is the birthright of every person on earth, I have a wellspring to fish, a voice to sing, and a flavor that is all my own.  I also remember that I am not walking into this totally alone.  I have the power of Great Spirit, God, and a thousand angels.

I also have the experience I need.  Not only have I set up to sell, I have sold dozens of things I made.  I have been preparing for this for a long time.

I think this post would have been so much more interesting if I had a picture to share of aforementioned sketch.  Alas, I think I am going to do a mondo major post called “Ghosts of Artworks Past”

Just as soon as I get a camera.

Its all apart of my new declaration.  Inspired by this woman.  I hereby declare myself an artist.

Permission To Do Things Badly.

I happened upon this little golden nugget of brilliance today by SARK.  The timing is simply divine.

You see I am in a period of creative awkwardness.

Not one but TWO of my latest creative endevours are totally weird, they are not flowing, they are not gorgeous, they are flops, failures.  And I am beginning to understand that not only is that perfectly ok, it is totally nessasary to be willing to fail in order to be creative.  I am also getting the sense that these awkward paintings are awkward stepping stones to new directions, to new creative landscapes.  It is nessasary to make these ones in order to get to the ones that may come later, that may be brilliant(or not for that matter).  However, if I get scared and run from them and let my negative self talk keep me from painting, then that would be just tragic.  Actually it would be time lost in anguish and fear of sharing that which is inside of me.

“If you bring forth what is within you what you bring forth will save you.  If you do not bring forth what is within you what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” Jesus Gnostic Gosepel of Thomas

I get myself caught up in my expectations and standards constantly.  I think that the problem is not in being perfect, but in the expectation that I should be.  I expect my dishes and laundry to be done.  I expect my blog to be updated.  I expect Cora to eat awesome amazing all organic home cooked meals.  I expect myself to excersise most days of the week.  I expect that my art projects get better and better each and every single time.  I find myself constantly comparing myself to other people, and more my dreamed up reality of what I think other people are like.

I am now giving myself permission to do things badly.  To do things even if I’m not good at it, even if I mess up, in the hopes that I do more of all those things I may be scared to try or to start.

Watcha Been Up to?



This is our spare bedroom, which also served as the landing room for just about anything and everything that didn’t have a home.  I finally got to it.  Whoooohoooo!!!
I know I probly should have been embarrassed to have even shown that first picture but oh well.  Its done.  Now Im going to go and enjoy my great big bowl of …..CHERRIES!!! yum.

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