Sunday, October 14, 2012

Creative Pass: 3 Months to Noodle

Learning curves.  Trying things out.  Making mistakes.  And more mistakes, and okay, pile a couple more on top there.  (Try the left-hand side of pile.  There's a little space left...just chuck it on up there - it can handle it.  Uh oh, it's wobbling...)

This has been a busy fall.  I've never churned out more work.  My hair has never looked worse.  I can just hear my poor son's thoughts as I trudge over to school to pick him up: "Oh geez, there's dusty Mom in her dirty clogs again.  Hope my friends are already on their buses. Sigh...."  I have not gone on the fall school trips, or baked any cakes.  The kids have to go to the dryer and pray there are clean jeans in there.  There has been a lot of pizza for dinner.  I have missed my book club once, a fundraiser twice, and the mighty Toni Morrison reading at Princeton University.  (It was free, too.  Free!)

I get it: though new experiences are not exactly warm and fuzzy, they are necessary to keeping the blood flowing, the synapses firing and business moving.  New this fall: three shows I've never done before, a trunk show, working with brand-new clay, (though to disastrous results.)  And I said yes to a small collaboration with an interior designer, though that terrifies me to no end. 

All good things, but I find myself pretty tired, truth be told.  These days I'm feeling more like a factory than an artist.  I'm not having any, dare I say it, fun?  Something's got to change.  There is not a lot of balance in my current state of being.   

So I am making myself a promise: 2013 will be the "Year of Working Smarter, Not Harder".  I have some new ideas and new sketches to work on after December.  I'm giving myself a pass.  A three-month pass to noodle.  I'm giving myself three months to re-evaluate my business and my path.  To decide where I want things to go.  To find a way to create balance.  To have time to brew, to sketch, to write.  To let the new ideas rise to the top, like cream.

To tide me over, I am going to see Margaret Atwood read this Tuesday at McCosh Hall.  8 p.m.  Come hell or high water or homework implosions or kiln explosions, come lack of milk in the fridge or clean laundry in drawers, come one bag of clay left or an unfortunate, though well-intended ceramic bead exploration. 

Dear Margaret, 

I will be the one with the bad hair in the third row, snoring on her neighbor's shoulder.  Love your work. Seminal to my early love of writing. I'm reaaalllyyy pooped.  



But  I. AM. GOING.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Wonky + Imperfect = Beautiful

I'm drawn to all things imperfect.  Wonky things.  Crooked things.  Things that have been broken and then repaired.  I like the rusty, the leaning, the drippy, the patched.  I love old things made useful again in a new way, things that show they've been loved well.  I like old materials, modern lines.

Hell to the yeah, my work is imperfect.  (As am I.... :) I'd be lying if I didn't say that throwing a perfectly smooth, symmetrical, even piece didn't feel great sometimes, but for the most part - showing fingerprints and glaze drips are what make my pieces feel real, and alive and tune them to that handmade wave that I love so much.

Thought I'd share some of the perfectly imperfect design that are currently ringing my bell:

This beautifully wrinkly linen apron from bookhau at home.

These drippy scallop wall stickers from Jim Houser at WhatisBlik.

My favorite book at the moment: 
Handcrafted Modern by Leslie Williamson

English Burl and Walnut Table by George Nakashima
Masterful at highlighting the beauty of flaws. Oh, the joinery!!

Elephant Ceramics is the brainchild of Michelle Michael, a stylist who couldn't find the earthy, drippy ceramics she wanted to prop her shoots, so she designed her own!  I find them delightful.

Check out her beautifully-photographed website, including her blog, at