Posts Tagged ‘Acceptance’

A NECESSARY LABOR

January 24, 2015

Birth Dance sculpture 042 (2) (1024x683)

Since departure from the Annex,

I have come to this:

The modeling of clay…

and form discovered;

The long wait through the holidays

and prolonged grieving over losses;

The tentative and awkward coloring of form

with untried glazes.

Birth Dance Sculpture 043 (2) (1024x683)

Shame and grief have been replaced

by celebration of the feminine form…

and patience as the only road to truth

I have looked closely

at my youth and aging

as collaborative.

I have caught glimpses of

my own delight in detail.

Birth Dance Sculpture  045 (2) (1024x683)

Artistic process at its best

reflects the life:

Hard work and perseverance

simply aren’t enough.

I cannot shut out what my heart is suffering…

my mind is sorting through.

Nor can I shut out

the distractions caused by my attachments,

for these are born of love and vulnerability

which making art requires.

Birth Dance Sculpture 056 (1024x683) (2)

Ambivalence accepted

can reveal essential elements:

Though I may struggle against

my need for restful emptiness of purpose,

I know my own soul’s reverence for timing

must be reckoned with.

As I cry out for wholeness and completion

It is being realized.

Eggs, Fired 1st sculpture, Shadows, Trees etc 030

OUTPOURING OF ANGELS

August 30, 2014

Angel Pitcher 047 (1000x1024) (2)

Sometimes Angels

wing their way into my mind,

reminding me

of my need to stay in the presence

of divine reality.

When times of physical frailty weigh my body

and vulnerability opens my sensibilities

to all manner of input,

thank Heaven the Angels come too.

They may come in the tender touch

of a gentle-eyed nurse

in the hospital where I am undergoing procedures,

or in the trustful lingering of a heron

as I gaze through my camera.

And in the Shearwater annex –

where I work among kind companions –

They can weave their way through the women’s laughter,

or waft their way onto a pitcher I have chosen to decorate.

Angel Pitcher 048 (732x1024) (2)

This angel appears to be of the mothering sort…

for two plump cupids frolic

in response to her dance.

One hovers close to her mother’s watchful gaze…

reaching frequently for reassurance,

while the other is set free by love…

cavorting fearlessly beyond maternal influence.

Angel Pitcher 041 (1017x1024) (2)

As I hold

the pleasing weight of the pitcher

in my hands,

and accept the manifestation of angels

in my life,

I also accept my human vulnerability…

and my courage.

I know that the mothering angel is always near,

and I am free to go.

GOODBYE MAY

June 1, 2014

Honeysuckle Mug before firing 027 (682x1024) (2)

Poor May…

I may have too many expectations of her.

May: the transitional month

between spring and summer.

I want her to last forever;

birth month for me

and for many plants and creatures

of the natural world.

May: Month of promise

when wonderful things may happen.

Pre-hurricane season…

May: Pretty name, pretty month…

But now it is June.

In May, shortly after completing the pot encircled by dancers, I held this mug in my hand and waited without expectation for an urge to begin. When the line appeared I followed, surprisingly free of judgment…expressing amusement only at the generous bottom of the woman, her leg thrust through  the opening beneath the handle . Bold woman, believing in what she would find on the other side. And she did find… We found the balancing energy we sought, and the story unfolded. Love among the honeysuckle vines, or perhaps a larger reality: anima/animus realized in one complicated being. I saw both and all as I incised the lines and applied the slip: the layer of liquid clay that would whiten and prepare the surface for color.

HM before firing 038 (682x1024) (2)

I was pleased

as the slow, sweet application of color

intensified union.

The hues were bright and clean.

The relaxed and tender face of the woman’s lover

belied the difficult work of finishing…

redefining lines that had faded

with constant handling.

Yet now came the dangerous moment:

As readiness for firing approached,

so did my expectations increase.

What had been wrought upon the mug

would surely only heighten and increase.

This piece that had emerged

from somewhere deep within my self

would emerge again as worthy and desirable

for placement in the Shearwater Pottery showroom.

Oh dear…

Honeysuckle Magic Mug 3 027 (722x1024) (3)

I knew immediately what caused the changes that dismayed my hopeful heart. The slip applied to prepare the clay to receive the color had been unevenly applied. It was my first time using the slip and I had rushed; inexperience combined with over eagerness for color was the culprit. Even so, I photographed her less than satisfying completion, doing my best to appreciate her as she is. I even placed her in the showroom…my little blooper mug. Will she be seen and known, regardless of her flaws? Will someone take her home and wonder at her elegant rawness,  drink from her thoughtfully…rubbing a thumb over brail-like etchings that may tell her story? Or will she sit on the shelf for weeks, months, years as other obviously beautiful objects are selected. No matter… I have released her, come what may…

Update: I placed her on Friday, come what may, and what came on Saturday was a person who saw her, knew her, and took her home…just as she is.

CIRCLE OF RENEWAL

May 19, 2014

Dancers and Birds Pot on Deck 040 (1024x704) (2)

In the beginning

I took the pot in my hand,

smoothed its surface

and sponged the dust away.

Pencil in hand,

I bravely allowed

the first faint tracing of a dancing woman.

Dancers and Birds Pot  (First Dancer Detail) 048 (2)

The pot was round;

one woman led to another.

Limbs intertwined, connected.

Hands took flight.

Flight called to flight,

and small birds joined the dance.

Each woman’s face expressed the joy

I was feeling.

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It was time to emphasize the lines

that would absorb the color.

A tiny instrument in hand,

I deepened the impression…

committing further

to this particular dance of joy.

How beautiful to be absorbed again

in the creative process,

to disregard the ache of my still healing arm!

How beautiful

 to celebrate the dance again,

to trust the strengthening and rehabilitating gift

of making art!

Dancers and Birds Pot  012 (816x1024) (2)

Yes, I embraced the process,

though the next step in the process

obscured the lines.

I may have trembled as the green wash was applied,

Yet I had come to trust

the layering and un-layering that life requires,

I knew that here, too, was the possibility

of revelation.

Dancers and Birds Pot on Porch 033 (1024x729) (3)

I held the pot and gently rubbed its surface.

The thumb on my right hand

assumed a greenish hue…

as I forgot myself

in the enlightening moment

of re-emerging line.

More glaze was then applied:

a delicate rose brought warmth

to the dancer’s bodies.

The flying birds were lit

by a sunny yellow.

The next step in this dance

would be the alchemy of firing.

Dancers and Birds Pot (Hand-held on Deck) 042 (1024x683) (2)

Just as dancing women encircle this little Pot, women encircle the table where I am learning to paint on pottery. Thanks to Patricia, Adele, Marie, and Nancy who guide my apprenticeship, and to Penny and Ruth who are mightily adept at working with molds. I have been made welcome by the warm and talented sisterhood who grace the workshop annex of Shearwater Pottery.

Another Dance

January 22, 2011

The making of bread is simply another dance, and just as essential to my life journey as all the other forms  of gestural expression.  Begun during my first pregnancy in accordance with a salt-free diet, it has become – over the years – as natural as breathing. The familiar ritual of assembling ingredients is relaxing yet purposeful. The prolonged process of the bread’s becoming is grounding and fulfilling, not to mention magical and life-giving.  The making of bread is a dance that is palatible to every member of my family. The completed dance is a gift I can give to those I love. It is always acceptible.

Yesterday I rose up early: let out the dogs, let in the cat, fed the cat, let in the dogs, fed the dogs, and took out my bread-making bowl. Soon there were large melting clumps of butter in hot milk. There was honey dripping from a spoon into the liquid. And there were oats cascading onto the warm wet surface to float there as though hesitant to be transformed.  My wooden  spoon was merciless; it plunged and stirred, remembering its oft repeated role. Yeast also floats before accepting change. Yet these ingredients are passionate in combination. Once introduced they almost clamor for the union they are programed to desire. I slow things down a bit, just let them rest together, find some stillness before the shocking impact of the flour  which says “No going back… It’s time to yield and blend and take on substance of a different sort.”

I draped a cloth, as though the darkness would encourage rest, then took my coffee and banana back to my bed. I had time to journal before proceeding. My morning journaling is my connecting to the day – I scrawl the words onto the page and seem to find my place in the day, for better or worse. On this particular day I found some sadness. It was the sort of day when familiar motions are the best kind. The impulse to start bread came from a true place and it would see me through.

The flour ran from the bag to meet the bubbly morass that rose in readiness for future possibility. A sprinkling of salt, of cinamon and nutmeg, and the spoon plunged in again. My mixing arm was challenged by the thickening dough. I pushed the mass around the bowl, losing myself in the gradual absorption of the dry ingredients. The flour is eager and resistant simultaneously. I can almost hear a voice re-considering. “Change is good. But do I really want to give up who I am in hopes of my becoming something more?”

But what a something more: The whole house fragrant with the baking of the loaves, anticipation filling up the space and seeping through the walls to waft on cold air through the trees to tell the world the dancer dances and the dance will soon emerge as fresh baked bread. Does anybody sniff the air and wonder who will receive this dance?

Trusting The Flow

November 8, 2010

Late Afternoon On East BeachThe Southern Expressions Author’s Conference is over. A pleasurable and exhausting two days has left no lasting effect that I am aware of. All I feel is a need to move on – do what I can to get MEANT TO BE ME  (A Dancer’s Story) in print, even if I have to do it myself. Life is good. I enjoy my various creative pursuits, and life is good.

Yesterday – after the conference ended at noon – I walked downtown to The Peter Anderson Festival. I was tired, but wanted something more from the day. A slight melancholly accompanied me as I threaded my way through the crowds past booth after booth – displaying every imaginable craft. Hard work was apparent in many: wood carving, pottery, jewelry, woven goods. Som people work all year in preparations for these festivals, most of which take place at this time of year. I felt for the makers, thinking of expectations and seeing the enormous amount of competition. Would any of them sell enough to make it worth all the effort? Some individuals were lively, hawking their wares – old world style, while others sat back in lawn chairs looking tired and resigned. At least the air was on the chilly side. I’ve known many a festival when the sun turned the vendor’s faces a painful pink, and the attendees grew more plaintive as the day wore on.

I was not in a buying mood – felt slightly guilty for it – and was only briefly tempted by the warm, sweet aroma of cinnamon-roasted pecans. Instead, I walked on to Realizations ( The Walter Anderson Shop) to check on whether my own creations had sold. They hadn’t, and I had to retrace my steps down Washington Avenue, braving crowds again when I’d begun to long for invisibility. A few times I was recognized and stopped, was engaged in effortful small talk before resuming the flow that carried me to the Ocean Springs Community Center and the OSAA show.

It was peaceful inside the old building, though many meandered down this aisle and that, absorbed by the art.  I found no red star by my angel, though she looked her best with the sunlight glinting on her wings – was apparently accepting her place on the pedestal by the door. I forced myself to disengage and walk further into the room amongst the art of others – barely seeing pieces I’d seen before. What was I looking for? Certainly not for bantering exchanges, yet these I found and briefly engaged with half-hearted friendliness. I was ready to leave, suddenly craving solitude and rest. I wasn’t looking for anything anymore, but glanced at my angel and saw the shiny red star indicating a sale. “When did that happen?” I asked the woman at the desk. “It is happening now,” she said, gesturing toward a young woman writing a check. “…and she wants another.” Apparently, she had been there the day before with her sister, who had fallen in love with the angel. She’d returned to purchase it as a Christmas giftfor the sister, but wanted one for herself , as well. I spoke to her of the angel’s fragility – the malleabilty of the wire – and the need for careful handling. Her soft brown hair framed her delicate face and her soft brown eyes looked into mine. I had found what I sought when I ceased the seeking, and all was well.