Posts Tagged ‘Shearwater Pottery’


October 12, 2014

Visit From My Angel (East Beach) 080 (1024x991) (2)

Since losing my little dog, Star,

my attempts to depict

her dear and funny figure on a pot

have been futile.

Finally facing a particularly challenging bowl

in a particularly challenging time,

she came to help.

She came as she had always done,

as comforter

and gentle prodder when her human needed prodding.

Visit From An Angel Bowl 047 (1024x656) (2)Visit From My Angel bowl (detail) 037 (1024x683) (2)As in the days of her bright living,

her sweet presence came.

I only needed

to wake up and live…

to let the spirit move

on earth as it does in heaven.

Visit From My Angel 090 East Beach (1024x694) (2)I carried on with faith that carrying on

would get me somewhere.

Whatever gift or capability I had

would see me through the task

however arduous it proved to be.

My little angel’s plumey tail wagged happily

when I thought “beach” and drew a spiraling sun.

Pelicans and drifting clouds were fine.

Small waves and several “stars” were also good.

Star’s sensitive nose tipped upward in approval

at salt-scented air.

Visit From My Angel Bowl with Pearl 041 (1024x683) (2)

Pearl thought she smelled a dog

when I brought the finished pot home

and placed it on the floor for her approval.

My own approval…

or acceptance…

was slow to come:

The glazes were not bright enough, etcetera.

But apparently, my little dog angel

was still whispering possibilities,

and what I heard

as clear as clear can be

was “BEACH”.

Take Music to the beach…

and take that blessed bowl.

Take that infernal camera, too.

Have “FUN”!


We did have fun,

Music doing doggy things,

and me with my little camera

playing with my beach bowl on the beach.

My mind grew quiet.

My heart was softened by salt-scented air.

And back at home,

I brushed the sand off of the beautiful pot…

and placed her in the showroom….

Visit From My Angel (exterior) 078 (1024x644) (2)

…where on that very morning

a woman recently bereft of her dog

purchased “Visit From My Angel” as a memorial

to take back home to Michigan.





September 22, 2014

Clay Sculpture 1 (renewal) 027 (1024x615) (2)

I believe in flow.

Flow has been at the heart of my life as a dancer.

If dance has been like a river flowing

throughout my life,

changing times and an aging body

has caused the river to branch into tributaries

of poetry, clay sculpture, drawing and music.

Singing has had its turn

and painting, too,

to flow around obstacles created by doubt.

Doubt has often loomed heavily,

obscuring the way,

and times of despair have caused drought.

My progress has stalled…

bogged down in the muck;

my heart feels dry and my world

appears colorless for a while.

Clay Sculpture 1 (renewal) 023 (1024x646) (2)

Recently, decorating pottery in the Shearwater annex

has brought flow and color back to my life.

I have found renewal in the clay:

the feel, look, smell of this earthy substance

has grounded my body…

revived my heart.

My right arm –

stalled by extensive and painful surgery –

has grown strong and brave,

and has carried out my purpose

of resuming the flow.

The river of dance –

still present in my seventy-year-old being –

has formed yet another tributary.

Praise heaven and all the angels:

I am able to bring color to my world!

Clay Sculpture 1 (renewal),Green Heron, Ohr 028 (1024x615)

As my confidence has grown in the present flow, I have pondered sculptural shapes: free-form vessels formed by my hands, conducive to my particular style of decorating. Not instead of my work at the annex with my dear women companions, but a possible means of growth…a chance to explore. So clay was purchased – and a small expensive kiln. The latter with considerable fear and trembling. At my age you do not take on such things as blithely as when younger. I approached the clay before the kiln was delivered, as tentatively as someone who had never created clay sculptures before. I wedged the clay, slamming it down repeatedly to soften it…bring it to yielding. I felt my shoulder object, and I wondered what I was doing. I felt old and scared: doubt did its damnedest to stop the meager flow that was trickling forth. My hands kept moving: pushing, pulling, stretching and stroking despite the doubt…despite the twinges of pain. I didn’t last long that first session. I wasn’t encouraged by this beginning. I covered her quickly, a bit embarrassed by my efforts. It took a while to return. When I did, I reminded myself that judgment at this point was foolish; completion was so far off, and decorating and firing were more than half of it. I had begun!

A few days later the kiln was delivered from Dogwood Ceramics via movers I had hired. It rode in the back of a truck thoroughly crated in wood. I was daunted, but the movers dealt with it vehemently. Finally the kiln stood on my screen porch where the old non-functioning one had stood for years. But it did not look right. The box on the front: the computer and electrical unit was pulled out, metal bent, screws pulled loose. There was obvious damage. The kiln, expected to contribute to the flow, is itself an obstacle.  A terrible question looms: Who is responsible? Another: Can I keep faith that the river of dance that is my life will maintain its flow. Of course I can… But I might need a boat.


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.


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.


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.


January 20, 2014

Shearwater Road (My Shadowland) 015 (768x1024) (2)

For all of my days

I have traversed this road.

The way leads in and the way leads out.

In the beginning

my child feet sprinted the road,

toughened by daily races with cousins:

up road or down.

In those days broken oyster shell glittered:

rain or shine.

These days crushed limestone

makes for an awkward passage.

At one end of the road

is the beach and the Mississippi Sound.

At the other end

is the pottery workshop with its windows.

Shearwater Workshop (Clay-spatter on Window) 012 (1024x713) (2)

As a younger woman

 I danced beyond

the simple destinations of my childhood.

As an older woman

I have returned.


November 17, 2012

This is an old clay sculpture, made in the eighties when I first began to sculpt. It is made of a heavily grogged clay, alloted to me by my cousins at Shearwater Pottery (to play with). Well, I played more and more, and a few years later I had my own kiln and was ordering clay, still with grog content but of a finer sort. I do have affection for my older pieces. Those that havn’t been sold or given away still grace my present environment. This one sits on a beam in the entranceway to my home. She is not pristine and you might detect scraps of spiderweb.

I do see her as I come and go, appreciate her graceful form against the light. She seems to belong where she is. But for the most part, she is simply there, basically forgotten except as a sculpture given to my mother on some birthday many years ago. My mother is gone, and this rather Grecian dancer has been relegated to the catagory of older art, done before skills were refined, somewhat rough.

Last week – before taking the Canon S-100 back to Best Buy (It had a couple of defects that couldn’t be overlooked.) – I decided to shoot a few more photos, just around the house: a farewell gesture, so to speak. I decided to go for the art that sits or hangs around my space mostly taken for granted. I began with the Grecian dancer and went from there. She is my favorite. What I found when I downloaded the photos onto my computer and began to “play” with the images was that the art of photography could make new the orginal artwork, even restore it to a special place in my heart. As I looked at the pieces in a new light, perhaps in a new form, a sweet wave of love and thankfulness radiated out toward the object of my attention. A spark of excitement was ignited and as I celebrated where I had been, I was also happy for where I am, hopeful for where I might go. I could see that along my path I have left markers that I might find my way.