Personally Ours…..

If you are an artist, a creative or simply a living, breathing real life person, I bet you have had someone say to you, “You can’t take things so personally”.  Whether it’s your relationship with another person or a recent rejection, I’ve heard more times than I care to think about, that phrase which is supposed to be a salve to my heart. And yet, every time it is spoken I wonder to myself…… in the hell do you do that?  How do you “de-personalize” something or someone you have invested part of your soul in?

Let’s back up for a moment.  When I am in the flow of creating, when a vision magically manifests in my head, I “see” it floating around, just waiting for me to acknowledge the fact that this vision was meant for me.  I quieted my mind and my own thoughts enough to allow my Muse to show up, to gently speak to me and am able to recognize that I had been singled out to bring this vision into the real world.  In that moment, I feel chosen, an individual blessed with a connection that is so intimate, so incredibly personal that I can’t wait to touch clay again to bring it into the physical universe before I lose the magic.

Taking things “personally” is, for me, what creating is all about!  If I am simply producing work, without a connection to its soul and it’s essence then I am not fully invested in the outcome. Yes, I take my art personally; and there are times, that I take rejection personally.  Well, most of the time, I take rejection personally.  I always wonder what I can do better, what edge I didn’t push, or did I push it too far.   But here’s the kicker………this is all part of the dance of life.  Being truly invested in my life means that there will be times that it ain’t all sunshine and flowers.  Fantasies don’t smell……….sometimes reality does.

If I allow the criticisms, the rejections or the apathy to take over my soul, I would not be able to create.  That choice is up to me. Now, I’m not suggesting that we should wallow in the misery of rejections or base our creative “mojo” on someone else’s opinion of it.  What I am leaning toward is that taking our lives personally is part of being an authentic individual with an authentic voice.  To be able to move through the struggles and disappointment and be able to come through it with even more passion for your art…..well, for me……..that’s the seat of the soul kind of love. I will continue to take my creativity, my art and my life personally, because, with all of its hiccups, travails and joys…….it’s mine.  Every last, personal drop.






Finding my Voice

I have been touching clay for a little over 8 years.  From our “first date” to this moment, I have never, for one moment, lost my passion for this medium. Self doubt?  Sure.  Uncertainty and frustration?  Of course.  But the love for clay has always picked me up, dusted me off and kept me creating.  

Until this workshop, I have only used one type of earthenware clay.  It has let me explore the boundaries of the material and I have always enjoyed what she has allowed me to accomplish.  The clay body that I am working with at Ghost Ranch is called Micaceous clay.  It is softer than what I am used to and it has taken a few days to adjust my touch to her wishes.  Tonight I walked away from the studio feeling like I am finding a sweet spot.  Like we have danced and I was in step with fluidity and form of the movement.  I am not leading this dance – not in any way shape or form………and I am entranced.

I can’t wait to see where this takes me.  I have five more days in the studio to build my work before I have to stop, needing enough time to have all of the pieces dry before firing.  There will be sanding, application of slip, polishing, bisque firing and pit firing yet to come.  I feel like I’m in the middle of a creative storm that is sweeping me along – holding my hand – and whispering to me – “just wait…… gets better”.

Be still my heart ❤️ 

Digging for Treasure

When I was a kid living in the mountains of West Virginia, I used to sit by the creek that ran in the front of our property and dig in the mud.  I remember how much I loved the way it felt between my hands.  I would pile it high in a dish and squish it down to watch it overflow back into the water.  Living with the tension that resided in my house growing up, getting muddy was a way to “ground” myself.  I imagined that the tension flowed out of me just as the mud was flowing back into the creek and slowly washing it away.

Today, I went digging for muddy treasure again.  We traveled high into the mountains surrounding Ghost Ranch to find a specific type of clay.  Both of the typical spots were inaccessible but our instructor, Clarence Cruz, was able to spot a vein of clay off the side of the road.  We piled out of the van with picks, shovels and buckets.  We were all handed ground corn and asked to say a prayer in giving Thanks to the earth for the treasure we were about to reveal.  Afterwards, the ceremony was repeated and while driving back, the 15 people in the van were quiet…….very quiet.  There was a reverence in the act of taking and giving back to the earth and  I think we all felt it in our own way.

I began building simple forms – stepping back and viewing the clay from a different perspective.  Honoring the material and the place from where it came. Promising her that I would do everything in my power to do my best work to make her shine.  Because in the end, for me, it’s about the clay.

Artist Crush

Artist crushes…….I’ve had a few.  For whatever reason, there comes along a few specials artists in a lifetime that clearly make an impression on who we are.  For me, some have been iconic but some have simply touched a place in me that changed the course of my artistic and personal life. If I have enough clarity and trust the sweaty palms and heart thumping reaction to their work, those artists can truly create a new dawn of understanding about myself, my choices and the unrealized beauty this world has to offer.  Below I share a short list of the top five that have had an enormous impact on my life.

1. Georgia O’Keefe.  You only have to look at my work to see the enormous influence she has had on my idea of beauty. From her undulating forms to her unique feminine perspective, her work conveyed to me that the sensuality of nature was something to be revered, to be celebrated. She was a strong woman at a time when that was an exception to the norm. 

2. Ansel Adams.  In stark contrast to Georgia’s work but at the same time a deep honoring of the natural world that blew my mind.  The majesty he was able to capture with his camera continues to bring me an enormous amount of strength when I am feeling small.  Yosemite was his muse and he did her proud.

3.  Prince.  I spent over 10 years as a fitness instructor and not only did his music bring out a fierceness in me, it also carried me through a rough marriage riddled with self doubt.  When I was teaching, and his music was playing………well let’s just  say the room was on fire! I pounded on the walls and rattled everyone’s cage and for a moment, we were all set free.   Some of the fondest memories of my daughters childhood is the two of us riding around and listening to his music at full volume. His smooth delivery, his coolness, his confidence……..all of it helped me to realize what I was missing in my life.  I had denied my creative life and he held up a mirror to me and , “Bitch……whatcha gonna do for yourself???”

4.  Christina Hope. Her reverence for the human form and the beauty of movement with her underwater photography left me speechless. I could only afford prints of her work but bought them and brought them home where I was going to appreciate them for years to come.  My husband at the time refused to “allow me” to hang them.  Well…….lets just say that those photographs propelled me into the next chapter of my life.  After the divorce, they hung prominently in my home for all to see.  The strength and beauty in her work gave me the courage  

 I needed to create a new life for myself.  25 years later they are still a treasure to me.

5.  Worley Faver.  My one and only pottery mentor.  He introduced me to coil building earthenware vessels.  His forms are masculine and yet have a softness to them that transcends gender.  His carvings are masterful and though they honor the Indian heritage of the craft, they are authentic to him and his spirit. I am humbled and grateful for what he has brought to my life.  

All of these artists have one thing in common……….Authenticity. This, above all else, is what I strive for.  It is my greatest wish for all of us.

The Lessons of Moving……Part 1

I haven’t written for quite awhile.  Honestly, I wasn’t sure I had anything of value to say. Since moving to the mountains I have learned a lot about myself……….some of it has been good, some extremely unsettling but all of it is a continuing uncovering of who I am.  Below is a list in no particular order.

1.  I didn’t realize just how burned out that I had become.  When one is in a race, the best that can be expected is to run as fast as you can, for as long as you can, hoping that the finish line will reveal itself.  Solid logic…….if your really running a race.  Otherwise, a recipe for adrenal fatigue, depression and emotional collapse.  Ok, so that’s a little dramatic but you get my point.  My life had become moving from one job, one event, one obligation to another.  The fun and freedom had left my space and an over zealous sense of duty flooded it.  I took things that I loved and made them into chores.  And guess what?  It sucked.

2.  I left behind a full practice of clients that trusted and counted on me with the thinking that people would automatically do the same where I was moving to.  Looking back on this, I am astounded by my naivety.  How could I think that a practice that I had lovingly nourished and built for 23 years was just going to appear where I was going.  No one knew me, trusted me or believed in me.  I had to come face to face with my ego and tell it to take a hike.  I was at a new beginning not a continuation and if I was going to succeed I needed to reach out and show people that I could be trusted.

3.  I miss my people.  I miss that my people knew me……really, really knew me, and loved me for it.  What this has made me realize is that it’s wise to treasure your community for the beauty that it brings to your life and to never be afraid to reach out.

4. Admitting my vulnerability can be terrifying and liberating.  I recently reached out to my community when I was ready to jump off of a 2′ ledge……….I was scared to admit my need for comfort and yet, when I did, the response was more than I could have ever imagined.  Words of love, encouragement, strength and courage came my way and I was humbled.  I said a heart felt Thank you to each one of them and realized that no matter where I am, my people will always be with me.

5. If I sit in stillness and trust the flow, life has a way of working out.  That does not mean to just float along like a leaf in the wind.  For me, it’s been a balance of working, striving, reaching……….and then letting go.

Moral of the story: Love your people, commit to your life and be kind. 


The Yearning

A friend posted a quote about the overwhelming desperation of attaining a goal awhile back. This thought has continued to surface time and time again. There were comments made that desperation is never good – that desperation can lead to alienation, despair and eventual failure.
I know that all words have a certain weight, a certain mood or “feel” to them. Desperation has never really been a word that I have attached a a positive emotion to; however, I understand where the author of the quote was coming from. For years, 18 to be exact, I had an intense desire to move to the heart of the mountains – I felt certain that that was where I belonged, where I could grow as an artist and a person. After I started working with clay, the intensity of this desire only grew. This yearning, as I called it, just wouldn’t let me be. I tried everything I knew to make it go away. New houses, new offices, new interests, but still it remained. I questioned my intuition many times over the years. What kept me from leaving were all of the wonderful people I had in my life. To move and follow my own path would feel like I was betraying them – leaving them was just not an option. But Life has a way of happening.
Since finally moving late last year I have thought a lot about the events and the intense longing that went with them. I realized that there is a time for everything. There were things I needed to accomplish, skills I needed to attain, art I needed to create before the next chapter of my life could start. And that’s o.k. But to make myself wrong for having such a deep unabiding yearning, well that was just a special form of self inflicted torture that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. To recognize and embrace that yearning – no matter how difficult it was, kept the light in my life. It kept me moving toward the life I knew I needed and deserved to live.
There are destinations and events in our lives that just aren’t willing to be pushed aside. When an intense yearning comes and continues to visit – it might be wise to visit with it for awhile, asking ourselves whether it Is a calling of the heart, the head, the soul? Taking the time to arrive, being present with where we are……..being fine with it all, well that’s the journey of life.  
That yearning of so many years……turns out…….that intense passion that wouldn’t leave me alone did not lead me astray……….it lead me home.  


Wish You Were Here

The Life of Mud

It has been a little less than 90 days since my husband and I, along with our 3 dogs and 3 large UHaul’s worth of stuff landed in the mountains of North Carolina. I return to Florida once a month for four days to maintain a long standing massage practice and am asked by almost everyone if I love my new home. Well…….here are the answers I have come up with so far…….
1. Beginnings are full of magic, hope and lots of heavy lifting. How did I ever think that we didn’t have too much stuff??? The velocity of wanting something to work helps for it to work – it just takes more time than I idealized.
2. Endings are painful, emotional, cleansing, cathartic and involve more heavy lifting. Damn! Some of the people I thought would be with me forever have just upped and disappeared……..some I never thought…

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