Fumbling toward the Light

I couldn’t sleep.  Between dead ass drooling REM sleep, I woke up almost every hour, slightly confused about what planet I was on and wondering why my eyes were wide open.  It started feeling like I was missing something; something important that I just couldn’t quite reach.  Did I miss paying a bill?  Did I forget to return a call?  So, realizing that my window of opportunity for slumbering was past, I got up, made a cup of coffee and checked my phone.

On my messenger app, there were a few unread messages.  They came in while I was sleeping, searching for what I was missing while dreaming.  In the dream I was at a trade show, looking for my art and my husband, but all I could find was mechanical equipment.  Nothing at all that pertained to me.  I was trying to make myself fit in, to align with someone or something.  But it wasn’t working.  I was moving toward anxiety and worry – I couldn’t find my phone to call my husband and I was just about to move into full blown panic……….when I woke.

What in the hell was I searching for???  As the coffee was brewing, I read the messages that had been waiting for me.  Of the four messages, two of them were funny animal videos and two of them wrapped around my heart and held me close.  The first one was an article, sent by my incredible art studio mate, Cathryn Cooper, entitled “New Neuroscience reveals 4 Rituals That Will Make you Happy, written by Eric Barker.  I will tell you right now, it is definitely worth the read. You can find it at http://www.theladders.com.  The second message was from a very sweet friend who relayed a moment of her day when she and her boss were talking about the possibility that some people are truly angels and the conversation made her think of me.  Heart squeezed…….tears alight.

Both of these messages woke me up in different ways with a profound sense of gratitude.  You see, I bet we can all focus on what isn’t working in our world.  What doesn’t quite fit, what we don’t have, what we can’t do, who doesn’t like us……the negative world can just be endless.  I get so focused on daily, weekly and damn it, life long achievements, I don’t usually take time to see the wake and the ripples behind me.  So this is the crux of the matter for me and what I was so doggedly searching for last night……………..

Just Be the Light

There are times and situations in my life where my light wasn’t shining bright enough for someone else.  Or my light was covered by my own dark moments. Or someone misconstrued my intentions – or I reached out and shone my light on the wrong situations, the wrong people, through a desperate need to belong in places I didn’t need to belong!  For that, and so many other times, I am truly sorry.  I am a beautifully imperfect, flawed, messy individual.  However, my attempts to shine my light have also been noticed, appreciated and in ways that I am forever grateful, given back to me.  That’s the message – just simply be the Light.  Be the Light for the person in front of you, for yourself, for your art, for the world.  This does not preclude dark moments – that is part of this tattered beauty of  reality.  But to be a part of the light, any tiny amount, brings us up out of the darkness.

Today is another day, another opportunity, another chance to Be the Light.  May it be so.


Art for Beauty’s Sake

Since the search began for my authentic voice as an artist, my intuition has played an enormous role as I have unfolded the layers of myself through each coil I place on a pot.

Every carving, every stroke of the burnishing stone, every single firing has brought me closer to who I am. It is development of trust that manifests through the seemingly mundane. The inspiration that shows up while I’m working. In saying that, I have no concept or understanding nor any conscious goal that my work is “supposed” to be something important, relevant or carry any weight whatsoever in the reality of this troubled sometimes soulless world that we live in.

I think it is absolutely imperative for a creator of any kind to get up close and personal with the reasons they create. Is it money? Fame? Social protocol or statements? Political Activism? Believe me when I say that I have no judgment on why other artists create. I simply know, for myself, the clarity of my actions are intimate with the source.

I create for the sake of beauty. Nothing complicated, nothing with a deep seated, complex platform. I just have an undying need to be a small part of making my life and maybe this world just a little more beautiful than yesterday.

Am I a simpleton? Probably. Will I be looked over and rejected, judged and belittled by those that are well heeled or more finely educated? That’s already happened. But here’s the deal……at the end of my days, when I am taking the last sweet breaths from this life, I want to look back and say, no matter what else transpired, I created by my own standards, my own ideals, my own thoughts and visions – not someone else’s.

The power plays, the marginalizing by others about my art, well, that’s never, ever, going to stop. But if I allow their barbs, slights and unkind comments to influence my direction or cause me to STOP creating……well that’s a “me” thing.

All of this can be transferred into the other aspects of life as well. There will ALWAYS be someone better. There will be those that believe the bad “hype”, the jealousy, the threatened and the power control models. But “who” matters most when it comes to your life or my life is looking straight back in the mirror. All the mood lighting in the world can’t soften the truth of self respect.

Know who you are and let that not just be enough. Let is be all you need to know to guide you toward your own beauty ❤️

A Feast for the Spirit

A Feast for the Spirit

There are times in everyone’s life where an experience may not live up to all that we wanted it to be and yet, with enough distance and perspective, it is exactly what we needed. There have been so many unexpected events that have occurred during this trip – too many to bore you with – but I wanted to share an incredible event that I could have never imagined possible.

If you don’t know, the type of ceramic work that I create is based on the time honored traditions of the Pueblo Indians. Specifically, Maria Martinez of the San Ildefonso Pueblo. Her rich black, burnished surfaces of hand built work continues to inspire and entrance me. To be able to view her work in person while in Santa Fe is like breathing in the past and feeling the love and passion for the work wash over me and into the future.

I, along with my husband, students and staff from Ghost Ranch, attended Feast Day at San Ildefonso on the last day of our trip. It is a time to honor all the gifts that have been given to the tribe throughout the year and is celebrated with tribal dances, music, singing and, well, feasting. It has been said that if you are invited into one of the homes to join in their offerings you must not refuse; to decline such an invitation would be incredibly rude. To my utter astonishment and delight, through my pottery mentor, Clarence Cruz, we were invited into the Martinez home to share in their bounty of green Chile stew, red Chile stew, enchiladas, prune pie, fresh baked bread from the Orno and, and, and……….

As I entered the home, to say that I was humbled and awestruck would be a GINORMOUS understatement. I sat there, transfixed as I, along with Clarence, Rikki and my husband were led to a table and served. My first thought, I should be serving them! I should be telling them what a profound influence their Grandmother had on me as a person and an artist. I wanted to shout out from the rooftop how grateful I was to be allowed in their home to share this precious, precious moment with them. And yet, as I sat there, I physically restrained my enthusiasm and muted it into reverence for the food and the company. I thanked them nothing short of twenty times all the while having a silly, girl like grin on my face and wondering if they could see me bursting inside with gratitude and excitement.

It wasn’t until later that day, while I was sitting in front of the Labyrinth at the ranch and relaying the story to one of the students that I began to cry. Weeping for the chance to be a part of such a special moment, to be able to present with it, to embrace it.

My life has forever been changed by my time at Ghost Ranch and the opportunities that I have received and been able to experience. All of the other stuff that happens along the way is simply just transitory, temporary and nothing to hold on to.

This moment…………well, that was worth the price of admission.

Stardust and Light

A couple of nights ago, I was fortunate enough to see the New Mexico night sky as I had never witnessed it before. A night when the sky, with barely a Moon in sight, was full of stardust. It was as if a giant bowl was turned toward earth and all of the planets and stars were spilling luminescence over everything they touched.

I went to a place on the ranch where I could safely lay down, look up and become shrouded in the metamorphic deep, dark, brilliant space of the never ending night sky. Have you ever seen something so beautiful, so ethereal and touched by the divine, that it physically caused pain within your body? Such a gift from a governing heart.

As I walked dreamily to bed, filled with all things of inky lushness, I decided I wanted to wake early to see the transition from night to dawn. I will tell you right now, it was worth the brevity of my sleep and dreams.

From moment to moment I was chasing the fading of the night and the birth of the morning, hoping for just one more moment of magnificence to carry my spirit into another day. One more chance to inhale the ending and look toward the beginning.

Wondering around since this event, I have been trying to figure out the lesson, looking for the message in all of this. There must be something I could retrieve from such beauty, such transition, so routine for the natural world and yet so transformative for me. And then, without warning, it became clear: everything must end and yet, with the sadness of this, there is this undeniable eagerness for another beginning. Another chance to love, to create, to be present in my life for the transitions that are coming to us all.

No matter where I go from here, I go there taking these memories of stardust and light with me. Without the light of the moon, the stars can shine. With the Sun comes another chance for us to shine.

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……..how 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……..it 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.