The Finish Line………sort of

It’s been almost a year since I decided to “climb that tree and venture out onto that limb” by registering for a three week stay at Ghost Ranch in Abuiqui, New Mexico.  With a much needed grant and a surprising emerging artist award, I was able to fund my trip and relax into the exploration of my artistic boundaries.  I had no idea how my experiences would influence or inform my work.  All I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, is that it would.  

Fast forward to today.  I just returned from delivering 24 new vessels, 3 wall sculptures and 13 pendants to The Gallery at Flat Rock, located in Flat Rock, North Carolina.  My one person show, “Sacred Ground, Bringing New Mexico Home”, opens on Friday, July 14th.  All of these pieces have been inspired by my trip – most of them created using micaceous clay which is indigenous to New Mexico. 

There is an overwhelming sense of satisfaction, accomplishment and sadness in the completion of this grand adventure.  I have been so ensconced in the flow of the work, the evolution of my artistic voice and wanting to make those that believed in me proud.  It filled every waking, and most sleeping moments.  I have had revelations and disappointments, moments of “creative” orgasms and periods of obstacles that are all part of the process.  What I can tell you, unequivocally, is that it was all worth it.

I have learned more, pushed through fixed conditions, ventured into almost every “what if” moment with action and determination.  Did I make worthy art?  Did I do clay proud?  Honestly……..I have no idea.  That really isn’t for me to say.  What I do know is that, to this point in my life, given all that I am, I did my very best.  And that, my dear friends, is enough ❤️

Please visit my website for more information on the upcoming show and artist talk – http://www.lucyclarkpottery.com

The next adventure awaits!!!

 Authenticity

I have willingly and passionately been in the studio creating a lot since I arrived two weeks ago.  Today the last kiln load was started, the tables and tools were wiped down and there was nothing left to do other than wait for the pit fire event tomorrow.  

With the work complete, I started looking at my body of work to this point. There is such a strong sense for me that with every piece that moves through me, I’m a little more revealed, a little more myself, moving toward and embracing my authenticity.  Being able to immerse myself in the process has only created more longing within me to continue this calling – and for me – it is indeed a calling.  There is a lightness that occurs within me every time I touch clay.  It’s as if with each piece, I am letting go of a little fear, a little self doubt.  Stepping into my own light and trusting without hesitation what clay has in store for me.

When someone is truly aligned with their higher purpose, it just pours out of them.  There is a light that emanates from those that our following their joy and even if they endure setbacks and frustrations, they breathe, stand up and keep going. Being around people just like this the past two weeks has been incredible. I see and honor the light in them knowing that following our higher purpose is a path worth walking.

For me, creating beauty is not a luxury…………..it is a path toward the light.

The Heart of the Matter

There are areas in our lives that only the heart can give counsel.  A perfect example of this for me is my love affair with clay.  Every damn time I let my head rule my heart it ends in a broken heart and sometimes broken pottery.  It is so easy to convince myself to create inside a box of conformity – to make only what sells or would appeal to a mass audience.  Now, let me tell you, I can make a strong case for that.  I could talk about money, bills, obligations and dog food.  I could make my heart believe that it doesn’t know what it wants to create by restricting it to live by all of the rules set forth by my mind. Talking down to it, trivializing its desires and generally making it feel less than worthy.

But here’s the deal……….when I allow my head to make decisions for an area that only my heart has mastery, it works out about as well as going to my accountant for a cold.  Realizing that each part of us has expertise for certain areas of our life is a profound wisdom.  My heart can handle matters of the heart beautifully; if I listen carefully, my body can tell me exactly what it needs; my nervous system can tell me when to take a break and my mind can do the budget.  All seamlessly, with complete clarity, if only I honor their expertise.

And when I truly let go and let clay have her way……..well that’s a magic carpet ride❤

The Essence of the Earth

I have never processed my own clay.  Until this point, I have opened a fresh 25 lb., bag of earthenware, stuck my head deep inside to inhale its magic and started creating.  

Today was the day where that changed. We had an appointment with the earth – it was time to process the clay and dirt that we had dug a few days ago.  It was time for us to honor our commitment and make something wonderful from the gifts we had been given.  We swirled the muddy water with our hands, digging in deep and releasing the rocks, twigs and plant material from the clay.  We poured it through sieves, capturing more unwanted earthiness until all that was left was a muddy water concoction that will eventually reveal fine, silky micaceous clay.

Afterwards, as I was reveling in all that masterful muddiness, I realized that we humans, if we are dedicated and deiligent, do that as well.  If we are to live lives of honor, truthfulness and integrity, we too, must dig deep, examine our dark corners, our rough edges, and slowly release the grog from the gift.  What was so amazing to me today, was after sifting through all of the “debris”, the underlying and hidden bits of Mica were everywhere.  Even in the grog, there were shiny, sparkly bits of life that was offered up.  It is up to each one of us to see the beauty that is just waiting to behold.

My hands reveal my story…….

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 ❤️ 

The Power of Tradition

The type of pottery that I create is based in the Pueblo tradition of hand building.  One of the reasons I wanted to take this workshop was to learn new traditional methods of creating and firing.  I never imagined that I would be able to peer into the traditions of the people as well.  A great gift was given to us today by our instructor, Clarence Cruz.  We loaded up in the van early this morning and drove to the Okhay Owingea Pueblo where he was born, raised and continues to live with his family.  Today the tribal dances were held to celebrate the new elected leaders of the community and we were invited to observe.

To say that this was a powerful experience for me is a monumental understatement.  The respect and love for the tradition was prevelant on all of the faces of the dancers and the onlookers.  It made me realize that through honoring tradition, we can grow and create something brand new.  The birth of creation is founded on the stable, sacred ground of our past.  

The Desire to “Get There”

Yesterday was filled with fulfilling a wish that I have had since I was a girl.  At 10:15 a.m., I walked into The Georgia O’Keefe Museum in downtown Santa Fe.  I wondered around for over an hour, peering into her original pastels, paintings, drawings and looking at the woman in photographs.  Images of her work lose something in the translation.  The fluidity of her brush strokes, the clarity in her eyes……….filled me with incredible longing and the desire to get my hands into the earth and work at shaping my own work with as much movement and form in clay.  

I was shuttled to the ranch last night in darkness, unable to see the incredible vistas that await.  I can assure you, I will be posting many photos of the landscape.  As I write this, the sun is just starting to come over the mountains – I feel like a kid waiting for Santa to arrive!!!

As I was settling into my shared cottage last night, I was told that Georgia actually stayed in this actual space when she came to visit.  This has already been an amazing and heart fulfilling adventure.  I can’t wait to see what the day brings 🙂