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!!!

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Well…….HELLO Learning Curve

In every artists life, failure and disappointment can be lurking around each risk we take.  One of the  best parts of  this evolution to me, is the thrill I get when I try something new.  Sometimes it works out…….other times I introduce myself to my next learning curve.

Today was the day of the big pit fire we have all been working towards for over two weeks.  The pieces were bisque fired and ready.  The  pit was built and slowly prepped for the stacking of the work. With this type of firing, no one ever knows which pieces will come through the fire more beautiful than when they went in and which pieces will become lessons for the future.

My lesson for today?  Losing four pieces to the fire……..my first lidded bean pot, two large wall carvings and a beautifully simple pot.  Did it hurt? Oh HELL YES.  Am I disappointed?  A little.  Will I do it again?  ABSOLUTELY!!!

I have spoken about frustration and fortitude before.  This is simply part of the learning curve.  I have been humbled by the fire once again and I can assure you it won’t be the last time.  

Clarence suggested that I take the pieces that didn’t make it through and place them around the ranch as a way of giving back. I took one of the broken pieces and walked to the Labyrinth, sitting it on one of the rocks with the mountains as a backdrop.  I have been given so many moments of clarity walking this path that I wanted to give a gift of gratitude back. I will place the other pieces in the coming days before I leave.  Although my heart hurt today, I realized that by doing this, part of me will always be here……..giving Thanks.

The Messiness of Beauty

Life can be very messy at times.  Drama happens, tempers flare, egos roar and imbalance can set in.  OH how easy that road is to walk down. I can tell you, I am not an innocent.  I have made many mistakes and taken the road well traveled.  I have been lured at how easy it can be –  it takes almost no strength at all to wind yourself into the pushing and shoving of words and energy.  Sides are taken, lines are drawn…………for what?  Control?  Power?  It’s an empty and lonely road in the end.  Nothing good comes of it – you are left feeling drained and empty – never really gaining anything other than a hollow victory.

We all have a choice.  We can choose to join the crowd and feel justified and comfortable within the numbers – losing ourselves to the power of the group.  Or we can choose to think for ourselves and what is appropriate for all sides of the situation.  In almost every instance there is room for kindness.

When in doubt……..create a little  beauty.  It could be a small thing – a smile, a kind word, a gesture of gratitude or a simple loving thought toward another.  It doesn’t require money,force or directions.  It simply requires you to step out of the what is “wrong” with another and, just for a moment, think about what is pure.

So from me to you – I send you Love ❤️……..and just a little beauty from the fire today :). These lovelies will be placed in an open fit fire on Thursday……..stay tuned!!!

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 ❤️ 

For you…….The World

For the last few weeks, clay has taken a back seat.  “Living” can take the drivers seat at times – all of the day to day commitments that need my attention somehow slowly crept into the limelight, taking away the time and the attention that I had set aside for creating.  

Today, as I was sitting in orientation, all I could think about was getting my hands muddy.  It had been so long – so much pent up desire to touch clay – it was taking its toll on my attention to the present and to my general sanity.  Finally, this afternoon, we finally were able to visit the pottery studio.  There are 13 students in the class, and except for one other “woman of a certain age”, I was surrounded by college students.  Now, if you know me at all, you clearly understand that these are not my “chosen people”.  A little too much drama, angst and anguish are built up in those young souls.  This was not my “ideal” setting for creating………and then……….I touched micaceous clay.  The smooth and silky texture, the earthy, slightly musky scent, the essence of the earth.  I was instantly transported to my center of gravity where from all things are possible.  Everything fell away as I worked with it, the noise and commotion just simply became background music.  

My world, once again, came into balance and I could see the possibilities.

 

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 🙂