Monday, March 30, 2015

the day after

The One of a Kind Show has been a daunting goal of mine for a long time and this year I was incredibly fortunate to have a booth in the Craft Community of Canada section where I was featured among a dozen other emerging artists. By the end of the show, we were a tight-knit little community all our own and I was so honoured to be surrounded by each and every one of them.

The benefits of doing this show (in my experience):

1.    THE EXPOSURE. You get tons of it. Not only did I get featured in the One of a Kind email blast (which went out to thousands of people) my wood grain pieces were showcased in the main display at the front entrance, and my hawthorn mugs were on television! Even more than this, I had retail stores and galleries approaching me wanting to wholesale my work. Which was incredible and something I didn’t expect. Honestly, it was worth it just for that.

2.    THE COMMUNITY. I’ve been working with clay and doing shows for a long time now and one of the best things about being a maker is the community of artists you become a part of once you start showing your work. Artists and artisans are not only some of the hardest working people I’ve ever met, they are also some of the most intelligent, funny, kind, and supportive people out there. They are the treasure you didn’t even know you were looking for.

3.    THE FEEDBACK. Feedback is invaluable. One of the most helpful pieces of feedback I received again and again were on my wood grain tumblers. So many people asked about handles, which I’d refrained from putting on because these pieces in particular were designed in such a way that handles would really mess with the design. So now I know that I need to incorporate handles, which is a fun challenge.

4.    THE ACCOMPLISHMENT. At so many points leading up to this show, whether I was sanding the bottoms of hundreds of pots or carefully wrapping and packing each of those pots, I would turn to Joe and say: Can you believe I’m doing this? Well, I did it. At six o’clock last night, when the official closing announcement was made, cheers went up from all down the Direct Energy Centre. Cheers of camaraderie, solidarity and celebration. It felt so good.

And now I need to clean my studio and get back to work to prepare for The Potters Market (which you should totally come out to).

Saturday, March 21, 2015

hawthorns, fresh out of the kiln

In some folklores, hawthorn trees mark the entrance to the otherworld. In others, they can heal a broken heart.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

as if a woman quietly walked away

vision begins to happen in such a life
as if a woman quietly walked away
from the argument and jargon in a room
and sitting down in the kitchen, began turning in her lap
bits of yarn, calico and velvet scraps,
laying them out absently on the scrubbed boards
in the lamplight, with small rainbow-coloured shells…
Such a composition has nothing to do with eternity,
the striving for greatness, brilliance-
only with the musing of a mind
one with her body, experienced fingers quietly pushing
dark against bright, silk against roughness,
pulling the tenets of a life together
with no mere will to mastery,
only care…

-Adrienne Rich

In the past seven months, I’ve been burrowing. Or maybe running. But certainly I’ve retreated.

It began when my grandfather passed away. Just… disappeared. Forever. I didn't realize that the people you loved most could do that to you.

The burrowing intensified as over and over again I was met with rejection and disappointment and failure in the pursuit of my goals. I worked harder than ever only to find myself going in circles. Endless circles of endless failure.

So I ran North. I burrowed up there in a sleepy little town and a school made of windows and bright red doors. I woke up before the sun to write and came home long after it went down at night when my work with clay was done. It was what I needed – to run away. To burrow and mourn and remember which way my compass pointed.

But now that I’m back home, I’m still burrowing. My days look like words and words and words on the page or clay on my hands, my face, my jeans, my hair. This week I completely forgot about a shift at the bookstore and when my colleague called, wondering where I was, I was in the studio, disheveled and covered in mud. Obviously. This is who I am now when I don't have to go meet the world in any official way. Disheveled and covered in mud.

It was worrisome. In burrowing, I haven't been in touch with this or that person. I've been wearing the same clothes for three days straight. Every book I read moves me to tears for days. Going North was supposed to fix me. So why does it look like I'm falling apart?

But then, the poem. The one above that I started this blog with. It arrived and kept arriving. And it's changing my mind. I think maybe I'm not done yet. Burrowing, I mean. Retreating. It's what I still need to do for as long as I need to do it. Because the truth is, I still seek out the people I love most. And being moved so deeply by books means that I'm choosing the right ones. And who cares about what I'm wearing, anyway?

So I'm burrowing.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

almost there...

I took a poll on Facebook yesterday, asking which tumbler people preferred:

The one on the left has a shiny black interior and exterior. The one on the right has matte black exterior, white interior, and translucent white lip. Out of the forty or so people who weighed in, it was almost an exact split down the middle. So. I'll be bringing both versions to the show… in exactly two weeks. Yikes! So much still to do!

Booth numbers have been assigned and I'll be in booth K34. So if you're planning on going, come visit!