Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Art of Aging Well

 The holidays are such a nice time to reconnect with people we know. This is a picture of me with my friend, Ed,  taken at a recent gathering.
Ed is 100 years old. I first met him about twenty five years ago and he didn't look much different then.
He likes making art; his red wine; and connecting with people. Losing his wife was a difficult change." It's hard living alone", he shared. Yet he keeps on and enjoys the beautiful red rock country he calls home.
Is it our surroundings that make us age well? This place I live in has clean air and water and blue skies. It is a great boon to creativity. Human beings are tough. Our genes have an effect. If we manage to outwit all those devious health" challenges", is there a sheer joy of living that makes us go on? 
The month of January is almost upon us. It is a new year for the world, but also when I started my life journey here on this lovely planet called earth. I want to pay special attention to this art of growing older with grace.It is perhaps my ultimate creation.
 Any thoughts to share?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas Calligraphy

Here is a piece I did for a Christmas past,and since it is that time of year, I thought it would be a good thought to resurrect. It reads as follows:
 " Somehow, not only at Christmas,but all the long year through, the joy that you give to others, is the joy that comes back to you."
 The poet John Greenleaf Whitttier wrote this poem over one hundred years ago. 
It' is not a new thought. Also known as " you get what you give" is another way I have heard it, or " give unto others..."  I liked the poetry form, and it was a reminder to me to hold onto this belief which certainly makes a lot of sense. I am learning that people do pick up on our feelings, and we can influence their moods by our delivery.  Isn't it nicer to be around people who are happy, rather than expressing negativity? Yes, it is.
Being the traditionalist that I am not, I created a  tie dye cloth background for my holiday cheer. My technique was to write in the Italic style of calligraphy on pieces of paper, which  I  then inserted into the fabric, and glued down. I like the feeling that the words are floating on the canvas.
The original is a rather large piece of about 24 by 36 inches, from which I also created  prints and cards. Perhaps this is just a positive way to reach more people with our art.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Art of Communication

Here I am with a poem I wrote about my two artistic passions, ceramics and calligraphy. I was in a workshop focused on creating a new alphabet, and then using it.  Yes, I know most of the historical styles, but it is fun to invent a new one occasionally.Being able to take my pen and manipulate it with each letter enabled me to create a consistent pattern, which is called an alphabet. I believe that is where many fonts used on your computer came from. A creative artist with pen and ink is playing with a purpose.

I have been combining my two skills lately, using the clay as a canvas on which to letter.Some of my previous blogs have shared this process. 
There is something about the magic of letters, how they are shaped; the medium in which they are created; the ability to have others share our thoughts. I am actually writing about the art of communication, aren't I?
We want, no we need, to share our thoughts, our ideas with others. Art  expands the borders of how we perceive and express our thoughts. The list of " shoulds " can go out the window. Sometimes we are able to connect with our viewer. They are willing to pay the artist  to have this creation in their space, to enjoy this fresh perspective.That is a nice connection for both parties.  

Sunday, December 8, 2013

"Holiday Horsehair" Pot

Here is my latest ceramic creation entitled "  Holiday Horsehair". It is currently in the show at the Sedona Arts Center, where it also adorns the invitation.
It is a rather large pot, measuring about fourteen inches in height. I also made the red beads that I used for adornment. Red berries on a winter landscape came to my mind as I was decorating the tall vessel.
This is a burnished, wheel thrown piece, which is fired in the kiln to make it strong. The surface is smooth, and soft to the touch. It goes back in the kiln, and while it is still very hot, I bring it out and use the individual horse hairs to create the random pattern. There is essentially no glaze, so it is decorative rather than functional. 
The light color is the white porcelain clay with which I throw.That creates the background for the elements of design provided by the sizzle of the horsehair on the hot surface. There is a long tradition of using this technique among  native potters.
I am happy with the results. My desire to create something special for this holiday season is met. Enjoy.