“Fall is my favourite time of year!” I have heard these words declared so many times these past weeks and I cannot agree more. Especially after such a glorious sun-filled maelstrom of a summer, this Fall’s gentle coming has been sweet. Fall is my time to breathe, regroup, get back into routine with school, and brace my being for the cold blasts of winter. As I watched the leaves blow off from my studio window, the weather change is inspiring some coiling work. Coiling is one of the oldest methods for building pots in history used by people from Native Americans to the Koreans. For me, that rolling and joining of clay is not only satisfying in a tactile way, but also references the cycle of seasons, life and energy that we are all part of.
Besides new work and jewelry, I have a new collection of greeting cards reflecting Orcas in the mood of the season. A set of cards tied up in a bow would make a thoughtful house gift, I think. I’ll post some of the card images in my next post soon, but stop by when you are in Eastsound. Call me first, if you like at 360-220 8221.
The mud smells dark and rich; the bird call is frenzied; the wet leaves and twigs glow like embers in the fast fallen dusk. Hello Fall. My favourite time of year is digging in and the palette of the season is a personal refresher for where my aesthetic choices are mostly rooted.
Taking stock of the body of work I showed at this past summer’s Artists Open Studio Tour on Orcas Island, it felt good to discover an aesthetic consistency running through my ceramic work. The forest floor, ocean find and woodland imagery are repeatedly used, and so are the organic textures and my tendency to leave or reveal the natural colour of the clay body. The show was really the first time I had all my recent work displayed together and it was gratifying to see how the individual pieces, whether functional, wearable or wall art, could come together to form a cohesive tableau.
Participation in the Studio tour provided the motivation for me to finally write an Artist’s Bio, and to explore various ways to display work, label displays, create visual flow, and other nitty gritty aspects of putting up a show that is not always a top priority because it takes precious time away from making stuff! However, the best thing for me over the three-day tour was getting practice in talking about my art to absolute strangers. Many thanks to Sharon Schmidt who hung out with me on opening day! Just hearing her introduce my work to guests helped me experience how a gallery visitor would encounter my creations for the first time. I realised how basic and crucial a skill it is for any artist to be able to talk comfortably about her own work, and, at a level that resonates with the viewer. I have been a docent many years and led many a gallery tour, but talking up my own work is an ongoing challenge. I know it comes with practice and I am working on it.
I am drawing inspiration from this palm-sized leather-bound book with a gold stenciled cover that reads “Guide To Piety” and is very likely over a 110 years old! A schedule of holy days in the beginning pages starts from 1902 and ends in 1928. I can barely make out the cursive handwriting in faded pencil on the inside cover. Perhaps it was a gift that became a reliable talisman on a bedside table, held so much the leather is worn.
Let me explain. The Orcas Library holds a book sale a few times a year and last Saturday was the Winter Sale. We always make a point to go – one part out of an obligation to support one of our favourite places on Orcas, one part something to do with the kids and one part succumbing to the thrill of the hunt. Books, mostly donated by islanders – from gorgeous coffee table books to Beginning Readers – are priced from 50 cents to $2 for hardcovers. Isn’t it bewildering that the books are cheaper than gift wrap, not to mention premium rolls of toilet paper? And yet, the sale was a quiet affair. If this had been at Walmart and on DVDs…
But I digress, I wanted to show off my score – this little book was too beautifully distressed for me not to pick up. There is something so simple and quiet about its appeal, sitting on that ‘Religious’ sale table amidst newer titles that just seemed to demand your piety, and loudly too – so loud I usually shuffle past. *Laugh* Which has left me wondering, is this some sort of sign? In the middle of Lent, too.