Many years ago while living in Oregon, I was diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder. I tried everything from exercise, to drugs and counseling. Nothing seemed to release me from the deep dark tunnel I was trapped in. I realized it was simple really. Get the hell out of Oregon. Specifically central Oregon where there seemed to be an endless deluge of clouds and rain. So, I told my husband, I was moving back to California with or without him. It was hard making the move, but we finally settled back in. I’m so grateful for that experience because I learned something very important about myself. During the winter months, I hibernate. I go deep into myself and become very reflective and quiet. Before I knew this, I would fight these feelings by overdoing it. I would plan extravagant holiday dinners, decorate my home like Martha, and shop until the stores were closing.
How different I am today during the winter months. I’ve embraced and accepted my quiet side, and allow solitude and contemplation. I don’t plan those dinners anymore, and abhor shopping during the holiday season. I still have to be careful lest the darkness will creep in. I go for walks on sunny days and spend quality time with friends and family.
Now, the winter months are a time not only for reflection and rest but also a time to plan. I take stock of all I have accomplished and prioritize my future. In looking back on this year, I realize I have achieved a lot. I made jewelry I am proud of, started making porcelain beads and pendants with my husband, traveled to Peru and Arizona with my son, was a vendor at three festivals, and was published again in Belle Armoire Jewelry. Also, I am just finishing up a semester of beginning clay sculpture at a local community college.
Here are some of the pieces I made for the class.
Our first project was a pinch bowl. I formed it using just my fingers and then slab built the lotus flower in the center. I learned quite a bit about clay and glazes while making this. For example, don’t open the kiln too soon or your piece will have little cracks everywhere! I have never been very patient.
The second project we were given was to make a piece that represented the Anasazi culture or the Ancient Puebloans. I used red sculpture clay and used the pinch pot, coil method. I then cut out shapes from the slab and then slipped and scored them to attach. I bisque-fired, applied Shino glaze, and then fired to cone 6 to finish. I think a succulent plant will look nice in here.
This mug wasn’t a project we had to complete, but probably the one I am most proud of! It took me around 6 tries to finally get something that even resembled a mug! Throwing is one of those things that takes years to really master with lots of practice and determination. The mug is made of porcelain and fired to cone 6. Some say it’s hard to throw with porcelain, but I found it easier than other clays and really enjoy the soft, smooth texture. I learned the most important thing about throwing, is when you are finished, make sure you get all the moisture out of the bottom because it won’t dry evenly and will crack! I had to seal my bowl because of a crack that ran across the whole bottom. Oops.
Oh my. This weird piece developed from a project we had to do on a feeling or emotion. It didn’t turn out anything as I had planned! It is supposed to represent the feeling or emotion that you feel when you are going through a state of transcendence. You know, like the Phoenix rising from the ashes. Instead, it reminds me of blood, fire, and death. I know it didn’t turn out as planned because of my emotions that are related to my son being in Afghanistan. I tend to focus on all the negative things that are happening in the middle east when he is over there, and well, it’s a living hell right now. I so wish for peace one day where everyone can agree and we are not so divided as a people and a nation. Hence, my piece looks like hellfire.
Our final project was called Spirit of the Ancients. We had to create a ceramic piece and also design a poster board and give a presentation. Lucky for me, I visited Peru, so I already knew I wanted to do my presentation on the Incas. I did a blog post on Love My Art Jewelry about my Peruvian vacation here, and you can also see photos of my trip on my Facebook page if you like.
The vessel I chose was an Urpu or Aryballos. I had purchased the one you see in the pic and brought it home with me. It’s not an ancient relic but a vintage piece about 60 years old. The piece I made was a replica of that one, but with a bit different design on the front. I was intrigued by Urpus or Aryballos because of their unique shape. The Incas made the base in this conical shape so the pot could sit on the ground and then be tilted to pour out the contents. Ingenious. They stored Chicha (corn beer), chicha Morada, water, and other things like ashes in them. The Incas were a fascinating people, that developed mind-boggling structures that even to this day, engineers would have a hard time recreating. Very cool.
So now that the year is coming to an end, and I’ve assessed where I’ve been, it’s time to figure out what I want to accomplish in the coming year. I plan to focus more on my little business. Take on a few more festivals, get some of my work in local galleries and stores, and build up my website. I’m even contemplating a return to Etsy. I might even have a teaching opportunity. We will see! I’m looking forward to seeing what this next year will bring.
Thank you for visiting!