Monthly Archives: May 2011

Mud pie adventures

Eureka! A vessel!

I decided that I was going to make a cup today, come hell or high water. I’m a stubborn git, sometimes, which can work in my favour, but mostly it gets me into trouble. Except in this case, I managed to achieve what I wanted to… a vessel of some sort, thrown on the wheel.

So after multiple trials and errors, and a growing pile of near successes, I finally managed to figure out what each hand and associated fingers are supposed to do at each interval (with the very generous tutelage of some other studio peeps). I had a eureka moment, and once that happened I finally managed to pull a vessel.


Can’t wait until I have some more wheel time. This Thursday, Vin, our esteemed instructor, promises to demo (and have me make) at least one slab dish, imprinted with some doilies (will post pix shortly of the doilies I found at an antique store for a song). Stay tuned…


On Mud Pies & Near Vessels and Wannabe Knitting Skills


So I just got back from my pottery class at Place Des Arts. I spent another evening throwing little mudpies onto the wheel in hopes that at some point I’d actually manage to make a go of something resembling a vessel.

I’ve watched countless YouTube videos of people throwing and it LOOKS easy… but ha! surprise! it sure as hell isn’t.

So tonight (my third evening of throwing) I actually had two near successes. One was just about pulled and I managed to tweak the edge and thrown it off centre. The other was actually pulled and I was attempting to lift off the wheel with the lifters, but I made the bottom too thin and it ripped while I was trying to transfer it. OH well.

I may head over there this weekend during open studio and give it another go. I am getting really, really good at wedging clay though. And I should have shot a photo of my near success but thought of it only after I’d already rendered it into the hunk o’ clay pile.

This photo hasn’t a thing to do with clay or pottery. It’s yet another wannabe skill I wish to some day acquire because if I could make something like this incredible thing of light and fluffy beauty some day, I think I might faint. But it requires counting and keeping track of stitches and even some (gasp!) math, so unless someone walks me through the process visually as I’m going along, I’ll never retain it.

At the moment my knitting skills consist of being able to make a veeeery long scarf. But I’ll look at the magazine racks and occasionally the Debbie Bliss Knitting Magazine will sing it’s siren sing to me and I’ll have it tucked under my armpit and heading to the checkout counter with it before I realize how it insidiously just invited itself into my bag.

If nothing else, maybe if I place it under my pillow, perhaps I’ll somehow miraculously acquire ninja knitting skills overnight by osmosis. Well, it was a thought.

Alright… time to call it a day. I can sink into slumber dreaming of petal pink lacy knits while the faint smell of fresh clay still lingers on my cheeks. Good night…

Ordinary Sparkling Moments

A special package arrived in the mail today. A little over a year ago, I volunteered to be a “Book Fairy” for Christine Mason Miller’s project to spread the message of “Ordinary Sparkling Moments: Reflections on Success and Contentment.” I write about my Book Fairy experience in this post (click HERE).

Anyway… back to now. A year has elapsed and I find myself struggling to find the sparkle in most everything. Or rather, it’s a daily chore for me to find the sparkle in the ordinary moments of my life. A relationship that I’d invested a year of my time in recently fizzled out like old ginger ale. What is left of my “professional life” is equally lifeless, and the fact of the matter is, it never had much life to it in the first place.

You see, it’s because like Christine, I’ve always wanted to be an artist. I didn’t make any other contingency plans, and after my plan A fell through (through no other fault by my own), and so many other plans that followed never amounted to anything, I continue to want to be something I still feel I am not… not quite. I certainly make art, in some form or other, but I have never made a living at it. Instead I drift, much like a gypsy, from one job to the next, never finding a niche in anything because the truth of the matter is I just don’t fit anywhere, really, especially an office.

I’m quiet, and thoughtful, and slow, and reserved, mostly, but wild and brash in ways that might surprise those who have not seen that side of me. And I have a temper, too, and as I age, it is getting more difficult to reign in. And I get bored really quickly if I am not fully occupied, and have further come to discover that an eight hour work day is just too long of a time to spend sitting at a desk, in front of a computer.

So where does that leave me? I don’t know. I am still searching for some sort of balance between my extremely active mind, creative spirit and insatiable curiosity. Why… WHY was I born this way? It’s excruciating.

While I ought to be busy working out the details of what kind of data to input into a spreadsheet, my mind drifts to a million things…

It was sunny today, so I could smell the spring in the air. In my mind, I spent a portion of the day wandering the streets of Vancouver, feeling the sun on my skin and smelling the thickening pollen in the air. Amidst meetings and email replies and spreadsheet tweaking, my mind juggled several story ideas, alternately fleshing out both of them, watching my characters become more animated and alive as the day progressed. I envisioned myself tending to bee hives and harvesting honey. I saw myself straddling a potter’s wheel and throwing perfectly proportioned mugs, and carving faces and bees into clay to later become beads and embellishments. There were molded bath bombs made and ceramic boxes in which to store them, and the inkling of a logo developed, as well as an etsy shop. My mind never stops…

And yet… by the time the evenings arrive, after an hour long drive and preparing dinner, I am usually too bushed to start on anything. So the wonderful ideas that I’ve harboured all day become stored in my memory banks (or my iPhone notes) for when my energy levels catch back up with the rest of me. Some days I forgo the cooking (or slap something together very quickly) and decide that I must do something. So this evening, with the arrival of the book, and the fact that it was such a beautiful sparkling sunny day, I’ve decided to write a blog post. Long neglected blog that it has been.

Unlike Christine, and her desire to be an artist, I have never felt the need to inspire others in a tangible way. I have no need to encourage or cajole others into being their best selves. I can barely manage to do that myself, so how can I deliver such a message convincingly? I thought, for a while, that I ought to be a creativity coach, and do just that. But the fact of the matter is, my mind wanders far too much. I read five books at once. I have multiple ongoing projects (many unfinished), and flit from one thing to the next like the bees I so wish to care for. I frankly don’t want the responsibility.

On the other hand, if what I write manages to inspire someone else, simply by sharing my own experience or by telling a story, then I can certainly do THAT sort of thing. I don’t know what inspires others… what makes them tick. We are all so similar in so many fundamental ways, and yet so different.

A friend of mine posted something to her Facebook page today, this widget thing that shows you how rich you are compared to everyone else in the world, based upon your annual income. I was the 231,544,348th richest person in the world, based on my earnings last year. Well, that’s nowhere near the top, to say the least, but even though $73 could buy a new mobile health clinic for AIDS orphans in Uganda, my grocery bill for two runs me about $200 a week, not counting incidentals (like toilet paper, etc.). It’s all relative, isn’t it?

So anyway… back to the sparkling moments. Life has been so much something other than smooth sailing for so long. If life was a bed, I definitely woke up on the wrong side of it. Not that it hasn’t been good at all. No… some incredibly awesome things have transpired. My son, for instance, is a treasure. Some of my friends are the most amazing and awesome people I have ever had the honour to journey with. At times when I was the most disheartened, complete strangers have materialized to reinforce my lagging faith in humanity. And I’ve seen beautiful things -natural or otherwise- and lived in amazing places.

The funny part is that we always think someone else has it better than we do, and that our lot is by far worse than everyone else’s. We’re always the most hard done by, in our minds, in comparison to everyone else. The truth is, though, that we all carry burdens of one sort or another, and they are equally weighty in the end. And those sparkling moments? They’re hard to see, from all of the detritus that litters our lives, sometimes, but if we dig a little bit, we can usually find the gems shining through the rubble, no matter how much crap they’re buried under.

So… in gratitude of the gems… and the sparkling moments, one of which, on this day, happens to be the arrival of this most excellent book.