Tag Archives: experiments

touch…

I was listening to this from Ray Charles yesterday. He mentions how he is grateful for his sense of touch. I am too.

When I was younger, under certain conditions, my sense of touch and my experience of colours intermingled (synesthesia). While I am highly sensitized to colour, I would say that touch is the sense that I am the most keenly aware of.

As an artist, using my hands -touch- in making visual art is an inexorable part of my creative process; it is what makes it a visceral experience.

Flora Bowley (who I only know through her videos) so aptly captures the spirit of this in her art making process. Go… check her out.

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.

It.Was.Awesome.

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

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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…

How many lovers does it take to screw in a lightbulb… and other musings…

What a crazy week it’s been. After being in the body shop for a little over a month, my car was ready on Friday. They called me on Friday morning to let me know, and of course I had to figure out some way to scrape together the $1,000 deductible. So it will be a very meager next several weeks indeed, until two pay cheques from now, as the next one will be gobbled up by the rent. Anyway… enough of my financial woes…

The good news is… I have a car again, with a half tank of gas.

I’ve been trying to work on some painting (without much success). And some writing (and aside from this here blog post, and a number of emails, those efforts have been largely unproductive). I’ve also been not particularly muse-infused lately. I’ve also decided not to beat myself up about it all.

I’ve been feeling really – tired – tired is the right word. Tired of many things, but mostly of my flailing about. I feel like a drowning man, thrashing around in oceanic murk, trying to avoid the inevitable pull of the deep, only to finally give in anyway, watching the last stream of my little air bubbles float upward as I sink to the bottom despite my best efforts.

I’m so tired of being broke.

I’m tired of investing so much time into things that bring me little (or no) pleasure or improvement.

I’m tired of feeling like I have no direction, or rather, of having lost my way (and question whether I ever had a way to begin with).

I’m tired of wanting something better but not being able to get to better by way of my own resources.

And I’m tired of wondering what better is, in the end.

I’m tired of thinking, even.

So… how to go about remedying the sources of all of this fatigue. Helpful suggestions are welcome.

My leg/groin strain is finally starting to feel better. I went to see the doctor on Wednesday and was given a prescription for Naproxen. Perhaps the healing was delayed because of muscles spasming and now that the pain cycle is broken, things are finally starting to right themselves.

I’ve recently read (and have previously ruminated on, via my own) blog posts that speak about how we as humans have become separate from nature and the natural world’s cycle of birth-life-death, decay and renewal. That we fear change and hold on to things long past their usefulness or for our better good. That the concept of long-term relationships is an unnatural adherence, requiring a prodigious (yet perhaps futile, by these accounts) amount of effort to hold on to things that are ever-changing. How monogamy goes against the very grain of the laws of nature.

Oddly enough, despite what we think (citing the notion that we feel we are unable to focus our affections on only one person) we naturally tend to behave in such a way, and the superfluous “others” tend to fall off by the wayside; shed themselves like so much dead skin from the snake’s back. Until a new fancy surfaces and our interest wanes. I muse (and amuse myself immensely) that we have the notion that we are able to sustain multiple intimate relationships when even one requires fairly gargantuan effort to keep things running smoothly. I mean… I barely have enough time and energy to get through my work week, figure out new and creative (and cheap) ways to relax during my time off, be emotionally and physically available to my son in a caretaker/mom capacity, and still have a bit of “me” time. Maybe others are better at multi-tasking than I am.

But this life is a great experiment, and I long ago earned the title of Absent-minded Professor (coined as such by my mother), so I’ll go on experimenting, regardless. She was also the one who used to tell me not to ride two horses with one ass (when I was spreading myself too thinly, and not accomplishing any task with any great measure of success). And I have always mostly done what my dad always told me not to do, and did things the stupid way (as opposed to the smart way), learning best from my own mistakes (rather than those of others). But I digress.

Are humans basically fear-based creatures, having separated (perhaps even elevated) ourselves from the “natural world” and its impermanence–its cycles of birth-death-renewal? I think, perhaps, that if we run on the premise that all is meant to end or change, and that whatever we are experiencing in This Moment is doomed, then we don’t live fully. We live with the notion that this moment is not worth investing in fully, because it will be replaced by another one, shortly, and it may be better, or it may be worse, but it will definitely be different. It’s the ADHD phenomena afflicting humanity on a grand, emotional, scale. It smacks of nihilism and hedonism. It’s the epitome of blasé. And if it works for you, great. But does it, really?

I think, personally, viewing life in this way does a great disservice to the process of watching (or experiencing) the evolution of something (a relationship, for example). The evolution is never given a chance to develop because the focus is only on the now (the new?), not much effort is invested into it, certainly not much thought is given to how to make a joint collaboration unfold into something of greater potential over a period of time. I’ll use a big word here: trust. It’s short, really, but weighs on many of us.

It seems to me that there is always a sense of self-preservation present–an unwillingness to remove the governor–to really take the risk of something being good, despite the perceived cost, because there is an underlying notion that it will all go to pot, eventually. Better get it while the getting’s good. It seems to me that the same fear that plays on one human’s need to cling also plays on another human’s need to not cling. Same fear, different coping mechanism. It is the inability to relax into trust. It is my struggle, and many others’ as well, it seems.

This striving for something greater than the sum of its parts is what pushed humanity onward to reach great heights. It’s what has kept the species alive and has made us thrive. Evolution happens (in nature) over the course of a very, very long time. Small, tiny little incremental changes occur, so that they are almost imperceptible unless looked at with a keen and knowing eye, in retrospect (mostly). It seems to me that perhaps we ought to heed the natural laws in their entirety, and embrace the very things that have elevated us above the rest of the animal kingdom–our ability to discern and measure and hope and build and work together coherently and collectively–for the betterment of a greater whole. It is our compassionate nature, and our ability to link our hearts with our minds (and each other’s), that elevates us to the top of the animal kingdom.

I find it laugh-out-loud-funny that, in our misguided sense of spirituality, we can in one breath claim that we are all One and yet also claim that we are all Alone in the end. I am guilty of having made both of these postulations, sometimes in the same discussion. Others have as well. So how do we reconcile this sense of duality, this separation and yet Oneness that we all experience to varying degrees, at varying times? Is this the tug-of-war between ego and soul? Why should there be a war at all? If we can’t get our own parts to reach a sustainable state of peace, how can we hope for the Rest Of The World to follow suit?

This idea of being “alone” has led to most of the environmental and socio-economic issues that plague humanity. Perhaps it is because of our short life spans. This allows us to unconscionably shit in our own backyards because who cares what happens in a century (or on the other side of the same globe upon which we live)? We’ll be lucky if our kids will be around to see it come around. Besides, in the meantime, a very large meteor can hit us (or a mega-volcano could erupt) at any time, and send us into the next ice age or perhaps to our fiery demise. Or maybe beings from another galaxy, universe or dimension will want to take over this cesspool we’ve created and finish the job if we haven’t done it ourselves.

In the meantime, I need to find a ladder so I can reach that lightbulb…

Going green: gardens and divas…

Many of us try to do our part environmentally. Several years ago I heard of the plight of the South Central Farmers, struggling to maintain their hold on the 14-acre plot of land in the most concrete of jungles, South Central L.A. The 14-acre South Central Farm once was the heart of a poor, mainly Latino community and fed 350+ families, until a developer was allowed to bulldoze it to erect a bunch of storage warehouses.

I continue to be floored by the notion that the United States is looked upon by the world as a leading force in assisting third world countries to develop their own sustainable food sources, while a perfect and operating example of this model within the country is razed in favor of big business. The Garden, a documentary movie chronicling the journey to save the farm, has been nominated for an Academy Award, and the trailer can be viewed here.

Now… on being a Diva… if you are squeamish about “woman’s issues” (and I don’t mean the bra burning kind and groaning about glass ceilings and such), stop reading here, because I’m about to go into some detail about “feminine” products. Earlier this month I decided to see if I could stop supporting the disposable feminine product market, into which (pardon the pun) I flush hundreds of dollars annually… and am still struggling to keep from staining my mattress rather regularly.

SO… with that in mind, I picked up a product that has been around for a while but which I looked at rather skeptically, wondering how its usage could be practically applied to my life. It’s called The Diva Cup… it comes in two sizes… pre- and post-pregnancy.  I can tell you that it was a smidgen pricey… about four 20-pack boxes of tampons’ worth pricey… but if it will allow me to sleep through the night without having to worry about accidents, it will, to my mind, be worth the investment.  The experiment has begun… I’ll keep you posted…