Let the Beauty of what you Love be what you Do...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

It's a Looooong Post!!!

Well, back to school for me this week. I have been coming to some conclusions lately in terms of continuing with a "Formal Art Education" versus just going it on my own in terms of creating. One of my huge concerns was going into debt at this age for an Art degree, and what exactly I could do with it anyhow. I know successful artists that have advanced degrees, as well as successful artists that are self taught. No matter how I decide to go about it, I HAVE A LOT TO LEARN. And everyone learns differently, at different paces and in different settings. While I have enjoyed immensely the exposure to different mediums as is presented by an Academic Art Program, I am beginning to realize there are aspects that don't necessarily fit with my learning style and approach to life in general. I think I'm better suited to community level classes & self study. I admit, I am a bit disappointed... after years of searching... I thought "this is it, this is what I want to do..." and now finding that perhaps it is not. I still want to create, of course... it's just the degree in Art that I am not so certain of. Part of me is thinking "just finish what you've started..." but 2 more years would take me that much farther away from the home I dream of ( the other loooong post in this blog), and like I was saying, there are things about that just don't feel right. BUT! It certainly was not a waste of time... this is something i tell myself~  sometimes we learn in life what we want to do by finding out what it is we don't want to do. Years ago, I sat down & made a list of things I thought I may like to do, & explored various avenues. I did a ten day Wilderness First Responder class through the National Outdoor Leadership school... thinking I may want to do search & rescue or be a park ranger- but nope! After the course I decided not, but the skills I learned could help someday in an emergency backcountry mishap! In 2008, I attended a 16 day residential Yoga Teacher Training at White Lotus, thinking maybe I wanted to teach yoga. Then decided... no,  I don't really want to teach, I just like doing it! The only difference here, is one year of classes has cost a LOT more money!! But what's done is done & I just have to let that go. ANYHOW!! I have decided to stay through this quarter... partly because I wanted to take a Photo Etching Printmaking course, and Functional Ceramics... and partly because I just cannot fathom at this current moment packing up all my things, returning them to storage & going back to my travel job. (Someday I may write about my "real job"... but that's not what this blog is about... it's more about the journey... so I'll just leave it in the back ground for now.)

Now that I've put you all to sleep with my ramblings (it does say various ramblings of a non-traditional art student, does it not?) I am going to post what I was originally going to post when I sat down at this computer! Sometimes my fingers have a mind of their own... and off I go on another (though related) tangent. So, CERAMICS! YAY! I love ceramics, I really do! I like just playing in clay~ that's all there is to it. So here I go, posting my beginner work. (oh, on our class critique paper work, it says we should not say beginner as it is just a "passive-aggressive way of getting others to go easy on you.") BUT! I am not in the classroom, I am right here on my very own blog, so let me be honest & say this is my BEGINNER work!! Honest truth it is!

My first real exposure to clay was being lucky enough to find a community level class right here in southern Oregon when I was working here on a travel assignment in 2007. It was a six week course of basically just playing with the clay & seeing what came out. Instruction, of course was provided.... but no deadlines, no critiques, no conceptualizing. I made tons of stuff and it was a lovely creative outlet.
This little bear was one of my first creations. Very rudimentary, but I gotta say, I love this little guy and he has travelled thousands of miles with me... and no matter where I am, I keep him by my bed as a symbol of my creativity.

The next one, I just sat down to make who knows what  & I came up with an elephant. I love this sort of creating. No thought, per say... no conceptualization- just pure creating... and it's FUN!

Then I made this cute little salsa dish. My mom uses it as a garlic holder. (Mom, I never did really get that! :)

During the time I was taking this class, a friend of mine had just finished this amazing trip~ hiking the Camino de Santiago in Spain, so for her birthday, I handbuilt a coffee mug detailing her Journey in the sun, over mountains & to the sea- she called it her "pilgrimage for peace" as she raised money for the Central Asia Institute.
Shown here unfired, then glazed below.

In 2008, I was working in Santa Fe, and found just what I was looking for~ an entry level wheel throwing course! It was at Santa Fe Clay~ they have tons of classes and workshops, from beginner to advanced, along with specialty classes taught by renowned clay artists. Do not judge their level of instruction by the work you are about to see! Throwing on the wheel for the first time was quite challenging~ but also quite fun! Most of my early results looked like this!

I had a hard time getting centered, to say the least! But by the end, I was just starting to get the hang of it, and made a few decent mugs & a few bowls. The one below I was going to toss when I was moving things out of storage last year... but my friend Laura said "I'll take it!" The last time I was at her house, I saw it was being put to good use.... as an outdoor ashtray for guests! I thought that was great~ functional Art! :)
Then, when I arrived here last year for school, since I got here a little early for the spring quarter, I took a class out of the garage of Penelope Dews, a wonderful ceramic artist here in the valley. (incidentally, she was the same woman who I took the first course from... that studio is now closed, so she opens her home to lots of lovely people who have a passion for clay.) At that point I was kinda hooked on wanting to get better at my throwing skills, and here are a few of my results.

So, that about brings me up to date! I'll be posting throughout the quarter... hoping to come up with some good work. Today we just practiced our centering... so I have nothing to show for that, except for one filthy pair of jeans & some random specks of clay in my hair... Oh, and a smile... just for getting my hands back into that lovely mud!


Wanda said...

I love your pottery, my SIL has given me wonderful pieces he has made. I've even helped cut stars into some and watched the kiln for him at times. Your pieces are beautiful, even the uncentered one that almost fell!

Amanda Goddard said...

Ceramics!! Yay!!! Glad you are getting back to that. By the way, this is my first blog comment, ever!

Barb said...

I am old and you are young - but...I have felt all the emotions back and forth that you're now feeling. See the bowl where you say you were having a hard time getting centered? That bowl and your resulting work after practice is an answer, I think. I'm glad you're finishing the semester.

Barb said...

PS I meant to say also that I LOVE that first little bear - always keep it with you.