Monday, January 31, 2011

greenware everywhere!

It's been a productive couple of days for me. This month has been slow and draggy for the most part. Draggy? Is that a word? The period after Christmas is always a bit of a struggle for me, but this year seemed worse than before. I have a hard time keeping to my work schedule when the kids are home, and Christmas vacation this year seemed to last forever. Don't get me wrong, I love having them around, but I sure was happy to see the big yellow bus return every morning at 7:30. Getting back in the Making groove has been a little harder this time. But last week, a student of mine came over for the afternoon and zing! I had it back. I think all I needed was for someone to give me that little push.
Saturday and Sunday saw me flinging mud like crazy, I got quite a bit made, for handbuilding standards. Its nice to go into the studio and see greenware everywhere. Kinda makes you wanna make more......

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Pots, Photos and Procrastination

Procrastination is the key word here. I need to make pots, I need to photograph pots, and I need to cease all procrastination. So in aid of all of this I will post a picture later today, of the pots that I make today. I will also choose the photos to send to a show that I am hoping to do.. more on that later.  If the snow stops anytime soon, I will mail the application for said show, then I will figure out how I will be paying for the show, and getting there... The pots are the easy part... those  can make, and photograph. The rest? Scary as hell.

Friday, January 28, 2011

WOW! about that hand post... and some pottery stuff too.

I would like to thank all of the people who responded to my post about hands, here, on my facebook, and by private message, across the driveway...
I was a little more than afraid to put all this out there. Those who know me best, know that it is something that I very rarely talk about in any real way. Sure I'll answer questions, or mention things that happen, but as a whole the topic rarely gets any in depth treatment. Now that the intro is out there, and the ball is rolling I feel a little more confident in persuing it as a project.
Kasey- you are correct, I make things because that was what I was born to do. It really isn't a choice for me, so much as it is a calling. There is a lot more to be said on this particular point, but you nailed it. I don't just want to be a maker, I have to be one, it is a very important part of who I am.
Nancy- you have been there literally from day one. There are no words to describe what your friendship means to me. BUT there are lots and lots of incriminating photos... Mwahahahahaha!

Liz M- there is most certainly an art project in this, I just need to find it. Wrestling this topic into submission is about as easy as nailing Jello to a tree. But I will prevail and something will come of it. The outward part is the easy one, its the parts that don't show that give me trouble.
Kerry- you are correct, the other parts of us get to work thier mojo when something is askew. The brain is a mysterious thing. It is that very aspect of differing abilities that I think drives me to be a maker. I think the intense focus on my hands, and on figuring out how to use my hands to accomplish everyday tasks has made me really develop the creative aspect of my brain. I am pretty sure that my brain has rewired itself to see things differently, and to hone my visual problem solving skills.
Every task that I learn, I do so by observing how other people do it, and translating the movements they make into movements I am capable of. There is no mimic action happening here. I do everything differently. I see everything differently. I am an intense observer and analyst of movement, and of dexterity . I have become intimately aware of the limits of my body, and have consistantly pushed the boundaries of what my muscles and joints can handle. This is the only way I know how to get things done.
This need for intense observation is coupled with what I call my 3D curse. When I look at a flat pattern, I see the finished three dimensional form. Conversely I can break down a three dimensional form, to its basic componants in my mind. I really don't have a way to switch this off and I must say, that sometimes it makes me a little crazy. I am sure that most artists have this ability to some extent. For me it is both a blessing and a curse.
I managed a bit of time in the studio today, getting a platter and some tumblers and yarn bowls underway, I am feeling a bit like a slacker these days, and need to beef up production a bit. There are so many things stuck inside my brain trying to get out.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

And On The Other Hand, Part One.

From the moment I came in to this world my hands have been a hot topic. I was born with a rare (apparently one in 30 000) birth anomalie known as Symbrachydactyly . Please don't ask me to pronounce it, I am not sure I can. The definition is pretty vague, and covers a lot of related finger and hand deformities. In my case, I was born with a shortened left forearm, tiny fingers with no bones, and a partially formed thumb. The muscles, tendons, bones and nerves are all messed up in that hand. All in all a pretty short and oversimplefied definition of a very complex problem. The gist of it is, the experts don't know why, it just is what it is.

I have spent a great deal of my life consciously not thinking about hands and a great deal of it being forced to think about hands. But now I am choosing to think about, and talk about hands. My Hands. This is a pretty big leap for me, having spent most of my life wishing people would shut the hell up about them, and move on to something or someone more interesting. I would much rather talk about my work, not about how many hands it took to make it.
My outlook on the hand discussion changed rather abruptly Several months ago when a friend posted a link to this video of Renate Hiller "On Handwork" to her facebook page.


 This video was the catalyst to my journey of looking really hard inside myself to uncover what exactly hands meant to me. As an artist, as a human, as a person with a disability. I watched it over and over again, her words sinking in to my mind and making my head spin.

"The use of the hands is vital to the human being. For having flexibility, dexterity.  In a way, the entire human being is in the hands."-Renate Hiller, on handwork.

This absolutely blew my mind. As an artist I agreed with it all, the feeling you get from working with your hands, from being a maker. That empathetic connection with the world when you create something for use by people. A beautiful,  tactile object made by the hands. But for me, it was a bit more than that. It was that eureka moment when I realised just what it was that made people want to know why, and how a person with one hand could possibly do what I do. It made me realize that I could no longer seperate what I do, from how I do it. This really pissed me off. Now suddenly I wanted to know how, and why I did things the way I do. My pat answer .."I don't know, I just do it." wasn't going to suffice any longer. I was going to have to join the discussion, find the answers, and share them. I was not looking forward to this process at all.

Looking inward is never easy, but is sometimes vital to discovering what makes us the person we are. When I decided to write a blogpost about having one hand, and making pots, it was going to be just that, Some "how I do it" photos, and a short blurb about how you can do anything you want even with one hand. It wasn't that easy, and I never got to the "how I do it" stage; or for that matter, the "anything you want to do" stage. It is a much larger and more complex problem than I initially thought. and so dear blog readers, there will be more.