Have You Missed It? I Sure Have!

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__BCM pottery pics

It’s been a long time.  Almost 6 months since I worked on my pottery practice.  How did this happen?  Well, in retrospect, I think it’s due to the art classes I was teaching.

Since Thanksgiving, I’ve had two family emergencies that really shook myself and my family to the core.  Things are slowly beginning to balance out, but in those moments, I always tend to have some real moments of clarity. You know, when shit hits the fan you take inventory.  Who am I? What am I doing?  Who’s important? What’s important?  What’s it all for? Why?

In an instant, I could see that there were some things I was doing because I “should” rather than because they align with my life journey.  I really REALLY want to be an artist.  From the bottom of my heart, I am trying to get to that place where it’s not a secret goal or hobby, but where I can make a livelihood from it. And slowly over months, opportunities trickle in that are – in themselves ,wonderful opportunities.  But they  do take me off my path. Excuses like “well, it’s the grown-up thing to do” or “but, the money is good”…  seem so valid.  Even though I have a quiet sadness for what I am not doing.  Long story short, pottery is a part of me – like the air I breathe.  Teaching prevented me from having the time to do pottery.  Which to me, is like not breathing.  I get so much joy from people taking home my pots.  I truly enjoy making them and I truly enjoy putting them into the world.

I’m officially stepping down from teaching painting and starting up pottery this March.  My idea is to make cookie jars or large vessels that resemble the characters that will be in my Secret Garden series.  So, there should be quite a bit of animals, pattern and color involved.  The above photo of silly faces are the stamps I am making now in preparation for March.

I’m looking forward to getting back on track.

Getting Ready for Pottery

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I recently made over 75 new pottery stamps.  They are just leaving the kiln now and are ready for me to play with.

This past spring, I felt a tremendous gratification from the pottery pieces that bared my own designs.  They felt really personal.  Taking what I learned from then, I have a better idea of what I want now. This time I created a lot more stamps of larger leaves and petals, insects and butterflies as well as a bunch of different kinds of fish.

I look forward to creating my very own wonderlands!

Flying High

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I’m continuing to work on my own stamps to create texture on my pottery.

This is a bird series. What is fun, is that every piece has a different pattern on its opposite side. I made a bunch of bird bodies, but I made the wings separate stamps. This way I can change the trajectory of the wings to simulate different flight poses.  Instead of only having three bird stamps, I will have six bird bodies and 12 different patterned wings to choose from.

I also made stamp pieces of a tree.  Each piece of the tree can be flipped to create more irregularity in my tree pattern.  I can stamp in many different variations of a tree depending on how many times I stamp them.  Little tree or big tree.

I am making some large bowls right now.  I’ll try using them and send some updates of how they work.

Have a great weekend everybody.  I hope you all get to do something creative :)

DAY #363 – THANK YOUS

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The Walsh Clan is going down in a ball of fury!  First my son, then my husband…now me.

My throat hurts, my body aches and I just want to spend the rest of the week in bed.

I was so proud of myself for staying healthy during the Christmas season.  Stress always gets me sick over the holidays and I thought tanking up on vitamin C was going to see me through.  However our house has been full and sharing a bed with two sicklings was more than my body could take.

Did that stop me from trudging on with my creative 365?  Nooooo.

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South County Art Supply had given me this rubber stamp block for carving.  It’s super soft as opposed to carving in linoleum which is hard. I thought the size seemed perfect for creating thank you cards. Don’t we all have someone to thank this time of year?

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Let’s just say I figured out how to use the material after I was through with it! Meaning, these didn’t come out all too well because I was learning along the way.

This is what I learned:

First, when creating a design, you really must consider the spacing between objects.  I didn’t leave enough and lost most of my design, especially the lettering.  Second, I started carving with an Exact-o Knife which was not the correct tool for this rubber block.  The Exact-o Knife stabbed too deep, did not make uniform marks and made the rubber stamp crumble.

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Half way through the process I figured this out and pulled out my Speed Ball linoleum carving tools.  THEY WORKED PERFECTLY. Unfortunately I didn’t have any large rubber blocks left to apply what I learned!

I had a smaller block which I only used the carving tools with. See how the lines are a lot cleaner.

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It’s really not my favorite activity to try something, mess up and have to post it on the world-wide web, but hey I’m honest, I should at least get points for that!

If I were to try this again, I would spend way more time on a well conceived design and I’d only use carving tools. I could see using this technique for only one large object per block. Maybe a bird, sunflower or I thought of doing a flying pig!

Of course my daughter wants to try this now.  So we will be picking her up a rubber block to create what else? None other than a platypus!

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OK.  My back is killing me, my glands are soar…I’m crawling into bed now… :(

Two more days…two more days until I take a long winter’s nap! I desperately need one!

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DAY # 316 – NOTCH CUT BOWLS COMPLETE

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I’m so happy!  I got my bowls back today.

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Check out Post #274 – SLAB POTTERY NOTCH-CUT BOWLS for the how-to.

In the photos above, you can see the clay starts off gray.  However, when fired, the clay color becomes a warm oatmeal.  I just love it.  They totally suit my style.

These bowls were hand-built using flat slabs of clay.  I also used Pakistani wooden textile stamps to decorate the bowls.

#316- Notch cut bowls complete (5)I’m slowly building up a collection of black and white pottery.  I painted black & white stripes on the backs of these new bowls.  Now they tie in with some of my older pieces.

I also got my little dip bowl back.  This is the bowl I added a glass marble to the bottom of when it got fired.  You can see the glass crackle in it.  It’s a pretty little accent.

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I spent most of my pottery session working on potential Christmas gifts for teachers and other people who I need to thank.  I decided to make soap dishes that I will fill with local goat’s milk soap from one of our local farms.  I used doilies and stamps to give them texture. Notice how they get draped over the back side of a bowl to give the soap dish its arch.  I’m a little frustrated, my soap is making a mess resting on my sink.  I’d sure like a few of these for myself!

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The final part of my class was dedicated to under glazing last weeks pieces. This is the under-color. The traditional glazes will get added hopefully next week after these vessels have been bisque fired.

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I was telling my instructor that pottery day has become my favorite day of the week.  I just love working with my hands and physically manifesting something.   It’s very tactile and invigorates my senses.  Each week I go in with an idea of something I would like to try and then I get to figure out how to go about creating it.

Maybe it’s simply that I love learning.  It feels so good to try something you’ve never tried before and slowly gain the skill.

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Do you remember this?  This was Day#22 of my creativity challenge.  This is where I started and now I’m creating beautiful, useable things.

Day # 316 and I’m still enjoying this crazy journey!

http://www.becreativemary.com

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DAY #315 – TAKE A SEAT

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I just recently purchased these wire chairs.  They are inspired by Harry Bertoia who designed a similar chair in 1952.

My thought with these was easy maintenance.  I am so very tired of scrubbing off tomato sauce, rice, and who-knows-what from the bellies of my wooden chairs.  I can hose these down if necessary!

I’m a big fan of  everything mid-century modern. I simply can’t get enough!

I’ve had one problem so far.  These chairs came with black chair pads.  I really don’t like the black.  It gives the chairs an office furniture feeling.

I don’t like them.  So I might as well play with them right?  I have nothing to lose.  I’m going to replace them anyway.

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I grabbed a can of primer and immediately got rid of the black.

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I reached for my big box of handmade stamps and started to play.  I had no idea what I wanted which isn’t the best way to go into a project…

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I wound up doing a little bit of everything!

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The pads are cute.  But in hindsight, I wish I made them all one pattern.  It’s just too busy.

I have so much color and art going on around the house, that I actually like this dining area all white and tranquil.

I think these may be a very short-term addition.  Only in creating the opposite have I affirmed my desire for white simplicity.

Hmm…I wonder if I have enough of that primer left?

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DAY # 312- BEING BRAVE ENOUGH

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After reading my posts for a while, you’ve probably come to recognize I am no English major!

However, this vision of a forest wrapped around a little child flashed through my head and I felt like I needed to create a proverb to explain it.

The child of course, represents the “inner child” in all of us.  The forest represents that in our adult lives which we are too afraid to “go for”.

I can’t tell you how many people I know, who aren’t doing what their soul yearns to do, because of the great “WHAT IFs”.  Here are some of them:

What if I leave my cushy job. How will I pay for x y & z?

What if my partner thinks I’m a total lunatic?  What if they disapprove?

What if I fail?

What if I waste time?  I don’t have that kind of time…

What if something happens and I don’t finish?

How will I tell the world that my life is a lie?  That I really am not happy and I really am not doing what I love? If I haven’t told everyone up until now, doesn’t that sort of make me a fake? an imposter?

Sometimes our fears and insecurities can keep us from ever even trying.  The forest may be intimidating, but our thoughts can be way worse, they can deem us immobile.

Well, my biggest fear was putting myself out there artistically.  I wouldn’t want anyone to see something I was working on until it was perfect…and guess what? Perfect never came.

In some ways you can say my fear is facing the world and being brave enough to stand up and introduce myself the way my “inner child” would.

Blogging is a way I can face this fear head on.  Whether I am happy with the outcome of a days work or I simply want to cringe, I am still decreeing to the world, that I want to be AN ARTIST!

When I put my life in that perspective and I ask myself “Did you show up today?  Did you try something new? Did you try your best? Can you now let go of your ego and put something out into the world?”  -when I answer these questions, then I know I am in the forest.

Here are my answers to the questions:

I am no longer playing it safe at a job that simply creates income.

I have declared to the world my most inner wishes and desires.

I fully embrace failure.   Now I see that learning everyday, practicing, trying my best to work toward my goal far surpasses failure.  It makes me strong.  It makes me true. These are qualities I admire.

The only time I considered wasted, were the thirty years that came before this year.  The years I spent playing it safe and talking myself out of EVERYTHING!

Even with this 365, I still have constant worries.  “What if I break my wrist? What if my child needs me? What if I cop-out? What if my family doesn’t support me? What if I over sleep? What if I spill coffee on my last 6 hours of work???”

The answer to all these questions is that you stay present.  You deal with every potential problem as it comes.

Today, I have absolutely no idea where I will find the time to create something tomorrow.  Seriously no idea.  I gently dismiss this fear and I have faith that something creative will come my way.  Tomorrows time will present itself.

So far, It has gotten me to Day #312.

  The better question to ask myself, is what would this year have looked like if I didn’t personally challenge myself to be creative?  It would be a pretty empty and boring year filled with obligations that always got in the way of what I truly wanted to do.

So here is my reminder, to all of us, myself included.

“NAVIGATING THE FOREST IS ATTAINABLE. THE CHALLENGE LIES IN BEING BRAVE ENOUGH TO ENTER.”

Be brave enough to show the world who you really are.

Do it EVERY day.

I promise you, your soul will rejoice!

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#311- THE TREES THROUGH THE FOREST

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Almost there on this piece…I have a little character to add tomorrow.

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Today was spent completing the tree stamps.

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I also added another layer to the background of the forest.

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After that, I began to add the colorful top layer of trees. I wanted the look of a complicated, entangled mesh of trees; a thicket I guess.

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It was tough, by the time I painted one end of these 18 inch stamps, the other end was dry.  I had to work super fast!

Tomorrow I will add the finishing touches and explain what this painting is about.

Thanks for bearing with me!

http://www.becreativemary.com

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DAY #310 – DOES IMAGINATION GROW ON TREES?

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If you haven’t guessed it, I’m creating a wild forest!

Check Post # 308 -Back to Stamping to see what this project is all about.

  These pieces of tracing paper were my final sketches before beginning on the outer layer of forest.  Monday, I created black & white stamps that would serve as the background trees. Today’s stamps are more elaborate because they will stand in the foreground.  I am creating 18″ tall stamps out of craft foam and corrugated cardboard.  I usually make them with a wood base, but the cardboard will be good for such a large stamp.  I can put more physical pressure on the inside of the stamp which I could not do if it were wood.

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So after I figured out exactly what size I wanted each tree, I then got to have fun coming up with the patterns and textures.

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The second stamp I made today is the one all the way to the left.  I scrapped it because it looked too much like a court jester’s hat!  Strange how those things slip into your subconscious somehow.  I replaced it with the curvy striped tree of the same shape.

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My third stamp I created today sort of reminds me of the gingerbread house from Hansel and Gretel or maybe even the Queen of Hearts from Wonderland?

Either way, creating these crazy concoctions is pure child’s play.   I just have so much fun putting all the pieces together.

OK. Three more tree stamps to create tomorrow and a few other things you’ll see when I get to them.

Rome wasn’t built in a day you know…

One more thing…

If my tree stamp falls off the table tonight and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

Oh, bugger I must be getting tired…time to force myself to bed!

http://www.becreativemary.com

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