Monday, January 25, 2010

News From the Nest

This semester should be a productive one. I'm re-taking the clay class I took last Spring (you can take it twice for credit), and discovered that there are about ten or fifteen other second-semester and special study students in the class, too. What that means, is that there is now a group of experienced clay artists who will all be pushing themselves and the others to the next level. I've never had the opportunity to work in a collective before, and I am way beyond stoked- I'm coming out of my skin excited! I hope to be able to share some of their work with you from time to time.

When I walked in, I got a big cheer from a bunch of the girls I knew from working on my brother-in-law's gnome and last Spring's class. I couldn't help it-I turned around to see who came in behind me. Then I had to giggle. I've never had a fan club before, let alone a standing ovation when I walk in a room, so what an unexpected treat! I exchanged hugs all around and generally felt good about myself, it spite of the high winds and lashing rain I'd had to get through to get to the classroom.

Additionally, I'm taking a beginning clay class through the Parks and Rec Department with Mr. ShellHawk. I'm really happy that he's going to be with me and learning something completely new; I think it's important for all of us to keep challenging ourselves with learning new things because it keeps the mind sharp and open. Hardening of the attitude seems to come most often to people who don't let anything new into their lives, or allow other people's opinions to expand their world view. (There's another blog post in there, somewhere!) As we get older, we get more aware of our "dignity," and are less likely to learn new things in front of others for fear of looking bad. We expect to be perfect at everything the first time out, which is totally stupid, when you think about it. If we're not perfect, we quit, which is also dumb. I mean, where would we all be if, when we were just learning to walk, we had said "Forget it! This hurts! I'm never trying this again!" the first time we fell. Ridiculous, right? But we do it all the time with other challenges, now that we're adults. I'm guilty of it, myself.

Anyhow, back to the clay class thing...

I've been looking for some inspiration to stretch my work into new territory. While Gnorman will rise again, and I will be doing a lot more throwing, I've been thinking of doing a series of sculptural pieces. Which brings me to the picture at the top of this post.

When looking for inspiration, one of my go-to authors is Charles De Lint. De Lint is, in my opinion, the wellspring of Urban Fantasy. Reading his work takes me back to being a child, before special effects and video games did our imagining for us (Back in my day, t.v. was called, "books!"). His stories are sometimes joyous, sometimes sad, and always imaginative. His characters make us think about worlds beyond our own in an uncontrived way, and make us wonder at what exactly it is that lives alongside us. Is the frog only a frog? Or is it a tiny goblin spying on us? Perhaps that shivering leaf hides a Manitou, or tiny spirit of the wood, and not just a finch.

I've gone back to reading one of my favorite collections of short stories by De Lint: "Moonlight and Vines." My ideas are flowing now, and shortly, I'll have to start sketching them out. I like to let things simmer in my subconscious for awhile, making them jump up and down and wave at me when they're ready to come out. I've found, though, that while this works for me, the other side of the coin is that there's a chance(sometimes a pretty good one) that I'll forget all about it if I don't at least write it down. I had the perfect idea for a pithy t-shirt last year sometime. I have completely forgotten it, to my dismay. Oh, well. Maybe it'll come floating to the surface sometime soon. I hope.

That's all for now, boys and girls. I hope that your own creative endeavors are going well, too!


  1. Okay, I am going to have to check out some of DeLint's have sold me :)

    Glad to hear you have such a fan club....guess they just know genius when they see it. :)

    The big news on our creative front is that we survived another video creation. We swear to ourselves that in 2010 we will have the idea for the video BEFORE we film - for some reason we think this will help :D



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