Negus the dragon

Negus the dragon

Friday, July 19, 2013

A Blessed life.

"Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."  ~Pablo Picasso

My life is  blessed. 

I am blessed because I am an artist. I am an emotional person and being able to express myself through art is a blessing for sure. I feel that the creative process is a highly spiritual experience. Art is something that has brought joy into my life and been a wonderful source of stress release. Often the creative process serves as an escape for me when life gets tough. 

I was the product of a teenage romance brought up by a single mom. Our life together has been filled with both struggles and joys. My relationship with mom has not always been easy. As a young teen I wrote a poem expressing my feelings about my mom, saying that she was my best friend and my worst enemy at the same time. I still feel that way today. Early in life I discovered that creating was a way for me to express my feelings and have a release in a relationship that has always been a challenge.

I have a mother who is strongly feminist and practices Wicca. I am blessed to have a mom who has influenced my life in such positive ways. I began identifying as a witch at a very young age. I felt the mysteries and power of being a woman and the magic in nature and I took pride in my sexuality.

All of these things reflect in my artwork. Love, passion, anger, fear, sadness, weakness, power and magic are all themes that have inspired me and continue to today. 

I am blessed with a family that freely fed my creative spirit throughout my life. I was given art supplies and always praised for my creations.  I am blessed to have a mom who taught me printmaking when I was 11 fueling my passion for art and giving me another avenue to express myself. I have been hooked ever since. Printmaking is a process that involves thought and preparation. I have found that just the process of creating art is sometimes a spiritual experience in itself. Artistic process on it's own is a form of meditation. It is a way to connect with myself, quiet my mind and find creative focus.

My love of clay began as a young child. I played imaginatively making mud pies with my imaginary friend, Johnny from the mud pile. I still insist that Johnny wasn't imaginary and that mom just never met him. (Johnny was sometimes mean to me. Why would I invent a friend that was mean?) 

In high school clay class mud pies became beautiful hand built creations. I tried working on the wheel, but at that time I was unsuccessful and totally intimidated. At that time I did not have the patience to focus on pottery because I was young and a free spirit who wanted to play with friends and explore the world. 

My free spirit has brought me many places in my life and in my travels. 
Being creative has always helped me find peace.  
Living in California, I encountered several challenges. With the help of my amazing blessing of a Grandmother, I was eventually blessed with the opportunity to go to college. Studying art was the only option.

As an eager art student on the first day of printmaking class, I tried to score the job of lab attendant. Bill was annoyed at first, but not for long because I soon had the keys to the room and Bill and I became friends. I spent hours alone in the printmaking lab creating art. I am blessed to have had such great artistic mentors in my life.

In college ceramics class I got back into working with clay and with much determination I finally conquered my fear of the pottery wheel. My passion for mud pies has only grown. There are many times in my life when I am going through stressful times and I sit down at the wheel with a ball of clay and my stresses all fall away. I say that centering clay on the wheel is centering in more ways than one. You have no choice but to be calm. You must literally and figuratively stay connected with yourself. You must be stable.

a quote from Centering In Pottery, Poetry and Person by M.C. Richards

"Centering: that act which precedes all others on the potter's wheel. The bringing of the clay into a spinning, unwobbling pivot, which will then be free to take innumerable shapes as potter and clay press against each other. The firm, tender, sensitive pressure which yields as much as it asserts. It is like a handclasp between two living hands, receiving the greeting at the at the very moment that they give it. It is this speech between the hand and the clay that makes me think of dialogue. And it is language far more interesting than the spoken vocabulary which tries to describe it, for it is spoken not by the tongue and lips but by the whole body, by the whole person, speaking and listening. And with listening too, it seems to me, it is not the ear that hears, it is not the physical organ that performs that act of inner receptivity. It is the total person who hears. Sometimes the skin seems to be the best listener, as it prickles and thrills, say to a sound or a silence; or the fantasy, the imagination: how it bursts into inner pictures as it listens and responds by pressing its language, its forms, into the listening clay. To be open to what we hear, to be open in what we say...."

I like working with clay, no matter what the method is. It is a very spiritual art form. What could be more spiritual than creating something from earth itself? All four elements take part. 

Clay is earth. Water softens the clay, Air dries it and Fire finishes it making it beautiful.

When I am teaching pottery class, these are the things I often tell my young students; Stability is your friend. Be connected with your body. Don't be intimidated by your neighbor, everyone learns at different paces. Determination is your friend, keep trying and let yourself make mistakes.  How did you learn how to ride a bike? You fell off. Everyone falls off their bike, but you wouldn't know how to ride today if you didn't get back on and keep trying. Get back on the bike. I feel that it is good advice for learning to do pottery but good for life in general.

My job as an art teacher is a blessing. Teaching gives me the ability to share my passion with others. I have had students as young as 3 and as old as 83. Primarily, I teach young people. My students bless my life in many ways. I find that young people are very rewarding to teach because they tend to judge themselves less harshly, they take pride in the process and they are enthusiastic and full of life. The spirit of youth is uplifting and infectious. 

Teaching is a blessing to me giving me a positive focus. This summer, on the first day of pottery class, a 6 year old boy who was a student in one of my spring classes was in the art center for another class. He visited my class three times while I was teaching saying thank you and being sure to hug me before leaving for the day.  I remember the beautiful soap dish that he made in my class and how proud he was when I complimented him on his work. That sort of thing makes me smile. It is so rewarding to feel that I made an impression on a young student.

Even on those days when I am having a rough time, I return home from teaching in a better mood.

For the past few years, I have gone through some difficult times in my life. I have struggled with finances, an unstable relationship,a stressful living situation, and many other uncertainties in my life. I wished and prayed for a baby for years until I came to believe it would never happen for me. I was sad about that but not ready to give up and I was in the doctor's office to discuss possible fertility treatments when I found out that I was pregnant. I was so filled with joy that I laugh cried my way home. however, soon after, I suffered a terrible heartbreak. Once my son was born, I found myself learning how to parent as a single mom. 

I continue to face difficulties in my life, but I turn to a variety of ways to manage and get a mental vacation from things that wear me down.

Since my son was born, I find that getting to time create is not as accessible as it used to be, so teaching has been even more valuable to me. When I am unable to create or teach, I find myself spending a lot of time in the garden in order to get a mental vacation. Working in the yard is another form of creative energy that gives me something to be proud of and brings me peace of mind.   

My life is blessed. Most blessed because I am a mother. I created a life. It is the most challenging and the most rewarding experience a person can have. It is truly magical.
I am blessed with the most beautiful, smart, funny, rambunctious son that a mama could ask for. 
I always wanted to be a mama and after a long time of believing that I never would be, my boy is proof that if you ask the universe for something enough times, sometimes you will get what you ask for.
November 10th, 2010 the day that I found out I was pregnant was one of the happiest days of my life.
It  blessed me and changed me forever. I am a completely different person than I was on November 9th. 
My son challenges me and blesses me every day. Some days he wakes me up telling me that I am beautiful and wonderful and he loves me and there are moments like the other day when he slathered himself up with an entire tube of A&D diaper ointment while I was rinsing out a diaper.  He keeps me on my toes for sure!
I was talking to someone while on the subway in Boston with William one day and I mentioned that I am a teacher and that is how we get into the aquarium for free. Well, William repeats everything I say and he said, "I am a teacher." The lady said, "Oh, what do you teach?" That was when I said, "He teaches parenting."

My life is blessed. Blessed through a creative spirit, good family and friends, with many great experiences and adventures, wonderful teachers and inspiring students. Blessed with a love of nature and a garden to work in. I am definitely blessed to have a little man named William in my life. 

My life has certainly has not been easy.
My life has definitely been blessed.

This poem reminds me of my busy toddler son.

Noise Day By Shel Silverstein 

Let’s have one day for girls and boyses
When you can make the grandest noises.
Screech, scream, clang a bell,
Sneeze– – hiccup– – whistle– – shout,
Laugh until your lungs wear out,
Toot a whistle, kick a can,
Bang a spoon against a pan,
Sing, yodel, bellow, hum,
Blow a horn, beat a drum,
Rattle a window, slam a door,
Scrape a rake across the floor,
Use a drill, drive a nail,
Turn the hose on the garbage pail,
Shout Yahoo– – Hurrah– – Hooray,
Turn up the music all the way,
Try and bounce your bowling ball,
Ride a skateboard up the wall,
Chomp your food with a smack and a slurp,
Chew– – chomp– – hiccup– – burp.
One day a year do all of these,
The rest of the days– – be quiet please.

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