Saturday, September 29, 2012

So What Am I Missing??

My studio.

This sculpture sits on the back deck near the door to my pottery studio.
We renovated an old store starting from the ground up, literally, having the building jacked up and having a new foundation built under it, back in the late 90's.
Then we had the siding, windows, doors and roof done.
Then for one Christmas I asked for a set of stairs to reach the second floor as we had torn down the outside stairs which used to lead to the upstairs apartment when doing the siding.
Then we completely finished the inside and I moved my studio in late 2001-into early 2002.

Standing on the front sidewalk of my house looking towards the corner where my studio sits.
I used to head down there in the early morning, coffee cup in hand, full of excitement over what I would accomplish that day.
I miss those days terribly.

In 2007, after we found broken headlight glass on the corner by the deck, we decided to build a substantial raised bed flower garden to slow anyone who might get into an accident on the corner and go careening into the building. It worked , as a fews years ago that very thing happened, busting the end off the raised bed and doing some damage to the deck.
(Had we known at the time that the state was going to come in and take so much road frontage for a turn lane, we would have had the building moved back a ways when we had it up on the house moving jacks.)

When I would go down in the mornings, I would water the planters and admire all the flowers and plants taking hold.
It was my happy place. A place of peace and contentment.

Sadly, this is how my garden looked this year. Neglected.
We boarded up the huge front windows late last year when hurricane Irene was barreling towards us and since I haven't been in there to work anyway, we just left it up this year.

Last year I did plant a row of hibiscus along the west side where the red tipped photinias all succumbed to some disease and died off. Funny thing, the ones on the east side all survived and are about 10-12 feet tall!
This year we also had to replace the roof, the one seen here was damaged in Irene and when we went to replace the missing shingles, found they were not in good shape overall and we had a metal roof put on.

Believe it or not, those hibiscus are 3+ feet tall !

This year, the oak leaf hydrangea that I planted a few years ago outdid itself in full bloom!
As you can see, the planters never got replanted this year.

I miss stacking the kiln with the annual patriotic Fire-Works pieces and firing them on the 4th of July

I miss rushing the kiln opening to just sneak a peek inside.
Every potter I know likens a kiln opening to Christmas morning and that feeling never fades!

I miss designing and drawing and carving the clay

All of this work was done totally freehand.
Sitting here it's hard for me to even remember how I did it all.
I miss the knowledge and honed skills I had then.

I miss the feeling of the clay in my hands.
Taking the slab from the roller and draping it over a mold I made from plaster or one my father turned on the lathe for me, smoothing it with my hands to conform to the shape, trimming and finishing and waiting until it was leatherhard to remove from the mold, then covering it in slip and quickly carving the design through ( sgraffito) before coloring with oxides and glazing.

The reason I haven't been back is complicated.
Back in 2008, when my daughter was about to have her second child, our grandson, we knew we couldn't handle 2 young ones in the office at the restaurant. Our granddaughter was just 19 months old and used to come and stay up there with my daughter while she worked in the office full time. Ray and I wouldn't have to be up there all the time. I usually would go in early when I had to and then head to the studio. Many days I wouldn't have to go in until the evening and I would just head to the studio for the day to work.

So when she left to stay home with the 2 babies, Ray and I divided her responsibilites between us instead of putting someone else up there in case she wanted to return one day. This now meant we were putting in full days and nights there.
My world changed entirely.

Now pottery is not something you can start and walk away from for days on end before finishing, so I switched gears and started down the path of jewelry making instead.

I had a good start already, I began with a fused glass class in 2004 which quickly led to an earrings class to learn the basics of wire wrapping and fabrication and I was on my way. 

But a couple of years ago I started to feel like I was losing my way. I wasn't sure what I was doing anymore or even why. I was losing my authentic self.
I started this blog as a way to work through it all and hopefully find my muse again and with it my direction and passion.

Don't get me wrong, I love making jewelry, working with metals, seeing an idea come to fruition, but something is missing.

The blogosphere has been speaking to me in bits and pieces of posts from many artists talking of passion and following it.
Remember your childhood and what you loved spending your time doing?
What wakes you in the middle of the night with a new idea?
Gets you going first thing in the morning running to the studio to work out the idea?
What medium could you not give up or do without?
The answers kept bringing me back to clay.
I am missing clay.

In my next post I'll address why this isn't a simple fix.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Time Flies

Time flies when you're having fun they say.
I guess it's true because Ray and I just celebrated our 32nd anniversary on friday the 21st.

32 years. 
We had hoped to getaway this year, it was the whole reason I didn't plan to go to Artbliss, but as life would have it, some things have come up that prevented us from getting away just yet.

So we decided to just take a day and head on up to Ocean City and enjoy the beautiful weather, get some boardwalk food and relax.

We later found out it was Sunfest weekend, where they set up 4 huge big tops in the inlet parking  and fill them with music, food and artists and crafters from all over.

The place was packed, the line to Thrashers french fries was so long we avoided it altogether opting instead for some pizza and then later some Kohrs Bros. frozen custard. I got the fall flavor, cinnamon and Ray stuck with his favorite vanilla/ orange swirl.

You practically had to inherit a spot on a bench to sit and people watch for awhile while eating, and we paid a ridiculous amout to park ($25.)
But the day was indeed gorgeous
and we were together
and really, that's all that matters!

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Connecting Threads

Yesterday marked the start of what I hope will be a long relationship with sewing by my granddaughter.

2 weeks ago we ventured to Hobby Lobby where we purchased several fabrics to go along with patterns we had purchased previously.
Little bites when they are this young ( 2 months shy of 6)
One trip to pick out patterns, one trip to pick out fabrics and then another day to actually sew.
Too much at once and they get overwhelmed and lose interest.

She had the most fun picking out and handing me the pearlized pins first picking favorite colors and then making repeating patterns . I taught her that the strawberry was for sharpening the pins, so I now have VERY sharp pins thankyouverymuch!

She sat on my lap as we sewed, her little hand guiding the fabric under the presser foot.
After the first seam was stitched she beamed and said "that's so cool!" (the seed is planted!)

When the top of the dress was completed she giggled.

When it started to look like this, I think she lost heart for a few brief moments, preferring to hand me pins again and collect them back from me as I removed them to sew.

As soon as it was completed she had to try it on and then we went to show everyone.

My daughter said she wore it to school today and I can't wait to hear how it went.

Pattern, fabrics and notions - approx. $20.
2 hour project - 3 1/2 hours
"I love you Nanny" hugs , a memory made and that sense of accomplishment on the precious face you see here- Priceless!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Passing Of The Torch - A Tribute to My Grandmother

Vivian Brown Roberts  June 8, 1914- August 25, 2012

Last Saturday my paternal grandmother passed away at the age of 98.
We all went to New Jersey on  Wednesday for her funeral service and to say our final farewells.
She was the eldest of 4 children and the last one to pass away.
She suffered a debilitating stroke in Nov of 2002 but really didn't start to decline until 5-6 years later.
In these photos,  our last visit together, she had just had surgery for a skin cancer on her nose.
Pictured are 5 generations
Vivian Brown Roberts
Edgar Roberts
Laura Roberts Twiford
Lindsay Twiford Fuller
Savannah Fuller

This was 5 years ago and she had started to become confused about knowing who everyone was and not as engaged, and everyone commented how lucid she was that day, responding to our granddaughter Savannah and making the connection between me, my daughter and granddaughter.
It was a happy memory and one I will cherish.

My grandmother had a large influence on me in many ways.
While I can only ever remember her teaching me a few things, it was more what I always saw her doing that made me who I am today.
First of all, her and my grandfather lived in the same house most of their life. It is where my father and aunts were raised and where we stayed as children when being cared for by her.
She was a good homemaker and always cooked.
There were many family celebrations in that house, lots of wedding and baby showers, my Aunt's wedding reception, birthday's and holidays.
At Christmas, they always had a huge real tree going to the 12 foot ceiling, filled with handmade, antique and vintage family ornaments and real leaded tinsel that got hung and then carefully put away again for the next year. My grandfather would setup the train around the tree complete with village and figures which would keep us young children entertained while the grownups visited.
There was a walkin pantry in the kitchen that always seemed to me to be a magical place but not one we were allowed to go into very often.
The attic was too, but it was a rare occurrence to get up there.
It is where he died in 1995 and where she was cared for my Aunt for the past 10 years until her death last week.
Their house is filled with family heirlooms, antiques, collections, family history and many handmade items by both.
They saved everything.
Except, my father will tell you quickly, some of his things, such as a comic book collection of untold value. He also tells me there are baby food jars in the basement from when I was a baby.

My grandfather was a woodworker, creating pieces on a lathe ( as my father does now), restoring furniture and making wooden toys for some of the grandkids. He kept accurate records of the family tree and always shared stories of all the connections.
I have a candle stand and blanket rack both of which he made from a cherry tree out back that we used to pick cherries from and a quilt frame he built for me when I was embarking on my quilting career.

My grandmother was a needlearts woman.
She knitted, crocheted, did crewel, needlepoint, embroidery, hand hooked punch needle rugs and made exquisite quilts.
I used to love to go over when the big quilting frame was setup with a new quilt she would be finishing. I loved to see how the different fabrics were put together to create such beauty.
One such quilt she was working on right before I got married. It was the pattern North Carolina Lily, in pinks and greens with feather plumes for the quilting stitches, all of my favorites, my husband is from N.C and I just KNEW this was going to be for us. But sadly it wasn't, as a matter of fact i do not have a quilt from my grandmother and no one seems to know what became of that quilt once finished.

She sewed most of her clothes and even made my junior cotillion gown.
She liked crafts of all varieties, from making orange and clove pomanders at the holidays to painting plaster houses, handrolling paper strips into beads, making bread dough flowers, fancy Easter eggs and christmas ornaments.
For years it seemed to me she was always learning to do something new and fun.
Whenever she came to babysit, she always had a project with her to keep busy.
She never went to a class, on a retreat or sold her work.
She just enjoyed what she did and made gifts for everyone.
I have a beautiful afghan, some flannel blankets and clothes from when my children were born.

She was an avid gardener and took great pride in her yard, bushes and flowers.
She enjoyed nature and watching the birds at her feeders.
And she loved jewelry, especially heirloom pieces and fine handmade pieces and old southwest.

She tried when I was younger, to teach me to knit, I wanted to make myself a scarf, I quit when it was large enough for a barbie blanket. Still have it.
She also taught me to do macrame when it was cool the first time around, in the early 70's, that i took to, making a belt complete with wooden beads, bracelets and a few other things, wish I still had those.
She gave me my first piece of real jewelry, a gold birthstone ring with a pink tourmaline stone in it when I was about 7, still have that, and she gave me my first silver charm bracelet and would add charms when they went away, mostly of sealife, still have that.

They provided me with my nursing education and even helped Ray and I with a loan to help cover the down payment when we purchased the restaurant 27 years ago.
Education, hard work, saving and stability were very important to them.

In looking back , it is very apparent to me how much they influenced who I became.
Now I guess it's my turn, to carry on the traditions and hopefully influence my grandchildren in positive ways, sharing my skills and knowledge, fueling their creativity.

I have saved everything, continue on a path of lifelong learning, am living in our house 29 years this year,
I hopefully provided my children with a good education and stable home, sharing family history and the importance of all these values.

I have a huge walkin pantry that all the kids, from my own children to nephews and granchildren are very much allowed to go into and treat themselves, I pull old toys out of the attic for them to play with and I have encouraged them to dabble and try everything I have ever learned to do.
I made everyone in my family at one time or another a quilt as a gift, now it's on to the grandchildren.
As we speak, i have patterns for making some clothes with my granddaughter.

While it wasn't their way to openly demonstrate a lot of affection or to tell you how they felt, I'd like to think they saw and knew these things were important to me,
and hopefully I made them proud.

Related Posts with Thumbnails