'I am always on the outside, trying to look inside, trying to say something that is true. But maybe nothing is really true. Except what's out there. And what's out there is constantly changing.' ROBERT FRANK
We are always in transition. Sometimes it’s bright and clear, sometimes muddled and quiet and dark. But always moving. Usually hard. 2020 is loud and clear.
2003 was a big one for me. I had recently worked with a life coach and dreamt of making ceramics in the country with a garden, compost, and trees. It was one of those if you could do anything, bar nothing exercises. Based on a daydream from a throwing class I took in 1991.
Two years later- I left my jewelry company, had a 2-year-old daughter, and was thinking about next steps. I was wracked with what to do next and at 2am one night decided to take a ceramics class to get me working with my hands. Just get some flow going. A little while later I started looking for a place in the Catskills but then the economy dumped (2008) and upstate was put aside.
Well, the ceramic bug got me and one class lead to 2, then 3 and then to renting a studio. I called it Macho Studios. No heat or AC, water downstairs, a stinky forklift running, a kiln that would stall near the end and take at least 4 too many hours to get to temperature. For 4 years I was there and I loved it. The second, and current, named Princess Studios has heat, AC, drain in the floor to hose down all the clay dust, beautiful light and in a quiet residential neighborhood. And the kiln fires off by 7 or 8pm. Sweetness.
A couple of years ago I picked up the idea of upstate again. Poked around to see what it would entail, if it was even within my grasp? During a new moon workshop at GRDN, the woman who owns the beautiful store Layla, told me I needed to ‘STRETCH’. So, I stretched, and in 2019 found a house with an outbuilding and a 3-year plan to turn it into a studio.
And now, 2020.
Well that 3-year plan has morphed into a 3-month plan. And here I stand, transitioning to a new studio, new location (@ratsnakestudio) and re- evaluating how & what I make, limited by how I can NOT make things during these times.
I’ve always given my limitations their respect and due, embraced them. In my work limitations are a part of what I make and keep me focused. But this is a whole new set of limitations. 2020 is terrifying and illuminating. The world is in a huge very loud flux. So much to confront, and we cannot look away anymore. Not from ourselves or from the world. Deeply rooted racism, the destruction of our natural planet, our crumbling infrastructure, the baselessness of our economy. I could wax on.
We each transition within the shifting boundaries of our life, linked to our community, our world. It can be very difficult to reconcile it all together and keep the bridges open, clear and flowing.
'Communities require you to be a human being before you are an artist. In a community of artists it is understood that the difficulty in making art that matters is in part the difficulty in maintaining our humanity in an uncertain world. Ultimately, making art that matters is intimately connected with making life itself matter. Life is worth living when we are doing things worth doing.' The View from the Studio Door, TED ORLAND
So, in your transition… Stay strong, stay safe, be kind to yourself and to others, fight for what is right. And what is right is loving, supporting & respecting your fellow beings. Human, animal, vegetable, stellar.