Summer Song: Creative Connections

Summer Song: Creative Connections

With Junebug behind us, life at the studio settles into the gentler rhythm of the summer months.  While quite counter-intuitive, I do not offer any classes or workshops, but I reserve the summer for developing new work for autumn and Holiday sales and as a time for recouping and renewing.

Creative activity necessitates a degree of solitude and quiet interiority, and though visitors are always warmly welcome, the whole property becomes a quiet hub of creativity, with new ideas growing:   Michelle developing work from earlier molds, Nino doing an amazing re-design this summer of our kitchen, and I developing designs for new commissions and other projects.

As I worked in that environment, I began to reflect on the effect other local artists continue to have on my art, both through their work and their personalities.  Full-time professional artists are an interesting lot, and one of the benefits of living in Metuchen has been to get to know a number of them.

All of these are people with BRIGHT SPIRITS!  Yes, they have a care and fierce dedication to their art that often calls them to spend lots of time alone in their studios; and still they delight in the creative process.  This summer, I realized how much their viewpoints, their “eyes” have helped inform my own way of looking.

But even more, their attitudes continue to be a source of inspiration.  The generosity of these artists…each and every one…continues to be a great encouragement to me.

These are people who by their very life and work create an environment of community.  I have found them ever willing to assist, share ideas, help solve technical problems, generally lend a hand.  They willingly share equipment and enthusiasm.

From David Glasofer, owner/artist/photographer of Image Up Studio, to the married artist teams of Kim and Danny Adlerman and Janice Fried and Bruce Donnola, to the photographers Judy WeinbergMark Harris, and Michael Martin, and Kyo and Jana Morishima; the sculptors and art educators Duffy Dillinger and Roy ChambersLauren Rabinowitzour local web guru and, of course, my sister artisan Amy Brooks.

The summer song the Earth sings at the studio is one of awareness and gratitude for all those people; all those creative connections that help keep my own creativity flowing…

Piece to Peace: A Song about Relationship

Piece to Peace: A Song about Relationship

I believe working with clay does put me uniquely in touch with the earth. It gives insight into many aspects of what it means to be human. It’s no wonder so many cultures, and religions have seen the first humans a “made from clay”. We have connections to the material that I find fascinating.

Currently, I have been working on a series of whimsical, sculptural signs for a local florist. The intent is to create Garden Elements that remind all that the area around the store is for ‘Flower Shop Parking Only’. Thus, the words are critical to the project, and those dimensional elements need to be not only clearly readable, but attached to the work with great care.

A dozen years ago, I approached my first studio sign, another outdoor project that included raised letters, much more casually. As a result, after ten years or so of braving the freeze-thaw of our environment, some letters popped off , and I was back to creating a new sign! Lesson learned!

If two pieces of clay are going to retain a strong relationship, really stick together, both need to be made aware of their need for each other. Scoring the area…in short, ‘messing it up’, roughing the surface OF BOTH PIECES is important. To create beauty, BOTH need to recognize their own incompleteness. The addition of lots of slip…clay that is water-softened to the consistency of thick cream…assures the bind. Allowing the slip to mush out between the letters and set up a bit is a healthy idea and secures the elements. Cleaning and firming the edges further tightens the letters.

Married for twenty years this June, those actions in the studio call me to reflect on the intimate ‘clay to clay’ relationship of married life. The need we each have had to recognize our own ‘messiness’ and areas of weakness, to the addition of great fun and times of lovely delight as the creamy slip that has helped assure our bind. If human relationships are to endure the extremes of our interpersonal environments, the clay softly sings to me about how to make that happen.