Earthsongs Ceramic Studio is celebrating its Thirtieth Anniversary with a full year of celebration…EVERYONE IS WELCOME!
Earthsongs is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary, with a full year of celebration, beginning June 24, 2023 through June, 2024. It is a wonderful thing to have been able to remain here creating art and adding to the life of the Borough for these years. I am so grateful to all those who have been part of the Studio and made it possible for me to create in clay:
- To clients who commissioned work for installation as well as those who purchased moveable work for their home and as gifts
- To those who attended the myriad workshops and classes I offered
- To those who participated in the public art projects I led
- To the other Metuchen businesses who carry and carried my work: Marafiki, Gardenia, and especially Papillon.
- To the Metuchen Inn who continues to showcase my work and donate food for Gallery Openings and other special events
- I am most grateful for your continuing support of the studio.
Because of what I have always seen as the mission and role of the studio:
Yes, creating art from clay, but about making an impact on the community and bringing people together through the arts,
it seems most appropriate that the thirty-year anniversary celebration, June 24, reflect that mission. As I envision the Anniversary Celebration, we will recognize the day by installing the Community Peace Mural (created August, 2022, by nearly 50 people during CLAY DAYS in METUCHEN) which speaks to peace around the world, but with a special eye to Ukraine. Hence, my hope is to create a celebratory event through this Anniversary that will not only be festive for all those who can be at Earthsongs that day, but raise funds specifically for the people of Ukraine.
SATURDAY, JUNE 24, 2023, 1-4pm
- 1pm | All are welcome to Earthsongs, visit the gardens and pond, enjoy some appetizer munchies. (The mural will be covered.)
- 1:30pm | The first 50 who donated $100 to Ukraine, will then be invited to a meal, completely donated by Hailey’s Harp and Pub, at tables on the closed street of Bissette Place to enjoy with friends and neighbors.
- 2:30-3:00pm | Diners will be encouraged to return to Earthsongs
- 3:00pm | Unveiling of the Community Peace Mural, entertainment, desserts prepared by local residents from Ukraine.
How can you participate?
First, everyone is welcome! Feel free to bring friends!
The meal will be limited to the first 50 people who choose to donate $100 to the people of Ukraine.
All others are welcome to spend time in the gardens at Earthsongs, enjoy the snacks there, and, if you choose, offer whatever donation you wish to this cause.
Essentially meal choices will include: Hailey’s special beef dish (Shepherds Pie), Hailey’s famous chicken dish (Chicken Francese), and the Pub’s so appreciated vegan dish (a Healthy Stew).
Donations can be made by check sent directly to Earthsongs, or via a Venmo.
Final date to reserve a space at the meal will be June 4.
We hope you will plan to join us for whatever parts of the celebration fit your interest and schedule.
This is my contemporary version of the Medieval “Canticle of the Creatures”
With joy we greet you Brother Sun and Blue Sky!
You brighten and enliven all.
Ah, Sister Moon, such a comfort,
your soft glow companions us, and with the stars twinkling by your side,
you give us hope when life is darkest.
While the Weathers, fierce creatures that you are,
swirling rain and snow, winds and heat,
swaddle us in your wild caresses.
Ah, Sister Water, so soothing, refreshing, invigorating, playful,
and Brother Fire, cozy, bright, enlightening, ardent,
both of you so useful.
You teach us how to be truly helpful
singing and dancing and making merry even as you serve.
O dear Earth, you are surely our Mother,
nourishing us with every good and delicious thing,
surrounding us with beautiful and engaging things,
providing us with furred and finned and feathered ones,
friends to enrich and enchant us.
But you are also most surely our Sister,
created by the hand of the same Mother/Father God;
we are born of the same with destinies linked.
Having been cared for all this time by you, our older Sister,
we now recognize that to go forward, we must walk hand-in-hand, conscious of each other’s needs.
And most fondly of all, we embrace the humanity of all humanity…the whole of what it means to be a human creature, spirit-embodied, both beautiful and disfigured, both charming and crude, both creatively boundless and yet utterly limited,
And we rejoice most especially when we can clasp the reality of all of that, and become a source of forgiveness and pardon and love to ourselves and others.
Finally, deeply encoded in our humanity, our continuing companion, Death, we call you Sister as well
…even as we name the nurturing creatures of Earth herself and Water and the Moon…
who, in your way, completes each of our bodily lives as we know them and frees our spirit from those confines.
You know the saying, “to do a job well, you need the right tool.”
After searching for a number of years for just that ‘right tool’ for one specific studio process, something unique to my way of hanging my tiles and moveable sculpture, I ordered one that looked very different from the one I have just about worn out. I only had half a hope it would fill the bill. It looked quite different on line from the one I always used.
It came the other day…and Wow! it is not only ‘perfect’ but better than the one I’ve been using for decades. The tip is angled to make the work easier; the handle is thicker to make it more comfortable for my somewhat arthritic hands to hold and manipulate. What a delight!
I didn’t realize how improved my process would be until I had the courage to purchase that rather expensive, new, seemingly different object. But now I rejoice in the way the designer of that tool has improved my life in the studio.
It’s the little things, right?
Getting that tool made me realize how we are all sculpting away at our individual lives, each of us pretty much using tools that may have worked splendidly early on…but may have gotten worn down and are no longer really useful.
COVID has and continues to bring all of us to re-assessing the way much of our lives work, but to actually make the change, that’s what takes the real courage…even in little things.
In the garden Autumn is a season of removing, of taking away. On the farm, it is a time of harvest; for the gardener, it means a cutting back so flowering plants can consolidate and renew themselves through the colder season. For the farmer, it means gathering up the produce and grain, so they can be used to nourish.
It seems most appropriate then that this month I brought to conclusion my time as a teacher, ending 25+ years in a formal classroom, teaching levels from pre-K through college (So amusing to have been called ‘Professor’) followed by 25+ years giving workshops, teaching in the studio and in varieties of informal spaces and leading arts organizations. My hope is that this new phase will produce both a harvest of renewed creative energy, even as I now give consolidated focus to what my mind and hands do directly with the the clay, to the sculpture I create.
My studio practice is now all.
While I found all that has gone before exciting and so very appealing…I loved engaging with ‘human clay’ as much as the earthy stuff…I do look forward to this new moment with great eagerness.
Earthsongs lives in the midst of a ‘handkerchief garden,’ a small plot, front back and side, that Nino and I tend with great care. So, I understand the season from the gardeners’ point of view: all quiet, just the structure, the ‘good bones’ of the space making themselves known, as well as all the physical labor it takes to bring it to this point of quiet.
With my Dad hailing from a farm in the Heartland, I claim something of the farmer in my genes as well. And so I look at this time as one that will produce a ‘harvest of fruition,’ a time that will allow me to create in new and exciting ways, that will be nourishment to not only myself, but all who will encounter my work.
Someone cleverly remarked that the Pandemic has reduced us to the same lot as Peasants living in the Middle Ages:
“Bake Bread, Avoid the Plague, Revolt Against Tyranny.”
How true! I laughed.
…but it brought me to think about the inherent connection all of us have with all those humans who have gone before. And specifically for me, my connection with all those craftspeople, sculptors, potters, those whose skill adorned public and religious structures, even those who painted murals on the rock walls of the caves of Altamira and Lascaux.
Every day in the studio pushes me deeper into an understanding of what art is and what it is all about. The Dutch artist Frederick Franck describes it this way,
“Art is neither a luxury nor merchandise, and far from a hobby. Art must arise from regions fathoms deeper from the deepest recesses of the human Spirit. It springs from the maker’s core, as if it is to touch the core and the very truth of the one who confronts it.”
So while I toil away at 242, creating functional sculpture hopefully to bring beauty to individual residences, my real effort is to infuse the core of life into each work. And while I have a prominent piece of wall sculpture for sale in Papillon, it is there with the express purpose that someone will recognize something of their own spirit in that work and allow it to resonate in their home.
Kafka tells us, “Art is a nothing that is everything,”
I think most of us have a sense of that. Art distinctly changes the energy of a place. I tell my clients who commission work that they are “my Medici;” they make it possible for me to create. To commission a piece of art is inherently different from simply purchasing any other object, a pair of shoes, a kitchen appliance. Those may well make life more comfortable, easier, but they do not deal with a matter of ‘soul.’
It was a comfort to remember that while many were doing the “bread baking” thing, there were also…even back then…many others who were engaged in creating art, that “nothing” which is everything.