Friday, May 16, 2014

lack of gratitude

This is a gratitude tree in my neighborhood.
I found it on my walk two days ago.
I've been thinking about gratitude, and the lack of it I've been feeling lately. I'm catching myself having a lot of unpleasant thoughts with a whiny edge. Things like wondering why a person didn't write me back to place a possible order, instead of thinking about the person who did just place an order for the exact same thing. Or worrying about a super slow week on Etsy and thinking it's all over for me, I'm washed up, instead of thinking about the super fat order I got off my website. Or wanting to resist a deadline and feeling like it's impinging on my work, instead of thinking about how it's all a part of my work and how fortunate I am to have meaningful work at all.

I think these are are pretty normal thoughts and I don't expect to be a perfect person and not have them. But I'm just noticing how crappy it makes me feel when I whine to myself, or when my ego starts squawking that I deserve better, more, now. It's been worse lately since I am going through a transition with my work, I've made choices to not take on so many orders, and I'm uncomfortable with it since I have no idea where that's going to land me financially over the next few years. Or artistically. Or anything else.

The man who planted it told me it's
been there since the recession
started almost 5 years ago.
There's part of me that has complete faith that the changes I've made in my work and personal life are going to take me where I need and want to go, and that place will also bring me more peace and a deeper expression in my art. And there's another part of me that craves success in the form of wider recognition, steady accolades, and financial rewards. This part of me can be very ego-driven and is never satisfied with what I have. It takes my ego about 2 minutes to forget the good thing that just happened to me and start demanding more. It makes me feel tremendously ungrateful.

It's very annoying and emotionally draining to listen this voice and for a while I was smacking it around and telling it to shut the fuck up. Well, that never works, the voice just gets louder. I've been doing some reading on the study of gratitude, the tremendous benefits it brings to your life in the form of better health and more happiness.  The recommendation to feel more gratitude is to simply keep a gratitude journal, write a few things down every day that you are grateful for.

I couldn't believe I didn't notice it
until a couple of days ago.
I've done this before for a few days, and then I lose interest or focus. But since I am trying to detoxify myself from ingratitude, I took this as an opportunity to buy myself a new notebook and get serious about it, and I've been writing 5 things in the morning, in the afternoon, and again before I go to bed. I'm committing to doing this everyday for at least a month, and I'm hoping it has a positive long-term impact on my attitude.

I'm feeling gratitude right now that I have people who read my blog. I'd love it if you would help me with my gratitude work over the month by telling me what you are grateful for.

Monday, May 12, 2014

happening now, coming up

I have been lost in my world of clay, which is better than being lost in my own head.

I've been working on these random pieces that I put together into a collection and called it the Pretty Random Blossom collection. The whole reason why it came about is because when I was finally getting my hands back in clay earlier this year, I couldn't get started. I didn't know where to start. You think that feeling inspired means you know exactly how to direct that energy, but I didn't. Every idea I came up with didn't seem right for the moment. Okay, I'll be honest-- every idea seemed to suck and I shot it down with my judgement gun. I have so much ammo, I will probably never run out. So I froze myself in place, couldn't do anything... you guys know how that one goes.

I finally had to have a serious talk with myself about judgement and the importance of just having some fun. There were tears. I started throwing these "clay pancakes" just so I could play around with some drawing and mishima.  I started like that because the pancakes had very little value so there was no weight to whether or not they came out "right". Those pieces morphed into some pretty little plates. I also had some fun doing mishima on some flower-shaped bowls, sort of a new twist on an old idea. I did a few rounds of throwing and glazing, and put them up on my website and sold most of the pieces within 24 hours, which was so great and gave me a glimmer of hope that I am not totally washed up yet.  You can see the whole collection here. Though some of my favorite pieces did not make it through the firing which made me feel doomed. But then, I got over it. I always do.

Some of the best pieces are still there. I am obsessed with scallop edges right now. Actually, I have always been obsessed with scalloped edges. I love carving them, I love looking at them.

I love the ridiculous raised dogwood centers on this tray. 

I have always loved mishima but never tried to incorporate it into my work, it really hits all my OCD buttons in a good way.

What's coming up is I'm going to be interviewed by Ben Carter of the Red Clay Rambler podcast on May 17. It's going to be a live deal where people can come and watch because that's exactly how much of an attention whore I am. But really, the subject of the evening is social media, telling your story, crafting a voice online, and marketing. So if you show up, you can ask questions and be a part of the conversation. Tickets are 10 bucks but if you are a student, you can get a free ticket. There will be an after-party where we can all mingle and drink Lagunitas beer. Seating is limited, so get your tickets here. Hope to meet you there!