March 4, 2014

Made with Care

I promised myself not to make excuses for my 12x12 tardiness, because your time is valuable to me, but it has spurred some thoughts.

Time is our most precious commodities as creative people. It takes time to make our stuff. Yet time is something I give freely when asked. Whether it is an unannounced visitor to the shop, or email inquiry from a student, or a call from my daughter’s school, I most always stop what I’m doing and attend to these interruptions. I care, right? [I write, right?]

But what happens to my 12x12 rule, then? My commitment to making those 12 pots? Coming up short isn’t necessarily an epic fail. It’s a fail, for sure, but at the core of the rule is that I try. A good friend of mine once advised me as I was faced with a daunting task to just make it look as though someone cares. That thought has stayed with me many years. His idea was a kind of permission, a pressure valve, a prayer from judgment. It’s a concept that keeps us from the brink of giving up, of losing hope.

At the core, 12 x 12 is a motivation, an inspiration, to get our hands on our stuff, to make something. It’s a coach, it coaxes us to just do it . It’s the hope of a small goal leading to a large goal, which is, after all,  the important stuff, the stuff that might seem daunting by itself.

Years ago, my mother-in-law, Jackie, jokingly posed the question, “how do you eat an elephant?”

You might have heard this, before?

Her answer, after my dumbfounded expression and pause was, “One bite at a time.” [canned drum roll and apologies to all animal lovers, elephant lovers, vegetarians, vegans, et. al]

The point is, that by giving some kind of effort, things do get done. They may not always get done in a timely fashion, like high noon, but hopefully something comes out of trying. I tried to write 500 words a day back in January and was able to realize that a week was about as long as I could keep going, but it was a construct to led to really a meaningful experience for me.

As creative people we notice stuff, about the world around us and within ourselves because when we do, when we make stuff, it gives us satisfaction. Maybe joy? It gives us a footing in the world, it’s grounding.

Whether these objects embody that joy that comes from making is hard to know, but the important thing is that we care and we try. No judgement, no critique.

SO haters gonna hate, Time and attention police may scorn as there look at the time stamp on this picture, but here is my effort from this morning, All 13 made before and after 12 noon as several hurdles were thrown in their way. But those hurdles will be long forgotten in the hours, days, and weeks from now when these pots come out of a kiln and the pots succeed or fail in a far more important way.

I guess that’s my excuse, anyway.

[your thoughts are kindly welcome and sometimes needed. they motivate.]

Thanks for reading.