As I go through my first week as a full time artist, I have been doing a lot of journaling and reflection. Yesterday, I found myself realizing that I seem to be doing things more slowly, in a very good way.
Part of this is being more intentional about each decision (yes, Sherpa, I hear you!), but the more surprising part was realizing that it also being more mindful of my materials as part of that. When I did my Quilted Teapot a few years back for a Guild challenge, I found myself smoothing and molding the clay around the teapot shape in a very different way than I had normally worked. It was more of a direct connection between my hands and the surface, almost, dare I say it, a caress as I smoothed the surface across the ceramic form. It is a far stronger connection to and respect for my materials. I am finding that interaction has returned and I like that.
When I went for a walk at lunch today, I spent some time on the loading dock outside our studio windows and really looked at the area around the back of the building. We back quite literally on to train tracks that carry both freight and the local NorthStar commuter train, so we get both slow, ponderous trains bedecked with graffiti and the speedy modern bullets filled with people on their way to and from work. The space between the dock and the tracks is one of those forgotten bits of landscape: a bit of flat dirt that you can drive on if you dare chance the bits of broken glass and detritus, lots of branches and loose plastic bags, a few bits of random hardware or industrial supplies, and a fascinating stone supporting wall for the track berm.
I could hear a band practicing somewhere and see a hawk circling wide above the Architectural Antiques salvage shop across the way. Despite haing been in the studio for about a year now, I had never gone out to just look around like that. I am glad that the spring sun lured me out to take a break and that I feel like I have the breathing room now to begin to see my surroundings again. What a blessing!