Thursday, October 27, 2011

Spooky Weekend Coming

I love Halloween. Not the costume holiday with the trick or treating of my past, but the way it feels inside my being every year at this time as the season turns and things get wiggly. Fat spiders. Ripe pumpkins. Then the miracle of decay. It's like life expands and expands until it has nowhere to go except return to the beginning. It bursts, scatters it's seeds and falls down.

And the whole thing is just so beautiful. So mysterious. What a full and amazing miracle the seasons are.

The garden is falling asleep. We've had 2 nights of light frost and the more delicate plants have burned leaves. They whisper their good-byes as they slowly lie down.

Thank goodness I can watch it all from the comfort of my house.

Where I have my friends, my computer, my imagination to keep me entertained.

But I thought it was time I ducked out to grab a few photos for you. Of the Maximillian sunflowers.

The Guanajuato Blue Salvia.

The gourds and vines, letting go.

The vast beauty of things passing.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Scarce as Hen's Teeth

Yup, I'm going to be awol for the next few weeks as the online wax workshop has started and I am knee deep in sharing. You still have 2 more days to join us; I'm getting wonderful reviews from the gang and I'm having a blast on my end. The piece above is one of the demonstrations I do in the class. I even show you how to cast the baby out of plaster.

The family spent the weekend at the beach. Ahhh, is it really that time of year again. 

We had mild weather. The kayakers were out as well as the surfers; everyone flying kites and dogs with slap happy grins running back and forth. All of us a little dazed and squinting in the sunlight.

Kayak. It's still on my bucket list. 

Here is our enormous yerba santa plant growing next to the rosemary and parsley. 

Look at the size of those leaves. John will distribute them to our Mexican friends who appreciate what a culinary find they are in this part of the country.

Peppers from the habanero collection. Actually, there is one pepper in there that is an aji amarillo from Peru, but the rest are habaneros. Don't they resemble halloween candy? These are just the habanero varieties. Yes, he still grows the serranos, jalapenos, jimmy nardellos and more.  

And here we have a precious late bloomer, Buff Beauty, doing her best to outrun the fall weather.

Every moment is precious, precious. 
Oh it is.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Calm Waters

Well now, October. Despite the shorter days in the northern hemisphere and the cooler weather I am finding myself unaccountably uplifted. Maybe it's the proximity of my online class in Hot Wax that starts in a little over a week. Setting up the Yahoo group and hearing the introductions. Picturing people in other states and countries who are as excited as I am about 4 weeks of waxy adventure. 

I only have a couple more video demonstrations to tape and have already composed the first 3 lessons. That's how excited I am. All this in my sweat pants and oversized fleece shirts. Cozy like. This is the life.

While I was hunting for something else I came across my travel journal from a trip to Japan taken back in 1979. I remember sitting in front of the Todaiji temple painting this monochromatic watercolor. That was my first travel outside of the U. S.; a solo trip with only a few changes of clothes and very little money to spend. I remember the crying of crows everywhere and music wafting in from a nearby conservatory. My faithful travel companion was my journal. 

Writing, thinking, making stuff up. 

Refusing to live in "their" world, I decided to create my own.

Thank you Steve, for making all of our lives more connected. Thank you for 5 computers, an iPhone, 2 iPods and iPad. For allowing me to work at home in my jammies. For bringing me news and beauty from all over the world. We live in a time of miracles and awesome technology. For artists this is a freedom and an enrichment.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Teaching and Thinking About Teaching

Just finished teaching a couple of classes at Art and Soul this past weekend. I've been telling everyone that I'm preparing to retire from teaching. 

The little doll above was made by one of the students in class.

Before I go into the classroom I feel anxious and a bit overwhelmed. It's the same kind of fear I feel about boarding an airplane.

But once in the classroom I feel alive and not at all afraid. Instead I feel connected to the people who have come to learn. I feel like I am doing the most natural thing in the world and the thing I do best. 

I have a dilemma inside me. An argument over whether to use my energy for teaching or making my own art.

I ask myself which matters most to me, my studio time or being an instrument to encourage others. I do both of course but each one could be a full time committment.

I was very happy this weekend. I loved being in the classroom again. I don't know of a nicer group of people anywhere; free of judgment, conflict, competition.

While our hands are busy we talk about our lives. We laugh about things that when faced alone would make a person weep. We lean on each other. There is an energy in the room that is joyful.

While we make these objects there is deeper work going on.

If it were just about the things we create I think I could let it go.

But it is more than that.

Although the things we create bring us a lot of happiness.

You should have seen how happy we were when we lined up our dolls and saw what we had done.  

Each little creation was a surprise and a wonder. 

I'm thinking I probably wont quit teaching just yet.

It was a good way to usher in the month of October.

To sit quietly in another classroom the next day and play with photographs of our families. Making gifts for people we love.

Sharing our stories and making new friends.

Thank you sincerely to all of my students who shared such a happy time with me. It was very good.