I'm excited to take on 2 projects this month. Why 2? Partially, because it just worked out that way, but also because back in September my felting project rolled into October and I needed to make up a month to stay on track for 12 projects in 12 months.
After this month, I will have completed half of my Make Good Year. 6 projects! I've learned so much both in terms of skill and personally. And it feels so darn good to see through projects that have been collecting dust on my shelf and in my mind. Already I feel energized and renewed in the creative process.
Sure, some of the projects are better than others but isn't that all part of the process too? I kind of love that the perfectionist in me is forced to let go, keep moving and hold myself accountable by posting my journey on Instagram.
Okay, enough self-reflection. What the heck am I doing this month? Well, I guess the header image gave it away. Whittling & Ceramics. Both are forms of sculpting, of course via different mediums.
I've already begun my ceramics class at University of California – Berkeley. Last week was the first class and at the very end my clay came off the wheel! Ha, guess I better keep practicing throwing it on and centering. Don't expect me to post any great bowls or mugs any time soon – but hopefully some interesting studio process shots.
Ceramics is one of those hobbies that has intrigued me. My mother worked with clay when she was a teenager and early 20s. She even had her own manual potter's kick-wheel. Her pieces would be throughout our house and my grandmother's house. I recently acquired one of her coil pots from a recent trip to my grandmother (see bottom of post). Tee hee. I am sure my mother's ceramics gene did not pass down to me, especially after my experience at the wheel last week but I love the feeling of creating a dialog between myself, the wheel and the clay. Cheesy as that may sound.
Whittling is something I've been interested in since I was a young girl. My mother and I used to go to the Sidewalk Arts Festival in Sioux Falls, South Dakota (my hometown). There was an elderly woman there who sold things she whittled. Spoons, make-believe characters, faces, etc.
Her pieces were full of personality and so playful not to mention beautifully crafted. My mother always purchased something from her. She was probably in her 70s or 80s when we went to the festival and my guess is she is likely no longer on this earth, but the imprint she made on me remains. I was in awe that was a woman whittler who created these unique art pieces in St. Cloud, MN. That this woman would take her wares to sell at various Midwest arts & crafts fairs. I love stories like this, folk artists who create because it is in them, they're passionate and they are compelled to express themselves through their art.
I vowed to one day give whittling a try. I think this project has only sat on my shelf for 3 years. My parents remembered how much I loved this woman and bought me some supplies to give whittling a try. I began the winter before my 2nd son was born – I was nearly 6 months pregnant and decided perhaps I should not be messing around with a knife, big as I was. So, I put the project down and there it sat.
And now here we are. February will be full of clay clumps & wood shavings (and sketchbook drawing on the side) – let's get started!