I hope you are healthy and safe. We are in the midst of dark days. There are likely darker ones ahead. So of course I am working with light in the studio.
I've been fascinated with playing with light for a long time. I did a self initiation ceremony fifteen years ago for which I ordered fifty glow sticks of various colors. I hung them in a circle in a small forested area near my home. Part of the ceremony was to light them up as I entered right after the sun went down. It was one of the most magical nights of my life. The beauty of that multicolored phosphor light has stayed with me. Years ago I bought a ceramics book at a convention. In one of the chapters there was a photo of a clay lantern. It had a lovely ovoid shape and very fine curvilinear cut outs to allow the light through. I immediately wanted to make one. I had tried on numerous occasions to make something that vaguely embodied what I had envisioned. I have repeatedly failed in that attempt, until now.
I haven't yet fired this piece or the others in the series, but I am finally hitting the aesthetic I pictured. I started having more success when I changed a few things: the tool I was using to carve them, when in their drying cycle I carved them, and bringing them outside on my deck to carve in natural light. (Made the process more enjoyable than doing it in the dark basement studio). As I bring these ideas into physical being I find moments of joy and peace even in the pandemonium that we have shaking our world. I don't think it is an accident that right now I am working on creating forms that only show their true beauty in the darkness.
I try not to look ahead too much because the future is smoke and while things could change to bring about a more just and healthy world they could also go the opposite way at this juncture. I say that not to frighten you, but to emphasize just how important this moment in time is. Many people are re-examining their relationships in their life, not just to other people, but to their work, their time, and their values. We have people in the streets demanding concrete changes to how our society runs. We have people re-imagining the world. At the same time, we have systems of power structures working overtime to maintain control of the narrative, and to offer us false choices. We can refuse those choices and demand our own. I am for the most part sheltering in place, sharing what I can, and creating. I want to bring more beauty and wonder into the world. So I create with my hands and heart.
Why am I telling you this? Right now it seems that my ability to create in the visual arts is finally coming to maturity. I don't think it is an accident that it is happening now. What ability or talent is bursting forth from you in this moment of crisis? As the structures of our narrative have fallen away what deep need in you is finally being expressed? I know many people are cooking for the very first time, or baking, or sewing, or getting outside daily, or really giving their loved ones time. There is something special inside of you that yearns to be birthed into the world, and oddly enough it may be exactly what the world needs. If not the actual product itself, the energy that is generated from your act of creation. Maybe it is joy that comes from it. Maybe it is peace. Maybe it is stillness or even love.
Not all of you have had the time, but many of you have. Are you courting the aliveness within you? Are you reconnecting with the essentials of your own nature? Are you recreating your personal world, or are you just waiting for a return to normal? The world needs all of you right now. The parts of you that have been pushed into the closet of abandoned dreams and wishes need to be brought out. So go, venture into the darkness, and if you need a bit of light, take a lantern with you.
Peace and Blessings,