It was a stupendously beautiful, makes-you-glad-just-to-be-alive weekend here in Northwestern Italy. Azure blue skies, acacia and elderflower trees in full bloom. Cool breezes, warm temperatures. On Saturday we said goodbye to guests, and ended our first run of the season. It starts up again soon. But for today, we get to sit back and relax a bit. It was a wonderful run, with fantastic people from America, England, Switzerland and Germany. Everyone seemed to feel the love and loved the feel.
Of being here. On our hill. We rocked the season’s opening. Completely rocked it.
I’m caught between needing rest - real rest - and having so many new creative ideas running around my head that I can barely sit still. My journal is full of sketches and ideas and stories.
I feel the fire to do some new ceramics. Whenever I don’t have words inside to write anymore, I need to get tactile in my studio. I shut out the world and go inside of myself and pull out forms that are waiting to be made. Some days it works perfectly; others are a struggle. And sometimes one thing leads to another. My last post about plates and glazes led to a tweet by a wonderful potter from North Carolina. When I clicked and looked at her work and her blog, I was completely and utterly blown away.
Her name is Lindsay Emery and she creates the most amazing pieces. She makes her own glazes, like me. And, in a moment that totally awed me, I realized that she glazes at the moment in her kitchen. Until you have actually glazed pieces and realize what a big mess it can potentially be, you cannot fully appreciate exactly how passionate this woman is about her work to be able to do this. Here’s a set of her gorgeous pieces (you can see more in her Esty Shop). Those of you who know my work can understand why I screeched with pleasure upon viewing Lindsay’s:
Where is this all leading?
It’s leading to the conclusion that inspiration and creativity are transformational. Because after viewing this stunning work I was reminded of pieces I had wanted to make but had put on the back burner for a long time. And Lindsay’s work helped me get behind my wheel and start experimenting with clay that I had not used in a while – clay that does not have a lot of grog content (meaning it’s very smooth, almost plastic like between the fingers) – and I worked some smaller, finer forms.
Creativity means transforming. Not copying. It’s taking the influences that we stumble upon, internalizing their natural force and presenting our own interpretation.
Generosity of spirit will make everyone successful. It’s no good if one good potter survives and another doesn’t. I only thrive if Lindsay and other potters are able to keep the craft alive. It’s the mutual responsibility of all creative people to be generous. We are all in this together. Lindsay gave me the gift of inspiration (without which creative people die a slow, lonely, painful death of the soul). So I offer this gift of showcasing her talent and her positive effect on me as a gift back.
Remaining open to creative inspiration means squashing jealousy and feelings of unworthiness. This is probably the biggest gift that creativity gives a person. You quickly realize that if you get jealous of others, you stay put, exactly where you are, and you do not grow or develop as either an artist or as a human being. Jealousy kills the soul. It hurts that place from which all goodness comes. It makes us feel disproportionately small and makes others seem disproportionately big. It’s just wrong. Be open, forget if someone is better or worse than you, because guess what? There will always be someone better, worse, richer, poorer, healthier, sicker. Take what you have and put it to work. Pull from the illuminating energy of other creative souls, and make your own.
Make your own beauty, write your own song, sculpt your own form. Be inspired through the creativity of others, and be the conduit through which others will be inspired. Transform the gems that others toss into your pond and then toss those new gems forward, to be picked up by the next person as an idea, a flicker, a hope.
Because you don’t know, you just don’t know, how much the joy what you give today will help the next person in need of a bit of hope. That is the God’s honest truth.
Now excuse me because I have some glazes to mix. And an Etsy shop to open. And a nap to take.