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Inspiration During a Pandemic

Lichen close-up from my yard

I adore Nature, and I talked about that in my last post. My love hasn’t changed, but how I am starting to incorporate it seems to be beginning to evolve and I honestly believe that evolution has come from the Pandemic, my immune vulnerability, and how my attention and behaviour have shifted in response.

As we were initially going into lock-down here in KC, I was still able to go out for walks, still able to sneak off into the woods to traipse about. I got pictures of the woods, of fields and streams and trees and clouds. Soon it became narrowed to where I could walk, as I am currently not driving. I got loads of pictures of iris and tulips and greenery from people’s gardens, lichen and moss from their walls. I captured images of bark textures and random groups of fungus growing up into faery villages in the grass or on trees. I had Nature on a scroll in my phone or on my laptop, and she was totally glorious. Then I got a severe lung and respiratory infection, and I was lucky to make it to the greenhouse outside our front door. A lot of days I actually didn’t make to the greenhouse and was just stuck inside.

I. WANTED. COLOUR! Most of my work is very minimalist, either in black, white, or a combo with some cultured freshwater pearl or precious metal accents. Or the glazes are really Earth/Nature/Space-based and very calm and soothing. I love that, I really do, but I hit a point around the end of May where all I wanted was colour. I wanted flowers. I wanted bright, bold, fun things, like a flashy tropical garden or a cottage bouquet gone wild. I felt stifled by the super-refined, calming, minimalist look I’d cultivated in my work. I sketched but I didn’t create much – I don’t have a kiln and didn’t have confidence in traveling to one, so I just…kind of…halted.

I explored other media for a bit, but I missed clay and still wasn’t creating much. I felt locked up. I took the opportunity to attend virtual workshops with some truly powerful ceramic artists, and things started to shift – like when you hear a small crack in the ice and realise that water is streaming by beneath its surface. One artist mentioned that they love how they allow their work to evolve rapidly through their experimentation process – it keeps things fresh, they are not a manufacturer, they get to have fun. Another, when asked about being creative and coming up with things to make during this time said they have started thinking about what they want in their own home and letting that be a springboard of sorts. It is going to sound crazy, but it felt like someone had handed me key and a permission slip at the same time.

Lily, from a garden walk

I wanted colour, and I wanted to play, and that is what I am doing. I’m still creating pieces inspired by Nature, but I’m bringing in flowers and lichen and more textures. I’m experimenting and playing and going back to my very fav question in the world: “What if?” For this reason, I’m creating smaller collections as I explore and experiment. I still have my black and white pieces(you just can’t beat the classics, right?! RIGHT!). I’m also playing with new ideas for incorporating pearls, colours, and textures. I’m allowing myself to go off on a tangent of cat-inspired jewelry to celebrate being adopted by my fuzzy supurrvisor and best friend, Sage Catling. I’m revisiting techniques I’ve used and abandoned, and I’m experimenting with brand new things. I feel like life should have an element of celebration, and celebrating the love of Nature and the plants and purrsons we are surrounded by is key. I’m embracing the fun and seeing where this goes, and hopefully when we can get together at a future show, we can chat about the changes, the pieces, the fun and exploration.

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