July 2018

Today I was thinking about using the good stuff.

Do you have this issue?  You have good dishes, but you use the “serviceable” ones that you don’t really like and save the good ones only for special occasions.  And by good, I don’t mean expensive!  It’s not about price really, it’s about beauty and art and sentimentality and visual appeal and all those intangibles that make you pick up something and say ” Wow, I want this!”   Do you have the favorite shoes, bag, jewelry, coffee mug, whatever, but you don’t use it all the time because you’re saving it?  What are we saving it for exactly? There’s not going to be some magical day when you have all the time in the world to start using the good stuff.  Maybe this “waiting for a special occasion” or a worthy moment is a generational thing, maybe it’s not, but I think we need to get over it.

One of the things I love about making ceramics is that the pieces are functional, “serviceable” if you will, and also pretty.  They feel good in your hand, they have weight and texture and nuance and they’re unique. Plus, they look good on the table and you feel happier drinking your coffee out of the pretty mug.  Put the flowers in the beautiful, fancy vase.  There are a lot of things in the world we can’t control, but adding beauty to our lives every day is an easy one to fix. 

I’m reading this book, kind of fluff, but I was drawn to it because the artist in it is creating art from garbage, things she’s found on the beach or on hikes in woods.  It’s a topic that’s always on my mind.  Anyone who knows me and has gotten the “single use plastic/don’t use straws” lecture in the last few years knows I’m pretty animated about the topic.  And then I started thinking again about the whole single use things from the perspective of  “when did we get so lazy”.  When did it become acceptable and for some, even preferable, to use things once….and ugly things at that?  I’ve also hated plastic.  And yes, strong word…but when the girls were little, I couldn’t stand the plastic stuff so I had Ron build them a playhouse in wood to match our house.  In the kitchen, dish drainer wood or metal, no plastic.  Arguments ensue over glass containers versus Tupperware (ugh).  Bee’s wrap and parchment paper instead of plastic wrap…the list goes on.  And it’s not a new thing.

So yes, back to the single use thing.  What are we waiting for?  Why not use the good stuff every day?  Use the pretty bowl, use the good plates, the special coffee mug and wear the good jewelry, too. Enjoy bring beauty and art to your life every day….Use the good stuff.

Happy Summer, Liz

June 2018

Happy Summer to all!

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.  When one tugs a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” John Muir

My favorite quote and never more true, everything is truly connected. I puzzle daily over why that is so very difficult for some people to understand.  Nothing operates in a vacuum, There are no independent acts, everything is cause and effect. I spend too much brainpower, or maybe not enough, trying to figure out how to encourage people to embrace science, seek out facts, be more engaged, more compassionate, more empathetic, more human.  Having more time to think, create, engage has been a gift.  Realizing that so many people are lost, hateful, uninformed and uncaring…that I suppose is the Yin and Yang.

Since my last post I’ve been busy creating an impossibly long to do list, prepping for shows and pop-ups,  creating, and trying out some new learnings. It’s also been great being in the garden, spending family time and connecting with friends- new and old. 

It still never ceases to amaze, how quickly time passes, how many things I still have on the to do list and how difficult it is to coordinate schedules, even without a full time gig.  

I was part of a women potter’s show in May, which was great and gave me some much needed insight. That lead to a show the month of June in conjunction with @evanstonmade and the Evanston Art Center, and an Open Studio tour which was a fantastic day of meeting new people and spending time with friends and neighbors.

I also have been taking a pottery class this spring and summer.  It’s fun to work in a studio with other potters, have a great teacher at my disposal for tips, tricks and demos, and learn new skills.  Since I work in my home studio with low fire, this high fire class has been a new challenge. 

I’ve embraced online learning and classes in a way that’s a bit extreme.  My usual all or nothing penchant is a bit more manageable when not working around a full time job, so I’m trying to utilize every available moment until that full time thing starts again.

I’ve also become part of a great group (C3- Creative Commerce Committee) that is working to support creatives in my community and partner artists with small business owners to grow the arts and to enhance commerce overall in Evanston.  It’s an incredible group of people working on something I feel strongly about.  It’s why I love my city and the strength of the arts community and the passion for engagement is part of what appealed to us  in the beginning.  We still meet the most interesting people and they all love living here.  The committee is helping me get back into the retail head set  and connect with what I know best and is also perfect for my “transition” phase.

In the meantime, I’ll be working in the same space with Ron while I throw, taking classes, working on C3, enjoying the deck & garden while checking email and site updates.  Every other Thursday cocktails with the neighbors, summer concerts and house projects round out the summer list.  Maybe a few trips to the beach and a Florida trip have to fit in there somewhere, too.

As my “gap year” comes to an end,  I’m will work to retain the harmony and balance I’ve found.  Retain my enthusiasm for learning new things and making time to try them all. Stop and smell the flowers!  Until next time….Liz