Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Mental weirdness

Fall approaches 
     In daily life, social interaction involves some unspoken cultural rules. This contact and social interaction creates rigidity and patterns, repetition, practice. Mental exercise can exhaust me as much as physical work. When I'm at a show or in public, even amongst friends, if the gathering is too large, I feel "on" and aware of my behavior and the perceived expectations of others. It alters and influences my subsequent words and actions regardless of my intention that it not influence my behavior. If the group is small, say one-on-one or -two, my brain relaxes as the "rules" lessen. So that means –sometimes– that when I am alone but not meditating, my mind relaxes yet is still stimulated. I let it free associate. Wild ideas come out. Odd pairings of words or sounds. Since it's just me and the cats and dogs most afternoons, I'll occasionally speak these things out loud and try to uncouple what I say from  intention and see what happens. If I'm feeling industrious, I'll write it down in a notebook. The act of writing, adding that motor skill, changes the free association even more. I try to expand the absurdity and let words and sounds affect the next word or sound without logic. Like playing with my neural connections. My notebook reads as if I'm on some powerful drugs. I suppose it's my way of letting my brain relax in a hot tub. 

     Or I'm practicing my dementia. 

     Namaste, y'all.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Fungus time

     Wet, and rainy recently. Very humid, hot days help the fungus come alive on the forest floor. At first when I took the dogs for a walk, I didn't bring my camera but I spotted so many different varieties I ended up grabbing my camera and doing the walk twice which pleased my dogs to no end.
First one spotted on the walk.
Interesting stem.
Shelf-type fungus
Fingers... Possibly Clavinulopsis laeticolor
You have to look close to find them peeking out of the forest floor but bright colors and
markings help. Some kind of bolete?
Bowl or trumpet shape. No idea what this is.
Dying mushroom.
When mushrooms decay, are they decomposed by other fungi?
And those fungi, decomposed by more fungi?
When does it stop or is it turtles all the way down?
A variety of ramaria sp., I think

Monday, August 25, 2014

Compressed time

     Physicist Stephen Hawkins said in an interview with John Oliver that he thought sci-fi authors hadn't yet used his concept of imaginary time yet in their work. Imaginary time. What is that? I'm sure I don't understand the "Stephen Hawkings" definition but it immediately conjured up a concept of my own frustrations with time as it happens and time as I perceive it. And yes, I looked up the summary of imaginary time and it doesn't really cover what I'm feeling which is the frustration of doing things and feeling busy and productive and then suddenly realizing that many more hours have passed and yet again, I'm behind and time is running faster than my perception of it.
     Is it because I'm wasting time? What is a waste of time? How do you waste a concept? Is typing this now and pondering this concept in of itself a waste of time? Or is it productive? All I know is that whenever I think I'm on schedule to do something or hit a deadline, there's always this moment where it's painfully evident I'm running out of time despite my best efforts. I'm about to give up on the whole schedule thing.
     Pickled beets. Pickled jalapeos. Time to get cracking on those.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


This is what 1,800 bricks look like not in the shape of a kiln. That's 7lbs each, by hand, at least four times. Brick pile to truck. Front of truck to back of truck, laid and stacked. Unstacked and brought to front of truck. Front of truck to back of truck, stacked onto pallets. Okay, maybe five times. What's the word for "beyond sore?" Kiln TK.
Kindly donated by Joe Molinaro and EKU Ceramics.
Keyser and pallets of brick

Monday, July 14, 2014

Read this

Things that have happened somewhat recently.

I have made many pots.
I have fired a wood/soda kiln with fellow potters at Bobtown Arts in Berea.
I have scored 1800 brick for a future kiln.
The Medicaid process has ended, all documentation has been completed.
I now have acid reflux.
I have begun the process of putting a deck outside the studio for a future mini-gallery.
Relatives have come to visit.
Tractor has been found and awaiting arrival.
Dad turned 90.
I am reading three books at once, rotating the subjects: Women Who Run with the Wolves (thank you, Kelsey), Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls (thank you, Frances) and How to See Yourself as You Really Are (thank you, me).

I am still menopausal.

Pix to come.

Text heavy

     I have this problem with writing on the internet. It's a complete distraction. It requires being on a computer which puts me in contact with social media. I'm not the only one who has these issues of productivity vs. non-productivity in the environment of social media. The experience can certainly be addicting. Lately I've become increasingly aware of the sequence and range of feelings associated with the act of engaging on the internet and it's put me on this path of dissecting (or "overthinking" as some people I know refer to it) what's actually happening in my tiny brain and how I come to fall into a funk about myself as a result. It's all about the patterns. Get an idea to write about or an image to put up, a topic to discuss or throw out there, and in my head I can grab parts of sentences and paragraphs to flesh out later. Go to the iPad or desktop computer to get ready to write and just check email or the deadly Facebook account. And that's where it all goes south, the motivation dissapates like the engery of a wave on a beach after it's crashed. Instead, I find myself scrolling through picture after picture, only 1/10th of which interests me. I jump in with a smart-ass comment or two. I find articles that seem interesting but can only read a small portion before I feel like I'm wasting time. And I am. One, two, three hours later and I've accomplished nothing I set out to do, writing-wise. And physically, I'm at complete odds with my studio work.
     I wondered, why do I socialize on FB? In regular life, reality life, I never socialized that often with that many people at once anyway so doesn't it stand to reason that the constant contact and access to information would create an overload? No wonder my meditation sessions are heavily punctuatued with monkey brain moments. Too much information packed too densely to process. It cramps my concentration, focus and creativity. Nothing gets to gel and reassemble into epiphanies, conclusions and insights. I find myself pondering wistfully over memories of the days when I had pen-pals using actual pens and sheets of paper. Time moved more deliberately. Nowadays, it seems life must mimic high-speed computer trading on Wall Street and why? What is gained from it except more, more, more and then the cicuits overload. 
     One of my FB people on my list recently announced a "sabbatical" as it were, from FB and the computer in general. I love when peope announce shit like that. I find the motivation to announce, "I'M LEAVING NOW. DON'T PANIC, I'M NOT DEAD, IT'S JUST TEMPORARY," amusing. I think we become so enamored of the illusion of the specific kind of reality that digital communication can provide that we fall into thinking if we don't see someone on the internet ALL THE TIME, they might be dead. Closure is a funny thing. Those of us on the internet using various means of social media and digital communication (and there are plenty of human bengs who do not!) have become nothing more than monkeys pressing the stainless steel bar over and over again for stimulation and reward. Not that this method of communication doesn't have its benefits and advantages. Afterall... she said typing on the iPad to later publish to her blog... So what does this address? A need for me to communicate? A need to be heard? Who is listening anyway? Does it matter to me?
     I've made a couple of changes in my life routine recently. One is that I'm reading more paper books. I find that I miss the way I glean information from real books reflected off a page rather than illuminated on screen. Defintiely easier on my eyes. I also comprehend and retain the information on a deeper level in my brain. The information I get off the internet seems to be scattered and as if I read only the headline. Frankly, that's probabaly all I really do. The other thing I'be been doing is more writing in my journals. I have several. I keep them all going concurrently. Some are nonsense words and phrases, phonetic spellings of sounds in my head, others are more like traditional journals, some are strictly art related, general ideas and specific projects. Maybe it's a fetish of mine but it helps me dump what's in my head. It also makes me want to write again from time to time. Perhaps by the time I'm in my seventies, I'll get on that book I've been encouraged to write. 
     Lastly, though, this blog thing is an unsmooth process. If I type on the iPad, I can't upload pictures because the app I use won't resize the images and doesn't access the controls to do so unless I'm using the desktop computer so I often put off blog posts about things that require pictures. Stupid but there it is. Something seeemingly simple becaines a pain in the ass because I have to jump back and forth from room to room or between keyborads just to make a post. Instead, I do nothing. Or get on FB again.

Maybe I'll do text for a while.

Studio time.

Monday, June 9, 2014


Stoneware, cone 6 oxidation, glaze, underglaze, slip, beads
11.5"w x 9.25"h x 7.25"d
I don't make my work with a goal in mind. I don't pick an emotion or a point of view or any kind of message. I start with a feeling in my hands. A feeling of volume. I try to encompass that invisible volume. Maybe it's with coils, so that's a slow process and the shape in my mind, under my fingers, the volume shifts and changes and I imperceptibly change the direction of the coils. Or perhaps I close up a slab over a form and seal it. Or I throw an open volume and then collar in and seal up the void. Once I enclose the volume, I step back and start pushing it around until the foundation of the shape stops me and I start to see concrete shapes and textures.
As I add details, the form takes on personality and purpose. Working more closely, additional shapes, textures and dimensions beg to be added, subtracted, carved and smoothed out. I go meta. I back up and look again. What did I just make? How did this happen? Where did this come from?
I don't plan on creating shapes reminiscent of body parts; it's really what others bring to my work when they look at it. It's not what goes through my head until I get to near the end of the piece and I re-examine what my hands have produced. The pieces tell me multiple stories about my inner self and my observations of the world around me. It's what keeps things exciting for me.
Mother as Host
Stoneware, cone 6 oxidation, glaze, underglaze, slip, wool
8"w x 14.5"h x 7.5"d
Mother as Host
Mother as Host
Mother as Host