Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Turning points and time lines

Stoneware Candy Dish on Etsy
     I have this obsession about observing an analyzing things, life, events, people, and so on. As I have gotten older, the sense of repetition becomes more prominent. I remember when I was entering my late twenties and early thirties that I had this overwhelming feeling that everything I was doing, from the mundane to the profound, in some way, I had done before. Life events were taking on the aspects of similarity to other events in my life. I began to feel unsettled, depressed, unnerved. Was that it? Was that all there was to life and learning, that you ran out of new things to experience by the time you were thirty? Oh sure, you could always travel to a new place or read a book you hadn't read before but you were simply traveling again, just the destination was different. You were simply reading again, just the words were different. Up until that point, my experiences were fresh and new to me, dissimilar to what I had done before but now it felt like I was repeating myself. [Obsessive analyzing.] What did that mean, that feeling of deja vu? What should I do with that feeling of being stopped in my life trajectory? Where to go from here?
Covered Jar on Etsy
    Then I started noticing the patterns of life events rolling over and over, changing style, changing the characters in your life, changing locations but always somewhat similar. The layers of life excited me. The patterns they created were dazzling. The moments of change were awe-inspiring. Suddenly, rather than feeling stuck, I found opportunity. The opportunity to change how I responded to any one event or idea. Like the repetition for practice to improve your skills in math or sports or what have you, repetition of life events, similar but different, gave me moments to reflect and practice. In reflection, I began to notice events in my life that were turning points, comments made to me that stuck with me, points of view I happened upon that changed my direction. As I was traveling along my trajectory, these points dropped like pins on my life line. Significant events that piled up and would pay off later on when I looked back on them. I could be sure that if I didn't learn something from any one event, sure as shit, something similar would come up again and I would get another chance to either solve the problem or enjoy the moment.
Upcoming work.
    I think about these things tangentially when I work on my functional work these days. Carved drawings reference my interests but they also reference the ancient paleolithic cave drawings and drawings. Not only am I fascinated with my personal trajectory but then I layer that thought with the trajectory of human experience. Am I that different than people before me of thousands of years ago?  Lines are marked with points stamped into them, in patterns and randomly, bunched together and far apart.
Tiny pitcher, under glazing and drawings, pre-glaze firing.
Directions of lines change. Items are layered. Colors are layered. Things circle back on themselves or... they stand alone and isolated. Our DNA is our foundation but then we burst forward in so many directions, all slightly different but still similar. Repetition, repetition.
Larger vase, pre-glaze firing, slab-built. Stamped with repetitive circles, lines and stamps surrounding carved drawings. Stamps and lines made from wire, nails and screws.
Part of the joy that I get from working is not just the act itself, but the reflection and juxtaposition with the past work I've done. Like much of change, it's slow. Often you don't see it until you stop and look back at where you are in that moment in relation to where you've been. More than that, how much has happened in between? Evolution is cool.

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