Discover more from studio processing
leaning into paradox
+ why alaska felt so creative
I thought I came here today to share the creative energy swirling from my recent visit to Alaska. The visual ceramic journal I kept each evening, the projects I worked on, the creative spaces and studios I sought out and drew energy from. While I’ll share a slice of it all below, I felt disingenuous sharing the excitement from my travels rather than what I’ve really been processing the past few days, what’s in my heart as I sit here, writing to you.
So instead I’ll admit that I’ve been having trouble finding time and space to focus my energy lately, to cross anything off my growing lists, to feel as though I’m contributing to each part of my life that deserves attention and care.
I know it’s the good stuff of travels and visitors and the swirl of activity that comes along with the heat of a summer, but it doesn’t feel good to get lost in the whirl of it all. My horizon is filled to the brim with plans for faraway holidays; I’m bursting at the seams with project ideas and workshop plans; I’m sitting in gratitude every day for my vibrant summer intentions and career prospects. And also I am tired and disorganized and fretting over the mundanities of life. I remind myself each day that both can be true at the same time.
So I will organize myself and the containers of my life and also enjoy a spontaneous lunch with an old friend.
I will schedule space to tend to my work and also spend joyous time with loved ones.
I will make time to move my body and also rest my muscles and mind.
I will read and write and sleep and attend meetings. I will dance at weddings and swim laps in the pool and teach my students how to throw a pot. I will fly to Europe and hike deep into a canyon and reflect on the strange beauty in the world. I will sit in silence and take my dog for long walks and write to you in this space. I will soak in the wholeness of living.
Wishing us all the grace we deserve and remember:
Alaska was wild and mesmerizing and quiet and also I’m so happy to be reunited with our pup and sleep in my cozy bedroom. Now that I’m back in the noisy city, I’ve been wearing these earplugs and it’s calming my entire body (science for proof!). I’m heading upstate for one evening of celebrations and will be back in time to meet my students for a semester long wheel throwing class (!!) on Sunday. I’m welcoming some new work into my atmosphere and will be spending more time at my desk, so I invested in this timer for focus and this chair for my body to no longer ache.
My time in Alaska felt more creative than other trips and I owe it to a few small tools I tucked into my carry on and a shift in perspective.
a film camera
Seeing through a new lens and delayed gratification (which still hasn’t been satisfied!) layered a new perspective on the epic views.
a paintbrush, a tiny bottle of underglaze (aka paint for ceramics), and 13 mini ceramic tiles that had been fired one time (meaning they aren’t super fragile and still need to be fired again)
Each evening of our trip, I would illustrate a small moment from the day, a memory I wanted to sear into ceramic. I’m planning to glaze them with a clear shiny coat and fire them once more, then grout them together to frame and hang on the wall. A visual diary of each day in the wilderness. I’ll be sure to share once it’s complete!
a roll of washi tape and a journal.
I always bring a journal on my travels, but tape added layers and texture. Suddenly, a notebook becomes a mini scrapbook and I can weave in character from local paper maps, twigs and flowers, and menus!
Instead of museums, I looked up (and found through friends) local artists, who have galleries in their studios. I’ve visited pottery studios all over the world - from Greece to Portland to Alaska, by simply looking up local potters and dropping by. I’ve never been turned down for a studio tour and lingering chat.
In the same vein as local studios, I’ll try to find local artists and see which shops carry their work. This typically leads me to sweet little spots who care about their neighbors (and they often have the best recommendations for the area).
Any other tips for enjoying a creative holiday? I’m interested in trying these watercolor paint pens.
Thank you for being here xoxoxo