Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year’s Eve at the Casino

No, I’m not going to the Casino tonight! I have been twice in my life. I lost $20 in less than a minute both times and figured toooooooooooooo hell with this. I work too hard for my money to gamble it away.
Today, I’ve been thinking that living your life as an artist is a bit like going to the casino. On any given day you could loose it all. An art center could decide not to renew your contract, You could have a disastrous firing in a large kiln with months of your work in it. Your banker could decide to recall your mortgage. Your work could cease to be the flavour of the month. Your health could make you bed ridden or unable to work for an extended period of time. What gives artist’s the tenacity to do this? I heard tight rope walker Phillipe Petit interviewed and he explained that he is “inhabited” by his art. He has no other choice but to make his art.
I have told others that now I have so much mud on my resume no one can read it so I have no other option but to make pots. I think I would be a good bartender, Wal Mart greeter or maybe go back to teaching high school part time. I just don’t want to do anything else but make pots.  Tenacity or stubbornness? Strong back and weak mind! I plead guilty to all.

Tonight I’m going to treat myself to some steamed mussels and salad
, pour a nice glass of wine and toast all of you makers that are inhabited by your art.  These are my last pots of 2015. Any money you spend on you and your art is not a gamble. It is an investment in 2016 and forever!  Gan bei ( means dry glass literally). Gan bei to you my friends and all the very best of health and happiness for 2016.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Hair on my muffin!

Andrew and Victoria visited The Cactus Lounge last night. The rumours were rampant this summer in my small town because I had this young guy living with me for the summer. We fed the neighbours curiosity by calling each other muffin, sweet pea or honey bunny. The rumours got even more juicey when an Asian woman ( Victoria his wife) moved in and mowed the lawn. Even better still when for a wood firing 6 women would arrive at my house and stay over. Then because a man’s work is never done it is often the case that I have to work into the night so the lights are on in my basement studio called “ The Dirty Low Down”. How come he is gone for extended lengths of time?  So the neighbours are confused. Is he gay? Does he deal in illegal immigration? Does he run a brothel? Is that a grow op we have in the neighbourhood.  I like to stoke the fire so I feed it liberally. I think one of the advantages of age is that you stop caring what others think.

It was great to have Andrew and Victoria here for a Christmas visit. Andrew is now half way thru his MFA at West Virginia University. He is looking a bit like a mountain man with his full beard and plaid shirt. I’ll get worried if he takes up the banjo.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Mental Floss

I’ve been wondering about my friend Carter. He hasn’t written anything of late. That’s not a good thing. When I don’t make pots my good friends know there is something wrong. Even when I'm up to my ass in alligators I find a way to write something.  I went on line to read  Neil Gaiman’s Mental Floss which contains some tips on writing. How do you clean your brain out to write? Actually I think for me it is the opposite of flossing my brain. I find filling it with more people, more places, more experiences more, more, more gives me more material to work with. My life here if left on it’s own is pretty boring. That’s why I don’t stay at home for long. 
I want 2016 to be full of surprises. You can’t be surprised unless you open the door and go outside. This can be difficult for studio potters as it is solitary work.

Check out this bit of writing - I find his writing inspirational. 
 May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.

Neil Gaiman (1960 -)