As we say goodbye to 2010, and welcome in 2011, I'm sure I'm not alone in recalling the year that has gone by, and asking myself 'What did I learn' from last year (on any single or several layers of being.)
On a creative level , this time last year I was up to my elbows in cold wet clay. I had received some lovely and inspiring books that Christmas in 2009. All about sculpting, and the various techniques that individual ceramic artists use, i.e. pinch, coil, slab; and sometimes a combination to build their sculptural forms.
I remember feeling not happy with what my hands were creating. I remember leaving my sculptures on the table and going into a quiet space with my drum. Beating a slow and steady rhythm, because I felt as though I'd lost my own personal rhythm. It was a while later that I returned to the works in progress, but they were not worked on. Instead I took up a fresh handful of clay and just held it in my hands...and asked what it wanted to be. (I also remember chuckling quietly to myself as I realised that I was talking to a lump of clay !)
I had a vague idea in my head that I wanted to build some sort of head that would include facial features. That was it. Nothing else.
This was the result...
Half sheep / half human ? Bit weird !...but hey...all in the name of art !
It was also this time last January that one of my friends showed me a book about handmade felt. I remember getting a little buzz from seeing the vibrant coloured textiles, (such vibrant colours that I struggled to get into my ceramic work ). However, I needed to remain focused on ceramic slip-castings for a craft market in March.
The felting book was put on the shelf.
It was one evening in mid January that I eventually looked at the book properly. Later that month I was sent an invitation to attend a 2hour felting workshop. The month of February, whilst searching google for sculptures, an on-line demo for needle felted sculpture popped up!
I haven't touched any clay since. !
March brought the craft market; which was a financial disaster, but I returned home at the end of the day richer in so many other ways. I met the local spinning group who were (and are) a wealth of knowledge and good hearted ladies. I asked my friend Mo 'What shall I make with this fleece fibre ?'. 'Listen to it', she replied. 'It will tell you what it wants to be'.
I remembered the ceramic sheep sculpture.
Ah it was so comforting to hear her say those words. Perhaps I'm not the only crazy one then !
It's amazing what we can achieve when we get out of our own way.
Wow what a year. My ceramic kiln and all things clay have been replaced by spinning wheel, peg loom, felting equipment and mountains of fleece. It's been an amazing journey into the world of all things woolly. I accept that this is just the beginning of a wonderful adventure....and so for 2011... Never mind the destination...just enjoy the journey.
Happy New Year everyone