Ever since I was a little girl I've been entranced by the act of making things. I remember attending Sunday school when I was 5 years old and though I found most of it a snooze I loved the days when we made crafts. I still recall making a mouse bookmark out of felt and learning blanket stitch! The kick I got out of making something that was both useful and beautiful (in the eyes of a 5 year old!) was unbeatable. I still get a really great jolt of satisfaction out of making something that I love.
The past couple of years I have returned to crafting (as opposed to art-making) with great enthusiasm. Art will always be my first love - the lack of rules and freedom of expression is everything. But there is something so wonderful about learning new skills and in crafting something from my hands that has a level of practicality. I've made baskets and learnt the art of eco-dying, I've crafted soft sculptures from fabric scraps and embroidered clothing, made curtains and pillows and knitted scarves (because that's all I can knit, Haha!). Most recently I have turned my hand to ceramics and it is such a bewitching practice that has me hooked! Let's face it, ceramics and pottery are undergoing a renaissance of sorts and as you can probably deduce, I am all for it!
I have been going to casual ceramic classes with a wonderful teacher and they have been an awesome space in which to learn the fundamentals and gain an appreciation of the depth of the craft. Every Friday I gather in the home of my teacher with a bunch of other women and we make things with our hands out of clay and chat, and laugh a lot too! It is such a joyful thing to make objects simply for the love of it with other people. I have enjoyed being a student again and it's so satisfying to feel like I am progressing at something.
Midway through 2020 I lashed out and ordered a hobby kiln with money I had saved from selling my artworks. I can't tell you how excited I was to order that kiln! But excitement soon turned to impatience as I realised I would have to wait six months to receive it! Apparently during COVID lockdowns there was a great resurgence in people interested in pottery and kiln makers here in Australia were working hard to fulfil demand. So, I waited, and waited and waited and finally it arrived just before Christmas. I'm so thrilled to have my very own kiln!
Now, in saying that I'm excited, I haven't actually fired it up yet. You see, there was Christmas, and then New Year, and we had a visitor, and there were so many gatherings and then, after all of that, I didn't do anything much at all for a few weeks. I just nested and slowly crawled back into some kind of routine. So now it is mid February and I've been back at my ceramic classes for three weeks, I have bought some clay and made some things at home, and I am almost ready to fire up my little kiln. Eeeep!
I have always dreamed of a life of art and creativity and now I am living that life in so many different ways. I am incredibly fortunate, and though I have been helped by the hand of privilege, there have been challenges to moulding this life and it hasn't come as easily as many assume. It wasn't given to me and I never, ever take it for granted. I don't think many creatives do take their lives for granted. To get up every single day and make something because you love the process, even if no-one else likes the results, takes a real act of faith, self-assurance and love. I do it mostly because I have to. This creative life fills me with a deep sense of purpose and curiosity for the world around me. It fills me with love. 💙