Monday, January 11, 2016

Word of the Week - 97

All ceramic art by Elizabeth Price.
Word of the Week:  CLAY

My mother was a ceramic artist.  She began with clay and the last works she created were made of clay.  In between she was known for her paintings and collages.  When, in later life, she produced a line of ceramic "kids" as she called them, they helped her travel to dreamed-of destinations like the Greek islands and to Spain to see Gaudi's architecture first-hand.

More and more, whatever wisdom guides me tells me that I have all I really need to make life, myself and my art into what I want.  The absence of some material object is not what stands between me and the far shores of my mind.  There are ways, there are always ways.  That we cannot see or name them today is no indication that they don't exist.  I have never believed that we are here on earth to be tried, tested.  This is not trial by ordeal in spite of the moments it feels precisely like that.

I find that simple works better for me than complicated, plain seems a better match than fancy.  What spoke to me through Elizabeth Price's ceramic women was an unmistakable sense of the extraordinary to be found in the ordinary.  In form, I see her gently glazed figures as straightforward, involved in the task at which we find them.  Yet my sense is of the years of living which brought them to these moments.  Cumulative.  We are cumulative creatures, products of time and experience, thoughts and actions, being and doing and puzzling over the meaning of it all.

Perhaps it all just is.  We just are, nothing more impenetrable than that.  A day of one foot in front of the other, in fair weather and foul.  Strength and courage for what comes, patience, infinite patience with ourselves and others.  The woman who holds the chicken, do we need to be told the story or can we draw a conclusion from the fact of them?  The woman in the yellow hat, any one of us in a pointed yellow hat.  I'm guessing her feet are bare as the feet of Price sculptures usually are.  All their gazes are focused on what we cannot see. 

What I forget some mornings, as I think myself into the day, is that being, most likely, is my greatest challenge and clearest calling.  To be, as clay, still and present, container of trouble and joy, of hope and doubt, alternately certain and mystified.  To navigate without fuss and drama the unblazed path of today.  To leave the big Ta-Dos in the hands of those for whom it is better suited.  As we are told of Stuart Little,

“He wiped his face with his handkerchief, for he was quite warm from the exertion of being Chairman of the World. It had taken more running and leaping and sliding than he had imagined.”
E.B. White, Stuart Little

Ceramic art by Elizabeth Price.


Kass said...

Wonderful ceramics. You and Elizabeth Price have a gift for helping us see the beauty in our ordinary moments.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Kass - Thank you. Do you love their bare feet? xo

Kass said...

Yes, I love everything about them.

Radish King said...

Oh thank you for the introduction to this fantastic artist!

Marylinn Kelly said...

Rebecca - Isn't she fabulous? And a quite extensive body of work. Happiness! xo

Elizabeth said...

I love the E.B. White quote and this: "What spoke to me through Elizabeth Price's ceramic women was an unmistakable sense of the extraordinary to be found in the ordinary."

Marylinn Kelly said...

Elizabeth - Thank you. Another, I believe, from Stuart Little, which has stayed with me for decades, "I do my work." Of course it may be from another source. Hah! Such are our days. I see my grandmothers in their aprons, in their kitchens, spinning magic disguised as ordinary. You are a master practitioner. xo