Promises to Keep

I am, these days, a poster child for depression: unwashed, unclothed, unkempt, unmotivated. But strangely not depressed. Well, maybe a little, but it’s more an easing, an inching, a cautious seepage toward the new, the unknown (and frankly unwanted).

Change in the New Year is, of course, so largely mythical. And yet sometimes change doesn’t need to be tangible to be real. The symbolism alone can be crippling.

I don’t do change well. I don’t go to bed well. I don’t get up well. Don’t like to get in the shower; don’t like to get out of the shower. I love life, but the segue between episodes can throw me into a dither.

“I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow./I learn by going where I have to go.” Theodore Roethke’s tenuous broachings became a mantra when I traveled through Greece alone for three weeks, knowing no one, not speaking the language. I was forty-two, coming out of a dark place in the midst of a charmed life, and those words have worked magic on me ever since.

And so you will find me at the start of every new year, poised for the weeks-long morning of pajamas, tea and fire, short of words but long on the silent questioning dance with whomever lives inside me.

And it will lead me along the long road home, toward those promises I keep . . . but slowly. Have patience.

And yet, as changes go, this year will bring some of the largest for me: the marriage of my firstborn, the college graduation and home-leaving of my baby, the declining health of my sole remaining parent, the impending cross-country move of my son, two very grand art achievements, the tearful closing of Ciel Gallery, an intense two-year labor of love, and decisions about my path from here. Pajamas and tea, indeed.

I recognize, of course, that change, even dreaded change, often brings unexpected blessings, and even less blessed changes help us evolve, most often for the better, kicking and screaming attendant. But evolution requires action, a meeting head-on and toe to toe with our hearts on our sleeves and our brains ready to verbalize and vocalize.  Backs straightened, eyes peeled, belts tightened, no shields. I like being a warrior, but I can get pretty whiny when the battle isn’t on my own terms.

But the promises I’ve made will rouse me, stumbling toward Saturday classes, weekend workshops, dinners and swim meets, deadlines, and the occasional requisite cleaning. Every smile will help me loosen the grip on the shield, step into the future, open the heart a bit more. But the goodbyes will never flow as easily as the tears, and I suppose that saline cleansing is part of the plan. So bring it on Life. Almost ready.

“This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.”

Art: Not (Just) a Pretty Picture

Ciel Gallery’s exhibition entitled The War Against Peace presents the responses of artists across the nation as they ponder the question of why we continue to cry for peace and simultaneously continue to wage war. Best of Show winner Janet Kozachek, whose Fallen Floyd is pictured above, illustrates the emotional and physical torture of war in stone and handmade ceramic. Phil Fung‘s War and Peace depicts a hundred or so maniacal Continue reading

Mosaic Howl

Okay, random things first. In between my too-many pursuits, I finally finished Howl, my mosaic protest piece, just in time for the opening of The War Against Peace Exhibition at Ciel Gallery. I chose to work this piece in a folk-art style, because it is so often the “child” within us that reacts most instinctively to the atrocities around us. The image depicts a Peace Angel howling in anguish over the current state of Man and Earth. Alphabet Millefiori spell out her howls as she flies over the land surveying our lives below. This piece uses vitreous, smalti, millefiori, glass beads, and shell. Click on the image to enlarge and read the messages.

Mosaic Maestro Giulio Menossi to Jury Contemporary Mosaic Art

I am such a huge fan of Master Mosaicist Giulio Menossi, that I would consider it the highest honor to be plastered with smalti and embedded into one of his wholly fantastical three-dimensional works, just to have the honor of hanging about in his studio and watching this genius at work. Continue reading

Ciel Signs On

Today I became official, with the (six-hour) mounting of Ciel’s sign, and my first (and last) adventure with stained glass. I can’t tell you how giddy I am to 1) have that nine-square-foot sign off my living room floor, 2) to give my slit fingers and gouged nails a break from the grinder, 3) to have survived the deadly plexi-flex , and 4) to have kept the smile nailed in place through four mounting trials and three dismountings so the space could be adjusted, and adjusted, and adjusted. Mounted photos to follow shortly on my flickr site. Stained glass on plexiglas, with crystal point stars, ungrouted, mounted behind a clear glass pane.