Life Intervenes in Art Making or Maybe Life is Art

diane-and-john1

Okay. This website is supposed to be about my work in clay; it is  a professional website after all.  However, right now my main work seems to be about learning all I can from this experience of breast cancer.  It is changing my life in good ways and filling me with gratitude for the many, many kind acts and thoughts from so many people.    I am in awe of the quiet  heroism and resilience of so many people who have been through this experience. I am learning now to welcome this “event” as a life changing process that will make me a better artist and a more compassionate  and passionate  human being.

I start chemo tomorrow for every three weeks for 18 weeks.

PS The photo above is of me and John at the Carbondale Clay Center’s recent fundraiser. My cup is made by Lauren Mabry and John’s is a Ginny Beesley cup.

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Update

Studio work is somewhat on hold, rudely interrupted by breast cancer. I am still me, still feeling good, even after surgery 10 days ago. Climbed up two very steep trails in the last few days.  I feel calm and centered and strong. Years of working in my sanctuary of a studio in the company of the artist’s voice  and the miracle we call music and the gift of being outdoors daily,  in such  a beautiful place, have helped me deal with this. Not to mention my huge, big-hearted, extended family and much cherished friends.

Making art is still my focus – not disease.   Every fellow artist that I am privileged to know, also is committed to making their own lives a work of art…and this includes everything we open our hearts to or that finds us. This cancer thing is not a wake-up call…how can anyone function as an artist and not be awake and paying attention. At NCECA last month, my friend, Vicky Hansen quoted these lines to me: Everything is connected. Everything Changes. Pay attention. (Jane Hirschfield)

I am paying attention.

I don't know exactly what a prayer is, but I do know how to pay attention. (Mary Oliver)

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is, but I do know how to pay attention.         (Mary Oliver)

More to follow.

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Back from NCECA

NCECA…A gathering of the clay tribe. Potters, sculptors, ceramic artists all..many of us are also conceptual artists, exploring ideas and pushing boundaries, no matter what the media, using clay – ceramic – fired earth as a primary material, not only the wheel as tool, but computers and imagination. We are, many of us, also teachers, writers, public speakers,  photographers,  carpenters, kiln firers, builders, philosophers, thinkers and makers of objects and created spaces.  We need chemistry, math and digital skills. We also  need physical strength and deep spiritual resources. Most of all, we need and use our hands and our hearts and ideas and intellects to make things in clay…some beautiful, some disturbing, some simply amazing.   Does it matter that we do what we do? Some days I question this, but seeing the depth and breadth of the work and its makers in Phoenix last week -well, I am convinced that it matters that we do what we do.

This is the tile I donated for the Potters for Peace Auction in honor of Ron Rivera. He used his skills and talents and precious life to teach people in underdeveloped countries around the world, how to make low tech, ceramic water filters so they could have clean water. A pretty great thing to do!

A lifetime isnt enough for the beauty of this world

A lifetime isn't enough for the beauty of this world. (Mary Oliver, poet)

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Poetry & Pottery

This week I have been working non-stop to meet a deadline for a show opening Friday. It’s been a solitary retreat, sometimes  late at night listening to a mix of jazz and Tibetan music, chanting monks and  soulful horns,  seasoned with words of the Dalai Lama, like, “the artist’s job is to serve..to give hope..give them hope”.

Work has become a prayer and an act of love.

A poem by Mary Oliver is on my mind…No matter who you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, Over and over, announcing your place in the family of things. [Wild Geese]

I will post images soon.

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Yunomi Invitational at Akar Gallery

Akar Gallery’s wonderful  show of teabowls  (Yunomis) –  the “You Know Me”  sale and exhibit is now online!

Check it out!

I think that my teabowls pictured here may still be  for sale.

Leafy Green Teabowl

Leafy Green Teabowl

Leafy Yunomi

Leafy Yunomi

Face Cups

These two face cups of mine are in the Akar show on sale now!

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Working for a Deadline

I have a show opening in a week…here are a few images of some of the work I have yet to do!  Wish me luck!

Terra Cotta Animal Plates

Terra Cotta Animal Plates - I decided that since humans are animals, too, I can put humans on the salad plates, why not?

Fun!

Ready for Action! Fun!

Springtime in the Rockies, the path to my studio

Springtime in the Rockies, the path to my studio on March 26th!

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St Patrick’s Day Luck of the Irish

Rainbow

Rainbow

The luck of the Irish was with me last night in my studio. Here’s what happened…I was mixing a glaze recipe using my gram scale and I accidentally added 500 extra grams to the first of three ingredients. My first instinct was to throw it all out and start over but then my math kicked in and I wanted to make Sister Virginia Marie Cashion proud of me. She was my strict Irish math teacher at Marywood HS, in Evanston, Il,  many years ago. I did simple algabra, figured out percentages for the new amounts and ended up mixing 6666 grams of my glaze instead of 5000, but I kept the proportions right. That felt really good to me, in fact, it was fun to figure, and I said a prayer of thanks to Sr. Virginia Marie! Here’s a quote I like from Nuala O’Faolain: The Irish people are gifted in living. They risk themselves all the time. They drink like fish and dance and stay up late. They live intensely. It’s a way of life a I’m very attracted to and admire.

I want this spirit to be in my work. It may not seem very exciting to be mixing a glaze in my studio alone on St. Patrick’s Day night-but you know what, it is! Well, if not totally  exciting, at least it is simply a satisfying thing to be doing.

And, I want to risk myself all the time in my work. Otherwise, what’s the point?

The other bright spot of my St Paddy’s Day was rediscovering another “Marywood girl” from my very class who has written yet another book, called Galway Bay. Her name is Mary Pat Kelly [how could it be anything else?] and I couldn’t be more excited to re-connect with her and read this book! Check it out!

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Links & Contact Pages Updated!

I just updated my  LINKS page and my CONTACT page and my BIO page. Whew! See what you think…

rooster-tile1a

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Facebook & Stuff I’ve Learned

Like a million friends and family..I am now on FaceBook: Diane on FaceBook

Today I had to write an Artist’s Statement and Brief Bio. Here it is-more or less:
• I grew up in Evanston, Illinois.
• I got my start in clay in Kansas City in at the Kansas City Art Institute.
• I have worked as a potter in the Crystal Valley for many years. My work is always available at my studio showroom, just six miles south of Carbondale.

Things I have learned about myself as an artist and person…Things I love…
• Clay
• Color, painting and drawing, and exploring surface depth and texture in my pieces
•  Solitude and also golden conversation with friends, and being an active member of this wonderful community

• Learning and teaching and working with students of both art and language! (I also teach ESL, not simply as a side job, but as a labor of love)

• Nature, working and being outdoors, hiking, snowshoeing, skiing, swimming, yoga, animals of all kinds, including humans!

• Language, poetry and other good literature; many, many kinds of music; radical politics; and good comedy
• Living in Colorado on a familiar piece of land in a handcrafted, straw bale house with my beloved husband, John McCormick, and Archie, the awesome dog and Reina, the rascal cat

I list all of these things because they are what I bring to my current work in clay.

Bird Bowl
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May I Suggest?

Well, it’s time for change and that feels good to me. I am making new work in terra cotta for a two-person show in April, here in Carbondale, the Art Capital of the Western Slope. The show will be in the gallery of the amazing Carbondale Council of Arts and Humanities on Main Street. I appreciate the invitation and incentive to make new work. I am planning to do some 3-D “pillow” tiles…Some of them are “Poetry Tiles” with lines from some of my favorite poems that have been rolling around in my head for decades! I will also be making quite a few smaller pieces I may have to call Recession Ware. Stay tuned!

I have a current favorite tune to share with you: May I Suggest?, by Susan Werner -plus a great version by Red Molly .

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