While it may be windy and cold outside, the inside of the studio is getting warm again after a winter hiking hiatus. Days spent with Black Vultures soaring over Antietam Battlefield hills, Muskrats dodging around the trunks of Box Elder trees and human detritus in Antietam Creek, and even the occasional passing pair of Mergansers coasting inches over the water, fade to inspiration as days transition back into the studio.
March 1, my traditional spring studio return date, was calm and sunny. There were tasks awaiting, like firing off a hearty set of ceramic drawing pastel pencils made from mason stains and local materials, in hopes of adding the mark of my hand to my work in a new way. These pastel pencils are hand-made, hand-rolled, and meant to capture gesture with a flair of color that is inspired by this winter’s wanderings, and encouraged by the many painters, botanical illustrators, and colored pencil artists that I am lucky to know and call friends.
Surprisingly, this year is my 10th year in this studio, this little woodland property here in WV. To gently commemorate the year, I decided to clean and sort all of the tools, from the daily regulars to the deep-storage boxes under the working table. (Perhaps the first time in 10 years!) With an eye to handmade and unique pieces, and of course the regular work horses front-and-center, there is fresh energy and inspiration (and less clutter) awaiting next week’s foray into wet clay, again, as a true sign of spring.
And, of course, there are the gems of work already made that have caught my eye this winter, propelling me towards the next body of work to come out of the studio in 2018. The turquoise ash glaze has been close all winter, and holds its own as we transition to warmer weather. My mind is all over the place this year, from hand-fitting functional stoneware to riotous sculptures speaking to color and motion. As usual, I can only imagine what will come of it all, what will become in the studio, and what will remain inspiration for the future. It’s going to be a good year, and I look forward to sharing it with you….