Gratitude and Generosity

Deep-Winter is here.  Solstice long nights pull us deeper, and the moments of daylight seem precious and sweet.  The long dark nights bring colder days, lower hazy light, and ample time for reading and reflection in the evenings and early mornings.  There are at least three books in mid-read today, one by the bedstand, one by the couch, and one by the tree.  But my favorite part of this time of year is the opportunity to reflect into the past year, and set intentions into the next.

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I’ve been considering Gratitude during this past Autumn, and have found myself getting irritated.  I’ve noticed that we tend to focus on how wonderful it is that I have everything I need, that I have access to things I’d like, that I have love and friends, and on and on, usually about Me.  But eventually, I stumbled upon a few thoughts that shifted the focus.  The practice of Gratitude is the beginning.  Moving forward, Gratitude can lead to Generosity.  If I am so full of gratitude for everything, let it spill over, and move into Generosity.

Now that is something I can dig into.  Or at least I’m trying, beginning, starting to explore the deeper meanings of Generosity.  There is the line about building a bigger table if you have more than you need.  That’s one way.  Or being conscientious about what to do with leftovers or used items.  Giving to those who have less.  Being kind when one could choose otherwise.  There are so many ways….and I have so much more to explore.

But Generosity also brings me to asking myself if I can take less.  So often, we ask those that have more to give more, but what about taking less?  And let me tell you, there are many ways here, too, and I have only begun to contemplate and explore.  But the thought rings true for me. How about you?

And what does this have to do with ceramics?  With pottery? With being an artist living a creative life?  Oh so much.  I can’t even begin to say where these thoughts will lead specifically, but I can say that I am sitting with the complexity of what it means to be a maker of things in a time when we have too many things.  I ask myself how I can be a better steward of my property and my materials, how I can create a more meaningful connection with the clay that I create with, and how my studio and practice can be more connected to the land that it sits on. How can I continue to link into a creative community that holds these concepts as core values, and introduce others to these ways of questioning and making?

So in this Deep Winter, I welcome you to celebrate with me in all the ways that we love to celebrate, but also contemplate, go deeper, ask questions, and join me beyond Gratitude, in Generosity.

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Gather your spirit of generosity and reciprocity….

In honor of trying something new this year, rather than being tucked away in my studio through the end of the year, I’ll be out and about, sharing the holiday cheer and community spirit at a few of my friendly regional hubs.  Whether you’re looking for a gift for someone special, or a little time on your own, stop in and say hello, sip some tea with me, share a story, and make this season a time to slow down, chat with friends, meet someone new, share stories of the year as it slowly slides into winter, and set intentions for the upcoming year ahead.

This selling-wares-for-the-holidays thing is new to me, so I’ll be making it up as I go, focusing on the connections and celebrations, the giving and receiving, the reciprocity.  Join me.

Of course, if it’s a studio visit you’re craving, give me a call or send an email, and we can meet up here at your convenience.  The studio is warm, and the tea or coffee is always hot.

Where & When:

Shepherdstown Holiday Marketplace: Entler Hotel, November 23, 24 & 25 -Done!

The Sanctuary of Berryville: Holiday Wellness  Bazaar, Saturday, December 1 Done!

The River House: Holiday Artisan Market, Sunday, December 2  Done!

Etsy: Online Holiday Shopping Weekend: December 7 – 10  Done!

The best of what is left in the studio will be available, a small group of favorites, for those of you who would like to gather some handmade givings.  Starting on Thursday (10am), and going through Monday (Midnight), you can have a cup, bowl, teabowl, or who knows what else shipped right to your door.

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Shepherdstown Holiday Marketplace: Entler Hotel

December 15 & 16, 10am – 4:30pm     Done!
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Pay attention…

Sam Taylor, of Dog Bar Pottery, teapot

“Slow down, drink coffee from a handmade mug. Slow down when making the mug. Pay attention to the earthly processes that are involved and the full nature of what a mug has been and could be. Once again, it will be good for you and good for the planet. Buy from your local potter. Even if the handmade object is not utilitarian, it is a slow object. It still requires a stilling in the making and in the enjoying. Slow down; take it in on a sensual level. Add to that basic appeal whatever experience you have had with similar objects, be it resonance or the surprise of unexpected elements. Buy from a local artist. Attend your local gallery exhibitions. Clay sculptures, installations, conceptual works: they all ask us to slow down and pay attention, to examine our preconceptions.”

-Clary Illian

Chris Weaver, teapot with wooden handle

There’s nothing slower than a teapot on a chilly winter day.  Teapots have been on my mind this month, what with winter and wood stoves and contemplation.  These are some of my current mullings, and may they inspire you to pull out your favorite, boil up some hot water, and sip away…

Linda Sikora, teapot