At the request of an old friend, I took the show on the road last weekend. I initially saw it as a great opportunity for me to do nothing but a) coil build pots, and b) work in red clay - two things that I love that have been scarce in the past couple years as I worked on large public art projects (many small flat pieces) in white clay.
I love those big projects, too, in their own way - the "zing" of nailing the idea for the design, the complexity, the planning required, and finally, finally, the big reveal. They have their own lessons to teach about being present and process-oriented, and the difference between laying out a plan for the work and thinking too far ahead. (Hint: One gives you a road map. The other gives you high anxiety.)
I'm not a church-oriented person. I'm a broad-based seeker of those things that resonate with my soul. But my show-on-the-road turned out to be an 800-attendee annual gathering of the Nebraska Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Much to my surprise, instead of being in a back corner of the room, I was (very) up front, and even occasionally on camera.
And it was great! I was so grateful to have that opportunity to concentrate on nothing but the pots that I was able to be fully present, for the work, and for all of the lovely, kind people who came to talk to me, to ask questions, to share their experiences with clay.
I was also fortunate in this sea of humanity to have access to two good long-time friends, both of them thoughtful, intelligent, insightful gentlemen with humor and perspective. So when I did feel a little overwhelmed by it all, they were there with a quick quip or good conversation to shift things back into place.
In the end, I went home exhausted and pleased, and with two good-sized pieces that caused me to, when I finally unwrapped them in my studio, wonder how the heck I'd managed to crank those out.
As part of the conference, one of the pieces I'd made was raffled off, pending its completion and a woman who lives fewer than 15 miles away from me was the lucky winner. So it's back into the studio today, happily, to fine-tune these and complete the other two smaller pieces.
Thanks again for the invitation, Mitch. It was well worth the time and effort.