Winter nights, especially the rare rainy ones, offer opportunity for reflection. In drought-stricken California the rain is most welcome, providing sustenance for plants and souls alike. It pelts the skylights in various intonations, which irritates the cat but delights the humans.

I’ve been thinking about all I have learned this year and the creative folks I have met. I learned how to sell at art shows, deepened my understanding of Obvara firing techniques through experimentation, and held my first open studio, experimented with glazes. And I am still excited about all that I have yet to learn.

Our little town of Redlands is experiencing a cultural arts renaissance and it’s been fun to be part of it. A group of us started a cultural arts council to strengthen collaboration and serve as a cultural, economic, and organizational engine for the Redlands Community. I have also been working with Lisa Tucker at Tucker Works Studio to create a Ceramics Guild at the Redlands Art Association.

And my reading pile is tall. Back issues of Studio Potter and Ceramics Monthly. Poetry by Leonard Cohen. Historical accounts of Native American resistance and resiliency. Pioneer Pottery by Michael Cardew. But the book that has currently captured my heart and imagination is Opening Our Moral Eye, M.C. Richards seminal collection of essays, lectures and poetry on creativity and community. Her observations seem especially poignant and relevant in the period of creative expansion. This excerpt sums up my experience not just reading her work, but of entering into community and creation:

“Authenticity: what does it mean, then? That we must live and express to one another our intrinsic mysticism, our imagination. And we want to do this in order to express the world to one another in wholeness. Not only the shard but the art of it. Not only the clay but the spirit of it.”

That’s it, then. That’s the work. Inward work this night but expressed in clay, in community, tomorrow.

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