Home is where the Clay is

"Nature is not a place to visit. It is home."
poet Gary Snyder
 from The Gary Snyder Reader:  Prose, Poetry and Translations

I was quite honored when I was invited to participate in this show curated by Natalie Nelson.  It includes a broad range of 2D-3D works from well-established, highly regarded artists.  The artists'  interpretations of the meaning home is as intriguing as their work.  Some humorous, some abstract, some mysterious and some conceptual.  It is also open during the California Conference for the Advancement of Ceramic Art.

I refreshed my artist's statement (after I cleaned house, gardened, cleared my closet, scrubbed the bathtub.) Of course, all this procrastination meant I wasn't get any clay work done.  Once I stopped coming up with excuses, I sat down and revised my statement.  Writing artist's statements is not my cup of tea. On the other hand (or face).... 
Statements do provide an important function.  It adds dimension and for some, it deepens the experience for both for the viewer and the artist.  It allows for some behind the scenes glimpses. Maybe an explanation as to what is going on in this artist's head.  It is the voice of the artist.  It is part of the narrative.  
I love the written language as much as I love visual arts. I will read everything posted in a gallery or in a museum.  I will first look at all the work, read anything on the wall.  View everything again.  Then I read the statements. Some statements I get lost in. Some I am lost for words.  I love the ones that quickly explain their process and touch lightly on their explorations.  I am amazed at the fluency of many statements and baffled by others. They are always interesting even if succinct or poorly written or pretentious.  I read them all.  Even the long ones.  I feel more included, more connected (or disconnected) to the work once I read the artist's statement.  
Now that I got my statement done I can go home to my clay.
No more excuses.
I have work to do.

"Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
call to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.” 

poet Mary Oliver
excerpt from her poem "Wild Geese"


  1. Congratulations to you!! I love the doll with small houses and trees on the head. And I really love the lines from the poem, "Wild Geese". Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. Thank you, sapphire, for all your kind words. Mary Oliver has this way with word imagery and when one reads her words out loud they resonate.

  2. So interesting to read your 'home' blog and then your clay blog. I feel as if we've had a nice visit. I viewed your work, read your statement, and viewed your work again. Reading about the home you are building and the clay pieces you create combined with your statement - tells me you 'live' in the same space you create. Your unconscious and conscious realities seem so balanced. You are an inspiration. Congratulations on the show.
    And I love reading Mary Oliver out loud.

    1. You make me smile, Judy. When people meet me at artist's receptions sometimes they look shocked and confused. Some say I look normal, but they love my work. One said I didn't look like an artist. Oh, I forgot my beret! :)
      Have you ever read Michael Pollan (let me grab it off the shelf) "A Place of My Own: The Architect of Daydreams"? I read it years ago before his famous "The Omnivore's Dilemma". I still have a studio to build! You're an inspiration, too. I love looking at your work and how you write so thoughtfully about what you are doing.

  3. How nice to find that your mother comes from Japan! It explains that you have the understanding of Japanese culture both in depth and width. My mother's family is Shinto. And I am deeply affected by those raw feeling towards the nature in Shinto.

    I have never read artists' statement until the end. I usually read the first paragraph, but sometimes only the first sentence if it is not engaging. I read yours till the end. : )

    1. My mother is from Saga City and born in Tokyo. I get my attention to details from her. Also a great love and respect of craft work, o-cha, miso, tofu, sushi, etc. She also pulls me down to earth when I need it. She is gracefully quiet and loves to sing. No one would know there is a tiger in her!

  4. The only thing that makes me sad about this post is that I can't see your work in person.

    Your art pieces are amazing. It's not so much that they are made by you, but more that they come through you.
    You give birth to them, but they are their own separate entities.
    I wish I was there to 'feel' their energies.

    You are so very connected, Charlene - to this world and the other.

    Your bio resonates.

    1. You are making me blush, Vicki. You write so fluently on your blog. It takes me a long time to write even a little bit. I am such a recluse and need so much alone time, I think I may have moss growing on me. I never really looked at it in that way "that they come through you." Maybe, our art makes us who we are. As you know making art is a see-saw. And when you least expect it--there it is. Like magic. And then wonder where did that magician go?

    2. Yes, just like magic, they appear :)
      And clay is such an alchemical medium.

      You might take time with your eloquent words Charlene, but you choose them well - as you do with your art... meaningful and from the heart.


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