I love plants. I know others have waxed poetic about their love of plants, and I will not say I love them more than anyone else, but I really love them! Even weeds are difficult for me to remove because it feels so arbitrary that these specific plants need to go while others remain. Certainly there’s a place for them, right?
Folklore tells us that the fairies love wild places. Well, the fairies must enjoy my backyard then! I’ve added many plants; stopped the gardeners from shaping the large Viburnums and let them grow the way they should; and dandelions, scarlet pimpernel, and oregano are winning the battle against the lawn. It’s a place now that I feel I have to ask permission before I spend too much time out there, but the kids and I are always welcomed when we ask.
So, is it any wonder that much of my ceramic work centers around plants? Of course I’ve talked about my flower pots, but this time it will be about my trees: dancing trees, tree stumps, and tree limbs. A couple are solely stand alone art pieces, but most are either planters or vases. I’ve also made two or three more anthropomorphized: two an homage to Halloween and one to the Green Man of old. And each of these pieces was a real joy to create. There is something about the process of making these in particular that allows me to feel connected to all the growing things that rely on good earth in order to survive. And although, as always, some are more successful than others, I am never truly disappointed when they come out of the kiln (as long as it remains in tact, of course).
And seriously, there are few things that are as inspiring as trees can be: the peeling bark, the twist of the limbs, the hollow formed as a tree nears its end but still not only manages to live but also provides shelter for other animals and plants, a hidden beehive tucked into the tight juncture between two or more limbs, or the fungi and moss that help to decompose what’s left behind so that the soil that gave life to the tree is replenished and can support other growing things. If you don’t find that visually interesting, at the very least the story of the life cycle of these organisms must stir something inside.
I guess what I’m trying to say is I really love plants….and trees…. and fungi…. and of course ceramics since it allows me to connect and express this love. Hopefully some of you can appreciate my work and feel a little bit of this yourself.