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Reawakening the Sleeping Muse and Reclaiming the Clay

It's the first time in the almost 5 years I've been doing clay that I've become creatively stuck, and I did it to myself after displaying at Pumpkinfest. I told myself that taking a break would help me recharge and that meanwhile I would continue to subconsciously integrate what I'd learned without putting in the effort.

Instead, the break has gone on way too long and what has happened is that I've lost my mojo. I started the break at the beginning of November and it's now almost mid-January. Although the time was well spent helping my husband prepare for his book launching, preparing for Christmas, doing a little drawing, and getting and training a pup, I haven't picked-up so much as a piece of clay.

I thought that drawing might help, and it sort of did, so I went to a few open studios before the holidays really hit. Here's a quick 2.5 hour example of my effort.

And then there was the Launch Party...

The handpainted mug is a Christmas present for my husband created by Ann Ewing Ruel, with Little Street Pottery. Closer details of the mug to follow.

This big guy came into our home in December, at 6 months of age, so training had to happen pretty quickly. So far he's had two trips to the emergency vet, an overnight stay in the regular vet's hospital, and a Barium enema. Fortunately, he avoided surgery. They eat everything. It's no wonder that I haven't put much energy into clay.

The good news is that I've given myself a Christmas present of a workshop at the end of January with David Simon, a portrait sculptor who will be at Townsend Atelier, in Chattanooga. I'm hoping that being surrounded by sculptors and a live model will reawaken the muse within.

In the meantime, I've recently been able to reclaim some clay and have begun a small sculpture for a friend whose child died. I'm finding myself somewhat stalled in doing the hands and feet, a problem that I've not had before, and can't seem to get lost in the flow of the process like I have in the past. In fact, I'm almost having to force myself to do the work and each time I look at it, all I can see are mistakes.

At long last, I've finally touched clay, reclaiming it with a method described by Amelia Rowcroft.

This piece is titled, "The Hidden Truth of Grief" and is still a work in progress. Hopefully I'll get past the hands and feet as I do more modeling. I'm determined to reawaken my love for clay. My guess is that creative burn-out will probably come in waves, just as I've experienced in the past as a mental health care worker, but the passion is real and as such, has become a part of me. All I know is that I'm ready for this wave to flow on out. Will keep you posted.

Meanwhile, here are more detailed photos of the stunning mug made by Ann Ewing Ruel.

In case you're wondering, Gettysburg by Morning is in part, about the life of a woman who dresses like a man in order to fight in the Civil War. You can order it from Amazon or from your local bookstore.

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