Today is a studio day. I was up early to get my clay organised, and I’m about to go back in and make some bowls, but first I’m catching up with my emails, sorting out some bills, googling optimum body temperatures for four year olds, discussing options for alternatives to nursery for keeping a slightly feverish granddaughter occupied, (and writing a blog!) Creative flow? Maybe I’ll just have another cup of tea first and get my thoughts together again.
There is a mythology about artists being alone in garrets or scribbling sketches on tablecloths in exchange for coffees in romantic Parisian cafes, or holing up in their studios for weeks on end, while passion rages itself onto the canvas… which may apply to some, but, particularly for women, making art often has to happen in-between everything else. Every now and then, someone writes a book or makes a TV programme such as the recent BBC series, The Story of Women and Art, asking why there is such an imbalance between the genders when it comes to famous artists? The answer is both simplistic and complex. The simple answer is that despite our efforts we continue to live in a world of gender imbalance. The complex answer is, well, complex and requires more analysis than can be tackled in a blog post, but it seems, at least here in modern Europe, that our modern lives are fuller, expectations higher, information bombards us from all directions, and we women continue to strive to strike the impossible perfect balance between family and work. Being in touch with our creativity is an essential ingredient in the recipe for holistic health, but it’s easy to see time for making art as a luxury.
This evening I’m delivering a talk at Gallery TS1, with artist Sara Cooper, to coincide with the current Tees Heritage inspired exhibition, Looking Back: Moving Forward. We’re sharing our experience of exchange of arts practice in a museum setting, and leading a discussion about opportunities for artists, so I need to prepare for that, and it seems I have a million other things to do as well. In a week’s time I’ll be driving to Italy, my car filled with equipment and materials and whatever ceramics I have managed to make by then for the Bagni di Lucca International Arts Festival which opens on 4th July.
It’s more important than ever that we learn to stop and smell the roses.. fortunately I have a retreat coming up soon, which I’m co-leading with the lovely Taravanda, a woman who’s life and company Future Lives is dedicated to finding and sharing ways in which we can live mindfully in the modern world of work. Honouring the Elements will be a week of meditation, creativity and mindfulness practice in the beautiful Tuscan mountains. Casa Rosa Tuscan Retreats aim to give you a period of time out of your ‘ordinary’ life, to take stock, reconnect with nature and your essential creative self. I’m looking forward to the inspiring company, the fresh mountain air and the fireflies that light up these long midsummer evenings.
But first – back to the bowl making!