It was 1972. My senior year of high school. Lincoln School. A Quaker girls school. I was a boarding student. The prefect balance of strict and freedom. Strict was the dark green and grey uniform. No jewelry or makeup. No room for personal expression. Everyone on equal ground. Study hall every night and Saturdays. Academics were strenuous. Freedom took form in the nurturing of a passion. I was allowed in the Art Room whenever I had any free time. In Art Class individuality was fostered. Peace, love, Woodstock, ecology, Vietnam. Bellbottoms, patched jeans, Marimekko and Peter Max. Joni Mitchell, Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Still, Nash and Young. Then it was time to pick a photo and quote for the yearbook. We had two actually. One in our uniform and one that was personal with a chosen quote. And so here is mine. Not sure I where my quote came from so long ago. There’s no credit as there was none. Back then my interpretation was pretty literal. Today I would say it goes much deeper. Not sure I’m making my mark but I’m trying.
I was asked to make a vessel for her mother’s ashes. There was never any question that I would make one. It was an honor. A privilege to be a part of this last journey. I had known her mother all my life. She had cared for me as a child. She was my neighbor. And throughout my career as a Potter, she had been a great supporter of my work. Her daughter told me there was never any question that she wanted me to make this vessel. She was confident that whatever I made would be reflective of her mom. I may have physically crafted this vessel but it’s design came from her spirit watching over the entire process. I was completely unaware of this while making the piece. It flowed together over the days and when I finished and really looked at it for the first time, I knew she had been with me all along . A girl who always had sand in her shoes and a seashell in her pocket.
“Not all who wander are lost?” or is it “All who wander are not lost?” I apologize to the author. Was it Emerson or Thoreau? I know I could goggle it but I’m not going there. I am lost. Not the “good” kind reflected in this quote above. Not the getting lost the beauty of art, music, nature or love. Not the getting lost in a daydream. I’ve lost my way creatively. I’m stuck. Moving neither forward or back. It’s really frustrating, uncomfortable, exhausting and overwhelming. I’ve been here before. It goes with the territory of creative pursuit. So how do I get out of here? Perhaps wandering is the answer.
“Kate’s Find” is a piece inspired by my daughter who is a wanderer in the good sense.