I’m sitting in the kitchen at North Lands, thinking about my time here. This morning we went to the Whaligoe Steps, once used to haul fish up the stairs by the fishwives in baskets on their backs. 300+ steps up the cliff face. Natali and I were talking about what first drew me here (Louise Tait’s presentation “Only Sky Above Us”) on the way down the first sections of steps and she shared “Stone + Sand + Sea + Sky” by Penny Lang, a beautiful folk song that feels tied to this country.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got here, but I knew it would either carry me forward or see me abandon glass as a focus in my work. I gave Caithness my heart and trusted to her gentle care.
As we presented our work the first few nights, I was intimidated by what I saw and heard. I felt the least experienced. Everyone else had years of experience and a developed body of work. I felt out of place.
Over this past week, though, I have been encouraged by my “flatmates” Natali and Purnima, by Nancy, Ellen, Cathryn, and Jane, really everyone has been so open. I have been gifted again and again by an incredible set of artists who are here on this symposium. They helped me feel like my thoughts and ideas have merit. Not that I require anyone’s approval, acceptance, or validation, but they drew me out of a place that I had been hiding in.
As I sat on the wall of the Steps, I realized that I am beginning to heal. I am so grateful Jane invited me to attend. This was the right time, the right place, and the right people to lift me up and mend my broken parts.
I also discovered that I just don’t create a lot of work when I am in a class or workshop. My focus is more on absorbing information and percolating on it. I have declared that I am a “slow cooker.” It just takes a while for me to process and then produce. I create pieces to test ideas, but I don’t feel the need to be a flurry of activity. I am happy with what I have made and where it will take me.