“[…] freedom – a state of being in which man’s relatedness to life is unobstructed […] Man has many hungers. But they all seem to me to be versions of a twofold one: hunger for freedom, and hunger for union, a dance of each individuality with the world.” -Mary Caroline Richards, Centering
“The ‘minor’ questions: How shall I make this lid, what kind of a handle shall I pull, how high a foot shall I throw on this pot, how small an opening should this bottle have, how much iron oxide shall I apply to this surface? – all these minor questions are the echoes and small ripples from the deeper questions: What am I doing? What do I know? What do I want to learn? How shall I bring myself into ripeness? Teachers of ourselves, we over and over again ask, ‘How do I want this to look?’ And what we mean is, ‘What do I want to birth in the world? In myself?'” -Mary Caroline Richards
from the book “Centering in Pottery, Poetry, and the Person“
“Art is an essence, a center.” -Eva Hesse
Circles have been showing up in my work a lot lately. In oil pastel, soft pastel, graphite, and watercolor, I’ve been getting inside of the circle, exploring around the outside, finding centers and edges, seeing what’s in front of it and what’s behind it.
I think this relates to my personal need for centering. I tend to be anxious, have trouble calming my mind and focusing on the present moment. I wake up in the middle of the night and I can’t turn my brain off.
I’m finding that the physical act of drawing a circle is a meditation of sorts. Of course, you could say that about creating art in general. It forces you to focus on the present moment, on what your body is physically doing. But in drawing a circle, there is a centering that happens mentally, as well as physically on the surface I’m drawing on and in the motions of my hand. For me, there’s a definite link between the brain and the body in the act of drawing a circle, which helps to bring a calm and a clarity to my mind. I think I should keep drawing circles for a while.
“Just stop thinking, worrying, looking over your shoulder, wondering, doubting, fearing, hurting, hoping for some easy way out… Stop it and just DO” -Sol LeWitt in a letter to Eva Hesse
image from Gwarlingo
“Late one quiet November night in the village of Niaqornat, 300 miles above the Arctic Circle on Greenland’s west coast, the sled dogs began to howl. No one knew for sure, but some of the villagers suspected the dogs had heard the exhalations of narwhals.”
from the article “How Melting Ice Changes One Country’s Way of Life” by Tim Folger, published November 2015 in National Geographic; photo by Cathy Durso