words behind the work
Guess what? Two things can be true. I am making vessels and working with clay and building relationships and learning new firing techniques and creating my own firing techniques and I am going for hikes and cold swims and spending Saturday’s around town with new friends and trying restaurants and enjoying myself.
But here’s the thing, I ultimately came here to work. This residency is not a vacation. It is an exercise in shifting my internal landscape and my relationship to my work. My days are (happily) consumed by clay. Clay, eating, and sleeping. Except for on the weekends, because I am not a machine.
Why haven’t you seen any vessels/work then? Because I don’t share vessels/work until they are done. I am protective over the making process, the time of communion between me and the Spirit World, the intimacies between the clay and the kiln (gods). None of that is for public consumption or engagement until after the fact, until whenever my Ancestors whisper to me, “It’s okay to share now.”
This is not to say I don’t document those moments. I do. But, they are for me until it is time for them to become for you.
Work is happening though, much is becoming clear and I am excited to let you into the worlds I am building when Spirit tells me the time is right for access points to open.
So, in lieu of sharing actual vessels today, I thought I’d begin a new edition in this space called “words behind the work.” To know me is to know I do a lot of research, a lot of reading, a lot of referencing because none of us are ever really doing anything new here. We are all continuations. My work is a continuation. Your work is a continuation. What a joy it is to be connected to those who came before, those who are here right now, and those who have yet to make it to this side.
I’ve set enough of the scene, here you go…
Words Behind the Work: Edition 1
“In the village the ability to birth art is a sign of approval by the Spirit World.”
- Malidoma Patrice Somé, The Healing Wisdom of Africa: Finding Life Purpose Through Nature, Ritual, and Community1
“Living close to nature, black folks were able to cultivate a spirit of wonder and reverence for life. Growing food to sustain life and flowers to please the soul, they were able to make a connection with the earth that was ongoing and life affirming. They were witnesses to beauty.” - bell hooks, Touching the Earth2
“Recalling the legacy of our ancestors who knew that the way we regard land and nature will determine the level of our self-regard, black people must reclaim a spiritual legacy where we connect our well-being to the well-being of the earth. This is a necessary dimension of healing. As Wendell Berry reminds us, "Only by restoring the broken connections can we be healed."
Collective black self-recovery takes place when we begin to renew our relationship to the earth, when we remember the way of our ancestors. When the earth is sacred to us, our bodies can also be sacred to us.” - bell hooks, Touching the Earth
“Ecomemory refers to the collective and individual memory of the earth and relationship to and with the earth…
In many cases, ecomemory is passed down through different generations and considered a part of family and communal legacy and intellectual heritage.”
- Melanie L. Harris, Ecowomanism: African American Women and Earth-Honoring Faiths3
“Memory (the deliberate act of remembering) is a form of willed creation. It is not an effort to find out the way it really was - that is research. The point is to dwell on the way that it appeared and why it appeared in that particular way.”
- Toni Morrison, The Source of Self-Regard4
“More often than not, the artist is not observed while at work. When busy, he or she is occupied by Spirit. No one should disturb a person who is consulting with Spirit, or he may attract the Spirit’s wrath.”
- Malidoma Patrice Somé, The Healing Wisdom of Africa: Finding Life Purpose Through Nature, Ritual, and Community
In March and May, I will be teaching my workshop Applications for Artists: How to Apply to Artist Residencies, Fellowships, Grants, and Other Opportunities. We’ll write your artist bio, project statement, and develop any other materials you need to successfully hit submit and also receive what you asked for on the other side of your effort.
I will share the sign up page here of course, but fill out the form below if you want to get direct email first dibs.
Other ways to engage with me + my work :
Other ways to support me + my work:
P.S. If you haven’t noticed, I have begun a cadence of emailing you 3 times a month. This is so there is an inherent rest week built into how I show up to this space. Which 3 weeks you hear from me is totally up to my body + schedule + intuition, but I will always send you a Note From A Trip To on Wednesday’s. See you February 21st and be as well as you can be until then.
Somé, M. P. (1998). The Healing Wisdom of Africa: finding life purpose through nature, ritual, and community. http://ci.nii.ac.jp/ncid/BA50079017
hooks, bell. (1996). Touching the Earth. Orion Magazine. Harris,
Harris, M. L. (2017). Ecowomanism: African American Women and Earth-Honoring Faiths. Orbis Books.
Morrison, T. (2019). The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations. Knopf.