I have a hard and fast rule about not letting myself complain on this blog- its purpose is exploring my thoughts about pottery, creativity, and to document how my pottery progresses over time. This week, however, I found that I didn't get in to a juried show that I'd participated in for the past five years. The rejection stung. I wondered if I wasn't accepted because of the change in format from slides to digital images, but after contacting the person who organized the jury pool in hopes of feedback, I realized that I just won't ever find out why, and why doesn't really matter in the end. One door closes, another opens. I am looking for those other doors that may open and reaching for some shows that I'd previously considered out of my league.
This teacup was part of a set I made this summer as a thank-you gift for my son's first preschool teachers. Each cup had a different fern, ginkgo, or japanese maple leaf. I call this design of a single hazle-green leaf floating on a white background my "delta zen" series, and I've been making them since 2001. When I was in graduate school I wrote a paper on Mississippi Abstract Expressionist Dusti Bonge (of Biloxi). During the course of the research I went down to visit her studio three or four times, to look at her work,read through her papers, and play with her ideas*. She was very influenced by eastern thought and the idea of "zen space**," which drew me (I was not yet a potter) to examine the role of negative space in art. I am certain Buddhist scholars would scoff at my interpretation of Zen in my pottery, but I am an Episcopalian who is almost entirely unable to "let go," so I wouldn't make a good Buddhist at all. These pieces feel calming to me, so I'm going to persist in my calling them zen.
*At the time, I painted, and inspired by her materials, I began covering my canvases with Joss paper, purchased at Vietnamese groceries, before roughing out my compositions. I no longer paint, but I did wallpaper my small hallway with hundreds of squares of Joss paper.
**I may be closer aligned to writer and designer Alexandra Stoddard's ideas of Zen than the true Eastern ideals.