In ceramics this week we had to begin constructing a work that was in some way autobiographical. Monday night was rainy, I feel asleep to the sound of rain hammering down on the porch roof outside my window. As often happens when it is raining I dreamt very vividly that I was back home in England, shopping in town with my Mum. When I woke up Tuesday morning I was very sad to find I was actually still in America. I was feeling pretty despondent and homesick all day. Thursday in class we listened to a creative meditation CD before beginning work and I had a flash of insight and a vision of exactly what I should make. I wanted to make a piece that was about me and Mum.
I grew up in Braintree in Essex. When my sisters and I were little we used to go on walks to the public gardens in Bocking End. It seemed like such a long walk when we were little, and a big adventure. Sometimes we’d take lunch, or stop at the bakers on Rifle Hill (I wish I remembered what it was called – it’s long gone now) and get some kind of goodie, a cream cake or such. We’d be allowed to walk on the wall around the fountain and the church yard wall. It was a great time for us, although now I have had kids of my own I can see it was probably not always so much fun for Mum!
This is an image of the fountain. In the background is the church my parents, my husband and I, and my sister Lisa were married in.
For my piece for ceramics I have decided to commemorate these happy childhood memories. I am going to make a mitten-ed hand holding a horse chestnut. I don’t think children here in Western NY play conkers but it was the biggest autumn playground game for boys and girls when I was young. So needless to say we were always on the look out for the perfect conker so we could be playground champion. I also remember collecting acorns and making them into little people. I am sure we probably picked up all kinds of stuff! My poor Mum!! I didn’t really pick the mitten part of the image consciously it just popped into my mind. Thinking on it I am wondering if it was because my Mum knitted for us? She made such fabulous things and she was such a fast knitter it all seemed so effortless. I remember learning to knit and being surprised how hard it was, Mum made it look so easy!
I don’t really know how much justice I’ll be able to do to the idea. I get nervous when I see a finished work before I begin, there are a great many things that can go wrong on the way to realizing the work. Especially in clay! Oh well I’ll keep you posted on how it all works out.
Enjoy the long weekend. I hope the weather is as perfect where you are as mine is today, bright blue skies, golden maple leaves. I am looking forward to spending some time with both my girls this weekend. And Mum – I love you and I miss you all so much.