Friday, July 31, 2009

Crown Jewel's secret

After putting up the post about Crown Jewel (below) and really thinking about him, opening my mind to the past and all of it's hidden meanings, something came to me tonight. Something important. Something so quiet that I couldn't hear it, so wispy that I couldn't see it. But now I do.

Threads. Tangled ones, looped and twined in chaos. The ends are hidden, the middle is messy, no where to start, no where to end. You see only parts of the whole. Pull here, and it tugs there, Pull there, and it tightens here. The past is like that.

Maureen, and Laurilyn, were the people who inspired me to start in ceramics. Maureen didn't talk much, she just... did. She gave you ten words, but a book full of gestures, movements, knowledge. Only if you listened with more than your ears. You had to listen with your heart, and your hands, and your head. You had to *observe* what she did. She couldn't explain it... she *was* it.

What I finally understood tonight is that she isn't finished teaching me. I had to get far enough, so that I could hear what else she had to say. I had to learn fifteen year's worth of ceramics, to catch up to the lessons that she left behind. That last lesson has been sitting in my case, quietly, like an unopened book. I didn't see the book before, couldn't read it, only looked at the cover and moved away. Now, it's time to wipe off the dust, open to the first chapter, and read that book.

I won't sell Crown Jewel, not until he teaches me what Maureen wanted me to learn. Not until I can paint like she did. Not until I have teased the messy threads, found the ends, untangled the knots, pulled them straight and made them right again. After all these years, I look at Crown Jewel and I don't know how she made him look so real. I have a few guesses, a glimpse here and there, an idea to try... but until I can duplicate his finish at will, until I can make a horse as glorious as he is, then I haven't learned all that she had to teach. That is the piece of the puzzle still missing. Maureen did what no one else could do, she did it in her own primitive kiln, without electronic controls or fancy equipment. Just her, the clay, the pigments, and the quiet dust motes dancing in the sun streaming through the window pane.


Anonymous said...

Joan, this is so beautiful, and by putting your words down here, you have slightly untwisted a thread of the unknown and unsaid for me, with regard to my own artwork and the masters who I most admire.

Joanie said...

Isn't it strange, how something will come together and you can see a little clearer?

I hope that your journey is fruitful.