Something amazing happened this past Thursday that reminded me why I've chosen to celebrate imperfection and focus on story in my work.
I had begun to feel self conscious of my vessels (like I usually do) that they were not good enough, that my abilities as a potter are no good, that all of the little footed mugs I've been making are worthless and crappy compared to the work that other people are making in the studio. I was trying hard to get work done while all of this was cranking in the back of my head.
Earlier that day I had decided to go to an event I'd seen a poster for; "Sip & Sketch" at a local coffee shop on the Northside of Cincinnati. I was desperate to find people to go with me. A few friends weren't available, so I asked around at the studio a little bit, also not available. "Ok," I thought, "Well, rejection sucks, but I've at least I got one friend who is gonna show up, so I'm gonna go any way and see who I meet."
I was expecting a crowded coffee shop filled with artists sketching lots of awesome things in multiple types of media all while sipping coffee that was more than likely spiked and listening to some great live hipster band. Nope. What I found was shockingly more beautiful and profound.
I walked in (late) to see my one friend (who had to leave early) sitting and sketching with two other young women, one of which had downs syndrome. I hate to say it, but honestly I was a little shocked and caught off guard. I gave a warm hello to my friend and she introduced me to Kelley* and Abagail*, then I ran back to get a drink. By the time I got back to the table my friend had to leave, and I was able to focus all my attention on getting to know these two lovely women. Kelley explained that she and Abagail have been getting together and sketching at coffee shops and art supply stores once a month for a about a year. Kelley and I talked a lot about our own art work, where we went to art school, what kind of work we are making now...but what I really loved was getting to talk with Abagail and watch her be excited to show me all of her drawings.
Each drawing told a story, and many of them were pictures she drew of past memories. My favorite was one she drew of Christmas morning with her family opening presents by the fireplace. I was mesmerized by that drawing and all of the tender beauty it held with all of the people