I made five more pendants last night. My kiln says I'm firing too long, but I'm not sure what part of it is too long. My sequence comes from my classes, and I know what heat I have to fire to…well, this is why fire logs are good things to keep. I am enjoying making the small pendants a lot. I'll probably just start stacking them cold over a week and then put them all in in a batch once I get a rhythm down. This week I have now made seven of them in total.
When I sit in my studio, with the concrete floor and harsh lighting overhead, I feel so lucky. It may still need a warming touch, a rug where the work desk is, better lights and more color on the walls (you KNOW I had put put one of my super huge Duran Duran posters in there, baby!) but it's my space to create in. It's more than I wished for when we went househunting. A small spare laundry room, a corner in my office, a makeshift workbench in the garage…but never a studio of my own, with electricity and dedicated circuits, a seperate door and a window.
I am very blessed to be able to sit in there on a weeknight with materials to work with, lights and heat from my small heater, the time to chase my creative pursuits and a husband supporting my interest that takes me into that room for a few hours each weekend day, and a couple hours during the week.
<lj-cut text="I've been doing a huge bit of thinking lately">
The world has me down a little bit right now. It's not the election, exactly, but a larger discomfort with the way the world is moving. Everyone looking out for themselves, short sightedness looming everywhere as people hoard for themselves, become more and more obsessed with gaining more wealth, the gap between the rich and poor ever widening in the U.S. I am happy Asia is growing, but fear the strain on resources that we already rely on too much, and hope that a shortage or crisis will raise prices enough that alternatives are actively sought. And at the same time, I fear for America short selling itself. You can shop at Walmart all you want, I never will. Walmart is more responsible for job outsourcing than anything else in this country, and our manufacturers are suffering for it. I don't want all my labels to say "Made in China." I want a mix, with the USA mixed in with Spain, Poland, England and Japan. I worry that so few think about these things before they buy, going for the cheap price before the thought of the impact, without attempts to balance. I wrote in a cooking community last night that maybe instead of buying pre-chopped, pre-frozen cubes of herbs in plastic containers, that one could grow or at least buy and chop their own, using less plastic, freezing in reusable ice cube trays, not promoting more packaging that takes up more space and therefore more trucks and oil to move the same amount of edible product. I was polite and non-preachy. The response from the poster was. "I'm about convenience and speed and ease of use, I don't really care about the rest of 'that stuff.'"
I felt very helpless then, with so much of this me, me, me, where is there room in the world for the world, for bettering everyone without such a cost the world for the focused gain of an individual?
My answer to that post was, after talking to a friend who helped me come to grips with my helpless feelings, "That's ok. I do care and do try to live in the world as best I can in a way that makes me happy. I just put out this information for others to think about and act on if they choose."
What my friend told me was a buddhist thought, that you can only plant the seeds, and let go of the outcome. This thought was such a relief it made me sniffle as I chatted with her.
I looked into buddhism awhile ago, trying to find a way to deal with the rush around me to earn, earn, get rich, get rich. I don't like it and I do feed into it, introspection makes me think part of my obsession with having money, saving money, improving my stash of money is indeed a link to this particularly US notion of all for one, one for one. I read the basic rules, and the second or third was "no drinking."
I drink responsibly because I love wine, I love the taste of it and the idea of opening a bottle with friends. "No way," said I. "I guess I can't do this." But my friend last night told me I was being silly, and I am. She gave me some book titles to check out. And I'm going to. Because I am tired of this, and I am tired of being wrapped up in it. I still want to be comfortable, happy, able to pursue the goals that I have for myself. I want to not worry about running out the money I need to do what I just said, be comfortable, happy, and able to pursue the goals I have for myself. That is being rich, not a huge house, or a giant TV or the most stuff. I don't want stuff. I want inner harmony, less stress, less worry, and contentment in what I have, not desire for what I do not have that makes me feel unfinished, or envious.
So I think I am going to pick these books up over the next month or so. I'm going to look at labels more. I'm going to try to buy fewer things, but of greater quality.
For example, we still want two chairs in the living room. I could buy a batch like I did on Overstock.com, for the dining room, at a great price but probably made somewhere else, not very environmentally responsible. I could go to LaZboy and get some chair dipped in chemicals and treatments…or I could do a little research, and find something that I love, and can save for. Yes, it might be a little more, but for the sustainability of it, the "treading lightly" warm fuzzies of it, the quality of it, and the location of manufacturing, <A href="http://www.vivavi.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=184">its worth that extra price to me to me</a>.
This was a long one, thanks for staying with me. Gandhi said to be the change you want in the world. I used to do that more, and I've lost my way. It's time to find myself again, and make the world just a little better because of it. I can plant the seeds, and let go of the outcome for everyone else, that is what I must learn. But I will revel in the outcome that I know will be one that makes me happy in myself.
If anyone has any opinions or ideas on how to help me with this, all are welcomed.