Friday, April 6, 2012

Inspiration and Pale Pink Roses

My mind has been criss-crossing between what was, what is and what will be.

The story Annemiek has so wonderfully responded to is now so far in my subconscious past that I have almost forgotten it. So I turn to Annemiek’s images to be re-reminded of my own words.

In Annemiek’s picture I see pink, not red, and maybe there’s a connection here between the story I am ‘growing’ into a novella which started with an image from one of her bowls.

The image I had in my head was one of a pale pink rose. And here, I’ve paused in writing this blog to go check the bowl because suddenly I'm not sure if I had re-imagined it.

The bowl has a title: Art Story Bowl Romantic Mouse with a Red Rose.

And I discover that, actually, the colour is red, not pink. And this, I think, is the crux of the matter.

The transference of images, the passing of thoughts, and most of all, the taking up of inspiration.

This is the joy which comes with artists trusting each other and opening their creations out and up for further interpretation.

And so, what remains are images of curtains and tulips. What remains are possibilities. Of love. Of spring. Of hope.

This is something that I try and capture in my story. Here is the opening few lines:

On Thursday 11th March 1976, a bouquet of roses in soft pinks arrived at a hotel on the Dublin-Galway road. And with it, on a high-quality cream envelope, Mabel was written neatly in black, underlined three times.

I'll return to this story now, knowing that the original inspiration came from a red rose, not a pale pink tulip, and that the-image-to-the-word ensures that the words become just what they need to be and nothing more.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Billowing curtains

Reading Shauna's story "Possessions" was inspiring and difficult at the same time, 
as you can read in my previous post.
It took a while before the ideas started too take shape. 

But in the end they came, the billowing curtain and the glimpse of hope freedom, 
were the elements finally captured in porcelain.

A dove of freedom escaping from the curtained room.

But I had to add some light too, behind the curtain, 
hard to capture in a picture, in real it's more subtle.

Red felt right, not sure why tough

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Loaded gun

30 Oct 2011: Here we are a year later or so and I facing another challenge. I do like the interaction and am amazed by the effect my bowls and Shauna's stories have on both our creative lifes. I've been reading and rereading Shauna's story "possessions" of which you could catch glimpses in earlier posts.

I will honestly say I read fantasy and history novels most of the time and Shauna's writing is different, realistic, not avoiding the hard facts of this world. There in lies the challenge to connect that world with my porcelain world, which is fragile, cute and happy.

In the first line of "Possessions" Shauna mentioned a loaded gun and I feel the pressure of this gun by now, for months I've let the story brood, but nothing will come to mind..... So I picked the story up again today and reread it again.

And I can find some happiness in there too. Is it too easy to take this glimmer of happiness, of a world the main character tries to escape too in his mind, and turn this into a bowl?

There is hope in there too, how to express hope in a story bowl.There's some vivid description in the story too, about radiating sunlight light, blinds and 50 denier flesh coloured tights.

There's so much in there, why is there no bowl coming from my hands, my mind, the porcelain, well wherever it has to come from....

4 Jan 2012: over 2 months later, about time I should at least publish this post. And no there's still no bowl, it as so easy to let it be with my daytime job as busy as it is since November, hunting for new a new house and the busy Christmas period for the creative side of my business. The days slip by, the nights too. But now I'm awake, too much on my mind, knowing I will still be stuck for time to concentrate on this wonderful project and I feel bad about it. Can I set a date in my diary somewhere in the next 2 weeks and force myself to create the long awaited bowl that day. Don' think it will work that way, but I can take that time to concentrate on this project and hope the inspiration will follow soon.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Flux and Flow of Objects and Thoughts

I am thinking a lot about the cover of my forthcoming composite novel Happiness Comes from Nowhere. And as I’ve been thinking, images of Annemiek’s bowls started springing to mind. I passed by a shop full of fabric the other day and again, I thought of the bowls.

What was it that I was specifically thinking about? It was all about movement. Yes, the bowls are static in themselves .... Or at least when they are finally created they are static, but during the process of creation, they are dynamic, in flow, in flux even. And also – and here is where it links in for me with the cover of my book-to-be – when they are “produced” they return to some sort of flux.

It’s the equivalent of the writer/reader relationship that theorists like Roland Barthes talked about. In the selling of the bowls and the transference of ownership something new is created – many multiples movement and of newness – which is captured most wonderfully by Annemiek’s image of butterflies.

It is nearing autumn again and even if Annemiek can’t make a trip to Ireland I will take a walk in the Botanic Gardens and write a little piece or two...

...and start a new challenge of flux and creation.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Where we started out....Lucky Horseshoe & Storybowl

I'm taken by differences in the use of bright colour and imagery (lots of light) now and from where we started out. We started last autumn, when the sky was (marginally!) greyer, thoughts were moving towards winter......

This is where we started:

Lucky Horseshoe by Shauna Busto Gilligan

Her husband, after months of procrastination about whether it would be unlucky or not, finally fixed the silver horseshoe to the front of the car, just above the grill, just below the registration plate.

“Look,” he said to her, pride shining in his smile. “Look how it glows.”

And she nodded, watching how his head cocked to the left, ever so slightly and aware suddenly that he had a look of a magpie about him as he observed her. She smiled, then, pausing.

“You’ve polished it nicely,” she said.

He hugged her, his arms lingering, like he knew how much effort it had taken for her to speak.

“Are you taking it for a drive?” she asked, mimicking him with a turn of her head, looking at the way the metallic paint shone in the sun. The car was slim and long and sliver. His hair matched and his wiry frame made him look like he had come as an upgraded accessory with the car.

“Coming?” he asked in reply. “I’ll just go up the road a bit, see if I can catch any pheasants.”

“You’re alright,” she said, her heart beginning to pound. He had been right not to use the horseshoe until now, she realised, it would do nothing but undo all his good luck. “I’ll get going on the dinner, then.”

“Okay.” He paused, half-in, half-out of the silver beast. “I do love you, you, know.”

“And I love you.”

She turned away and walked into the tall house. She would cope with whatever the horseshoe brought. It would be okay. She paused, thinking she would create her own luck in her own time, before climbing the steep steps to her favourite wooden chair, old and square. She would sit a while, and look out the window at the roads winding, squashed between the hedgerows, greenness splashed everywhere. Perhaps, she thought, she might even spot the fleck of silver in the distance as the land swallowed it whole.


That was the story Annemiek responded to with the story bowl (below). The car in the story was silver but what most struck Annemiek was the image of the winding roads in the distance.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Butterfly and The Circus

Here I am, at my first ever circus. There are many reasons, too numerous to list, why it’s my first at nearly 40 years of age. Between moral objections and no desire whatsoever ...

But I’m not in 1980s Dublin, like the book I’m reading You by Nuala Ní Chonchuír, I’m here in Northern Spain, where there’s been three days of rain and everything is green, nearly as green as Ireland.

But today the sun is blazing.


There’s been talk, this last week, of the circus coming to town. Except this is a village which has swelled with tourists and returned emigrants to a the size of a small town. Everyone is going, including the village gossips. Tickets are 5 euro for kids and 10 for adults. Bargain, I am told, repeatedly. Our tickets are laminated cards which say "5" or "10" in the centre of a red circle, like the one inside the tent.

It’s a French circus, I believe judging by the number of French flags flying – flags about one and a half times larger than the Spanish. And it’s tiny, a round red tent which makes me feel like I’m in some strange Italian film out of the ‘50s.

And I’m sitting like a man, legs sprawled, listening to Amy Winehouse (God Rest Her Soul) on a wooden bench barely big enough for my 7 year old who sits in front of me, her first ever circus, too.

There’s a girl in a midnight blue glittering costume selling plastic transparent sticks filled with more glitter, sand and some sort of flashing light. I watch her lips move to Winehouse’s “Rebhab” and think she can’t be more than ten at the very most.

They’re selling popcorn from a pretty old looking machine, a circle of lollipops chocolate coconuts minerals and water. The popcorn is particularly attractive to this mixed crowd which includes babies in their Sunday best and the village gossip, a tiny woman with particularly beady eyes, seated proudly centre stage.

First on comes the lovely Alice (pronounced A-leese) on a tightrope. She makes an appearance later in a gold lame bikini on a circular contraption which comes down from the ceiling.

Along with the lovely Alice there is Pepino the clown, a boy of about 11 who dances to benny hill music. There is an anouncement that the girl who keeps about 20 different coloured hoola hoops in motion is only 8 years of age and I recognise her as the girl who sang along to Amy Whinehouse songs.

There are various small animals: goats, ponies and then snakes. Three different snakes and when the compare announces that we can touch them there is near hysteria because everyone wants to touch them.

“Toca, no pasa nada,” the comper repeats over and over. Touch, nothing will happen.

It is the idea of touch, touching the cold animal that reminds me of the butterflies Annemiek created.

Most of the holidays were spent chasing them – mainly white ones – across sloping grasses which led to the sand.

“Mariposa,” the children shouted. Butterfly!

And I watch them ahead of me, thinking of the butterflies of the bowl, in their absence free, free, free.

And I decide that no matter how many people from the village are going to the circus, no matter how much my children beg, beg, beg me to bring them, that next time the part of the wooden benches where we sat will be vacant.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

First bowl finished

Finally, finally here the pictures of the finished bowl.

I'll be making more butterflies for sure, as I like to idea Shauna mentioned of stringing them to hang from the cycling or so. Much like my stars, could be another project for my yearly ceramic week in France.....