Thursday, February 28, 2013


An om that I made for my yoga teacher training program with Rolf Gates, Adobe Photoshop.
    In less than 4 weeks I will graduate from my year long, 200 hour yoga teacher training program with Rolf Gates.  It has been a transformative class with thought provoking lectures, a wonderful reading list, and a great local yoga community.  The om I created will be for our class graduation t-shirt.  It is composed of some of the most significant phrases from our class.  To the 40 of us students, it calls to mind many important principles of teaching yoga, perhaps most important, that, "We want our students to be successful."  It is a beautiful goal to enter a classroom with.  I believe that by incorporating these details from the class on our shirt, that it will help us retain the things that we want to embody most as yoga instructors.  Rolf speaks often about finding skillful ways to move in a yoga practice, and to be as a teacher and in life.  I hope I have achieved that in creating a shirt that is both aesthetically pleasing, and mentally/spiritually significant.
     My favorite quote from Rolf is the following:

“We show up, burn brightly, live passionately, hold nothing back, and when the moment is over, when our work is done, we step back and let go.” -Rolf Gates 

         I think that this is a beautiful way to complete my posts for the month of February.  It is about love for others, and love for the self.  When we practice, we often begin or close with a meta meditation, expressing love for all beings.  

"May all beings be safe, may all beings be happy, may all beings be healthy, may all beings be free." -a meta meditation

          Namaste (the light and best in me honors the light and best in each of you), Heidi

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

"Free to Love"

"Free to Love," 6x7"  Drawing with thread, based on a Meissen porcelain figurine.

"Free to Love," 5x7" Framed.  Drawing with thread, based on a Meissen porcelain figurine.

The origional Meissen porcelain figurine that inspired my drawing

    So, I flipped the image from the original because I wanted the bird to be in the woman's dominant hand. (assuming she's right handed of course, sorry lefties!)It seemed a little dark otherwise, the woman with a bird, the man waiting to trap both in a cage...? A bit of googling led me to believe that the birdcage was most often used as a symbol of marital fidelity.  Irregardless of the past, I think it is a very rich subject: Commitment could potentially feel like a cage, you are free to do as you please until saying, 'I do,' after-which you can no longer change your mind.  Also, it brings to mind the dilemma of who to love and why- pre-arranged marriage anyone? Even today, we have a long list of priorities in the people we love: beauty, humor, money, chemistry, character, shared politics, hobbies, lifestyle, mental & physical health.  Sometimes we love in spite of those qualities! Why do we fall in love with people who are wrong for us?  Perhaps love itself is a cage that traps us with someone that if we could think straight we would avoid!  This brings me to my most recent quote from Proust, as I have begun the 4th volume, 'Sodom and Gomorrah'
"Like everybody who is not in love, he imagined that one chose the person whom one loved after endless deliberations, and on the strength of various qualities and advantages."  -Proust (SG)
   I'm sorry to say that I have heard of some marriages that were chosen 'on the strength of various qualities and advantages'- the marriages did not last.  It is almost funny to read when written in that way, the narrator is imagining this thinking in his friend Saint-Loup.  We already know that another character fell in love with, and married, 'someone he wasn't even attracted to!'  Love is a funny thing, and therefor of seeming endless potential in art.  I will promise too, that I will post images of some of the love-themed art I made in college.  I just need to photograph it well...
    I think though, that we do not choose any of the people whom we love the most.  My parents, my brother, my family- I adore them.  I might not have met them otherwise, and might not have taken the time to really know them, forgive them their faults, uncover their truest qualities.  I don't necessarily love my mother because of her personality.  Right?  I must, in the end, love her because she is my mother, by coincidence.  (I did hit the jackpot as far as Mom's go though, just say'in)  My point is, I did not choose my family, and yet I love them.  Maybe, my unborn soul knew them and chose them- who's to say?  But, it was not a conscious choice that I am aware of.  Why then, should it be any surprise at all, that the friends and lovers we encounter are not consciously, deliberately, purposefully, chosen either?  Maybe it really is just about the way they smell & if their immune system is compatible with ours? (Oh you know I'll be researching images for that concept soon...)
    Maybe, our hearts are wiser than our heads.  I am in a yoga teacher training program now with Rolf Gates, and sometimes at the end of our practice he will say the following, "Bring your hands, palms together to your third eye (the space between your eyebrows), and experience a mind that has remembered the way.  Now, bring your hands to your heart, and experience a heart that is the way."  Also, even though I've posted it before, my favorite quote from my favorite book: "It is only with the heart one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye." -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.  The image of the bird outside of its cage, choosing to stay with the lovers, calls to my mind more than anything else, exactly that.  It can go anywhere, do anything, and it is choosing to be with two people who are in love. (Two people who I've decided are similar, but not wearing matching outfits- they're a little bit different from each other too!) Above escaping to freedom, hanging out with other birds, eating yummy worms instead of seeds- above doing the logical thing, the bird chooses love.  (oh, if you've read The Little Prince, you'll guess it: The bird has been tamed...)

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“…if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world…if you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life. I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others. Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground. Yours will call me, like music, out of my burrow”

― Antoine de Saint-ExupéryThe Little Prince  

       I am pleased to share that if I possibly have any internet fans who don't know me yet, you can see my art in person, in two locations!!!  "Free to Love," and "Lyon, France: Birthplace of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry" (posted here on 1/28)will be on display at the Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago's show, "What Those Who Teach Can Do," with the reception on March 14th. (I am a HS art teacher...)  
  Also, I received a merit award this month for my submission to the Monthly show at my local art league, woot!
Currently on display at the Naperville Art League

Saturday, February 16, 2013

hot from the kiln

Porcelain candlestick holders.  10-12 inches tall.  Thrown on the potters wheel and assembled in sections, each piece is completely different from the next, while still maintaining a sense of unity in the set.

The colors and forms were so beautiful that I had a little fun on Instagram.

And, there is a matching stoneware set in green.


I have finally made some more stoneware birds, these we made with lace.

These are a totally new idea, I made the textures with some glass items I found while thrift shopping over winter break.  I'm very excited that they turned out so well and differently from the lace and buttons that I have been using.

An Instagram bird conversation!
 As I continue to read, "Remembrance of Things Past," I have found another beautiful mention of an artist.  

"Today people of taste tell us that Renoir is a great eighteenth-century painter.  But when they say this they forget Time, and that it took a great deal of time, even in the middle of the nineteenth century for Renoir to be hailed as a great artist.  To gain this sort of recognition, an original painter or an original writer follows the path of the occultist. His painting for his pros acts upon us like a course of treatment that is not always agreeable. When it is over, the practitioner says to us, "Now look." And at this point the world (which was not created once and for all, but as often as an original artist is born) appears utterly different from the one we knew, but perfectly clear.  Women pass in the street, different from those we used to see, because they are Renoirs, the same Renoirs we once refused to see as women.  The carriages are also Renoirs, and the water, and the sky: we want to go for a walk in a forest like the one that, when we first saw it, was anything but a forest- more like a tapestry, for instance, with innumerable shades of color but lacking precisely the colors appropriate to forests. Such is the new and perishable universe that has just been created.  It will last until the next geological catastrophe unleashed by a new painter or writer with an original view of the world."  ~Proust (GW, Part II)
   After having experienced a work of art, the rest of the world does not look the same.  It is forever connected to the way the art has changed your view.
   I feel that this passage connects a bit with my candlestick holders.  To some, they may appear lopsided, the glaze has cracked, they are not all the same height.  To me, those are the very qualities that make them beautiful.
"Wabi-sabi is the quintessential Japanese aesthetic. It is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It is a beauty of things modest and humble. It is a beauty of things unconventional...
It is also two separate words, with related but different meanings. "Wabi" is the kind of perfect beauty that is seemingly-paradoxically caused by just the right kind of imperfection, such as an asymmetry in a ceramic bowl which reflects the handmade craftsmanship, as opposed to another bowl which is perfect, but soul-less and machine-made.
"Sabi" is the kind of beauty that can come only with age, such as the patina on a very old bronze statue."  From   
  In short, what I learned in my Asian art history survey while at SAIC, is that Wabi is a 'perfect imperfection,' a 'beautiful mistake.' Since learning about this aesthetic in college, I have seen the world through a new lens.  It cannot be removed.  Why should I (the artist) make something that I (the thrifty shopper) could buy machine made from Target?  I wouldn't.  The trace of the artist's hand, for me, is essential.  Believe me too, striving for a perfect accident is not so easy!  They are forever falling over, cracking, coming apart.  In fact, since I took these photos yesterday, the two tallest white candlestick holders have cracked at the base.  I believe, due to the clear crackle glaze that I like so much.  As the french say, "C'est la vie."  No medium is so fickle as pottery, and yet that causes it to be one of the most rewarding for me when it turns out well.
10x8"  My new garbage can!  Not for sale, I'm keeping it.  I never knew a garbage can could cheer my day as much as this one does.  Of course, I intend to make a few more, and then I'll share :)

Sunday, February 10, 2013


Yesterday I was at my first ever baby shower for a friend (rather than a family member).  It was so exciting to prepare to welcome the little one into the world, and I did so with a drawing.  The theme for the baby's room will be elephants, which I think was symbolically and otherwise, an excellent choice!  The yogi in me immediately thinks of Ganesh, 'the great destroyer and remover of obstacles.'  Indeed, their current life and love will soon change into something different!  I'm sure into something wonderful.  Elephants are also very auspicious, especially with their trunk up.  

5x7" pen and watercolor on yupo.

The personalized version for my friend Kristi. The words are written on plastic, so she can write the real baby info on a different sheet of plastic when he arrives!
In other news, I've been working with clay a great deal recently, nothing has been glazed yet- so no photos at the moment.  I finished reading Volume 1, Remembrance of Things Past in a week; it was completely wonderful.  Many more quotes, and works of related art are sure to follow.  Finally, I have begun another drawing with thread!
“There is no man,” he began, “however wise, who has not at some period of his youth said things, or lived a life, the memory of which is so unpleasant to him that he would gladly expunge it. And yet he ought not entirely to regret it, because he cannot be certain that he has indeed become a wise man—so far as it is possible for any of us to be wise—unless he has passed through all the fatuous or unwholesome incarnations by which that ultimate stage must be preceded. I know that there are young people, the sons and grandsons of distinguished men, whose masters have instilled into them nobility of mind and moral refinement from their schooldays. They may perhaps have nothing to retract from their past lives; they could publish a signed account of everything they have ever said or done; but they are poor creatures, feeble descendants of doctrines, and their wisdom is negative and sterile. We do not receive wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness which no one else can make for us, which no one can spare us, for our wisdom is the point of view from which we come at last to regard the world. The lives that you admire, the attitudes that seem noble to you, have not been shaped by a paterfamilias or a schoolmaster, they have sprung from very different beginnings, having been influenced by everything evil or commonplace that prevailed round about them. They represent a struggle and a victory.  I can see that the picture of what we were at an earlier stage may not be recognisable and cannot, certainly be pleasing to contemplate in later life.  But we must not repudiate it, for it is proof that we have really lived, that it is in accordance with the laws of life and of the mind that we have, from the common elements of life, of the life of studios, of artistic groups- assuming one is a painter- extracted something that transcends them."  ~The artist Elister, from Marcel Proust (page 923)

Friday, February 1, 2013


The month of love has arrived, and with it, a new work of love themed art.  This piece is a drawing made with thread.  It was inspired by a Meissen porcelain figurine of a pastoral scene.  

5x7"  "The Path to Love"
This is a series of drawings with thread that I made 2 years ago:

8x10" "Growth #3"

8x10" "Growth #4"

8x10" "Growth #1"

8x10" "Growth #2"
In closing, I have begun reading Proust now, and I've found the first 100 pages or so, remarkably beautiful.  

"But when from a long-distant past nothing subsists, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered, taste and smell alone, more fragile but more enduring, more insubstantial, more persistent, more faithful, remain poised a long time, like souls, remembering, waiting, hoping, amid the ruins of all the rest; and bear unflinchingly, in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of the essence, the vast structure of recollection." (p 51)

I like to imagine that the lovers I've drawn will have a new experience of grapes from this day forward...