Tea Breaks & Clay Days

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We ventured to another time, where people were one with the clay. Entering the classroom was to know that nothing else would exist for seven hours. Just you, your hands and mind wrestling with the clay.

The struggle was real, and it was beautiful.

We made tea when our hands could no longer understand the signals from our weary minds and when the body was too exhausted from spiraling, wedging and throwing the clay.

We’d sit outside on the wooden benches drinking slowly and breathing even slower to try and attempt it once again.

Here we all were, each with a quiet fight all our own.

I grew frustrated.

I cursed at the clay in my mind and thought, ” how do my hands and mind keep missing one another?” Like star crossed lovers never to kiss. So close, yet so far.

And she told us of Japan. Artist in residence for three months, when all she thought every morning as she cast her sheets aside, gazing out to the grey shackled rooftops-“No, I’m not home I’m still in Japan. Way too early to begin to craft something so fragile. So earthly.”

And we all marveled at her stories, and her wisdom. She breathed art, and Arita porcelain and spoke wonders of the ceramist who taught her everything she knew. Now here we all were attempting the very same craft that takes two years to master in Japan. Naively attempting to do it all in just two weeks.

I felt broken each morning.

Not wanting to get up. The silica had taken its toll on my back, hands, fingers and forearms.

“Not again.” I thought. But the beauty in the struggle was too wonderful. I had to beat it. I had to make something. I had to keep creating. Fighting to do at least something. Anything. My hands grew desperate. Only finding solace in her words…

“Art is a process not only a thing.”

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And thats the crux of it isn’t it? As artists in the Western world we are defined by the number of pieces we create. By a finished product.

Yet, here was something so pure, so true, so innocent setting me free.

“Art is a process not only a thing.”

There’s beauty in learning. There’s beauty in the struggle. Growth as artists only happens as you learn new things. Taking different snippets of the various arts there are and mixing them all together to become an entity,  an aura all your own.

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Yes, I was impatient. But I learned not only from the clay but from the many talented colleagues around me. Colleagues that taught me patiently different aspects of creating, so patiently as I was on the verge of tears.

We humbly made tea for one another, and fed one another.  Each afternoon we’d all take a break and listen to each others stories and our instructors oracles of Japan. Of the grey roof tops, the beauty of community, China on the Park and breakdowns at Narita airport.

We sipped our tea, immersed in the clay on our shoes. Growing more as artists-if I dare call myself one-and cheering one another on, even when our pieces were warping into other worldly things.

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My hands will not be the same after this class, my muscles, my creative process, my mind.

There’s an honesty, an immersion that happens when you all are in one same creative spirit.

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Go out and DO. Do something that you wouldn’t typically do. Because its only stagnant things that die. I may be far from pleased with my finished pieces, but this time it wasn’t about the outcome it was about the process.

 

All my love,

-Diana Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

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Faith like Airplanes

 

 

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I always imagined the Christian faith  a lot like riding on a plane. There is no “visible” contact with the pilot but we know he is there. We walk into planes hoping and praying that it is a smooth flight with little or no turbulence. But as we strap in those seat belts our hearts are going a million miles and hour. The flight takes off and the turbulence begins and we either a) hold in our meal or b) we find our lunch contents rising up and before we know it….

I believe it is this way with our  lives and our stories. We get invited by God to step into all that he has for us, and in the midst of all this we can always do two things trust or fear. And this is the way that it has been. Being here has been one of the hardest and if not hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I’ve had to trust that He, God the Pilot is in control even when I am bouncing all around in my seat, and when I cannot see what He is up to.

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This season, has really dealt me some hard cards and the assent unto the mountain top is excruciatingly painful; but then something beautiful takes place in the midst of all the chaos, questions and uncertainty I feel mountains begin to melt underneath my feet. Not because of anything that I have done, but because God’s strength is finally melting them. No striving, no self exertion or pressure simply Jesus. My lungs are slowly enlarging, and my muscles are stretching.

These mountains serve a purpose, they build and edify us. Giving us a chance to fight and test our strength against the greatest restraints; and like any professional mountain climber knows, the journey leaves you winded but the view from the top leaves you breathless…

About a week ago, I got a chance to go to Presence conference here in Sydney and I can honestly say that those four days forever changed my life… God reveled so many things to me and he allowed me to breathe and believe that things somehow will get better. That at the end of this LONG, wearisome journey something beautiful awaits. Its hard to believe it at times because I feel so stuck and helpless… I see how short I fall and it drains me… I see of the things God gives us the honor to carry yet something so rooted in us entangles us and tells us we are unworthy or not good enough to carry those gifts.

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I honestly do not know how much more God wants me to learn in this season. This season that physically is turning into fall and vastly approaches the winter. When leafs fall off of trees and we say goodbye to the last lot of summer flowers; and in this season that spiritually feels like everything is dead and in vain. When it feels like I am trudging through negative degree weather to try and make it home.

I’m learning that no matter what the next season of my life looks like as one year closes in Australia to the one ahead I just know deep in my Spirit that something so good is awaiting. I am believing that I’ll get to take that trip, that I’ll get to witness another world yet not born in me and around me. There is so much beauty waiting to emerge  from ashes… somewhere in the midst of all the things we are facing are good things happening to the body of Christ the bride. Off somewhere in the distance are babies being born, weddings taking place, people finally going home to meet Jesus, souls being won, sickness leaving, and dead rising. There are greater things happening in us and around us greater and better than we could ever know. And like the word says when one part rejoices we should all rejoice…

I may have more questions than answers but I know somewhere deep down in my being, even in the days that all I can do is cry; that there is a God out there who believes in me and who has nothing but amazing things planned for me, for US.

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So together friends lets have faith, that the Pilot no matter what we are facing is taking care of us, that once we make that landing we will be embraced not only by those who love us but by Him whom loved us first, and whom safely set us down upon the rock.

 

Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.
John Lubbock