Ash Glaze Wood Fired Urn

Ash Glaze Wood Fired Urn Ash Glaze Wood Fired Urn Ash Glaze Wood Fired Urn

Ash Glaze Wood Fired Urn

 

This is one of my greatest creations.  It is a stoneware body fired to cone 10-11 for about 12 hours under very heavy reduction. It took two separate firings to achieve this look. The glaze is a natural byproduct of the ashe from the pine we burned.  The inside has a translucent glaze filled with ash specs. Myself and Ben Owen III from  Seagrove, NC built a catenary arch wood fired kiln in college together.  That was definitely one of the highlights of my life. We fired the kiln very often, filled with mostly our own pottery. Ben is a famous potter coming from a very long family history of potters. We had studio space beside each other at the East Carolina University School of Art and Design. That was many years ago. I am working towards being able to do this again someday soon.

 

Most Beautiful Woman

The most beautiful woman in the world is not the one with a sash or crown.
She is not the one with a perfect body or the nicest cloths.
She is not the most popular or even the most graceful.
She is the woman you love and the one who loves you for who you are.

Sleep

She purrs each gentle breath slowly between the softening touch of madness and the warm night of whispers on her tongue. Cries of ecstasy echo behind the veil of secrets. Her wings set at ease. She sleeps in the peace of comforts arm. 

Changing it all…

I have spent my life changing. Trying to change. Trying to improve myself. Working towards a better me. There was a time in my life I did not care. That is no longer me. I admit I am far from perfect. I procrastinate like a pro. I fall back into self destructive patterns as fast as the wind changes direction. I cuss like a sailor. The list goes on. Basically I am my own worst enemy. My fear to live a life better than I am now is fueled by self doubt. Yeah me. I am not the pinnacle of self-confidence I pretend to be. Funny how several people have noted how confident I am upon meeting the for the first time.

I am an INCREDIBLE actress. When it suits me.

But oh how I fall. I have been working for months now with a therapist and self evaluation to try and get past these last seemingly insurmountable hurdles. The irony being all that I have changed about who I am and my life over the last 3 years. You can change or fix just about anything with surgery these days. You can change your entire wardrobe. You can change careers. You can change your hair color, cut and style. You can change jobs and latitudes. You can change your mood with a little help from a friend. And yes you can even change your sex apparently. We are a world fast becoming a planet of designer humans.

But there are two things you cannot change. Your past and your mind. I hear the sound of squealing breaks of disagreement on that last one. I say that out of experience really. So hear me out. We can change the way we feel about a great many things. Education and enlightenment play a big role there. We can OVERCOME, contain or control a great many things in our heads. Just having an open mind and a willingness to change are pivotal in ones ability to modify your thoughts and feelings.

I am struggling. Struggling to change that last bit of me I hate so much. I am afraid to live and free myself of all those fears that hold me back year after year. Those fears that pull me back in to self destructive patterns. The fear that keeps me from living all the dreams I carry with me to protect me from the darkest places of my mind. I feel like a small child that just wants someone to hold my hand. Just long enough to take me across that bridge of fear.

But there is no hand. And all the confidence I can muster seems short lived. I am afraid of people. I meet people and never see or hear from them again or look them in the eyes and feel I am not liked for some reason. Am I too tall, too ugly, too pretty, too weird? I don’t feel like I fit in anywhere. This I have felt all my life. I still feel this way.

See all that self defeating stuff. It leads to being lonely. It leads to self doubt. It is that thing I have never been able to change about my mind. The part of my mind I cannot change despite my best efforts. And I don’t know why or how.

If only I could get past the fears in my mind that keep me from truly being the person I am in my own dreams.

The Battle Rages On.

For those of you who know me, I have been through some wicked radical changes in the past couple of years. The specifics of change are only marginally important most of the time. Sometimes not. I am a woman of change. I have seen and done things most people cannot imagine. But I am still just me. A bright and often animated person still searching for her spot on the field.

I consider myself an extremely lucky person. Especially considering I am an open and out lesbian in a world that seems so hell bent on not allowing people to live an d be happy. I have a great family who has been there every step of the way since my formal self outing. I have some good frineds and many acquaintances. I have a great job with a really good company. I and I live in a nice little quiet nook in San Francisco.

What more could I want?

A lot more actually. I may be a forty-something goddess in control of her life. But I am also still a teenager at heart more often than I admit. I am fickle and want every freaking thing now. Change happens and I want it over and done with. I sen my eye or my heart on something and I want it started or done yesterday. I know this is not how life works. I cannot keep up the light speed change of pace I often expect in my life.

And this is where the battle begins.

Me fighting myself. Nichole vs. Nikki. It’s tantamount to insanity. The seemingly endless skirmishes with my own sense of self and desire class often sending me off on wildly divergent paths. The unfortunate victim in this constant flux is me. The wounds are often intense depression and even overwhelming anxiety.

Over the past month I have been stuck in a perpetual black hole of depression and questioning everything in my life. I can usually pull myself out of this funk within a few days or even a week tops. Not this time. It was so profound I upped my therapy sessions. Slept way too much and stayed up way too late thinking.

Thinking is my enemy. I have written several poems about my struggle. “My Enemy” being the most recent. I often write as a result of these “moments” of struggle. If I don’t write for more than a week it is not a good sign. It means I am losing the battle. Of all things I have struggled with in my life, depression has been the cruelest of foes. And the one battle where I have never really come out the victor.Though I keep trying.

Giving up is giving in. I have vowed too never give up. I have come to far and accomplished to much to just hand in the keys to my life and let something or someone else drive. Last week just before the Pride festivities I suddenly and inexplicably found myself emerging from the month long battle over depression. This time I really can’t put my finger on how I did it. I am just glad that I did. So here I am back to writing. Back to living. And back to enjoying the feeling of sunshine on my face.

Girl on a Plane

Today I traveled to Phoenix via our country’s increasingly unaffordable air service. Southwest Airlines. That cattle car to the stars <= That would be me. Remember: … so famous you don’t even know me? meh, never mind. So anyway. SFO to PHX. Easy flight no worries. Did I tell you I despise airports?

I must admit however today was actually a pleasant day on the cattle run. I was not rushed, well rested and it has been a beautiful day on the ground and in the air. I arrived at SFO with plenty of time to spare for a yogurt and H20 breakfast. As I am NOT the cheep seats type of girl I paid a little extra to get the front of the line ticket. We boarded the roomy and rather comfy 737 and I took widow row 2. I passed on the Vodka and OJ since it was a bit early even for me.

An attractive gentleman took the isle seat leaving the center unoccupied. The staff soon escorted a young girl of about 9ish traveling alone and sat her next to me! This actually made my little maternal clock tick, tick, tick a bit faster. Sadly I do not have kids. I wish I could but the only thing coming out of my belly these days is … well… Not kids. She is a beautiful child. Seriously beautiful. Long golden blond hair, freckles and a tan to die for.

The girl came with a little red sac her mom had packed for her. It was filled with candies, popcorn and other goodies including the cutest pink DVD player I ever saw. We chatted in short sentences until the plane took off. Then we talked more about boys, the little teenie-bopper magazine she pulled out and the cool view from the plane. She had never flown by herself before. But her little brother had become dangerously ill so mom and dad had to send her off to grandmas alone while they stayed behind. I felt for the girl and her parents. I think she said her name was Allison or Alicia? Gawd I suck so bad at names.

Alli pulled out a puzzle book and asked if I would like to help her with it. Heck yeah I did. This little wannabe mother not my daughter experience was worth every precious moment. And she was truly engaging and I was really enjoying the interaction. I guess I am good with kids. And it seems I was doing a good job.

Suddenly her nose started bleeding. I got to hand it to her for quick reflexes. She got a small pool of blood in her hand and only one drop on her leg. I quickly told her to pinch her nose and tilt her head back and at the same moment hit the stewardess call button. She was there in a second.

Now I must digress just a spell. The stewardess was drop dead OMFG gorgeous. She was a dead ringer for a young Meg Ryan. I mean the way she moved, talked, everything. I could not keep my eyes off of her from the moment I got on the plane. So not only were my hormones running my hormones were going haywire. Sadly she had a rock on her finger the size of Nebraska so no amount of I love you via ESP was going to work. Not to mention inappropriate considering the current events and company.

Regress – Back to Alli.

I point out the situation… calmly. Meg hovers back with a box of tissues. I ask her for a cup of water as well so I can help clean Alli up. I wet some tissue and clean the blood off her hands and leg while she gets the bleed under control. After a couple minutes the bleeding stops and poor Alli has blood all over her chin and face. I wet another tissue and clean her up proper. Know way I’m gonna let that young girl walk around with blood all over her face.

Did I mention all this was happening as we were landing? Well it did. The funny thing and I guess the wonderful thing for me was the smile and the thank you I got from Alli for helping her. The little twinkle in her eyes about killed me dead on the spot. And as I reflect on the incident I remember how utterly calm and collected I was. It was s surreal experience in a way. I mean it was like she was my own child for those few moments and I only wanted to help her and make sure she was O.K.

We landed about 3 minutes later.

I was kind of sad to get off the plane. Alli was flying off to Missouri to see grandma and Phoenix was my stop. A really quick goodbye and the last vision of Alli was of her hopping into the window seat I had been sitting in.

It may seem odd to some who read this. But I miss Alli already. I hope she has a wonderful time at grandma’s and a beautiful life.