Sunday, February 5, 2023

2023 Resolution

When I was a kid, we had to announce our resolution/s to the parents in the morning of New Year's Day before we received New Year Money. Our resolutions weren't critiqued, nor was progress monitored, but not being able to announce one, or two, or five, was met with scorn. Well into my adulthood, I thought seriously about what I hoped to achieve in the coming year, starting around December 1. From memory, (though mine is super dodgy,) 2022 was the first time I had none and I didn't even fret about it. So, I was a little surprised when I woke up on New Year's Day this year and thought, "Yes, in 2023, I will get rid of stuff."

It came not from some abstract notion of decluttering but pragmatism, because I was having a hard time cleaning this house. Getting rid of stuff doesn't just mean discard; it means use up; use and don't replace, or replace with one rather than three; plus give away/donate/recycle. And I'm serious because, other than the kitchen and my closet, we have not cleaned our abode thoroughly, completely to my hearts content since probably the start of the pandemic lockdown. (We did a cracking job of the garage a year ago, but never got to Ben's tools because he just didn't feel like it. That quadrant is plagued with old cobwebs as a reminder.)

As such, I was pleased I got to work right away, starting small but rather consistently, discarding things we kept because they could be made into something interesting, but which for whatever reason had not been put away. And ceramic dishes and cups I broke but didn't have the heart to throw away just yet. At the same time, although tiny, I used up a few watercolor and acrylic paint tubes and mediums. (On another crusade, I'm trying to wean myself off of acrylic paint/mediums, and fancy pens, except perhaps a few gel pens.)

Then came that fateful last Monday. Ben and I had a moment. We admired, held our breaths, flittered hither and thither, whispered, stepped back, sighed, caressed, and had to make sure our feet were still on the ground. It lasted 80 minutes. 

See, we were going to drop off some lemons at Esther's, then go to the supermarket, and rush home so I can weave. Except she was in the front room, saw us and came out, in a handsome olive green mask, and lamented we were still in a self-imposed semi-lockdown, else we could have had a look at her pottery. I don't remember what I said, but half a nanosecond later, we were in her shed. I can't even remember if I asked Ben what he wanted to do. It was so easy to break our own rules. (Also, we hadn't seen her in person probably since late 2021.) We made ourselves terribly comfortable examining her work, opining, comparing, and ogling, and long story short, we came away with beautiful plates, bowls and cups. 

It's not that I didn't think about where we would store them. I was aware I was un-ridding stuff. I felt an acute shame how much I loved these "material things". And yet, and yet, her work is captivating. I could not suppress stories arising from somewhere inside me about the pieces. I was definitely on some kind of a high, but also appreciated the pieces dispassionately. 
And, oh, what joy they have brought to our home. Dinner these days start with Ben and I selecting which dishes we want to use. Together or alone, we take them out of the cupboard to admire them. And we smile. I used to be a staunch "sets" person, but Nelson being a pottery town, it's not rare to be invited to a table set with an eclectic mix of local ware. We, too, have collected these last 25 years; it suits my broad taste well. We liked what we collected so far, but I'm convinced her pieces upped the quality of our collection a few notches.
Plus, she's a darn good vegetarian/vegan cook and a superb baker, so we can't help hoping our cooking skills will improve by osmosis.

I've come to the conclusion objects that bring so much joy, make us think and discuss, (quite late into the night,) beauty and utility and colors and weight and texture, cannot be bad; that longing for such objects cannot possibly be anything but good. And if you think I'm hyperbolic, have a look at Ben; maybe it's hard to tell from his laid back demeanor, but something has changed in the way he looks at things, the way he talks about objects. And, oh, what a gift that is. 
This matte black plate with skinny stripes immediately evoked how I feel ab out my fussy twill; I had never felt a direct connection between something, anything, and my weaving before.

As for the resolution, well, thank goodness there are 11 more months to this year.

EDIT: Esther's Instagram, (which hardly does her breadth justice, but a taste.)  She also sells a small number of work at The Suter Store.

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