The other day on instagram, I reacted strongly to someone suggesting I look up what the colour of the year 2022 was. It’s a beautiful purple called Very Peri. Quite often, people tell us to go with the latest colour trends – hot pink, metallic copper, etc. Each time I (maybe) patiently explain that we aren’t trying to follow trends but go with what we see in the world around us. A bit pompous maybe..

So I eat my words, when wandering along the beach yesterday, I found so many tiny treasures – purple here, purple there, beautiful rich purples, pale purples..

Watch this space for some hints of this beauty in our humble work..

At this time of year, I soak into the darkness and rest (especially needed this year after a funeral and major surgery) but Chris just desperately seeks the Spring. We’ve taken down the Christmas lights but distributed them around the house to bring some cheer through the dark months. It all helps.

What do you do to help?

As part of the new year, we look forward (we’ve been accepted in four ceramic fairs so far!) while trying to rest into the peace..

Last week, we did a giveaway, which we do every now and the on social media as a thank you. This time, we offered a ‘driftword’ along with some thoughts about having a ‘word for the year’ and about thinking on New Year Graces rather than New Year Resolutions..

Wow, what beautiful connections we made with those thoughts! We had so many messages and comments on both facebook and instagram with thoughts, with stories, with gratitude. It all came flooding in as we drove down to England to Chris’s Mum’s funeral. We felt such connection with so many lovely people.

The winner on instagram was a fellow potter, not one we know, so it’s been lovely to make that connection. And on instagram the name out of the hat was actually one of our neighbours! We’ve had a lovely chat about how life has been for the last while.

We send out a seatree goodie with the giveaway and we cover the postage – and it’s worth every penny.

Hidden beneath the little spray of wire and bead flowers are a few cracks, so this girl just sits on a studio shelf. But she looks so peaceful. We are all a little bit broken and a little bit beautiful. On that note, we are moving into 2022 as gently as possible.

Applications and dates for ceramic fairs are being put in the diary but as a goodness, not a stress.. We so love the fairs, although there’s so much preparation to do, once we’re there we can enjoy the conversations, the relaxed evenings and the learning from other potters.

Let’s hope we can keep the balance of joy amidst the stress..

 

I have just listened to Woman’s Hour with a discussion about new year resolutions – and how this year of all years we need to be kind to ourselves, so what are the new year graces for this year..? Great question!

I love making these wee bud vases and other seatree pieces with single words – each word is taken from Chris’s poetry so keep it connected, even if it’s not obvious. I also make the ‘words to see you through the week’, seven hearts in a box with seven words – ones that we choose for you or that you select for yourself. It’s always lovely to hear why people choose the words they do, for themselves or for others.

Also, each year, I have been trying to set a word for the year – last year was ‘brave’ – this year is ‘light’. I’ve bene thinking about being a light to others, about looking for light but also – my new year’s grace – accepting light, feeling light, letting go..

What is your grace word for 2022?

This is a re-post from a dayly Advent blog that Chris has been hosting over on this fragile tent. We thought we would repost it here, for reasons that we hope will be obvious!
Over the weekend, Michaela and I did a version of our dayjob. These days we make most of our living selling ceramics. We do this through galleries and shops, but we also attend a few ceramics fairs and craft events so on Saturday and Sunday we were in the Briggait, an old drafty drippy fish market in Glasgow. Selling stuff. It is Christmas, after all. We had a lovely weekend. We sold a lot of ceramics, had lots of great conversations and won a a free place at the next WASPS artists fair because ours was judged the best looking stall. In the evening, we ate out at a lovely vegan eatery and went to see James Bond strut his stuff before retiring to our Budget Ibis hotel. It felt like we had stepped out of our rural backwater in to the mainstream.
There is the rub. We are amongst that wide slice of the UK whose income is reliant on commerce, and in particular, that kind of commerce that might be given a boost around Christmas time as people splash the cash on friends and family. Frankly, we have struggled a bit with this. How can it be right that we, who seek a simpler more sustainable life, unplugged as much as possible from mainstream consumerism, need others to buy OUR stuff so this life is possible?
Is all shopping part of the problem? Well, no. Of course not. Trade – as in the fair exchange of goods and services – is a human good. It is how we are able to mange our varied skills in community because we can then benefit from the fact that not everyone is the same, and some can do things that others can not. At best these exchanges are face-to-face, and based around a local economy. If you are interested in the difference between this kind of trading and the more globalised, multi-national, corporation owned, kind, you might be interested in what has become known as the Preston Model- the town where I used to live;
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nvr_NMVd5XE
  But leaving all that aside, back to our little stall in Glasgow. Thankyou to all of those who came and bought things; bowls, plates, vases, poetry books, pictures etc.. (And while I am at it- thanks to those who have bought things from our webstore or from galleries!) We hope that we are able to provide a service, in terms of an object that carries meaning, that is a fair exchange (in terms of the work we do to make this object) for the money we ask in exchange. In return, we try to use this money well, to buy services and goods from other people. Our income is small, and deliberately so, but what we have, we try to buy from local suppliers, or from free trade, sustainable sources. This is simply not always possible but we think it is important to do this not as a charitable excercise, but as a social good, and for the sake of our planet. You may see this as tokenism. I do not agree though, for two reasons; Firstly, if we try to follow a life of the spirt, we know already that we seek to find the meaning below the surface. The way we trade is a fundamental part of our lives, so how can we not see this as part of our spiritual journey? As we seek to change the way we trade towards greater justice and social/economic/environmental responsibility we are do this as a spiritual discipline as well as a financial one. Also, one person doing this is a drop in the ocean, but that is not a reason not to do it. Rather, we seek to create chains of influence, which is actually the very thing that trade IS – a chain of influence that is lubricated and liquified by money. What we are seeking is to turn our small actions in to a mass movement and these always start small.
Let me make this clear. This is NOT an advertisement for our business- you will see I have not included any links in this piece. You can find many other small, local people who are just like us. A couple more stories from our weekend. Because we make things that deliberately carry meaning – or become a vehicle for the meaning that others ascribe to them – our stall is often a place where emotions run high. It is a regular thing to see tears or to suddenly find ourselves in deep conversation with strangers. It is a very deep honour to be trusted like this. Over the course of the weekend, I spoke to people who were retiring and looking for something that marked the change, a woman whose mother had just died, someone who was seeking to find ways to make work oportunities for their learning disabled son and his friends. These were not small conversations. Then there was this conversation; We sold a small clock like this one, but with words on which read ‘Let’s whisper dreams of things to come’;
  It was bought by someone whose best friend’s husband died two weeks ago of cancer, as a gift for her in her pain and loss. The more I think about it, the more lovely this seems. Let’s whisper dreams of things to come.

 

For those who love Chris’s poetry, you may be interested in following an advent countdown over on his blog,  here.

This is a collaborative effort, featuring poetry and writing by lots of guests. The way Chris puts it is something like this;

Today is the first day of advent.

Here on TFT we notice things like that because they might become roads we travel, if we let them. If we decide to walk them…

You might like to walk this one in company. There will be a post here each day heading towards the uncertainty of what the feast of Christmas will bring us this year. I intend for this journey to include lots of guest posts from writers/artists/friends because all long journeys are best made in companionship….

If you want to follow the journey through this season, then perhaps it might be worth subscribing to this fragile tent…

I bought a slab roller earlier this year and how glad am I that we could invest in that. It’s so very useful and saves me a lot of pain. However, a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t concentrate and rolled the clay almost paper thin by mistake! Instead of wasting it though, I decided to let it fold into the shape it wanted to, when I picked it up. I let it dry as it was. Then I wondered how on earth to glaze so many folds! But, I did it and here is the end result. I hope you like it. Chris is framing it. I feel quite proud of such a random piece of work! That may sound foolish, but I don’t always find it easy to just relax and go with the flow…

The dancing waves…

This photo was taken with my feet in the water, tears in my eyes, as I watched the ferry come in ready to collect us from the beautiful Iona to take us home. D you ever have that feeling, when home is where you are and yet it isn’t? I felt like that the first time we came to Scotland and the power of that feeling grew with each visit, till eventually we had to move here to stop the feeling of homesickness.

Chris saw my tears and said ‘oh oh, does this mean another move..?’

But we are already home. We live in Argyll, of which Iona is a part. It is all beautiful. We are blessed indeed. The colours, the textures, the peace.. We hope you see this in our work and hear it in our poetry.

We’d love to know where home is for you..

Here’s the poet – we know that what draws people to seatree is the poetry – hopefully enhanced by the textures, sketches and imagery added into the clay along with the words – and so we thought we would aim to bring some of that to you! We’ve been thinking of it for a while and you-know-what got in the way, but we feel we can start to branch out and plan ahead a little again.

We are thinking.. poetry readings, poetry workshops, putting words in clay, having seatree pottery for sale along with poetry books (more of that in an upcoming post).. any or all of those, whatever suited you and your friends or family.

Do give us a shout and we can tailor an event for you.