Memento Mori, Memento Anima: Remembering Death in Life


The richness of spring is for me an exuberant time of abundance, promise and hope but also an exercise in non-attachment. It invites me to notice new sounds and presences, and to celebrate in the life-filled transformation of my surrounds. Yet it is fleeting. For me the intense surge of joy brought to the season by birds is tinged with the somewhat tragic awareness of its eventual demise.

Birds. To me they are the spirits inhabiting the verge between earthly and heavenly realms - animating the air with movement and song and coaxing me to revel richly in the present. They represent Anima which in Latin can mean air, wind, breath, breath of life, soul.

Becoming aware of the transience of time somehow helps to ‘fatten’ each moment. In its exuberance and ephemerality, birdsong, like the flush of greens and blossoms that unfold in the landscape, is a constant reminder of the passage of time.

This work reflects on how death and life are in some way united and examines the very human tendency to try to capture, contain, and hold onto moments/things as mementos - specimens, photos, objects - and on how by doing this ‘alive-ness’ may be lost.

Birds are having a tough time with the challenges we humans have thrown at them and their numbers are declining rapidly. I fear a time where the voices and feathers so familiar to me, will be accessed only through documents, memory, and mementos. 


New work at General Fine Craft, Art & Design

June 3-28.  Vernissage, Friday, June 5. 7-9pm

Unfired ceramic eggs containing flower seeds: trapping life or containing potential?

Unfired ceramic eggs containing flower seeds: trapping life or containing potential?

On Beauty

When you love something like reading — or drawing or music or nature — it surrounds you with a sense of connection to something great. If you are lucky enough to know this, then your search for meaning involves whatever that Something is. It’s an alchemical blend of affinity and focus that takes us to a place within that feels as close as we ever get to “home.” It’s like pulling into our own train station after a long trip — joy, relief, a pleasant exhaustion.

If a writer or artist creates from a place of truth and spirit and generosity, then I may be able to enter and ride this person’s train back to my own station. It’s the same with beautiful music and art.

Beauty is meaning.

I read this quote from Jeanette Winterson this morning on Maria Popova's blog "Brainpickings" (which is a gem of a blog). And it resonated.

Somedays...many days in fact, it can be truly hard to feel that the work one does as an artist has any relevance to the world outside one's own imagination. Yet the impulse to continue making what one feels compelled to make keeps creative types of all kinds stepping up again and again to the studio, to the instrument, to the page.

After a week spent in Toronto at the Interior Design Show, surrounded by a lot of (often beautiful) manufactured stuff - from high end faucets, to lighting and flooring - the relevance of the hand-made, 'small batch', and spirit-imbued 'things' whether it be tables, plates, or songs has never seemed clearer.  Over and over, we (Heidi Earnshaw and I) saw people's faces lighting up as they walked by, and heard what an 'oasis' our booth was. How rewarding.

In an age where machines make and run most everything, people truly seem starved for a renewed connection to the things they live with - the story of where something comes from, an association with the person who made it, and evidence of and care taken by the maker's hand.  I am lucky to be a maker.  it is a privilege. And it is refreshing to feel again a sense of purpose in doing what I do.

IDS - cylinders - detail

IDS - cylinders - detail