Im well in to week 4 and realizing I still haven't posted all from last week. I'll try to remember as best as I can but luckily pictures worth a 1000 words and I obviously am not lacking in that department! The week mostly blended together so quickly because I spent so much time in the studio. With this style of wood firing.....the pots are all stacked on top of one another with no glaze and therefor if you want a nice finish to your pots you've got to be prepared to spend a lot of time rubbing them! Production was the name of the game this week and with the help of a few talented folks we were able to pull together many candle houses, finish my big ladies and 3 different heights of pillar candle stands. The kiln also was fired early in the week which a few of Sherif's fern murals were in along with many other custom orders he is working on. Still working on how to increase the size of the kiln to get some of these larger pieces in.
In other news....Sherif wants to help tourism in Nilambur as it has lots to offer but it hasn't really been organized to make it user friendly. 'Experience Back to Earth' is the idea and it will consist of website and promotional material to highlight all the attractions of this beautiful part of the world. Part of this experience will be working with clay....learning mural making techniques along with the traditional stick powered pottery wheel. It also includes accomodation, waterfall adventures, fish farms, worlds oldest teak forest and museum, rubber tree farming, ayurvedic spa treatments along with incredible food & entertainment. I'll link to more info on this later as it comes together. In the mean time..... he held a press release that I got to be a part of to help be the face of a foreign traveller that agrees this is a place worth visiting as well as be inspired to create art. I really had no idea what to expect when going to this press release and although it was pretty small...it felt very official and definatly made me feel like a bit of a star.
So that is a glimpse of the week and then there was Sunday! This was the day to kick off 'Experience Back to Earth" at the studio where so many interesting and talented members of the community came to support this new venture. Along with speeches and displaying lots of the pots I've made since arriving we also hosted a clay class for kids of whom about 25 participated. The class was great and I really find connecting with kids so fulfilling no matter the skill level or language barrier. They were super interested and creative. The only challenging part was constantly being called 'madam' and looking over my shoulder to see who they were calling to only to realize it was me! From this experience I've been asked to teach a class with the kids at a local boarding school that is exciting on many levels. Im pumped to be able to go on campus of an Indian boarding school and see differences and similarities from my high school boarding school experience:)
One other thing I want to speak to this week is my experience with music here. I love Indian music and although I cannot understand the lyrics ... I love the wavering sound of a singers voice and the high tones both men and women use. I brought my ukelele with me on this trip and even though I have been shy to play for many people and most especially shy to sing in the past.... this trip has opened my heart to expressing myself musically. I wont go so far as to say I'm anything great but the feeling of expressing myself through music and being able to share it is so new and incredible. On Sunday I was asked to bring my uke and play/sing a few tunes which I did and I also go to accompany a lovely man sing some Malayalum love songs with my uke.
I love doing things that scare me. It makes me feel alive and the kind of high I get boosts self confidence and love. I'd go so far as to say I'm slightly addicted to it. This step into musical expression is one that has scared me greatly but I'm finding my confidence and I could't be more happy about it. It is also a wonderful thing to be able to connect when language barriers make deep conversations difficult/impossible.
Wow...I knew this trip would empower me but it's exceeding my expectations. My wish is that anyone who is reading this finds something that challenges them....face it and bask in the glory of self love and acceptance. We are all as strong as we believe we are. xo t
About This Journey
Combining my love of travel with my love of creating in clay comes this newest adventure. After spending 10 days in Nilambur last year during a 3 month exploration of India....I am returning to spend 9 weeks. Talented and generous clay artist - Sherif Nilambur invited me to share his studio space so here I am to take him up on his offer. The plan is loose in terms of what is being made and what will come of it but hearts are open so we can't go wrong.