Monday, September 20, 2010

Letter from the President

For the past three weeks, I've been traveling with my husband through Belgium and Holland, completely by bicycle. This is a trip we've been planning for over a year, and dreaming about for far longer. Since I've been spending hour after hour pedaling my bike, primarily in contemplative silence throughout the countryside, I've had plenty of time to think about the effects of travel and what it means to me.

When I was an adolescent and thinking about the way I wanted to live as an adult, I thought traveling the world would be one of my main priorities in life, and I could think of no other reason to work, except to earn enough money to travel. As I got old enough to start traveling, I realized that travel is actually quite taxing, and not always the transcendental experience I wanted it to be. While moments of wonderment and joy do happen, they are passing, like everything else. As I've been on this trip doing some of my favorite things in life-- bicycling, drinking the world's best beer, eating fried food, and hanging out with my husband-- I'm all too aware that I am unfortunately still me, and people are still people. While bicycling 35 km from Gent to Brugge in a downpour is a challenge, it's nothing compared to what goes on inside my own head.

I think it is a shared human experience to want to escape from ourselves, at least temporarily, and there are many ways to try and accomplish that. As we pedaled across endless canals in Holland on our way into Amsterdam, I realized that there are only a couple of things in life that work as an "escape hatch" for me, and one of them is creating pottery. Travel helps feed my curiosity and creative impulse to keep the engines turning, but creating art is my ultimate journey, my reason for being. I think many people in the ACGA share the same journey, and my question is: what feeds your artistic sensibilities? Are you doing the things you need to do to keep your art from just feeding on itself? These are questions every artist faces, I'd love to hear your answers.

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