For the few who have bought or been given a copy of my first pottery book, here's how some test tiles turned out. Inspired by the results of more tiling experiments last year, I hope to manage to produce a second pottery book this year entitled 'Tile Tales'. Pottery, in common with all the arts, teaches us all many things including how to look, listen, touch, feel, think and communicate. Art for me is an enigmatic puzzle far beyond anything new technologies could ever wholly fathom let alone master because it will always evolve faster than any machine we could make.
Rather like an unfathomable jigsaw I remain undecided as to which order the above tiles should be arranged in, or how many to include to share with others. With the General Election in the United Kingdom looming I feel much the same about that too. As a traditional, homely kind of gal at heart, purple has never struck me as a colour politicians should ever wear in our little islands and have made no secret of it much to the annoyance of others. It's just not me to select any group to pick on and blame for everything. We are all part of so many groups that it all seems a rather stupid thing to ever do, but as we know, there are exceptions and exceptional circumstances when defending what we hold most precious and dear is worth making a stand for.
Whatever the outcome of our voting I do know this, that what works for some scenarios will not work for all. History plays a fickle game; it never discriminates and is tricksie to all in equal measure.
Some prefer others to organise and make decisions for us while others prefer to take charge but I personally cannot think of anyone who makes any perfect decision, far less every time. Nor have I met another person who always likes others to make all decisions for them. It's nice to be able to choose what to eat, where to live, a career or what to wear. It is also far safer to choose not to take a medication that we are allergic to but even then allergies themselves can come and go because our metabolisms change as we journey through life too.
Recently human rights for many seemed to have become over rated, or of lesser value than other concerns but they are not. To me it is merely a case of what takes the highest priority according to our most immediate needs. That alters moment by moment when the pace of life is so fast moving. How iconic is a human hand and how much more potent it seems to be when clenched as a fist than left open in greeting or in friendship. Both are of equal importance and, I feel, have equal worth.
We are all part history makers and part of history all rolled into one as if part of one enormous collective thinking machine. My current contribution to thinking is that that word 'collective' resonates the loudest when a challenge is clearly visible, though I'm sure others have expressed the same concept for centuries. Unity as a concept always has and always will resonate loudly whenever survival of our way of life is at risk. Whether we collect to defy a joint danger, or to unite to share joys, it strikes me that what it is to be human must surely entail being adaptable with a commitment to take part.
I have been described as many things and all labels are true of course, but not just of me. I find everyone shares the exact same description but just to a different mix to make us all unique. We carve out not just our own name but our own path in life in part; but equally I feel it is and has always been plotted, navigated and channelled for us often by persons and powers unknown, precisely because we are all part of the/a collective. In times of peace and prosperity we shrug it off as being just about 'acceptable' and nothing to go to war over. In times of hardship the result is rather more difficult to manage or come to terms with.
It is the taking turns that seems to work best, not just for our species but for all species. No one can be on top form 24/7 - we all need to rest to stand a chance of being at our best. While I rest, others take their turn at the helm to enable my projects to not only keep going but flourish in ways I can only delight in and applaud while they start many new ones of their own. My struggles with my health have forced me to take time out and perhaps for the first time, I am both accepting and enjoying the break as my shift on just one project last year was rather longer than anyone could have predicted due to the number of people who became involved.
History taunts and tantalises, it teases and torments, it tests and tempts us into tangles of troubles; yet there is one thing that it never does - it stubbornly refuses to predict anyone's future.
So with regard to all my tomorrows... well, I think I'll give what's left to them when I get to them.
I give what’s left and hopeful fling
To chance a chance remembering
A careful word, a touch, a kiss
Recalls to mind all I miss
And ached and longed for in my plight
That faith restored in such delight
Retrieved and strengthened now in sight,
No longer giving as I please
I give what’s left.
Mindless seems my destined flight
Yet something calls, “this is right”
So joy does raise me from my knees
To share with others what would them please
And so I gain a strength in fright
To give what’s left.
(From my 'This is Me' Exhibition in Luton several years ago - sorry if you missed it as it was free entry.
However this poem was first published in Poetry Now along with a few others way back in the 1990s
- what a journey it and I have had since then, none of which I regret as I have learned from
my travels to strange places and enjoy continuing to do so.)