I was watching yet another documentary recently (it’s the new “reading”) – this time from the PBS series “Craft in America.” The episode I watched focused on how the landscape effects what the craftsperson creates. And “landscape” doesn’t necessarily mean Georgia O’Keefe-style remote southwestern vistas, but wherever inspires. Take for example two very different craftspeople featured in the episode:
David Gurney (b. 1958 in Garden Grove, California) is a potter and painter. He received his MA in ceramics from California State University, Fullerton. He now lives on California’s Central Coast, where he maintains a huge garden and a sustainable life style.
His work is influenced by nature, food, Mexican folk art, and his childhood, growing up in a time of abundant orange groves and strawberry fields. His functional pottery is painted and decorated with mythical landscapes that reflect his time, place, and sensibility.
And, Jan Yager:
Jan Yager (b. 1951, Detroit, MI) is an artist and mixed-media jeweler. She received a BFA from Western Michigan University and an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her work is known for its close observation of nature, reference to colonial history, and use of contemporary objects. The City Flora/City Flotsam series [created while living in Philadelphia] is inspired by the plants that grow through the cracks in the sidewalk such as chicory, lambs quarters, and purslane, and sometimes includes found coins, crack vials, and syringes.
Whether living in a natural setting on the west coast, or in the post-industrial decay of an east coast city, there is inspiration to be found. And just because I personally feel like I’ve outgrown New York City and used up what it had to offer me doesn’t mean that those who stay (or, who dream of moving here) won’t find motivation by the bucketful. 2010 is the year I’m resolving to get back to my roots and immerse myself in the nature that has always inspired me (even if lately it’s only been through the sidewalk cracks). But no matter where we are, I think we can all benefit from attuning ourselves to the natural cycles that are happening all around us, and use that knowledge as a daily influence on our lives.