Follow Artist Rita Ryan's Progress in Clay & Life here click the link below to be re-directed to Rita's Pottery
I'm not disappointed in you. I am disappointed for you. I had hoped you would have a better chance if you stayed in school. Work is no fun and especially no fun when it's not what you want to do.
I think that sometimes if I were to stop moving so fast, that the world would catch up to me and then I would be behind.
I had the most wonderful opportunity to attend a local workshop featuring Eusabio Ortega and his Beautiful wife Isela Cota Ortega. Eusabio demonstrated the hand building techniques of the Mata Ortiz potters in Mexico. Each pot is hand constructed and takes 4-5 hours to construct. Eusabio starts with a slab set inside a small plaster bowl. He first compresses the bottom of the base to avoid any cracks when drying. As he starts constructing a bowl type base for is piece, he is keeping the walls even as he spins the little plaster bowl in a circle to keep the pot moving. after the piece is tall enough he trims off the top using a simple safety pin edge and rolls out a rather large thick coil. The coil is placed inside the pot around once and his thumbs are then placed inside to allow for opening the pot he pushes his thumbs in and up as he continually spins the pot in a circle, he repeats this several times until he has the height he needs. Then Eusabio starts with his coils on the outside of the pot to start to close up the top and switches his thumbs from the front of the pot to the back of the pot and his thumbs switch to the outside of the pot creating more pressure inwards. Eusabio keeps his hands clean and dry to keep the wet clay from sticking to them. Eusabio's wife Isela Cota quietly sits painting a pot that is dry and has been sanded and burnished. Her hands are steady and she is completely focused drawing line after line, I am sitting directly across from her and am thoroughly amazed at how her design work just keeps coming together. She is drawing a little fellow playing a flute, he is a Raramuri Indian. The Raramuri are a gentle tribe of Indians that have lived in the Upper Sierra for over 10,000 years now. Isela is so incredibly talented with her drawings even her husband is in awe of her. As Eusabio continues his demonstration he tells us the story of the Mata Ortiz people and how everyone in the town has some job related to making pottery, from the small children to the elders. He tells us of the tourist trade and how with the economy slow down here how greatly it affects the people in the town who have relied on the tourist trade. Eusabio also sees as the town young folks grow up with these skills that the young kids take short cuts and sell pots for much less and how this really is having an effect on the marketing of the Mata Ortiz pottery bring the price way down creating more economic stress.
Is it just that time of year, or is it just me. It seems like as soon as winter hits and the end of the year is imminent I lose all my momentum. I start to question why am I torturing myself with pottery and shows. I question my motives, should I just go back to the days of gifting my pottery to friends and family? And today I felt compelled to inventory my pots. After unloading all my boxes of pottery onto tables I looked across the room at the tables filled with stoneware and I caught a glimpse of all the colors melting into to one and for just a moment everything looked so foreign. I thought when did my colors get so dark? I pictured for a moment white pots with red apples and little geometric designs and smiled thinking of all those sweet apple pots I made, how long ago was that? I try for a moment to re-focus on the kind and generous comments from my customers about how they have never seen pottery so beautiful, but the thought eludes my grasp. I want desperately to grab hold and feel that appreciative kindness but instead I just feel crummy and out of sorts and my good thoughts fall hard on a blank slate that feels like a black hole. Then, I remember the dream I had last night and really; it was “a bit of a nightmare”. I was trudging through the snow in the Jemez mountains, I couldn’t find my car and I was desperately trying to get to my pottery tables, I had dutifully paid my fee to the Indian tribe to exhibit and I needed to get to my tables to sell before the day was over. I kept walking back and forth, through a maze of adobe buildings in one door and out another, finally I find my space, it’s around a corner out of sight from the main traffic, I think why am I here, how will I ever make any sales in this awful place. I see all my pots are thrown into boxes, and I am missing most of my inventory. I am feeling horrid and I still don’t know where my car is! I dig to the bottom of a box and there is a very generous check with a detailed listing of all the pottery purchased and a “thank you” note from the tribal chief himself telling me how much he loves my pottery and asking me if I will come back next year. I smile, and think, surely I will. In the mean time, I do believe a nice long break is in order! I wish you all a very “Merry Christmas Season” And Happy Potting for the New Year!
I just made the connection I went from Futures markets to Farmers markets………
Often when I am compelled to write I assume God is leading me to a greater life understanding that it is not my thoughts but his that follow here.
This morning I had the most beautiful colorful dream.
Labels: "In Living Color"
Last night as I quietly lie down for bed a very large lump entered my throat, I could feel my body convulse as I mouthed the words, "Our little Pippi is really gone off and on her own". Much is changing fast and on the surface it doesn't seem like such a big deal that your only daughter is living at the local campus in a dorm room. I keep thinking as parents we are getting off easy having our child basically 5 min from where we work, It's a bit hard to explain how I am feeling, and as I slow down my emotional reaction to the sadness it becomes easier to feel the pain of letting go of 18 years. I am ok with the realization that she is no longer in our charge. I have for a long time understood my job was second to God's. The humanness of the grief my body feels causes me to pause momentarily.
“I’ve taken up a new “Healthy hobby” “Ballooning”, and went for my second time crewing on Sunday this time with a pilot from Colorado Springs. I hadn’t planned on going up especially with all the rain we have been having, but at the last min. the young (Chinese) lady that was to fly got spooked and so I took her place. We flew for about 40 min. west of the field in Rio Rancho, it was sooooo much fun. We flew quite low to the ground to avoid the scattered clouds that were chasing us. Watching the Jackrabbits run wild through the bracken was quite thrilling. Even though I had been up before as recently as June when I crewed for another balloonist from Pagosa Springs, add the element of danger and the flight takes on a whole new life. We had to deal with some sudden wind and find just the right landing spot so when we were dragged by the wind it would not be into the trees. After we landed on our side (up-side down is what the pilot called it) the envelope deflated and we crawled out just as the crew was driving up. The pilot did a remarkable job of detailing to me just how to position my body for the least amount of impact and how to keep from straining or breaking any bones. We all agreed that probably was not the best flight for someone’s first time and so it was a good thing I went instead. All I have is a tiny scratch on one knee and enough excitement to last a good long while!”
-->By Amanda Stevens Of the Journal
I don’t worry so much for my children that they will make bad choices in life, they are pretty apt and aware, my worry is how does the kid who’s at the party where something happens and they maybe could have helped prevent it, handle it emotionally the rest of their life when someone they know drives drunk and gets killed or drinks too much and gets raped, no one can be prepared to emotionally handle random acts of stupidness by them selves or someone else. And it stays with you all your life, scars run deep and some fade over time but they are always there, and it is for those scars of life that my heart breaks.
Some days I just love who I am, I have a full understanding of God and his mercy, and other days I just Puke, I wonder what in the heck am I doing, Surely THEY will find out what a fraud I am, how totally unworthy I am. Then I shake it off, have a little laugh, remember sin, picture the cross, remember forgiveness remember my little peanut holding her arms out singing "Hoodge U" and Ta Da...I love this place....I love the moment... I Love God... I really really love forgiveness.
This was graduation week and as I watched one of my best friends shed tears at her daughter’s graduation ceremony I thought to myself, no way I'm crying over this. These kids have it made they are just beginning their lives; their glass is only half full. Then came my turn, I got through my daughters graduation party the day before her actual ceremony patting myself on the back for a job well done, for deep down I believe we all would like to take credit for all the good that our children exhibit. Of course knowing how analytical I can be I stayed away from the balance of what negative aspects I might have passed on to her, that could wait for another day. The party was great; a good time was had by all. Next day was graduation day, I wondered would I get teary eyed as I watched my daughter, my little Pippi, march up and receive her High School Diploma? Would I ball my eyes out later when I knew that she would want to run off with her friends to party after the ceremony and have nothing to do with us? No, not I, a pillar of strength I smiled and enjoyed my understanding of youth. And she the good daughter spent just enough time with us to make us feel comfortable, a picture here, a kiss there, then she and her little white sandals and big pearly smile ran for the exit. It wasn’t until the next day when I sat down to read some of her perfectly worded thank you notes, and I came to the note written to my dear friend Rose, I barely got through the first sentence, and then I read…"you are my family and I thank God for you". That was all it took the tears flowed and I shook, more from relief and disbelief, surely this couldn't be my child, so grateful, graceful and thoughtful. And then again last night at the tennis awards banquet, her coach repeating what I so well knew, that this girl comes to the playing field every day with a smile and grace. So today I thank God for his wisdom and guidance through the years to me as a parent, I know I haven’t gotten everything right, but as a mom I can not help but swell with pride as I look forward to the next 18 years of watching my Pippi grow. Oh and yes, I did cry again all the way home from the banquet as I watched her walk off into the night holding hands blissfully with her boyfriend.
After working all day yesterday at the commodities office, My dream of being an actress was about to come true (Now, there’s something you didn’t know about me) HGTV film crew came to my studio at my house to film me making pottery for their “That’s Clever” show.
But, Lots’ wife looked back!
2005 Was a nice calm year for me, seems like everything fell into place nicely, I didn't ruin my kiln shelves with runny glaze until one of my last firings. I bought a wonderful new slab roller for my studio and have been making some truly awesome hand built pottery.
Well, The Santa Fe Show was pretty much a bust, for selling anything except sun hat's,
maybe I need to make one out of clay :o) Can any one tell me why full body tattoo's are so popular,
I was horrified by the body mutilations I saw in Santa Fe this past weekend. I am living a very sheltered existence, fo shissle.
My computer hard drive at the office died yesterday morning, the funeral will be at 10am today.
Looking forward to the resurrection some time later tomorrow, glad I know about Plaxo at least I will be able to recover my contacts, all my newest pictures are dumped with the partition, I'll have to get busy.....
Pablo Picasso: "My mother said to me, If you become a soldier, you'll be a general; If you become a monk, you'll end up as Pope." "Instead I became a painter and wound up as Picasso."
This month I turn 50, I thought so hard about what I'd like to do to celebrate, Should I have a party? Go out to dinner? Sleep in late be lazy all day. The best Idea I could come up with was one that totally honored who I am. So I will get up early with the birds, and take a little hike in the mountains with a friend, come home hug my family and sleep in the hammock all afternoon, and then just possibly have a few margarita's in the evening while playing with clay. That will be my perfect Birthday.....Now lets see how it pans out.... be back on the 14th with a full report. r
Last weekend I opened my home to four wonderful young men from Sunne Lutheran Church in North Dakota. Part of a group of about 30 + kids on their way to Mexico with the Casa Por Cristo project. What a wonderful bunch of kids, polite and gracious. I am so happy to say we have an incredible generation of caring young men and women (kids) today, who will be our future, and I am proud to be a parent in a positive parenting generation that is turning out really great kids.
Some people believe art comes from your inner desires, I believe art comes like life,
What I really like about being a clay artist is no matter what your talent, be it nursing, swimming or potting, when you find your place in the universe you get a little closer to God.
In Loving Memory: David Po July 22,1954/Feb 9, 2005
Aloha, from the land of enchantment, I am David’s favorite sister Rita. I thought I would tell you a little you might not know about David and his family. He has four sisters & three brothers. Dorea, his oldest sister lives in Florida with her husband. They don’t have children but have an insane love of wildlife and lizards. Peggy, next in line is about the hardest working woman I have ever known, life has been hard for her but she has shown a wonderful “work through it spirit”. She has found healing in this life in her adventures of hunting and fishing, what can I say, run Bambi run! Debbie lives here in
Then there is myself, wife, and mother and clay artist. My life here in NM is a wonderful life and I have, clearly have, my Dear brother David to thank for guiding me here. Many years ago David was here visiting friends, one of the many exotic places he traveled to and David invited me to come visit him here. We traveled all over the state, David had friends every where he went, His friends were some of the most generous, kind loving people on this earth. The words you reap what you sow come to mind.
David and I both grew up in the "back of the yards" stockyard area of
David and I have both lived a tumultuous life so separate and yet so much alike. Many years ago I made a conscious decision to let go and let God work in my life. I have been blessed each day with forgiveness and grace. It's my hope that all will come to an understanding that life is bigger than you and me and nothing is as sweet as it is when you do it with God at your side. I believe David understood this and was able to give up his life to God.
I believe that we give a lot more to each other in this life than we ever give ourselves credit for and my life is a testament to that, had it not been for David’s unselfish act of kindness to me, my life might have turned out quite differently. I am eternally grateful for my Brother David’s love and life.
In loving Memory,
Rita S. Ryan
One thing I have learned playing in the mud is the original potter is the only one who has the right to choose what will stay here on earth and what will be recycled. What I'm learning, I believe will take a life time. Exactly what makes a pot worthy to fire? Bottom too thick, “might crack might not” go ahead wire it off. The heavy bottoms for stability are not meant to be fine and thin. Beautiful on the out side, air pockets on the top of the wall. Could these pots be called airheads? Too thin on the wall my anorexic little pots are going to have to be careful they find a safe spot to lie or they will chip and die. Forced that pot back to center pulled one side thin and one side thick “keep or throw”? If I keep it will people look at it funny? Will they turn their heads to try figure out its place in my life? Put three feet on this one, one fell off in the fire it wobbles but looks great and feels so good, might make someone very happy definitely a keeper! The grief the potter feels upon opening the kiln and seeing the one piece the potter tried so desperately to save has self destructed and has taken four others with it oh the grief is so overwhelming. But you get use to it somehow and later while the grief is still there somehow it's ok, Even though the damaged pots will never be the same. Some will be able to have cosmetic surgery and if they are blessed they will find themselves into a re-fire and only the maker will know what lies underneath that thick layer of glaze coating the sore spots on their bodies. Some pots will leak, some arms will hang low, some heads on crooked, but the real beauty will be in the creation itself.