Just Sayin: Life, Studio and Gallery, 93,Beach Connection to Clay

I thought I would explain my connection to beaches and my newest clay art.

One of my earliest memories is being at the beach.  This picture is of me and my mom when I was around 18 months.  She would pack a picnic basket filled with homemade food, blankets,hats and sunglasses.  I am positive my dad swam in the lake.  When I was a teen, we had a pool.  He would swim every night after closing the pharmacy.  

beach time

One summer night, he got home from work, and said, “Cynner, we are going swimming.  Come on, put on your swimsuit.”  45 years later, I can’t believe what we did.  He took us to a friend’s Lake Michigan home.  We swam in the dark.  He let me go out over my head and just swim.  I remember the waves bumping me around and looking up at the millions of stars.  I will never forget being in awe of the sky. It was an unforgettable night.  He trusted that I could do it.  I always wanted to ask if he really did let me swim far away from him or is this just a childhood memory.  Maybe I was only an arms’ length away? I remember at the time that I was amazed that mom let him take me out there.  

Isn’t amazing how sand can burn your feet on a hot day and then feel so cold that same night?  Growing up on the shores of Lake Michigan, life revolved around what was happening at the waterfront.  In the winter, we headed out to see how far the icebergs had built up.  We would walk up and down the ice until we got to the edge.  In the summer, the goal was to get the darkest suntan possible.  Did you ever buy several rolls of foil to lay on for early springtime tanning?  We did.  Of course, applying baby oil.  It’s no wonder that so many friends have skin cancer today.  

I hope I never take it for granted that I live close to this fresh water ocean.  Now probably more than ever, it is so important to have the opportunity to relax, breathe and ground yourself.  I find being by an ocean the easiest place to do this.  With the current cost of living and concerns for our environment, exotic holidays may not make sense.  But, the beach close to where you live can have the same effect.  

Wallace Nichols says “We are beginning to learn that our brains are hardwired to react positively to water and that being near it can calm and connect us, increase innovation and insight and even heal what is broken.”  Wallace is author to several books talking about why we swim and our connection to water.

The soft sand between my toes and the rhythm of the waves make me realize what I have been missing the last few days.  All at once I felt at one with the world and at peace.  I feel refreshed, renewed and revived by the presence of our lake.  For me, it is my church.  If you live in Michigan, you are never more than 100 miles from some body of water.  Take a deep breath of fresh air, wiggle your toes in the sand, watch the waves and notice how life’s worries all seem a lot more simplified.  Try to recall the first time you saw Lake Michigan or an ocean.  The awe of its expanse and the wonder of it.  Let it revive you.  Just looking at water is good for you.  Research shows that staring at the ocean actually changes our brain waves’ frequency and puts us into a mild meditative state.  I have read that the beach environment is filled with negatively charged ions which boosts mood by triggering endorphins and serotonin.  If you are like me, a few hours at the beach always helps me sleep better.  Did you know that you get enough Vitamin D for your entire day in just 10 minutes at the beach? The extra Vitamin D you absorb throughout the day will be stored in your body for later use.  Plus, time at the beach actually helps lower your blood pressure, supports your immune system and help with rheumatoid arthritis.  So, why is a half hour at the beach not a priority in my day?  Life gets in the way.  If you look at my personal Instagram account, you will see that I am trying to be close to a body of water each day.  I am recording it for two reasons:  one, so that I am holding my self accountable, and two, to use for design elements in my art.

When I am at the waterfront, my creativity is rekindled and I am reminded that I am a part of a much bigger world.  I feel more energetic, I smile a lot, and I just feel better.  Did you know that we are made up of 70% water?  No wonder, we feel a connection to lakes and rivers.  So…..

My new clay work.  I would love for you to remember fun days that you had at the beach.  Any beach in the world, when you see, pick up, and use my pieces.  Many of them are functional and a few are visually functional.

The exterior of the my forms have sand found at Lake Michigan beaches and other locations around the world.  The last time I was flying, I gathered lava sand from La Jolla, California.  I was stopped by the airport TSA agent.  I learned that black sand is magnetic.  I almost was strip searched!  Do I look dangerous?  Lesson learned there is “Don’t be chatty with the airport security.”

So, now, you know more about my clay story.  I hope one of my pieces give you calm in our noisy world. Have a great day.

beach vessel

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