Sometimes you’ve got to make your own rainbows, and the sunflower under this DIY rainbow is special. Let me tell you why.
Early in the summer, I hit my head and had to take several weeks off of work, stress, and screens (especially). So I spent a lot of time in the garden, looking at things I had never really seen before.
Like the saddle bags of pollen on the back legs of honeybees, and the way squirrels farm their own tiny gardens (by stealing your just-planted seeds to plant them where you absolutely did not intend them, and yet, there they are).
I also noticed this sunflower.
Not just that it’s a sunflower, but that something chewed through and knocked it over. The sunflower was young and little, but could no longer hold its own weight. She looked like she was doing yoga, a type of Child’s Pose I know well. Because that’s what kind of year it’s been.
In yoga class, they always tell us we can return to Child’s Pose at any time, take it whenever we need it, and rejoin when we’re ready.
But a sunflower doesn’t do yoga, usually, and I wasn’t sure she was going to ever find strength or balance again to rejoin the rest of us. I thought, for sure, one of our resident rodents would finish her off and I would enter my garden one morning to find her chewed down to the ground.
Normally I would cut my losses and put the poor plant out of its misery. But it’s 2020, and there’s already been so much negativity in the world. I wanted my little corner of it to be more hopeful. She’s just in Child’s Pose, I thought, and decided to let her take her own time to rejoin the garden, instead of expecting her to follow my arbitrary expectations of what she should or shouldn’t do, and when.
Every day I went to the garden, and every day she was still there. Still in Child’s Pose. Still not eaten by a rabbit or squirrel.
After almost a month, though, she started to grow again. Longer, instead of taller. More like a snake than a pole. Interesting, I thought. I did not see that coming. The world is full of beautiful little plot twists.
She crawled along the ground for the length of the entire bed, then over the edge until she nearly hit rock bottom. But just before she touched the grass outside the garden box, she literally took a turn, picked herself back up, did a little loopty-loop (out of joy? Confusion? Both?) and grew tall, radiating absolute joy. She moved from Child’s Pose to….whatever victorious and powerful and very-curiously-balanced yoga pose sunflowers usually embody. Eagle pose? Idk. I spend a lot of time in Child’s Pose.
That’s when I knew she was my Patronus. Maybe the first-ever plant Patronus, but it’s my story so I’m going with it. Because she was such a perfect metaphor for life. My life. In 2020.
Cool story, right? It gets better.
Since hitting my head, the world has looked a little different. I know I already said that, but for real. I see and experience things I never really noticed before; the variety of shades of green in the trees, the expressions of animals and people to a greater extent; music in soft background sounds, and hearts. Hearts everywhere. In rocks and shells and nuts and random patterns.
And in myself.
For weeks after the head injury, my mind was calm. No ruminating. No multi-tasking. No anxiety. I struggled to hold on to thoughts with more than one part or for more than a few moments. They were like bubbles that emerged, only to be blown into the wind, forever out of reach. But I wasn’t frustrated by it. For the first time in my life, I could see and listen with my heart because my mind was quiet. I felt truly, actually connected to the world around me.
This was a completely new experience, lemme tell you.
The concussion impacted my left auditory cortex and I began experiencing seizures shortly after. Some have taken me to the ground. Others less dramatic. I experience tremors and balance issues that were never there before and that worsen with stress. So slow, intentional, present and peaceful it has to be.
Clay, then, is the perfect physical and spiritual therapy, and provides a way to share the joy and magic of the world I experience now.
I am immensely grateful that my head injury has resulted in this—instead of all the things it could have been. There are other lingering changes, too, and on the whole they’ve brought me a new appreciation for being in the present moment and really seeing and feeling the world around me. It has forced me to stop rushing through life. To love and appreciate more. To let go of fear and pretenses. To understand and forgive. I just don’t give a shit about any of the things that used to keep me up at night. It’s a waste of this miracle of existence we’ve been given for such a short window of time.
Love is everything and everywhere if we look with our hearts and open our minds. It literally took a strong knock upside the head to finally get that. It clarified for me real quick what is worth my time and energy and what is not. There are still things absolutely worth fighting for—and I fight those fights with love and hope; optimism and humor.
So, back to the sunflower—
At the same time this sunflower was in Child’s Pose (and I guess I was, metaphorically, too), a lot was going on back at work without me. Then, on the day that sunflower bloomed, I was let go from my job.
Tell me that isn't something.
In that moment, I felt sad, sure, but I also felt a deep and immense gratitude for this only-in-2020 plot twist and chance to write my own story, in words and clay.
And I am so excited for this next chapter.
Plot Twist Pottery is a beautifully imperfect creative adventure on a soggy little farm. With jewelry inspired by the Pacific Northwest and custom ornaments that honor our hearts and tell our stories, Plot Twist Pottery celebrates the moments that feed our soul with handmade, small-batch and one-of-a kind artistic creations, crafted by hand from local clay in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
Some of those stories are in the Middle-aged Feminist Journalist Artsy Things niche. Others capture a different mood. And others are entirely your mood, based on the patterns, colors and textures that speak to you in this moment.
As we put the shop and collections together on the site over the next few weeks, you will notice the use of natural and cultural symbols—in shapes, colors, patterns and stones. The mixing of these symbols is one way we can set our intentions for the kind of energy we want to put out and receive, in a tangible way. And sometimes it’s practical, too. Like when it can also hold a scarf over that coffee stain on your favorite t-shirt.
For our soft-launch, the shop features one-of-a-kind jewelry with pendants and beads made and glazed in my studio. There are also ornaments and magnets (which double as brooches! I am very excited about this!), as well as customizable pet, state, and dumpster-fire (because it’s still 2020) ornaments and magnets. Also some other things I thought were hilarious, but it could be because we’ve all been spending * a lot * of time self-isolating this year. Like RIP Bras. And pants. And shoes.
In 2021, the shop will grow to include mixing bowls, measuring cups and spoons, mugs and crocks, plates and platters, and stories. Lots of stories. A percentage of all sales will support feminist causes and journalism education. More on that in 2021.
It takes a great deal of time, effort, and experimenting to get things right. And because Matt would like to see our kitchen table again one day, my “practice makes perfect” items will be available at a discount a couple times a year. So if you would like to laugh at and/or purchase the 17 dumpster fires that came before the final, winning design, you’re welcome to it.
And if you’d like notice when new items are added to the shop, and to know about sales and weigh in on upcoming designs and releases, please subscribe to the email newsletter, and follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Thank you for helping me make this rainbow out of 2020’s poop storms, and crawl out of Child’s Pose to rejoin the world.
Much love and gratitude,