Monday, July 28, 2008

Sculpting a Life

Susan Gallacher-Turner’s turn in the Pacific Northwest

When I envisioned my 'new' life, I thought that it would be me, my studio, and my work. I think I was figuring that my children would be off on their own and not really needing Mom anymore. Well, things have a way of working out differently, don't they?

That's not to say that it's bad. But it's definitely different than I thought it would be. How so? Well, for starters, my children who are in their twenties, still need me. That's nice. Don't get me wrong. I still love being a Mom. I just expected that they'd tolerate my company not seek it out.

Last week, my son was going on a 10 day vacation with his girlfriend's family. The day he left, he came into the studio and asked me to go out to lunch with him. Confused, I told him there was pizza in the fridge, if he was hungry. But it wasn't about physical hunger. He said, "Mom, I'm gonna be gone till late next week. Let me take you out to lunch." How could I say no, when he was really saying he wanted to spend time with me. So, yes, I walked out of the studio and spent the rest of the afternoon with my son.

I also didn't expect they'd want my advice. But then, I don't give advice unless they ask. The funny thing is, they ask. Like today, I had this blog to write plus another one, a house to clean and studio time as well, but when the phone rang and my daughter wanted to ask me what I thought about a weird dream she'd had last night. I told her. Then, I suggested that she take some time to journal about it. She said, "Good idea, Mom. I'll do that."

Also last week, I worked at the Portland Museum of Contemporary Craft's summer art camp making masks with children ages 7-12. With clay, we rolled, pinched, and pulled out ears, noses, lips and whiskers. Then, after the clay was fired, we painted layers of colors and glued on yarn, feathers and beads. It was fun and creative. I had a great time and so, I think, did the kids.

So kids, both my own and my students, seem to still be a big part of my life. I know my mothering side comes out to advise and guide them. But when I'm doing any kind of creative problem solving, my imagination comes out too. I think that's a good thing and maybe it's helping me as much as it helps them. Perhaps, as I help sculpt their lives, I'm sculpting mine as well.

You can see some more pictures of the mask making workshop on my blog at And to see my artwork, visit my website at

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