Pleno Verano, also known as ‘Midsummer’ and ‘Sun Standing Still’ falls on the Summer Solstice which is the longest day of the year. I have created three limited series of teabowls and water cups to celebrate the weekend of the summer solstice. Their presentation follows the pattern of Midsummer Eve to Midsummer Day. The first series is called ‘Los Primeros Cinco‘ (the first five), inspired by the Madrid night sky, childhood wonder, young female astronomers who have largely been ignored in his-tory, stargazing, navigation of hearts and souls, by land, ocean and sea.
The second is a whimisical little series about ‘Parejas‘ (couples) – romantic, platonic, and familial but all about the love between the two who each have one of the teabowls in the five sets. The inspiration for these pieces are based upon the early to mid-summer landscapes of Spain, and the shifting priorities from city to natural places, beauty in mundane and common moments in the past year of the coronavirus pandemic. And inspiration from Thomas Moore’s book, ‘The Re-enchantment of Everyday Life’, as well as my own childhood nostalgia.
The third is the first in a new collection called ‘Never Forget‘ … this collection is about remembrance of those who have been taken from us in the ongoing culture wars in the United States. A modern American war, with historical roots in Europe and the United Kingdom, which serves white supremacy pitting minorities – First Nation, Asian, Black, Latino, etc. – against each other. Before I even created this piece, there was some controversy over the poppy which will be a recurring theme in this collection, and I was told about how significant the poppy is to Britain. I myself have loved and shared the poem of Flander’s Field. I appreciate and understand the reason why the poppy has been chosen by and designated as a symbol …. But the poppy and all it stands for pre-dates World War One, White-ness, and this series will de-colonize the depiction and significance of the flower. The poppy has ancient roots with deeper meanings in other cultures that will be highlighted and on display.
Exhibition and Open Studio – Exposición y estudio abierto
At the end of May, I moved into my new studio in a different part of the city of Madrid. With the closure of CSA La Tabacalera for renovations for four to six months, I needed a new place to do my work through the summer, and maybe winter as well (my art collective’s space has no heat). It’s located on calle Yébenes in Aluche, near the neightborhood Latina and the Casa de Campo on busy street. The other people doing their work there, and with whom I’ll be sharing space with, are also working in clay and wood.
Summer is a time to engage our Earth connection; and cultivate and deepen our connection to the divine energies all around us. In living with gratitude and understanding that reciprocity and respect for all that is given to us is, is the way to live as if all life is ceremony. In taking only what we need, and doing what we can to live in balance and harmony with the cycles of the planet, we strengthen and nourish the bond we were given a birth with the great parent who sustains us all. As we observe the blossoming of life all around us, we can receive the energy of vitality and experience awe for the generosity of the Earth, who provides for us everything that we need.
Fire, spirals, dancing, feasting, gathering plants and herbs, gather with others to create a circle or spiral, create a sun wheel or spiral made from flowers and things found in nature, keep a sacred fire burning or a candle, make a prayer stick or prayer tree, float prayer boats. I wanted to celebrate midsummer in some special way to honor the sunrise, the season, the balance between light and darkness while relishing the extended presence of the sun, and my new creative space. Since ceramics is a circular process, based on cycles and repitition, and many only see the finished pieces, I thought it might interest people to see the process taht goes into making one piece, from raw clay to finished.
For a few hours on the two days of this pop-up exhibition, I will open my studio to pull back the curtain and talk more specifically about the technical process of creating with clay. I will do some demonstrations on the pottery wheel and with handbuilding. I will answer (most) of your questions about techniques and my own specific ones. I will let interested parties put their hands in clay.
Reservations are required to come to the exhibition open studio on the hour.
You may reserve to come with a group of people, no more than 6. Or you can reserve yourself, with a friend or two for one of the one-hour spots, and I will add more people to timeslot until it is full. The last time slot for both evenings will go a little later than the others with a small celebration with some refreshments outside.
Facemasks will be required. Hand sanitizer will be available. The groups are small numbers for safe social distancing.
Thank you to all those who showed up, listened to my stories, looked at my new pieces. It means a lot to me that you took the time out of your weekend to drop by and spend it with me on the Solstice weekend. Your support and love is everything to me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
For those who weren’t able to make it and still have interest, I’ll be having a small private gathering on Sunday June 27th from 16:00 to 20:00 on a terrace. Whatsapp me if you would like to come.
Los Primeros Cinco, Parejas y Never Forget
19 – 20 Junio 2021
Exposición Pleno Verano
Calle de los Yébenes, 67
28047 Madrid, Madrid España (metro Laguna o Casa de Campo)
Reservas para visitar sábado y domingo de 11:00 a 14:00 y 18:00 a 21:30h
Whatsapp (+34) 631661108 o nichole.l.hastings (at) gmail.com