Monday, July 19, 2010


I'm going to Canberra for five days to work at Canberra Glassworks and make blown glass spheres for the Swamp Cartography project.

Going away from the children is part of being an artist in this huge country. I live in a small town and everything is always happening somewhere else. But I have to say it causes me a lot of angst. Most of the time when I'm at home I feel like I am barely keeping my head above water constantly getting knocked off the tiny bit of art flotsam I'm desperately clinging to by the heavy seas of domestic life. When I'm home I cling to being an artist tightly.

It is only when I go away that I realize this is a symbiotic relationship. All the things I see as coming against me to prevent me from making pots, the demands of the children, their noise (which they are making this very second, singing "Bad Romance" with the wrong words so loudly I can hardly think!)their demands, the house and endless throwing of food into gaping mouths actually keeps me alive as an artist, and the small but essential part of me that refuses to dissolve into motherhood makes me a better mother. Going away upsets this delicate balance. Maybe I should just accept the flux between parasite and the host as a natural part of existence.

"The term symbiosis (from the Greek: σύν syn "with"; and βίωσις biosis "living") commonly describes close and often long-term interactions between different biological species. The definition of symbiosis is in flux, and the term has been applied to a wide range of biological interactions. The symbiotic relationship may be categorized as mutualistic, commensal, or parasitic in nature. Some symbiotic relationships are obligate, meaning that both symbionts entirely depend on each other for survival. For example, many lichens consist of a fungal and plant symbiont that cannot live on their own."


Ruth Quibell said...

It's a tough gig, isn't it. I like the way you put it: 'tiny bit of art flotsam'.

I have just quickly scooted around the house picking up bits of Lego while the kettle boils before I sit down to frantically write.

The house is clean and quiet, ready for work, as the kids are out with my husband, giving me a precious hour to write. Part of me misses this pre-children order and silence.

But I also know I wouldn't have this same impetus to write, and write quickly, productively, without them. And I'll be a better mother this afternoon having done what I love working on this morning.

Janet K @ Manly Gallery said...

wonderful you have the chance to go to Canberra Shannon. Congrats also on being a finalist in the Gold Coast International Ceramic Art Awards, that is one show I'll be catching!

adriana christianson said...

Hey Shannon,
it does improve!
My 'babies ' are 15,18 & 21...well done on hanging on to yr artist self.
It is a mammoth effort-you work is beautiful,keep peddling...downhill is coming.