I love the stories of how someone decided to follow their dream or take a chance on a different life for themselves. Having done something similar, I find myself encouraging my family, my friends and people I meet to go for it. We’ve heard it all before; life’s too short, stop and smell the roses, you won’t know if you don’t try and on and on. You may find yourself going blah, blah, blah; that only works for some people but not for me. We can all get ourselves unstuck no matter what situation we find ourselves in and there is always a way even when you think there isn’t. I have come to realize that when you explore your creative side nothing becomes impossible to do, especially in life.
Gary and I have had the pleasure of meeting pottery artist, Geri Rinkel in the small, lakeside community of Kaslo in British Columbia. One day, Geri felt the overwhelming urge to make a lifestyle change. She and her husband are originally from Calgary but they fell in love with the Kootenay region after spending many years camping in the area. By deciding to make a lifestyle change, they equipped themselves with the necessary mindset and sold their home in Calgary and moved to Kaslo. Geri’s husband still works in Calgary but this is a necessary part of the transition they are making.
Next, Geri found herself quitting her job. She has always worked in the art industry, helping artists with their own needs and all the while secretly wishing to explore her own creative side. It is so powerful how the words and actions of another person, in this case a grade 5 art teacher, can quash someone’s passion in the blink of an eye. Geri finally overcame her fear of being creative and finished a two year pottery program at the Kootenay School of the Arts a mere three years ago or so. In terms of years of experience with the art, she is a young potter and this has given her the liberty to experiment with all the techniques she learned in school. In my mind a bowl, a mug, a cup, a vase, and so on, generally carry the same characteristics. It is the personal additions such as the buttons on her button mugs and the earth inspired glazes which she mixes herself that gloriously accessorizes her pieces, and this is what makes them special. I am particularly excited with how Geri incorporates her pottery into something else such as the base she made for an antique oil lamp. I think it is wonderful that this talented and obviously creative person found her way on the art scene.
Please check out our interview with Geri and find out about her inspiring story as well as the pottery journey she took to the jungle in South America.
It has been a long time since I have walked through the doors of a grade school other than to vote. Except for the obvious technological advances not much has changed over the years with the kids themselves. There were still some of the older ones lingering in the hallways trying to avoid the inevitable, and still others who had stopped to pick up late slips at the office.
School was in session when we met up with Rielle Oswald. She teaches art and music at J.V. Humpheries Elementary-Secondary School in Kaslo, B.C. As we followed a student down the hallway to her class room, we could hear her setting up her students to begin a 5 minute sketch of a boy who happily volunteered to be the model; that left us with less than 5 minutes to talk to Rielle as we didn’t want to interrupt the kids’ creative flow. I think approaching anything we do in life should be like the 5 minute sketches. It forces us to use our time wisely, stop placing so much importance on the minor details and stop imprisoning our minds.
In regards to talking with Rielle, we would have liked a little more time but like she said in her interview, “It is about circumstance and what you do with it at that moment”. I think this speaks pages about Rielle’s approach to guiding her students down the creative process path as well as her approach to her own art. The more I learn about mixed media, the more fascinated I become. The possibilities are infinite. It must be so liberating to create something from whatever is within one’s proximity at the time. Something I’m not sure about is the thought process but perhaps that is the point, there isn’t one. I imagine it to be more like a chain reaction. Rielle’s work is definitely not demure and reminds me of someone who doesn’t stumble after trends but rather, is bold enough to wear lime green or yellow in the winter. Her work is independent and confident, much like the artist her self I would imagine.
Check out her interview with Gary and me below.