Blog: As the Wheel Turns

Festina Lente!

Experiences take a lifetime to absorb whether or not we realize it at the moment. My trip to Italy in 2013 with the Potter's Council was one such event.  As artists or makers of things, as I like to call people who create, we are consciously or unconsciously hunter-gatherers, searching for meaning and ideas which will then be translated into our work.  Ironically the influence is not always visual.  Sounds, sensations and sometimes a word or phrase can set off a whole host of inspirations. Festina Lente was one such phrase that had an impact on my thinking.

As our guide led us through the streets of Florence we came to an obelisk in front of Santa Maria Novella church surrounded by four turtles at the center of the base. According to our guide, Cosimo I 'de Medici borrowed the phrase Festina Lente from the Roman emperors Augustus and Titus, as his family motto. Festina Lente translates as Make Haste Slowly. I love this phrase and it became embedded in my memory.

As artists, whatever our medium happens to be, there is a great deal of time spent in set up and clean up. The frustration for me in this process is the desire to spend more time creating rather than being weighed down by the more mundane aspects of practice so I often rush through this time and it is in the "haste" that mistakes are made!  Even in the USA we have our own Ben Franklin to remind us that "Haste Makes Waste."  So as I meander through my "day in clay" the Medici motto blazons in my mind reminding me to be thoughtful, thorough and most of all enjoy the process, while carefully avoiding careless mistakes! Until next post, Happy Creating and Make Haste Slowly! For more information, check out The Florentine online and see what they have to say about Festina Lente.

 Santa Maria Novella in Florence (Firenze), photo by me.

Santa Maria Novella in Florence (Firenze), photo by me.

 Detail of turtles on the obelisk. Photos by me.

Detail of turtles on the obelisk. Photos by me.