Not the fire in the head associated with Irish whisky, although that is available if you imbibe and are not careful, I am talking about inspiration stoked by the culture, landscape, history and arts of a fascinating people. I am an unabashed devotee of the music and writers of Ireland: Turlough O'Carolan, The Chieftains, Silly Wizard, Oscar Wilde, WB Yeats, James Joyce, and Seamus Heaney to name a few. Years ago I read The Tain, an Irish epic tale, Fire in the Head: Shamanism and the Celtic Spirit by Tom Cowan and Women in Celtic Myth by Moyra Caldecott. Fascinated with the mythology presented in these stories, I vowed to visit Ireland one day. That day came in the form of a workshop with the Potters Council and the Kinsale Pottery School owned and operated by Adrian Wistreich.
Lo and behold our first workshop began with the well known and loved porcelain artist Sara Roberts who handed out a copy of the poem, "The Song of Wandering Aengus," by W.B. Yeats. My favorite Yeats poem! We were to use this poem as a reference point for our first project. The work of Sara Roberts is rooted in her love of the Irish landscape which was confirmed by a visit to her studio to glaze the project we began at the Kinsale Pottery School. Once completed Sara's dogs took us on a country walk where we were treated to the most breathtaking panoramic views of the Irish landscape and sea. The path was dotted with delightful flora and fauna, well crafted stone walls and clear blue skies, which could turn grey and rainy at any given moment.
There is so much to say about this experience that I am sure it will take a lifetime to absorb; hence, I will write about it in installments. After all it is these moments in life, large and small that ignite the Fire in the Head that guides us through our journey.
Happy creating and ask yourself, what ignites that fire for you!