I feel honored and delighted to be highlighted as an Art Docent. This organization has been, and continues to be, a source of inspiration, learning opportunities and just good fun for me.
Now I’m thinking… “Where and when did my interest in art begin?”
I had some amazing teachers, the first being my Mom. She always encouraged us to make things. With whatever we had around the house. And she would drop whatever she was doing to help us find the materials we needed. And then gave us the freedom to just “go for it”. She also led by example, sketching, painting and taking photos. And, my 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Graf, in her class we would work hard to earn points. These points added up to a ceramic green ware piece of our choosing that we got to clean and glaze. I worked so hard for that tiger figurine so I could give it to my Grandma for Christmas.
Learning how to appreciate art came a little later. In Jr High we took a field trip to an art museum in San Francisco. It was there that I encountered modern art. I still so vividly recall the very large rectangle, solid and glossy lavender leaning against the wall. Thinking, “This is art???” Not in a disparaging way, but curious. I just did not “get it”. Some Art Docent lessons would have served me well back then! Fortunately, I met an amazing woman and dear friend, Anita. I was living in Japan at the time and she took me under her wing. Anita loves and lives art. She taught me how to visit an art museum. Before, I had felt an obligation to stop and look at and try to understand… EVERY. SINGLE. PIECE. It felt heavy. Anita said, “Lilli, just look at the ones that catch your eye.” And then she gave me my first lessons in art appreciation. She taught me the vocabulary of art; she created a historical context for the art and the artists. My art light bulb was turned on!
Many years later, back in California, I was inspired to learn pottery making. I love working with clay. The heavy coolness, the “moldabilty” and the forgiving nature of the clay, appealed to me. Not to mention the anticipation during the wait of the final glaze firing. Having a general idea of how I hope the piece will turn out and yet, the letting go of expectations, knowing that it is out of my hands and the intertwined reactions of the clay, glaze and heat of the kiln will do what they will. Sometimes disappointment, but mor
e often than not it is more than I expected.
As we all know, “Things change.”
I was so lucky to marry my wonderful husband John. And we were blessed with our lovely children, Zach in 2004 and Julia in 2008. Free time to work with clay would have to wait. Life was chugging along.
Then, in July of 2010, I had a stroke. I could not use my right arm and my legs did not work properly. But the biggest thing that changed was my vision and perception. Walls that I “knew” should be straight were now arching over my head. My left eye was paralyzed. It was surreal.
During the most intense time of healing and rehabilitation I also had the luxury of time to simply reflect. Quite honestly, it was a gift. My life today is richer because of it.
Art fully entered my life again in 2013 when I was introduced to the Art Docents. This incredibly generous, warm and well organized group and the beautifully thoughtful people in it, have contributed so much to my own personal growth. Not only my ever-growing understanding of art, but also my confidence in public speaking and digging a little deeper to understand myself. A special “Thank You” to my training class and teachers!
And once again I am playing with my clay. I make little rocks out of clay. They are called Lillistones. Each handmade and unique I leave them out in the open as gifts, a little unexpected find. They have traveled the world. These little stones bring me such joy! From their creation, to their distribution, to hearing a story from a finder. Every single one of them has these words pressed into them, “say good, do good, be good”. Why these words? I believe they are powerful, simple and concrete. They cross all borders and need no explanation. They are my North Star.
Thank you for letting me share my story.
Art Docent Class of 2013
“Why these words?
I believe they are powerful, simple and concrete.
They cross all borders and need no explanation.
They are my North Star.”