Sunday, March 27, 2016

Sunday

A time of change and rebirth... a day to celebrate renewal.
As life unfolds, I feel more and more aware, awakened to and grateful for the depths of God, and in the same time I come to recognize how very often people mystify God. In the beginning it was done to understand that which is unseen, so people began putting faces to stories, sculpting statues, painting icons and murals and have developed theories based on holy scripts in order to share knowledge (and by knowledge I mean exactly that, tangible information, resulting more from understanding and less from faith). We've made a box to hold God, each major group its own, and we drew a religious, dogmatic picture of a distant God who stands above and rules our lives with an insistently strong will.

Today at church service I heard the line "God wants us to...", and it felt like suddenly these words got spoken in a loudspeaker right next to my ears, amplified and so, so very... human.
God does not want us to... God does not want.
In our soul. That is where we will hear what we are invited to do. Each to their own calling. And I truly, truly hope, today more than ever, that we are able to undress tradition and preconceived ideas to seek the God of presence, mercy and love and surrender to this wonderful journey open heartedly.

For many, this time of year bares a sad taste dominated by sacrifice,  suffering and death. To me, it is uplifting. Death is part of life. And does not necessarily mean the end of physical existence. It can also mean the end of so many things that are toxic in our lives to eventually be resurected in freedom by abandoning our external will to surrender to our natural inner flow of love and light.

Happy Easter!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

march studio scenes// confession










Honesty is crucial. Whether we make it, show it, write it down or say it out loud, it is essential to dwell in a place of honesty in order to be the truest version of ourselves. And truth may not always be pretty. Or happy. Or even balanced. But transitioning through a heap of different emotions brought forward over the course of various stages in our lives it is essential to embrace it all with honesty, and observe it, rather than becoming an active participant.

A couple of weeks ago, I met up with my best friend for lunch. We were strolling the streets aimlessly, chatting time away. We have the gift of bouncing between silly and deep subjects seamlessly, so no discussion has ever become awkward for us. She is my person. Out of nowhere, in the middle of a random conversation I looked at her and said "I am not sure, if this is really what I want to continue on doing!", to which came the rather predictable answer of any best friend in the world: "Are you entirely out of your senses?". She is one of the few amazing blessings in my life who always supported me at my best as well as at my worst, without feeling the urge to drown me in caring advice, because she knows better, and most of all because she knows me better than that!

It was not a thought that I had premeditated. It was just a thought. A whisper that suddenly appeared and hurtled into air making a sound. I am not even sure what it means. What it refers to.

I have been witnessing a change to my workdays for a quite a while now. And when I open up the door of my kiln, I just stand and unload. I don't jump. And I don't dance. I used to. Exultantly. My work is still honest, though. It tells the story. My story. It projects feelings, highs, lows and the in-between. And the beauty of it all is, my truth changes and I am very grateful for having a form of expression through which I can therapeutically document it all. At times loud and clear, at other times more silently, absently even.

For now I have been guided to ground myself, both internally as well as externally, by digging my hands deep into a different, more forgiving clay body. The type that allows for a lot of maneuvering, twisting, turning, pinching, building. What will become of it, I do not yet know. But it feels right. And true. And real.
It is so easy to rely on our past convictions, returning always to some box of knowledge filled with what we've learned, experienced and gathered. But in an internal world (a spiritual world), which is continuously changing, evolving and progressing on its own special journey, feeling the need to move forward is inevitable and surrendering to the unknown becomes the only possible path to wander.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Open your heart

I don't claim to know much, but there is one thing I know to be true.
Responding to negative actions with hatred has one possible outcome: even more hatred. This very simple truth has been recognized in the world probably eversince it exists, and yet most of the time we are still unable to encrypt it into our hearts.

The purpose of terrorism is not killing people. Mass-killing is a tool, as well as generating a very high level of fear, but it is not the purpose. These terrible acts of violence crave our response. They stir up the entire population of the world, and live on through our general persisting reaction to them. They aim for our feedback, and the more mediatised these events are, the better they seem to hold everyone in a fear-based world. What better (and more radical) political tool then that is there? Not fair-play, but hey, it's politics after all.

All this is, of course, not to say, that we should stay passive and ignorant. How could we? It is our nature to react, and that is exactly what should be done. But instead of feeding a state of despair, which shortly closes us up in frustration and leads to becoming bitter, hateful, distrustful and incapable of real compassion and love, the only way we can contribute to a positive change is, by opening our heart and showing compassion through prayer and positive vibrations.

Shock and grieving are part of this process. These initial emotions point to you actually having a heart. It's a good thing, allow yourself to be shuddered. Acknowledge your fear, it's there. But walk past it. And open your heart in prayer or meditation (whichever silence resonates with you more, you do that). Please remember, always: love is the one reaction you can have, through which you can actually change anything in this world close to you, as well as far away. Open your loving heart! Compassion is not in your Belgian-flag profile picture on Facebook. Compassion is in your heart. Search for it within you!

Later UPDATE***

Y'all might want to read this article here. Kai is a peace worker; he was running PATRIR for years, and is now the director of Department of Peace Operation. He has a clear vision and an open heart, revealing reality in a couple of paragraphs.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Functionality


If you've been following me along here on this space, as well as on my facebook page and elsewhere, you have probably heard me say a number of times how important functionality is to me, with regard to the vessels I make (and with pretty much everything, in general). When a one of a kind hand-built dish is born and completed, I like to close my eyes, and imagine some of the uses the future owner may find for it. I believe that it is very important to be able to use that which you own. Completing your everyday life with heartfelt objects that brighten up your mealtime, coffee-break or random moments is in the end the purpose of my work. If Jasmin Blanc tableware had feelings (and in a certain sense they do...), they would sure as hell be very sad to sit in a cupboard or pantry behind closed doors, waiting nostalgically on their turn to come at Christmas time. That is a very lonely life, that I hope my pieces will never have to experience!


So I would really like to encourage you to use them, combine them with your vintage china, your glassware, style them, mix&match them, do what you've got to do to incorporate them in the general aesthetic of your home! I'd love for you to share photos with me on how you style your Jasmin Blanc ceramics, so don't be shy, share, folks, share! You guys tend to take photos all the time, so push that share/send button. See you on Facebook or Instagram. Can't wait!


Monday, March 14, 2016

Fur-ever friends


It has been two years since this gentle soul stepped into my life. And exactly on this very day, two years ago, I could finally see the end of the tunnel, and the beginning of her new life; and though I didn't know that at the time, it was a new beginning also for me...
She is my pet person, bless her wild and stubborn, gentle and cheerful soul! She loves her freedom. And I know how that feels...


You can read about part of her story here and here.

We (well, I) sort of developed this habit of taking our annual photo together to mark her day, but this year the studio gang was very keen on stealing Zsemi's thunder and happily sabotaged our photo shoot. I suspect it was due to the delightful smell of doggy treats in my hands.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Sunday



The first person I ever lost was my grandfather, the father of my mother.
We say we lose them, like they could turn up in the next moment. It took me years to pronounce the words, that three of my grandparents are dead. Instead I used the words, they moved away to the angels.

Today someone very dear to me said goodbye to someone very dear to her.
I used to wonder what can be said in these times, that would truly mean anything; words, which are more than what people say in these cases; words, which offer comfort, hope and love.

But such words in the very moment of utter numbness do not exist.
The only thing that can be offered in between the silence that hurts and the silence that heals is presence.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Arms of a woman

I am at ease in the arms of a woman.
Although now,
most of my days i spend alone.
A thousand miles,
from the place i was born.
But when she wakes me,
she takes me back home.

Now, most days,
i spend like a child.
Who's afraid of ghosts in my mind.
I know, there ain't nothing out there.
I'm still afraid to turn on the lights.

I am at ease in the arms of a woman.
Although now,
most of my days a i spend alone.
A thousand miles,
the place i was born.
When she wakes me,
she takes me back home.

A thousand miles,
the place i was born.
When she wakes me,
she takes me back home.

I am at ease in the arms of a woman.
Although now,
most of my days i spend alone.
A thousand miles,
from the place i was born.
When she wakes me,
she takes me..
Ya, when she wakes me,
she takes me back home.
When she wakes me,
she takes me back home.

Arms of a woman // Amos Lee

Once March arrives, even the smallest corners of the city get filled up with flowers, you can smell hyacinth in your sleep... Romania seems to celebrate its women quite ceremoniously, and had created a whole marketing strategy around this event. It is little like Christmas in this sense. But at least it doesn't promote weight gain, because it is more about flowers and less about chocolate (not that I have anything against chocolate). Aggressive publicity and consumerism aside, I like March, and I very much enjoy the gesture of celebrating women. Because without an occasion most people seldom do. And while I very much like receiving flowers, I am not referring to men paying more attention to women (because let's be honest, if they wait for 8th March to be forced reminded to grab a fancy bouquet, and that's pretty much all the attention they can give, well...you get the picture). I am referring to women paying more attention to other women, and most of all to themselves. If you need a man to notice you in order to feel loved, then you might want to look into that matter. Relationships are a very wonderful, yet tricky thing. And I am probably the last person you want to ask about them, because I will say all the things you do not want to hear.

But I won't go into all the things you should stop doing, because this is a happy day! I will tell you some of those, which you should do. Or at least think about them. And the question it all comes down to is for the women among you today.

Can you stand in front of a mirror as tall as you are, look to your reflection, and say firmly with a calm affirmative heart, that you love yourself? In my experience most women, when I ask them this will pop in revolt, and rebelliously reply with a question like "how can you even ask something like that, of course I don't; that would be incredibly narcissistic and egocentric of me". I am continuously astounded by the frequency of this type of response. Most women could only conceive such a distorted meaning of love toward themselves, yet they can love almost unconditionally, care beyond imagination even after having been countlessly disappointed, deceived, disillusioned and hurt. Women possess this magic ability to cry with one eye and smile with the other and still radiate with love. Just think of your mother, she will most likely be the best example of a woman with such superpower. And yet, when they are asked if they love themselves, they cannot state a confident yes. Because loving yourself is not bound to a condition. You cannot love yourself today, because you just came from the hair salon and because you have lost 5 kilos after the diet plan you've been on for the last couple of months. Loving yourself refers also to the harder times, the messy periods, the chubby-tummy-times, the cried-out-eyes-nights and the times when it truly takes energy and courage to show up for yourself. It incorporates all of that, in sickness and in health...

Love is misunderstood so incredibly many times, I find...
The notion of acceptance is much better received in this context. But you don't accept yourself. You accept the deputy that has been elected to Parliament, as you cannot change much about that (well you could, but no one cares enough to even try). You accept something that is beyond your power to alter. But you do not accept yourself.
Self love is often carelessly identified with narcissism. Which is in fact praising the self for its most astonishing (often fictional) characteristics to the extent of egoism and the development of a distinguished sense of superiority.
But love has absolutely nothing to do with either of these, dearest ones.
Establishing a healthy relationship with yourself, standing grounded in front of that 2 meters high mirror and truly confess "I love you" is the gate that will open your heart to your new world.
A world in which no other human being is needed in order for you to feel whole.
A world in which no circumstance needs to be perfect in order for you to feel blessed.
A world in which you can truly be grateful for everyone and everything that has been a part of your journey, even if only for a short while.
A world, in which YOU are enough. And you start to undress all those fears that society and your environment had raised you up in.

That is not to say, that there is no room for improvement. When there will be none, we will most likely cease to exist... But loving yourself for better and for worse, is the inducer of true change, to become the next best version of yourself, and then the next one, keeping the continuous desire to liberate your soul into creating the kindest, truest and most grateful you.




Monday, March 7, 2016

Morning

Here I came to the very edge,
where nothing at all needs saying,
everything is absorbed through weather and the sea,
and the moon swam back,
its rays all silvered,
and time and again the darkness would be broken
by the crash of a wave,
and every day on the balcony of the sea,
wings open, fire is born,
and everything is blue again like morning.

It is born // by Pablo Neruda


I can depict my soul in these whispers so clearly this morning.
As the cool young wind shook my PJs, while I was hanging fresh lavender scented clothes on the dryer out on the balcony, I closed my eyes to embrace its immense joy.

The empowering rhythm of beginnings.
Awaking.
To a fresh morning.
Monday.
To set this week free!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Sunday

"Life isn't about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself." - //George Bernard Shaw//


Every present moment represents a new occasion to start afresh, a chance for breaking the past reality, a chance for making a choice. A new choice. In darker times, when my vision becomes blurry and my flesh gets wary, I feel like in order to bring that about, the circumstances are not quite right. In brighter times, I know that  this is enough. Enough to step out. To change. To create a different reality. To follow the natural flow of my inner river. Change takes place whether we allow it, or not. The only question is are we ready to welcome it.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

berry and mango crisp



 I awoke to humming Aretha Franklin in my mind. And I knew in that misty morning moment, that today was going to be one of those days when the air smells a little more sweet, the wind caresses more tenderly than usual and suddenly life's pace changes... 

And in those first morning moments I envisioned crisp for breakfast, delicious, decadent and yet light, as breakfasts should be. I didn't plan for this the day before, so I just used what I had at hand, and boy, did I have all the right ingredients for perfection?!  

berry and mango crisp recipe

1large mango (peeled and diced)
2 cups of raspberries
the juice of half an orange
2 T honey
1 1/2 T tapioca flour
vanilla extract (to taste)

1 cup rolled oats
2 T coconut flour
2 T soy flour
4 T all purpose flour
4 T brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped nuts  (walnuts, almonds or pecan nuts)
1/2 tsp home-ground cinnamon 
1/2 cup butter (cold)

Preheat your oven to about 185 C degrees.
Combine fruit, gently mix in honey, orange juice, tapioca flour and vanilla (without softening the fruit with your spoon). Then in a separate bowl add oats, all of the different flour, sugar, nuts and cinnamon. Using your hands crumble in butter and mix with the dry ingredients until little lumps start to form. 
Gently grease an oven proof pan (or pie plate) with butter. Add the fruit mixture, then sprinkle the oat mixture on top of it. Bake until the top becomes golden brown and the fruit is bubbling on the sides of the pan (takes about 40-50 minutes).

Tips:
If you like your fruit to be juicier in the crisp then reduce the tapioca amount. If you don't normally use tapioca flour, you can substitute it with cornstarch. The reason I prefer tapioca is, because it never clogs and it makes the sauce creamier, whereas cornstarch thickens it.
I use very many different types of flour, so I usually have many of them right at hand. But you can just use whole flour, or all purpose flour in this recipe. So basically you need a total of 8 tablespoons of flour, it is up to you to choose the variety. I prefer to mix up wheat or substitute it entirely, whenever it suits the recipe, without compromising texture and quality. 



Why this combination of fruit? Well it was what I had at home, simply. I am looking forward to fresh seasonal fruit, though! Strawberries, cherries, sour cherries...oh sweet mother of fruit tarts, beware!!!
Fruit crisps make for amazing, light desserts served with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. But truth be told, I like to eat them for breakfast, topped with a couple of spoonfuls of Greek yogurt. It is like eating fruity granola, but waaay better!

Spring with your endless possibilities, I like you a lot! Happy March, you guys :)