And then there was an elephant

by frogpondsrock on October 4, 2013

in Uncategorized

I think the title of this blog post really sums up what Frog Ponds Rock is all about, a title that says, “And then there was an elephant” could lead into so many avenues of conversation. So many elephants, in so many rooms.

Today I am going to a funeral, my friend is burying her son and I do not want to go.  I know I will cry and in the emotional aftermath, I will be edgy and unfocused for the rest of the day and the need for my mother will be fierce. I will force the what-ifs to go away by driving aimlessly around the city as the automatic responses needed to drive the car are soothing. When the anger at Mum’s brother bubbles up to the surface, I will silently chant, “let it go Kimmy, let it go”, because really, what is the point? You can’t argue with a megalomaniac who believes he has direct line to his God.

And my anger changes nothing.

Yesterday I used the word disabled in conjunction with my daughter for the very first time ever.

I wrote on my facebook wall, My daughter, my disabled daughter is writing about disability and fertility over at Ramp Up today.

The comments are a window into humanities collective soul.

I don’t think about my children as being disabled, I don’t think about it in the same way I did not think about Veronica falling, when she insisted on climbing giant trees as a child.

All the trees, so much height, so much fear.

In order to save my own sanity, I taught Veronica to climb safely and then I simply did not watch her climb. I would reluctantly turn and look suitably impressed, in response to her calls of “Look at me Mummy” as she was waving at me from the top of a giant pine tree. I would choke down my automatic response of, “both hands, hold on with BOTH hands” and I would give her a bright smile and a thumbs up, whilst inside I would be terrified for her.

Children, so much joy, so much fear.

My job as a parent was to teach my children to fly, to encourage them to believe that the world is theirs for the taking, to allow them to develop the courage to leap off the precipice and fly.

I think I did my job well.

My children survived my parenting, relatively unscathed, though Veronica does hoard linen, teaspoons and socks. Items that were in short supply when she was a child and we were living miles below the poverty line.

I was talking to a woman at the local school the other day, I had been into the school, teaching ceramics as part of an options program. At the end of the conversation the woman remarked, “We never knew you had this hidden talent.” Referring back of course, to the fact that she knew us when my children were small and here I was being an artist in a public place. It is much harder to vilify an artist who has a skill the school needs than it is to ostracize a family of dole bludgers. Another elephant. Another closed room.

I was much snarkier to the local doyen of small town society, a year or so ago when she commented, Oh we saw those lovely shells at that exhibition in town and I thought to myself, “those COULDN’T  have been made by OUR Kim Foale!” Real words internet, these were real words, spoken to me in a full waiting room of upstanding country folk. So many elephants. Such small rooms. So many Toyota Hiluxes in the car park.

But this is the Elephant that matters. This is the elephant that the title references. Isn’t this elephant just fabulous?

elephant

Thank you for staying with me as my words have meandered over past and present hurts, let’s skip away from all of that, and take the time to properly admire this little elephant.

I take my ceramic work very seriously, I deal with serious issues through the medium of my art, I talk about sexism and misogyny. I deal with local environmental issues and the catastrophic affects that plastic pollution is having on the ocean. I think big thoughts and I pour my soul and my heartache into my work.

This elephant of mine is pure fun.

I have been teaching a class of seven and eight year olds on Sundays at the Tasmanian Ceramics Studio in Glenorchy and the two hour class is so much fun. One little girl, Alice, told her mother that my class was the best thing she had ever done in her whole life. And so you see internet I am working under a great load of expectation here.

At the end of each class I ask the girls what they would like to make the following week and young Kate solemnly told me that she would like to make a desert full of jungle animals.

Enter the elephant.

I thought that I had best try and make some jungle animals as examples for the children to follow. There was no great weight of social commentary hanging on these animals, they were purely made as teaching devices. What does an elephant need? A trunk and big floppy ears, a horse needs a mane, a giraffe a long neck and so on.

What I didn’t expect to discover was how much I enjoyed making the elephant. How the freedom of working without any expectations was a gift that my class of children had given to me.

clay figures

I am now going to make a Noah’s Ark for my grand children for Christmas but with THREE of everything because I have three grand children. My poor husband is going to have to make me an Ark, though he doesn’t know it yet. Surely it cant be that hard to make a flat bottomed boat that a heap of clay animals can live inside?

Maybe a large shoebox is in order. We shall have to see.

I shared this image on twitter with the caption “Giant Kitty Wreaks Havoc in Local Village.”

cat and houses

Now I am off to prepare for a sad day full of sad thoughts. Thank you for reading my words and helping me to feel less sad about life, the universe and everything.

A: 42.

{ 17 comments }

Jen October 4, 2013 at 12:32 pm

Oh My Goodness. That Woman and That Comment! How ignorant. Sorry you’re feeling a bit shit at the moment. Death and reminders of loved ones no longer here will do that. But it sounds like fun teaching the kids.

Elephant's Child October 4, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Heartfelt hugs. There are always oxygen thieves like the woman who made that ignorant comment to you. Just the same, you have touched the lives of so many people in such a positive way.
Your bowl sits on my lounge room table and lights up my heart each time I stop to stroke it. And your passion and commitment to justice, equality, to preservation, to conservation, to fun and more makes a positive difference in many people’s worlds and minds.
Thank you for being you.

Elaine October 4, 2013 at 1:35 pm

Karma will get that ignorant baggage! Let it go Kimmy – at least writing about it might be somewhat cathartic. Be gentle with yourself till your bruised heart gets past this funeral. It all takes time. You and Veronica are pretty amazeballs you know.

river October 4, 2013 at 4:00 pm

He’s a beautiful little heffalump! I like your other little animals too, but what I love the most is those little houses.
Those whimsical little houses, they make me smile.
Seven and eight year olds have wonderfully creative imaginations when it comes to modelling clay.

Probably too late to say carry a huge box of tissues to the funeral.

I’m heading off to the bead shop next week, they’ll have their halloween beads in by now, and I’ll buy a few and get the skulls threaded with them as a halloween bracelet.

Beet October 4, 2013 at 4:30 pm

my courageous 19 year old daughter who was recently homeless for 2 months with a newborn after escaping domestic violence when assaulted again 4 days after giving birth was told a few weeks back that she was a burden on society for being young, single and unemployed with a new baby. They then went on to say that this sorry state was a direct reflection of my poor parenting. People are shit and they have no fucking idea how rude, hurtful and just plain ignorant their words can be.

Hope your day finds some peace in it too. Much love xx

Mrs Catch October 4, 2013 at 4:39 pm

I too have just been to a funeral that was too sad to bear. A friend of mine collapsed with an aneurysm and died. She was 50, Kim, 50! So wrong. Her barely-adult kids just broke my heart on the day.

Sad thoughts aside, I love your little elephant. She is indeed very cheering. She needs come company. How about string tails to follow each other, linked trunk to tail, as they go up to the ark. Things are always better when there’s a hand (tail?) to hold, don’t you think?

Susieq October 4, 2013 at 5:53 pm

This elephant and that cat and that horse and those buildings are all just so beautiful that they make

me

ache.

Thank you.

Alison October 4, 2013 at 6:19 pm

Some of your elephants made me angry. But the last one made me smile.

I am so very sorry about the funeral and your friend. Terrible beyond all comprehension to lose a child.

Sharon @ Funken Wagnel October 4, 2013 at 8:15 pm

I do love your elephant, and like above readers, some of those comments make my blood boil.

Good luck at the funeral, I’m so sorry for yours and your friend’s loss.

Denyse October 4, 2013 at 8:36 pm

Oh Kim, I just want to say that you are. Awesome and that your connections through ceramics & sculpture at the school with those kids is wonderful news.. Many hugs from me to you. Denyse
PS what ever happened to “if you haven’t got anything nice to say, don’t say it” woman in waiting room is an ignorant dill.

Toushka lee October 4, 2013 at 10:02 pm

Stupid people and their backhanded compliments.
It has been too long since I’ve visited. You or your blog. I apologise.
Sending all the love and hugs the internet allows.

I hope husband knows what a cubit is.

nikki October 4, 2013 at 11:34 pm

sorry for your friend’s loss.
the elephant and the other animals.. the work with children and the ark.
art for fun is still art. and for children.. probably the most important art of all. =)
(can’t believe that woman’s comment. wow)

Happy Elf Mom October 6, 2013 at 11:51 am

Noah took SEVEN of each clean sort of animal onto the Ark, so it’s ok not to have just two of everything, I figure. The children will be delighted with their presents!

I hope people are learning from you, and I don’t just mean about how to make ceramics. Blessings to you, friend. :)

kakka October 6, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Totally loving the elephant, the cat and the miniature village. You are one talented lady, and talented people are often misunderstood by ignorant others in our community. I am sorry that there is so much other crap happening, so many elephants in the room. I am however so happy that you get to share you amazing talent with children, including your grandchildren, after all, their energy and love is and should be inspiration for us all. Hugs to you Kim xxxx

jebaru October 29, 2013 at 8:21 pm

I’m afraid this post now makes me feel faint.

frogpondsrock October 30, 2013 at 6:16 am

Oh stop it. AND you will be pleased to know (if you ever stop having an attack of the vapours everytime someone says elephant) that TINY tiny accident with the elephant has led me down a whole new creative avenue. You actually did me a favour.

jebaru October 30, 2013 at 8:02 pm

*Nonchalantly sauntering in to say* Well, yeah, I MEANT to do that. *Saunters out to vaporise again* xox

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