March 12, 2012

Member Monday: Meet

Buffy Hall

Hi, my name is Buffy Hall and I live in "Foat Wuth", Tx with my wonderful (long suffering) husband, John. I have two kids; a 23 year old son who technically lives with us so he can knock down some pretty horrendous school loans, but who we seldom actually see. It seems like he's always either working or with his lovely girlfriend, so I only know he's been in the house when the Laundry Fairy leaves me a big basket of presents. I also have a daughter who is 27, who does her own laundry and lives and works in Addison with one of my fuzzy grandchildren, Birdie. I also share my life, couch and pillow with my 2 cats, Oreo and Spanky, plus my 2 canine grandchildren, Zeke the Wonderdog and Walter, the English Bulldog.

My favorite bowl ever: Starry Night


Working as an Artist is actually my third career. First I was an RN for 12 years, working in labor and delivery for a time, (ask me about my John Peter Smith stories some time) but most of my career was in home health. Unfortunately, I had to give up nursing for medical reasons when rheumatoid arthritis made working too painful. Career number two was as Attilla the Mom, Scourge of Teenagers Everywhere. I attended a gazillion ballet recitals and showed palomino horses with my daughter and was the team mom to an ever increasing numbers of sweaty boys, as my son played high school and club level volleyball for four years. So, now you know I can stop your bleeding, tie pointe shoes, braid a mane, shovel manure by the ton, yell creative suggestions at refs in more than one sport and wash 22 uniforms and 44 sweaty socks in a single night. I am awesome and pretty much nothing scares me now.

Newest cross design: Bound Cross


I believe that career number three was literally a gift from God. I was bored out of my mind once my son went off to college at TCU. I went from crazy busy to just kind of crazy in a month. It was brutal and I was starting to have some trouble with depression and insomnia. In desperation I gave in to a friend's nagging to sign up for a pottery class thinking at least it would be a good Mom-Daughter Bonding thing to do for a few Saturdays. The joke was on me though because about thirty minutes into the first class I was totally fascinated and in love with clay. So much so that I went right home after class and announced to my very surprised spouse that I was buying a kiln.

Favorite full coverage glass fused cross


I think of myself as a multiple personality artist because I really can't decide which medium I like best, glass or clay. I work with art and dichroic glass because of the endless creative possibilities with their colors and textures. I work with clay because I just love that I can cut, tear, squish, pinch, beat or even roll it out with a rolling pin. And the day that I figured out how to fuse glass directly onto a glazed clay surface was one of the best days of my life! I call this combination "Glass Fused Ceramics" and am very proud that (as far as I know) I am the only artist in the area that can do what I do.

Cobalt blue Chai symbol for Life: L'Chaim means "to life!" in Hebrew


The best part of working with clay (no pun intended) is that it emotionally grounds me. There's just no other way to describe how it can balance my mood, calm me when I'm wound up and disconnect my brain from all the scary stuff out there that bombards us all every day. I find that it's simply impossible to stay in a bad mood or indulge my worries when I am working with clay. I reserve breaking glass with a hammer for those days when I have some frustrations to get out… Works really well too!

Rachel's wedding bowl


I credit the combination of working in both glass and clay with helping me keep my positive outlook and sense of humor intact. It hasn't always been like that for me though. Suddenly losing what I thought would be my life's work as a nurse was very hard for me. All at once I lost my purpose, my sense of identity and had to deal with going from independent one day to needing help getting dressed the next. I had a tough couple of years until my medications got everything under control physically. It took a really good therapist, who happened to be a Deacon in my church, to help me learn how to reconnect with myself and cope with all these changes, using prayer and meditation.

Not to sound completely overdramatic or make anyone uncomfortable, but I believe now that I had to have everything torn down around me before I could get down to the basics and finally see the artistic gifts God has blessed me with. Now when I walk into my studio, with all the walls covered with crosses that I've made, I feel an immediate sense of peace and calm. I believe that there is great power in symbolism and that creating them is my life's purpose now. That's why so much of my work carries religious symbolism and a positive message.

This one hangs in my kitchen. B-)


Being accepted into EFW three years ago was an important step in validating myself as an artist in my own mind and means the world to me. Finding a group of people that understand what makes me tick because they live with it too, people who can appreciate what I do and give it value has helped grow my confidence in my own abilities exponentially. I no longer feel like the resident weirdo or that I'm fruitlessly trying to be an artist. Being a part of EFW has helped me become secure in my confidence that I already am an Artist.

You can find my work on my studio site: www.LaughingCrafter.com and my blog on my newest site: www.IndieArtTexas.com. I also have a studio Facebook page at Facebook.com/laughingcrafter