Filling My Bowl

 |  February 8, 2022
Bridgette Guerzon Mills | 2.8.22 visual journal page

So I have been taking a break from my studio and from social media for a few reasons. The main one is that I moved my studio from the garage/basement space to inside the house which involved packing, tossing, painting walls, moving furniture, shelves falling on me and major muscle soreness and physical tiredness. How do I accumulate so much stuff?? I’ve moved so many times and this question always comes up. I don’t get it.

But I really like my new space even though it is way smaller, which is why I had to declutter and get rid of things. Where is Marie Kondo when you need her? Actually, she would not have been much help as the accumulation of stuff is part of my creative process. But maybe that’s just what I tell myself. I have lots of natural light which I learned I desperately need for general well being, not just for making. The heat in the house is better for my arthritic joints, and the ventilation will be better. Proper ventilation is an important concern. I like breathing with healthy lungs. It’s the little things in life. (that’s sarcasm, by the way)

Today was my first day in my new space and I started it with a visual journal spread, see above. I used a print of one of my paintings from My Beloved Bowl series and added the black tape above and started writing. I ended with the question of the day, the week, the year, decade: How do I fill my bowl?

I’m probably not alone in saying that this winter seems never ending. And I love winter, so it’s odd to feel this way! I feel depleted. In order to create, I need my bowl to be filled so I can empty it out onto my canvas, paper, board, whatever. How do I fill my bowl after 2 years of a pandemic plus all the other craziness that these past years have thrown our way?

Bridgette Guerzon Mills | 1.31.22 visual journal page

This was a page I did a week or so ago. Again I used a print of one of my bowl paintings and added collaged bits and writing. I had already started my social media posting break and scrolling break. I had removed all apps except instagram from my phone. And in order to check anything, I had to get on my computer, which amazingly is something I don’t do often unless I actually have specific computer tasks that need to be done. The silence was interesting….my husband said I seemed more at ease. I don’t know. He’s generally anti-social media so I think he was just saying that. But I think he might have been on to something there. I tend to get very agitated when I read my news feed about the state of the world and my country and the environment. Agitation can lead to action or it can lead to depletion. I need to figure out how to not let it deplete me. Maybe it is about taking breaks here and there.

Bridgette Guerzon Mills, full spread in my journal

Looking at this spread made me think of maybe following this thread again about Bowls and making an artist book about meditations on filling one’s bowl. Hmmmm.

Now that I have my studio in working order, I need to figure out what’s next….

This is the poem that inspired my Beloved Bowl Series all those years ago. I still love it so very much.


Cigarette smoke hanging on
in the living room. The ship’s lights
out on the water, dimming. The stars
burning holes in the sky. Becoming ash, yes.
But it’s all right, they’re supposed to do that.
Those lights we call stars.
Burn for a time and then die.
Me hell-bent. Wishing
it were tomorrow already.
I remember my mother, God love her,
saying, Don’t wish for tomorrow.
You’re wishing your life away.
Nevertheless, I wish
for tomorrow. In all its finery.
I want sleep to come and go, smoothly.
Like passing out of the door of one car
into another. And then to wake up!
Find tomorrow in my bedroom.
I’m more tired now than I can say.
My bowl is empty. But it’s my bowl, you see,
and I love it.

-Raymond Carver

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