The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.
— Socrates

I’ve been thinking a lot about change and transformation lately, both personal and societal. Old systems and ways of doing things are breaking down. Instead of resisting and fighting to keep things together, the better option is to stop, take a good hard look at things and release what is not working. I'm learning to trust my gut to know what needs to change and take the necessary actions to build something new, meaningful and long lasting. So it’s no wonder that ‘transformation’ ended up being the theme for my newest video project. 

I love the creative process. I marvel at artists and craftspeople who by sheer imagination, talent and effort give birth to new, beautiful and thought provoking things for all to appreciate. I particularly love ceramic arts and when I was thinking of a subject for my next video project, I contacted a local ceramic artist that I’ve long admired, Judith Motzkin, and asked her if she would be willing to work with me and was very happy when she agreed.

Judy is a dynamo as I learned when I visited her at her studio in Cambridge. She’s well known for her beautiful saggar-fired vessels, spirit urns and functional bread pots. She is less well known for her photography of the dune erosion which she’s been taking over the past thirteen years at Newcomb Hollow in Wellfleet, close to her summer home.

Judy made it clear she was not interested in being in a standard “talking head” video. We talked a bit about her dune photography and how the images she captured looked very similar to the landscapes found in her saggar-fired vessels. Judy also mentioned that while others find the erosion of the dunes very distressing, she finds it fascinating. The steep cliffs of grass, clay and sand are constantly shifting due to gravity and the barrage of strong sea winds. Each time Judy visits the dunes, she discovers new, interesting layers revealed. I see a connection between the beach erosion and the process of living life. Things must change to bring forth what is new.

I thought it might be interesting to combine Judy’s photography with her saggar-fire process and tie it together around the theme of transformation. I met Judy on a cloudy morning in April at the dunes in Wellfleet as she ran around taking photos. We then headed back to her home where I captured her unloading and loading her handmade raku kiln. With images captured that day and dune photos and video provided by Judy, I put together this final piece.  I hope you enjoy it or at least find it interesting.

Learn more about Judy and see her work.
Learn more saggar-fired process.