Today we’d like to introduce you to Caroline Douglas.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Caroline. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
HEALING MY LIFE THROUGH CREATIVITY
On June 9, 2000, I sustained a serious head injury while I was decorating the gym for my daughter’s 8th-grade graduation ceremony. The cherry picker I was in at the time collapsed in on itself and crushed my head, smashing my face into its steel ladder. I tried many healing methods, many of which were effective to a point; however, being able to express my experience through art has been my main healing tool. The tactile nature of clay, the quiet time in the studio, the visionary journeys to realms to retrieve images, all contributed to my rehabilitation. As I changed the clay, the clay changed me. I feel I was given an opportunity to explore in a new way my experience with art.
My recovery took over eight years for me to feel like I could operate somewhat normally in the world and during that time I began dreaming of clay pieces that wanted to be born. I actually asked for a dream night on a New Year’s Night when everyone was making resolutions. It began that night. I would see a clay piece turning on a turntable so that I could see every side and angle. I would then wake up and make the piece. This went on for many years. Many of the images were women with animals. The women would have a calm and serene expression on their faces. As I made these faces and expressions, my nervous system could relax and I would become what I was making. Working with the clay, which is so tactile, helped me to feel grounded after such a traumatic injury had made me very ungrounded and anxious. I craved having my hands in clay, even though at the beginning I could only work with it for short times and then nap. My brain needed lots of sleep to repair itself, but the clay gave me joy, confidence, and satisfaction. Many times someone would come to my studio and feel that I had made a piece for them. Once a lady saw a large Viking boat with a standing woman and stag inside. She began to cry saying that it was made for her. She shared her story with me. She had hit a stag while driving. That same stag turned and rammed into her car, breaking the windshield and spearing her arm through the broken window. Then he ran off. This lady had been shocked and wounded in this experience but when she saw this clay piece, she knew it was for her to carry her into her next steps of healing, and the stag became her animal guide.
Almost 20 years later, I am still making pieces from dreams while sleeping or from waking dreams. My website, carolinedouglas.com has lots of information on my travel and art trips and images of current work and past archives.
I now travel widely to teach workshops in clay and creativity. I have works on exhibition in Serbia, Latvia, Morocco, and Mexico. It is my hope that people will be inspired to find their own voice through clay and be willing to show up for whatever creative experience that they love. Showing up is where the magic happens!
Our imaginations are sacred. At the deepest level, they can put us in touch with the collective unconscious that we all share. I create in clay a version of my intentions and dreams. Making something real in physical form makes it real on many levels. In my classes, we travel a journey of transformation and exploration through art to find a deeper place, a more fulfilling place- that place where stillness reigns and time stretches out and magic has its way with us. It is an alchemy of sorts, a turning of lead into gold.
Figurative clay sculpture encourages self-expression. This highly narrative medium has made a big impact on the art world in the last few decades. I am happy to be a part of this contemporary line of artists and glad to be able to watch others wake up to their love of this expressive art form.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
As I mentioned before, those 8-10 years were very challenging but also filled with transformational moments.
I fainted many times a day when I became overwhelmed. I had migraines and for a time could only talk in babble language. Much of the time, I felt like it took all I had to just survive and try not to dissociate.
Please tell us more about your artwork, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I love to share my love of clay and inspire others to just show up for their muse. I have found a way to create a life of purpose and joy through working with clay. When I take groups to Morocco or Mexico, we come alive to the sights, smells, tastes and the festivities and art around us. These stunning places delight us with new experiences that we can then incorporate into our art as if we are creating a 3-dimensional diary. In Marrakech, we visit the local flea market first off to gather trinkets and treasures to add to our pieces to make a personal talisman of the trip.
I am also a studio artist and make a living from my art. I show my work in galleries and Open Studios. I always am open for appointment as well.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I would like to travel farther, maybe to India or Bali. I dream of farther south in Africa. To explore and create art in such places would be a dream come true.
- Address: 1527 North St
Bolder, CO 80304
- Website: www.carolinedouglas.com
- Phone: 3037462530
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/carolinedouglasart
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/carolinedouglasart
- Twitter: twitter.com/caroliondouglas
Russell McDougal for all except, Me with goat taken by Jenny Mendes