Have you ever found yourself in the moment where you remember to breathe? — Not that involuntary motion that your body goes through, but the VOLUNTARY deep inhale & exhale that clears out regular circular air for fresh spring renewal? If you haven’t experienced thus recently, I encourage you to take a moment before continuing to read. Take 5 breaths…count to 5 on inhale and 5 on exhale.
Before I share the last few months with you, my body and mind need the same. Breath. A space created for renewal. The past month has proved a true whirlwind of events.
I’ve been back at STARworks now since early January — and hit the ground running with new goals, schedules & routines. My new years “resolutions” were THICK…and felt just right. I fell right in to making and started to loosen up more in the STARworks ceramic studio. New clay bodies, slips and techniques I had wanted to try but hadn’t had the courage to explore now moved through my fingers. (I HIGHLY recommend STARworks wild clay body — DARK STAR c10).
At the end of February I had the immense honor to assist Michael Sherrill & John Cummings in building this years FireFest fire sculpture. To be clear - there were many hands involved and the project will continue until the culmination of the event on April 5-6 at STARworks. However, the build is complete!
I was and continue to be humbled by opportunity to be involved in such an astounding experience. If any of you can make it out - FireFest will be an event to behold - all things fire.
Directly after this, I drove through Greenville and on to Newberry, SC to assist presenting artists, Matt Jones & Kevin Snipes, at the South Carolina Clay Conference (SCCC). SCCC always gives me a sense of coming home to ceramics in Newberry, South Carolina. Hosted by the City of Newberry, this event continues to grow conversations about ceramics
specific to SC ceramic arts and the needs that surround them. Every year I grow more attached and devoted to this conference and SC Clay. I’m already hyped up for what 2020 SCCC holds!
The following weekend, Randolph Arts Council in Asheboro, NC held the NC Potter’s Conference. Just up the road from STARworks and a few blocks from my temporary residence, I couldn’t help but absorb more — especially from some of UK’s finest Nic Collins, Lisa Hammond & Doug Fitch. Amidst it all, I was also able to work alongside the stunning Anne Pärtna from Blue Hen Pottery, nestled in the Seagrove community.
This past weekend I had my first firing in the Electrodux Kiln at STARworks with fellow resident, Micah Thanhauser. IT IS A LARGE KILN, at least in my perspective. As an artist who moves slower than your average Seagrove production potter, it takes me a bit longer to fill a kiln. Ideally one would fill the kiln for a more even firing aka better result. Since this was our first firing we put in a lot of test tiles and sacrificed a few pots for the valuable information that we learned about the kiln and the glazes under fire.
More firings are scheduled in the next few weeks! In the meantime, current successful pieces are being documented and will soon be posted on the website! Those of you who are on my email loop will have first dibs on new work purchases & sales. If you are not on the list, please click here to sign up!
Up to the current day, I have a few weeks to work before the national ceramic conference takes me away from the studio once more. ((So I'm making like a mad fiend before then.)) NCECA will be held in Minneapolis, MN the last weekend in March.
Can I take a moment to sidebar? Can I throw a mulling thought out there for you? Throughout my last residency and this one, I have multiple people refer to my time away as a vacation or adventure - as to say I’ve abandoned all sense of responsibility from a conventional life - the day job. I need to voice this and clear the air. An artist residency is NOT a vacation. Think medical residency, but setting somewhat of your own curriculum. A residency is not a walk in the park - it consists of long hours, pushing personal boundaries in your work & experiencing new environments and techniques that you’re not comfortable in. It's work. AND - it’s not a paid gig. STARworks is a rare situation because they give you the option of working part-time during a residency as financial assistance. So, I DO work somewhat of a day job, but all for the end goal of making my own work while here. To give a more concrete picture, I’ll tell you my average week. I work for STARworks a total of 26 hours a week in the gallery, cafe & ceramic studio. I arrive around 8am and usually don’t leave the premises until 8pm - six days a week and some days much much later. I have a 30 minute commute to STARworks and pay monthly rent. THIS IS A HUSTLE. I’ve chosen this hustle. For me, its a calling into a vocation that makes me ask INSANE questions and demands of myself I hadn’t even fathomed I was capable of. I am not walking into this without thinking about what I’m sacrificing but seeing valuable the potential gain. I have to at least try. What am I striving for you might ask? If you have read my previous blogs from 2017, several posts spell out some of those answers. However, through my experiences since then - I’ve streamlined that answer a bit. For the time being, as this is a sidebar, I’ll reserve my answer(s) in my next blog post.
My aim for attending NCECA is to continue to ask more questions & grow connections in the ceramic community. I am hoping that such a journey would lead way for my next steps. As of now, I’ll be returning to Greenville, SC mid-April and plan to teach classes at Greenville Center for Creative Arts & the Spartanburg Art Museum through June. If you are interested in either of these classes, please check the links to both and I would be delight to see you there! Below are a few events to keep an eye out for.:
Currently online or on location until June 29
Swamp Rabbit Spring Flea (APRIL 13 ONLY)
MAC OpenStudio Exhibit (April 26-31)
Past Open Studio participants are invited to participate in a select show for during Artisphere in Greenville, SC.