finally saw s in his studio and asked for his advice on what kind of firing schedule to use to fire the bushes. i had also written to my former professor and asked r. i didn’t really feel comfortable trusting my research alone. most of the studio work gets fired at standard schedules, but they would be a bit too fast for my work, since it so big and also still quite wet. s went through a detailed schedule with me and even programmed the kiln on his way out. one of the reasons i am doing this residency is to learn technical skills i’ve never gotten.
so r helped me put the big bush in the kiln (unfortunately they wouldn’t both fit) and i started the first of two 24 hour soaks. it might be a a little overkill, especially after picking up the bush and realizing that it was far lighter than it looked but at least this way nothing should crack. knock on wood.
n and friend were in the studio tonight. it’s such a different atmosphere when other folks are around. i don’t always get as much done, but it’s nice.
notes: it’s freezing. i biked today and my bike is in great shape, post tune up. also, dinner tonight: organic veggies and my new favorite grain, kasha. yum!
today was the first day i was able to spend an unlimited amount of time in the studio. i didn’t spend the entire day there, running out to drop off and pick up my bike from the shop, picking up lunch on the way, and shopping at the health food store (where i picked up some grains to go with my organic coop veggies) but i did spend a fair whole lot of it. and i have to say i accomplished a lot less clay wise than i have been. there were a lot more distractions being at the studio in the day time, but for the most part they were welcome, and i did finish up the tall bush today so that pretty much ruled.
i also did a little experiment today. one of the members at the studio was interested in using gold leaf on ceramic. she wanted to fire it on. r had told her that it could be done, but wasn’t sure how to do it. together we searched on the internet and found a few threads on clay art about it. some said it couldn’t be done, some said you needed pure gold or silver, some said to fire it up to cone 022. so i gave her a little bisqued plate i had laying around and told her to use it for some testing, that we could fire it quickly in the baby test kiln. she coated it with leaf, and it looked great. we suspected it might burn off. it only took a couple of hours to fire to cone 022 in the baby kiln and before i left tonight i took a quick look. it didn’t burn off, but for some reason the plate cracked right in half. i don’t know what could have caused that, but on the up side, the gold leaf survived. i’ll investigate more tomorrow, but it seemed to stick well enough to the bisqued plate, with no addition of flux.
just a note on what it is i’m trying to do here. just saw some nice comments from someone who’s blogging i really respect and which has continually inspired me for the last couple of years. when i was abroad i checked regularly mindfully mothering blog. if you know me, you know that i’m not motherly inclined (at least not in the last 29 years.) but mindfully mothering, in addition to updating me on my great friend and her partner and 2 of the most awesome kids i’ve ever met (and i’m really not a kid person, meaning that i’m not good at pretending, or particularly fun, and kids just generally aren’t into me, but around max and bella i always feel like an awesome adult) has something special about it. that’s michelle’s awesome writing style, and her ability to always be authentic. it might be hard to see the connection but mm gave me permission to live in tokyo and not LOVE every moment of it, which was really helpful, since i wasn’t.
now i’m back, and feeling like i am taking some significant steps towards my goals, living my life in a way that feels really productive and right and i’d like to record a bit of that, for myself as well as my friends and other artists. because becoming an awesome artist is amazing but it also sucks my ass sometimes.
as i write this i am thinking about the shower i’m about to get in to wash off all the grime from a day spent hauling and stacking 10 cords (a whole freaking lot) of wood with 7 other awesome folks who are on a similiar path to mine.
i’m going to rest for awhile then head back to the studio because i’m really into it right now. there’s a 50 pound sculpture there that needs my attention because it’s going to dry out and crack up if it doesn’t get it, or parts that i’ve wetted down will turn to mush if they sit too long. it’s like a living thing and shit is coming out of my mind, my compost heap of images, experiences and knowledge to grow it.
it sounds woo woo, but i’m often, these days, experiencing “good job nicole” moments which is a little woo woo for me too.
keeping on, today i worked for over 5 hours. it feels good to get into the groove of things, but it’s also kind of shocking how long some things take. it’s easy to forget that for a seemingly simple little detail you still have to do steps 1-5 before you even attach something. i don’t mean that’s it’s easy for the viewer to overlook that point, i mean that it’s easy for me to forget. i have often looked at past work and honestly wondered how i’d done something. the last week for me has been about remembering sequence. remembering how to do. a and i often joke about the bodies of work we have in our head. but physically making the work is time consuming. it’s been very interesting to me to see the progress of 2 pieces, which will be just 2 of many in this upcoming installation. art making is very base problem solving. i kept working today thinking i would finish the bush. at the end of the day i couldn’t. i am hoping that i will be able to finish tomorrow. that would feel awesome.
yesterday after work i stopped at tijuana flats, thinking i’d pick up something real quick and head to the studio. a dish of flautas later i was so stuffed i could barely make it home. i always forget with american food you can only eat half. you must take half home or your belly will burst. you think, oh it’s so good, and there’s only a couple more bites. no, you really have to take that bit home don’t you?
i finally made it into the studio at about 9. i tried watching pushing daisies on tv, but my mind kept floating back to the bush and the big, as of yet unnamed, pile of coils in the studio. i was itching to get the bush done, so it can start drying and getting ready to be fired.
i worked for three solid hours. i got a lot of height on the coil monstrosity. this is going to be kind of a tree, but i haven’t made any leaps yet as to how it’s going to look.
the bush got some new pods on it. i left about 7 pods on a ware board hardening up all day and they got a little too hard, so i had to pitch them. i pinched out four more pods, and some “leaves” to fill in space around the the pods. I’m going to add a texture to the rest of the bush that will not make it too hard to move. i also decided to add 4 cut outs to the bottom of the bush to help with moving it.
finally getting into the swing of things, work wise. i worked a lot less, this week, and that got me four days in the studio, actually working. i may be sorry when my paycheck comes, but that’s the way it’s going to have to be. my bills are pretty minimal and i am able to stay mostly stocked with food by visiting my parents house (yum!) but this month had some major put outs, i.e. buying the 300sd and driving down to west palm to get it. pretty minimal, you might think, but i’m a paycheck to paycheck kind of girl. so i’m trying to lay as low as possible this week and hope that my pay covers next months bills. creative clay gives me a little extra cash each week, though my four hours there are so delightful, i sometimes forget i’m getting paid. i am hoping to add on a few more hours with there art link program. one of their member artists and and artist like me are linked up and create a body of work over a period of time (9 months?) and then during the summer there is a show. i was super impressed with this summer’s show. two artists i know and there art link partners made some very involved installations, one with found objects and one with sewn dolls. working on the garden path installation right now has got the wheels in my head turning about how i could work with one of cc’s artist on a full scale installation with clay or found objects. cc is a good combo of “working” and making art with a little bit of hanging out and bonding thrown in. i’ve definitely noticed when you work with other artists on a weekly basis, you start building a relationship.
anyway, the point was, trying to work less, and make art more. i’m trying. whew is it hard though sometimes. i think i should start taking snap shots each day as i leave the studio and post them here so i can see my progress over time.
of course, i love my job too. i spent the summer trying to learn as much as i could, and to get as good as i could at it so that when i got this residency i could shift my focus briefly to learning everything about it. and hopefully a great equilibrium will eventually exist.
about 2 hour chunks of work are working for me. 2 hours tuesday, thursday and today friday. making some headway on the base structures of my garden. realistically the majority of large clay stuff needs to be done in the next week so that is has time to dry. i’ve been in residence 1 month and 17 days and i’m finally starting to get some stuff done.