bumping up against rainbows: my solo exhibition in shigaraki:)

studio day

ok, i’ve been working full time for about a month now.  in theory it’s not many more hours but it’s really kicking my ass.  i feel the days passing, get up, go to work, take care of mundane tasks, get into bed, restart.  it’s not a nice feeling.  there is so little time to just “be around” the studio.  the salt and soda kiln have been fired in the last week and i wasn’t present for either.  it’s not the one job, of course, it’s just that between working in sarasota, with the commuting, and part time at creative clay, and one day the the clay co my days are packed and i’m starting to feel a little claustrophobic.  i love all the things i do but everyone needs a little spare time right?  ok, my pity party is over.  today i did have the day off and i got to work in the studio for the majority of it.  i finished up a third in the chicken butt series and started a fourth.  j- and i are going to fire the soda kiln this weekend and i’m hopeing to get all four of them in.  i’m always pushing it to the last minute with firings…

number 3

number 3

family

family

summer time in the studio.

our a.i.r. studios are burning up about now.  st. pete clay is housed in a big red brick train station from the 1920’s.  up front where the member studios, retail galleries and highwater clay are housed is air conditioned but walking back through the building, once you hit the kiln room, it’s nothing but toasty. i spent most of the day at the studio today but after an hour or so i had to run out for beverages.  using my sweet rolling sculpture stands i moved everything up front.  when sabo left to go back to alaska his space transitioned into a small work area for classes or overheated a.i.r.s so that’s where i set up.  went and got some vitamin water and um, regular water and got back to work.

it was great to spend the whole day working in the studio.  right now is kind of a transitional time.  during this residency i have worked really hard to “be around” as much as possible and not take this time or space for granted.  i had a really good job situation, working part time with benefits at my main job and part time at creative clay but recently, due to the crazy economy, i had to go full time to keep my benifits.  not that i’m complaining.  i am definitely thankful that there was a position for me to transition into.  now i have the task ahead of me to continue to be around and continue learning with less time.  i know this summer will be tough, and i’ll struggle to keep my nose to the grindstone.  so far though, being at work more has made me feel more motivated to get into the studio in the time i do have.

i’m preparing for my end of residency show.  it’s not officially scheduled yet but will be in early fall, september or so.  hard to believe i’ve been at this 9 monthes.  i have learned so much, made a lot of work and done a few shows.  by the time i put that solo show up, fill up a whole gallery with shit i made, i think i will be pretty satisfied with my experience.

i’m also putting together some little guys for the annual flower and garden sale next next weekend.  my  parents are obsessed with gardening so they separated out some baby succulent plants for me to make some pots for.  i’m not much of a vessel maker but hopefully they’ll be sweet.

drawing for new sculptures

drawing for new sculptures

first one

first one

succulent planters-before:

085

stay tuned for the after….

after the longest week ever.

seriously, last week was long.  i was bummed out to miss art basel in miami but life on the west coast of florida was busy enough.  at work we were being observed, at the studio we were preparing for the sale and i was preparing my own art work for the sale.  whoo, i was really running on low!

finally yesterday i had a bit of a break.  well, recently a half day is as close to a day off as i get but i’ll take what i can get.  i worked in the morning at creative clay.  we are still book making.  i know we will have to move onto something different but i’ve so enjoyed seeing m improve her skills.

afterwards i went to mazzaro’s italian deli to get something for lunch.  i’ve been hearing about this place since i moved here, but hadn’t yet been.  it was like walking into italy.  i was able to find my favorite cheese from when i was traveling in italy (romano fresca with pepper corns) not to mention arancini (sicilian rice balls) and italian tuna.  these were the things i would buy (with a roll or loaf of bread) and carry around in my bag to eat for lunch in some scenic spot.  you know how it is.  the only thing i didn’t find, but i’ll have to look next time, is white anchovies.  the arancini were very similiar to my family’s except that they had way too much cheese in them!

i relaxed the rest of the day, stepping out for an errand or two, and this morning, finally i was back to 100%.

whew!

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.

ok, i’m out.

stress.

right now is kind of hard.  i am getting benefits starting dec. 1st.  so i need to work at least 25 hours a week.  usually i am working more, because i need the money, but i am trying to scale back.  i am at the clay studio one day a week and at creative clay one day a week.  at the moment, when i finish working, i just want to chill, and not think about making work.  i’m feeling a lot of frustration.  i want to have a whole day to work in the studio.  and i think i need a whole day to do nothing and to be completely alone but there are not enough days in the week.

i applied and was accepted to kara walker tome’s next show 10 x 10 in west palm beach in mid november.  i am creating a large scale sculpture installation of a garden out of white glazed earthenware.  i have the picture in my head and am so excited to work on it.  on top of the clay sculpture i’m going to add materials like gravel, crocheted yarn, sand, etc.  i just want there to be a lot of layers.  i worked on the mock up tuesday and the main layout is done.  now i just need to create the main sculpture pieces so i can start adding detail.  i am so lazy, i just wanted to do detail work.  i spent a few hours coiling the other day, and then ended up balling it all up and pinching the mock up out of it.  i just wanted to warm up.  once i really took the layout in i realized that i’m going to have to make some temporary slump molds.  i think those big exercise bowls will work and maybe some big trashcans and/or plastic storage bins.

folk fest and emt practice

today i went up to folk fest with sarah, marianne, brad and jamie.  it was great to get to share my st. pete with them.  folk fest is put on by creative clay, an art center for folks with developmental disabilities.  i’m working there a very short 4 hours per week.  i am so in love with this center though and as soon as time allows i hope to up my hours with them.  i teach in house once a week and we’ve been making cloth bound books.  everyone has really different abilites and talents so it’s always a challenge to see what we’ll come up with.  i’m excited to get this batch of books into the last pressing and to see the finished product.

after walking through folk fest and getting some lunch at chang mai we walked over to my new place.  this was the first time for me to do the walk.  it was great, but i’ll definitely be biking for the most part.  we actually chilled in my apartment for a few minutes.  i’m excited to move in this week.  it’s small but i think it will do the trick.  the only draw back to my place is that it’s furnished.  one the one hand, it’s very useful to have the microwave, tv, etc be there, because i don’t feel the need to own these types of objects, but having all the furniture is rough.  i really miss MY stuff, since i’ve been without it for the past 3 years, and i’d prefer to furnish my place myself.  but the price is right and i’m hoping my landlady will work with me after i’ve been there awhile.

on the way home we ran into traffic twice.  on the side of i75 we passed a family pulled over.  marianne said “should we see if they need any help?”  a young women seemed to be getting sick.  so we stopped and offered them water but they said they were ok.  we probably scared them more than anything.  especially when, just as we were getting back into the car, jenna suddenly pulled over out of no where.  suddenly this poor family was surrounded on all sides by team sarasota.  we talked for awhile, probably totally freaking this family out, since they got themselved together and into their car, and finally headed home.  haha.  marianne is an emt after all.

low fire earthenware slip

today i got out of work in time to go to general mold to pick up some slip.  this was one of my first times to venture out of my comfort zone in st. pete.  generally i go between the 22nd st. and 5th st. along central ave.  so i’m getting the idea that there is a lot more to st. pete than downtown.

so i dropped off my slip.  my 24 days in residence have consisted of a lot of stopping in and dropping off.  i haven’t accomplished much between my 6 initial training days and today.  working as much as i do, dog sitting and commuting between st. pete and sarasota has not lent itself to productivity.  but i’m not making excuses.  in less than a week i’ll live a 9 block walk from the clay co. with no dependent puppies.

i built a set of coddle boards and  poured one plaster mold.  i need more and then i’ll cast beer glasses which will be embellished with penis’, vaginas and information about curable stds.  there are also 2 interesting events i’d like to submit proposals to.  there is a lot going on right now but so far it is just enough.

one place where i have been able to accomplish quite a bit is creative clay.  i’ve been working with some of the member artists on making books.  we started out with a simple pamphlet stich and cardstock covers with colored tape embellishments, but the other week my dad helped me build a book press and we’ve started making cloth covered books.  we made quite a few quarter sized books and there is a 8 x 12 cover drying right now.  a book press is basically 2 peices of plywood which you can sandwich together and then secure with hardware to sqeeze them tight.  i used 4 inch screws so i can add more boards and therefore make more books at one time.

life is not easy but it’s interesting.

it’s been a long time since i’ve written.  since i last wrote i’ve returned to the u.s. for the foreseeable future, started working again, got a second job teaching art part time, was accepted as an artist in residence at st. pete clay company.  in two weeks i’ll move to a small apartment in st. pete down the street from the studio.  i guess that’s the good stuff, in a nut shell.  it was hard to leave tokyo.  there was a moment where i knew i had to do it but it never felt easy.  it felt like getting torn out.  like a norplant stuck in scar tissue.  it sucked.  the hardest part was leaving masa, my partner of three years.  he understood, i guess.  it sounds cliche, but it would have been easier if he had been angry.  i had gotten so far away from knowing what it was that i wanted and he was the best thing in my life.  but unfortunately for me, having an awesome, kind, good hearted, respectful partner wasn’t enough for me. 

i got to the point in january or february where i thought my head was going to explode.  when i started crying at a saizarya in roppongi, my friend kiyomi wasn’t fazed.  she just told me i needed to stop thinking and just listen to my heart.  and that whatever i decided my friends and partner would support me.  that was exactly what i needed to hear.  i had gone over the facts a million times.  the people, relationships, money.  but at the end of the day, i couldn’t DEDUCE the right answer.  the answer was what it was and the facts were beside the point.   thanks for that kiyomi.

i went into a kind of hibrination when i got back.  i was totally broke, so i didn’t call anyone, didn’t visit the east coast, just concentrated all my efforts on getting back to work and making money.  i also forced myself to keep my nose to the grindstone in creating the best application and support materials i could for st. pete clay and following up on ads i saw online for arty jobs, and checked craigslist everyday. 

in tokyo, i don’t think i ever stopped trying.  but somehow, despite the energy i put in, none of it seemed to come back to me.  my game seemed to be off.  there were good times and good things but i couldn’t seem to get the big picture together. 

suddenly, the energy i’d been putting out in florida all summer came back to me to the extreme.  life is messy and imperfect but right now i have the opportunity to work on many things i am interested in and a chance to follow my passion.  and i am able to make some money doing it. 

 

it’s complicated.  but in my heart, it feels good.