Friday, September 23, 2011

Working Again, With a New Perspective...

I've been back in the studio for a little over a week now - and much to my relief, it's great to have my hands in clay.  To be honest, I was a little worried.  I felt no pangs for the studio while traveling this summer, no itching for something creative to throw myself into, no wandering thoughts of my idol workspace.  Okay, okay, to be fair I had plenty to keep me occupied (like 23 college students), but it was disconcerting to NOT miss the thing I spend a huge percentage of time either making or thinking about making.  And I think that's exactly what this summer showed me.  The amount of time I spent devoted to my ceramic practice was a little over the top last October - May.  So over the top, that I royally burned myself out and didn't even miss the studio ONCE while away for three months.  Lesson learned.  (I hope.)

And so the question looms large: now that I'm aware of overworking myself, how do I avoid a cronic cycle of burn-out such that I eventually end up hating the thing I was once so passionate about?  As the holidays rapidly approach, and the deadlines mount, I'm not entirely sure how to avoid working myself cross-eyed.  I do think it's important to acknowledge the regular cycles and rhythms of the retail world - this time of year is typically mayhem for anyone selling ANYTHING.  And after my extended time away, I'm refreshed, recharged and ready to have at that pile of fresh clay in my studio.  But I don't want to wake up next spring exhausted, drained and creatively sapped.  So, I'll put the question to the few of you who still have me in your blog feeds: How do you manage your time (especially around this time of year)?  What do you do to avoid burn out?  When you ARE burned out, how do you recover?

As I type, my first load of work is cooling back at the studio.  And while I'm not overly giddy with anticipation of cracking the door tomorrow afternoon, there IS a flutter of excitement.  It's there, I can feel it.  It's good to be back.

Tractor cup patiently waiting for corn sgraffito...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Anonymous Potter

Miss Anonymous...
The title of "Anonymous Potter" is fitting in a number of ways - I have certainly been anonymous from this blog, and even anonymous from the US for the past two and a half months (check out to see what I've been up to).  I just scrolled back through my posts on this blog and was shocked to realize that the last time I wrote anything here was well over a year ago.  While my own posting withered away in the spring of 2010, I have continued to be an avid blog reader (and know I'm not the only one who struggles for time to update a blog!).  But, I have a new reason to jump back into the game - I recently received the Anonymous Potter grant at the Northern Clay Center, which will provide me with studio space for the next year (yea!).  Below is a peek into my new studio space full of boxes waiting to be unpacked...

The Anonymous Potter studio space
This grant period seems like an ideal time frame to document, and I'll do my best to keep the momentum going this time.  I've been back in MN for just a few days now, but I managed to throw a few things today for an upcoming show at the Charlie Cummings Gallery - Cup: The Intimate Object VII.  

Cups patiently waiting for their surface treatments
I'm looking forward to recording the changes in my work over the next year and am excited to get some practice writing again.  So here's to my new role as the Anonymous Potter of NCC, and to my reemergence on the blogging scene!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

It's That Time of Year...

Summer sale time!  While it doesn't quite feel like summer out here just yet, the sale season has definitely begun.  We had a studio artist sale a few weekends ago at Northern Clay Center, and I'm participating in one this weekend at the Front Porch Gallery (aka my friend Anna Metcalf's front porch :) )  If you're in the area browsing the Seward garage sale madness, stop by 2813 29th Ave. and say hi!  We'll be there on Friday from 9 - 5pm and Saturday from 9 - 7pm.  There will be yummy treats, too!

Monday, May 10, 2010

There's Just Something About...

...plates all stacked up.  So satisfying :) 

And reclaim, too...

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Battle: Surface Vs. Form

First off, here are a few pics (photo credit: Scott) from the Earth Matters exhibition at NCECA - only a month after the show - ha!    It was exciting to have work in a well attended exhibit like that, and really got me thinking about my ceramics and the direction of my clay ideas...
I applied for one of the Jerome artist grants offered by the Northern Clay Center earlier this year.  I didn't get the grant - boo - but I did have the opportunity to sit down with one of the jurors, Cary Esser (who was also a McKnight resident at NCC, and is an AMAZING lady!), to talk about my proposal and my work.  I was excited to talk with Cary, because I greatly respect her opinion, and I was eager for feedback from someone rooted in the academic clay world.  At the crux of our conversation was the issue of form.  She, along with the other two jurors, felt that while my surfaces contain a strong concept, my forms do not.  I totally agree with this assessment of my pieces.  The form is a place where I just make and enjoy the material.  The surface is a place for me to think hard and set up ideas and a narrative.  While there is part of me that would like a more definite place to pull from formally, there is another part that worries my work will lose accessibility if I increase the complexity of the pots.  So, finally, here is my question:  Are there ways to pull the concept of my surfaces into the forms while keeping the pieces functional and approachable?  I think the successful marriage of surface and form is an issue for a lot of folks, especially those who put imagery on their pots.  I've had a few ideas about how to balance concept and functionality, but I'd love to hear what any of you out there have to say (and maybe how you have resolved/not resolved this in your own work)!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Good Combo!

I am definitely into this...  Found here on the Cartolleria blog.  More updates to come soon!  I've got a few pictures from NCECA (hard to believe that it was already over two weeks ago now...) and a question for all you clay people out there.  But for now, I'm off to the studio!  Happy Sunday.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Interview UP!!!

The interview I did with Connie Norman is live on her blog (thanks again for the opportunity, Connie)!  If you're interested in learning more about my work and where it comes from check out what I have to say at:  Enjoy!

Oh and a little side note:  Below is concrete proof that lowfire white clay should never (ever!!) go in a high fire gas kiln.  And yet, it somehow manages to happen every term at NCC. UGH!