so the last time i posted i was prepping for my show and getting ready to leave for the NCECA conference in seatlle, wa. and to no surprise... the conference was wonderful. i sat in on great demos, lectures, and panel discussions. i learned plenty, had a helpful one-on-one critique with Glenda Taylor, went to plenty of exhibitions..AND HAD A CHINA REUNION!!! this was my third NCECA conference, and each year it gets more exciting as my network of friends within the ceramic community continues to grow. i will try everything in my power to not miss a conference, ever!
upon my return from the conference, it was time to bust out the remainder of work for my show. at this point i had cast over 70 of my forms and also completed alteration and construction of my thrown sets, it was time for surface design and construction of my gallery furniture. one of appealing aspects of slip casting was the idea of experimentation with the surface, since i was able to mass produce the pieces, it took the preciousness away from the individual in the way i wasn't extremely attached and the pressure to not 'mess it up'. so i went pretty crazy with colors, layers.. i even started to experiment with lusters and sandblasting. i really had no idea what everything looked like together because as soon as they came out of the kiln, they were stored away for safe keeping.
the installation for the show came up so quickly and i finished decorating just in time. as installation week was beginning, i, along with the help of mister greg stahly, constructed two large free stanging pedestals, four 6ft cleat mounted wall shelves, along with a few smaller wall mounted shelves.
it was installation week, and it was then i finally got to see everything come to life. it was the first time i had seen my ideas translated from my head to paper to physical being. i really had out done myself, i was proud to see that all of my hard work and tedious perfectionism finally pay off. the day of the openeing will always be one of the greatest days of my life.
meghan and i had a HUGE turnout for the opening. friends and family from all over the region were there. and then it was time for the in gallery artist talk--im wanting to delete this as im typing it bc i know if anne(gallery director and capstone professor) reads this, she will regret the A she gave me.-- so the "talk" was suposed to be well thought out, outlined, and prepared. none of which is what came out of my mouth. okayy--well thought out, maybe. i had tried to put it all out on paper, but it had just never seemed right. so i went in blind and i winged it. i felt that i knew my work good enough that reading off a note card would just be akward. i will say after seeing it recorded, i could have cut out about 20 "umms" but i feel it went well.
the show was up for 3 weeks. i found excuses to go into the gallery alomst every day. i soaked it all in. i was done, all i had to do was walk down an isle and grab my fake degree and boom, BFA in the bag!
it was so hard leaving mount pleasant MI, the place i had called home for 8 years of my life. but the hardest goodbye was to the studio, and to my professors, most of all my mentor greg stahly. it boggles my mind that just 3 years ago i sat at a potters wheel for the first time. and now my life is clay. greg has a very specific teaching style, at times i found frustrating but in the long run i am thankful for. i learned to problem solve for myself, he was never going to give me the answer i wanted, but he aided me in finding the direction to take in my research. he made me learn. and i know that is why i am where i am today. someday, i will take after greg in someways, as i go on to teach.
okay, that got kind of sappy. sorry. onward-- after graduation i took a nice road trip out to virgina. to visit the wonderful, Donna Polseno. Donna is an amazing ceramic artist who i was ever so luck to have met and made a strong connection with while i was in china. i went down to assist her during Women Working With Clay, the second annual symposium, which she directed.
along side Donna, the symposium hosted Mary Barringer, Ellen Shankin, Lisa Clauge and Tip Toland. it was wonderful to see these ladies work, and listen to their experiences within the ceramics field. i also was able to get to know each of them fairly well within the 4 days we spent together. one thing i have learned in the past year is how important networking is. i know that when the word 'networking' comes to mind for some people in other fields, they cringe. not this chick, i love meeting new people. and even more i love to see other peoples work.
after the symposium was over, i was able to spend sometime in floyd, VA. where Donna and her husband Rick Hensley live and have their studio. it is a very charming, small town in the Appalachian Mountains, or more specifically the Blue Ridge Mountains. i cannot begin to explain- nor can pictures provide the breathtaking beauty and fresh air that i experienced while visiting. i was also able to spend time with and get to know Donna and Rick's current apprentices, Justine and Hona. i am excited to say that there is some planning in the works for me in floyd. :)
it was a wonderful road trip that lead me to columbus, OH. where i spent some time with my china buds, nathan and kirk. it is always a party when im swinging by ohio state!
oh--"wonderful" might be pushing it as the appropriate adjective, seeing as though somewhere along my trip i picked up bed bugs.. wait, those really exist?? yes, my dear friends, they do. but besides that, the trip was a great way to begin my next chapter i like to call, "bfa in my back pocket-what next?"
for now, i am off to ATL, GA. new state, new studio.