so as i begin this post, i have to admit-- i've been living in GA for FOUR months now, and this blog has been on my to-do list almost the entire time! that being said, i have been extremely busy and i promise to myself and my readers; i will try to keep up with life and blogs as i did with my china blog.
so after my virgina-ohio road trip ended it was time to spend quality time with my awesome family and friends before i moved out of the state. to be honest it was in these last couple weeks as a michigan resident that i realized, i may not ever have a place in michigan (besides a room in my parents house) to call my own. my time there became much more precious...
my wonderful mother and father hosted a graduation/going away/pottery sale-- it was a total success i mean people i hadn't seen in YEARS came, played corn-hole, relaxed, ate great food, bought pots. it was the best gathering i've been to in awhile. it meant so much! THANKS MOM AND DAD!!! it was really nice to be able to explain and show friends and family what i am doing. getting people involved and aware of my work was fun. the most exciting part of the party was seeing all of my pots go home with so many of my loved ones :) thank you to all who came out and supported this little artist's BIG move. all of the profits went to getting me on my feet down here, and i honestly don't know how i would have done it otherwise! oh and i am sure my parents thank you for getting all of those pots out of their garage! ha!
welcome to atlanta where the playa's play. --ludacris. if i were witty i could come up with some fun clay version on those lyrics. anywhoo--
so yes, after graduation i moved to hot-lanta and started working at MudFire Clayworks studio and gallery. MudFire is a wonderful community of ceramic artists. it is a membership based open-studio, open to clay people of all levels. members range from "never touched clay" to "been potting for years". we don't run on a class schedule, it is come as you please and get one-on-one lessons :) my position as a resident artist at MudFire is a wonderfully fitting first step in the ceramic world. it was important to me that after graduation i continued to make work, and get some experience outside of academia -- long term goals being grad school, and teaching at the university level. but man did i need a break from school. to be honest a break that will last a few years.
when entering MudFire for the first time, the first thing that i noticed was, DAMN THIS STUDIO IS CLEAN! it is a beautiful studio with a lot of natural light, open area for wheels and handbuilding tables, very large selection of glazes, stacked kiln room, and MANY smiling faces. oh and how could i forget a snack area.
the residency at MudFire has me working one day a week as a "ranger". ranger? you ask-- well, rangers are there to help you, make sure you're having fun, and keep the studio running smooth and safe--safe, mainly meaning keeping levels of dust at an ultimate LOW. for those clay folk reading this, you know that dust is our enemy, especially when we plan on having a career in clay for the rest of our lives. so a normal shift includes teaching beginner lessons, giving demos. loading and unloading kilns, mixing glazes and studio upkeep. also helping run the gallery, which is very exciting for me. i get really excited when UPS or FedEx deliveries come in, it's always like christmas morning. having access to a wonderful clay gallery that always has fantastic work being featured is really inspirational. i go into the gallery often :)
all of this lovey gooshing-- and i havent even gotten to the best part-- THE PEOPLE!!!! its really great being in a place where everyone is in their "happy place" no one is there because that have to be, there is no stress-out for critique or getting a grade. we hang out, talk clay, talk life, have a few beers, eat food, and play with clay. i also work with wonderful people, the other rangers are great-love em all! - and Erik and Luba are just fantastic people to work for. they have really done a great job with this studio, and i am happy to help keep it that way! Luba has a wonderfully contagious laugh, which i am sure it has progressively grown from being married to Erik, a true funny-guy. --if your reading this-- YOU GUYS ROCK!
i have been getting a lot of positive feedback on my teaching and my demos, which is reassuring. i also really like teaching, again-reassuring. i have always said this, but even more so here at MudFire, it is exciting for me to see people develop as we work together on learning the methods of clay. MudFire is also my "happy place".
oh!! and MudFire hosts amazing hands-on workshops 4-5 times a year. i am so lucky to be able to audit and observe these workshops. this summer Paul Andrew Wandless gave a work shop on image transfers on clay-- go figure-- right up my alley :) :) working with screen printing on clay. he also taught mono-printing with plaster slabs and casting slip. Paul is a great guy, he works and teaches in Chicago, IL. and just this passed weekend was the Deborah Schwartzkopf workshop. she has always been one of my favorite ceramic artists, and a big inspiration of mine. so that was nice to be able to watch her work. interacting with both artists has been great! MudFire also just released the 2013 workshop schedule, and let me tell you--- I AM PUMPED. first off-- ERIN FURIMSKY(bold surfaces)!!! Charlie Cummings(digital clay), Martha Grover(undulating), and Michael Kline(working fluidly).
here's a link for more info on those workshops!!
as for my personal clay-work while i have been at MudFire-- i came down here knowing that i wanted to focus on developing a functional line. after working so hard on my show, racking my brain for explanations of why i was making what i was, and putting it all down in words. i knew that it would feel really great to go back to what i initially fell in love with, and that is functional pottery.oh to give my academic brain a rest for a bit. it feels like playing, and i like that. i am very conscientious of the relationship between my new line of pottery and the sculptural design of my thesis show. i like where it is headed, but as i always say-- everything is an experiment and it will continue to evolve.
ALSO, who could have guessed it?-- i'm sure all of you. OF COURSE, i got the itch, and am now working on some altered vessels while i simultaneously work utilitarian. the altered vessels are moving slow since i am working on two separate bodies of work. but it is nice to alternate between the two. :) hopefully the blog posts will keep coming and i can keep you all up-to-date with the development of both my functional and decorative lines.
so here's some BIG galli-MudFire news----- my solo show opens tomorrow in gallery and online at noon. It is a collection of some of my functional work that i have made since being here. :)
here is the direct link to the show::
also with this comes my permanent page in the online gallery, which i will be continuously add work to during my residency. i will try to post blogs and facebook updates as my work is uploaded online. :)
here is the direct link to my MudFire page::
although i think it could go without saying,-- all things are good down here in the south!
as always, peace and love.
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.
its been awhile since i last posted. i'm badd.
welp, i'm back from my second trip to china... and it was even more mind blowing than the first. i returned to michigan and back to school. now its time to make work for my bfa thesis show in april. i am sharing the gallery with the great meghan borland... check out her site http://www.meghanborland.com/
upon my return from china it was time to start preparing for the drawing clay workshop we put on here at CMU. malcolm mobutu smith, justin rothshank, and israel davis were a great three-some. i had an amazing time getting to know them and observing their techniques. the drawing clay workshop's focus was on surface design. malcom did some direct transfers with slip on some of his sculptures, justin adds decals to his thrown utilitarian wares, and israel screen prints on slabs for sculpture and slab-built pots! it was soo good. check out the photos below!
as for my work since my return from china.. i am still working with thrown and altered vessels in sets, with more focus on surface design (my sweet hounds-tooth underglaze decals i had made in china! wooo!) ANDDD i have created a plaster prototype from a sketch i played around with in china.. that was fun turning a sketch of just a simple shape into a three dimensional form. fun stuff. i then made the mold.. and now i am slip casting like crazy. its fun.
it is now spring break at cmu, which is no break for me... i have moved my studio into the "bfa space" across the street from our studio.. since the studio is closed over break. i. must. continue. to. make. =)
this is exciting news!! meghan and i are traveling down to columbus ohio tomorrow.. i'm going to swing by OSU and visit nathan kirk mark and josh. check out the studio there.. and see the bfa thesis exhibition which nathan is in!! woohoo go nason! i havent seen these guys since china, so i'm pumped. while i'm down there i am also picking up 20 gallons of casting slip at half the price i could get it here. thats sweet! it should be a nice little road trip.
well ive got to get back to the clay... it felt good to blog a bit... so here's some photos. i hope you enjoy!
ahhh NCECA only 23 days away!
peace and love,
it was back in april 2010 i was reading the ceramics monthly article about karen swyler. love her work. her forms are elegant, light and beautiful, i also think her work is quiet stylish. i can see having her work in my home someday. but she talked about her method of resist she uses for her crisp lines. she uses automotive detail tape and painters tape. i started using the painters tape on all of my altered/darted vessels. i also used alot of wax resist as well. and i searched for what was called 'automotive detail tape' in CM. and couldnt find it. about a year had gone by and the article popped into my head when i was trying to figure out the fine line i wanted going through my line one (set of 3). i talked my way into finding what i think they were talking about... vinal pinstriping. you know the tiny lines going down the side of cars... well, it worked great. and i have continues to work with it. its great! i went into napa auto parts the other day to stock up for china, got talking to the man about what i was doing with it, blv me he was really confused originally, and i bought him out of all the 1/8 in and then he pointed me into the direction of 'multistripes'. i figured, hey why not. i see quiet a bit of possibilities ahead with this stuff! how exciting!
heres a sneak peak...
current cerama-crushes- nick bivins, jeff campana, deb schwartzkopf, tara wilson, christa assad, erin furimsky (in no order)
current go-to for studio jams: KiD CuDi, Man On The Moon: The End Of Day
last movie seen in the theater: crazy stupid love. SEE IT NOW!!
nicknames: galli, gal, steph
hometown: shelby twp MI (metro detroit area)
best parents ever, steve and tina, always entertaining younger sister allana.. couldnt live without them
favorite colors- orange and green together & seprate, RED, and for clothing i like grey
jumping out of my skin....
I leave may 24th... ill be studying at the jingdezhen ceramics institute for 3 weeks then traveling china for the next 2 1/2 weeks.
now only if this semester would end so i can actually have time to be excited!
this was my second nceca conference, first being last year in philly. i fell in love last year, being surrounded by other clay-people and all of the amazing work i was exposed to, not to mention all of the lectures and demos.
this year i was headed to tampa alone. i referred to it as my independent cerama-vaca. it was great, i took on the conference with only my interests in mind... then of course partied hard with the ever so awesome ceramic community, was introduced to many great people through my professor and good friend, greg stahly. although brief and hazy, these connections are inspiring in themselves as i cant wait to continue to network and keep in touch through the years.
the location cant even compare to last years conference in philly, tampa had some issues, most of the openings being a bus ride away... the conference was a bit too spread out. that would be my only complaint. i definitely got more out of this years conference. the biggest impact on my own work being my one-on-one crit with john gill. what a man. crazy in a very awesome way. i was beyond nervous, but as we sat for 30 mins talking about my work (as i secretly recorded it with my iphone) he basically tore my work apart, (with the occasional... "now this right here, this is working" and "now thats a nice pot" seeing the alt veiw of a pot he had already seen) he got to know me, and pointed out relationships between myself and my work that i hadnt even ever begun to touch on. VERY SMART MAN.
i came back from nceca driven, inspired, and ready for a mature direction change in my work. immediately i got to work. and while clay has always made me happy. for once i had this feeling i had never had before... something beyond excitement.. i made two sets of thrown and altered vessels inspired by the female figure and 1950s high fashion. figuring out the surface design was fairly easy as i knew i wanted to keep it pretty simple, but my need to use my bright color palette fought me on this one. as my bfa crit was approaching i decided to play it safe, and i believe that was a good call... sticking with black and white on these beginning sets was safe but appropriate as well. overall i am completely happy with the outcome. and actually really shocked that nothing tragic happened with glaze malfunction during the firing. the black stain i am using in my black glaze contains cobalt, and when the transparent i am using was applied over top, the cobalt was pulled out and there is a blue haze to all of the pieces. while many people said they love it, and how beautiful it is, this was not my intent, but i will not complain bc this being the only upset i have with the glaze, ill take it. i will agree it is a nice effect and would be beautiful on the appropriate piece, this is not what my forms are calling for. but again, my first attempt at these... pretty successful. :)
my work now has direction, and i feel that is the beginning to making mature work. i see this as a step in the right direction. and a baby one at that... as i plan on pushing these forms and sets so much further.