Summer Happenings…

This has been my grad school motto thus far...

This has been my grad school motto thus far…

So my first year of Grad School is officially all done, and I learned a few things. Which really is a good thing, seeing as how I’m back in school and all…

First off I learned that updating the blog is just not going to happen while I’m in school. Mostly because I’m really busy and have other priorities. Such as eating and sleeping. But also because things are changing so quickly with me and my work, and I simply need time to digest it all. In the studio one minute I think “Eureka! This is IT. I’m really on to something.” Then the next minute, I want to rip it apart. Literally. So I’m going to try and spare you all from the eclectic “hot-mess” that is my studio life, until I feel a little more at home with it.

However, in the mean-time I wanted to let you know of a few cool things I have coming up this summer:

First up is Watershed!!! I am so very thrilled to be one of four artists invited by Martina Lantin and Joshua Hebbert to the first session of the season at Watershed, from June 7-19. The theme for this session is Collective Making, and I will be joined by fellow invited artists Patrick Coughlin, Bryan Hopkins and Elenor Wilson. I’ve always wanted to go to Watershed, and have heard great things about both Joshua and Martina, so I really can’t wait. And, after a year of feeling pulled in so many different directions (studio, classes, teaching, etc.) it is going to be such a treat to have a full two weeks of pure, unadulterated studio time.  I promise to take lots of pictures and post them here when I’m done.

After Watershed, I’m heading up to the Great White North for a visit home. I’m most looking forward to seeing family and friends again, but I’m also really excited to be giving a workshop in my home town of London, Ontario (we have a Thames River and everything).  This two-day, hands-on workshop which is hosted by the London Potters Guild, will be held at the fantastic new London Clay Arts Centre (LCAC). Through the tenacity and vision of its members, after 13 long years, the LCAC is now housed in a guild-owned and operated, state-of-the-art, 7,000 square foot facility in the heart of London’s Old East Village. It is a beautiful space and a fantastic community, and I’m honoured to be giving a workshop there.

Date: Saturday, June 27 & June 28, 2015
Time: 9:30 am to 4:00 pm both days

>> Learn more and register here. 

Here We Go…

#1 on my list of things I never want to do again!

#1 on my list of things I never want to do again!

Sorry for the radio silence over the past month folks, but it has truly been one for the record books. Here is a brief recap of the last month via the stats:

  • 5226 kilometers (3247 miles) of driving
  • 4 provinces
  • 8 states
  • 1 border
  • 1 broken transmission
  • 1 new car
  • 1 UHaul truck
  • 1 ferry ride
  • 1 new apartment
  • 6 bottles of bourbon (not all consumed yet!)
  • 39 cups of coffee
  • 1 new studio
  • Many new friends.

Oh, and approximately one million bugs on the windshield.

After a bit of a rough start (my old car drew its last breath just 2 hours into the first leg of my trip), I have finally arrived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana – my home for the next three years as I attend graduate school at LSU.  I’ve spent the past 10+ days settling into both my new home and my new studio, getting to know the town (which I’ve largely been doing via the many wonderful places to eat here!), and adjusting to the heat. Any personal qualms I had about wearing shorts went out the window within the first day of arrival, as the average high here has been around 36C with a humidity level of about 84%!

The past few days have been full of various orientations at school, and seeing that I’ve been out of school for over a decade and went to a pretty small art college (less than 1000 students) I’ve been making a concerted effort to join in everything I can here at LSU, and really soak in all the things that a big school like LSU has to offer (more on that later…).

Classes start Monday – and I am equal parts excited and terrified. When in doubt, I plan on falling back on the school saying/motto:

GEAUX TIGERS!

NCECA 2014

It’s hard to say what the highlights were for me at NCECA this year, as everything about it was great. From the shows, to the talks, to the demos, and all the great people I met, not to mention the great food and general good times that Milwaukee had to offer, it was a fantastic experience, and it’s going to take me a while to process it all.

Luckily I came home with some new tools to help bring my new ideas to fruition…

I'm a sucker for new tools, and the resource hall at NCECA always obliges!

I’m a sucker for new tools, and the resource hall at NCECA always obliges!

NCECA Bound!

NCECA Milwaukee

Thanks to the generous support of the Ontario Arts Council, I am heading down to NCECA tomorrow! This will be only my second time going, so I’m still a relative NCECA newbie. Last year when I went down to Houston, I barely knew anyone—this year (thanks to all the great people I’ve met through Medalta) it’s a different story. Plus, it’s in Milwaukee this year, which is apparently the beer capital of the US… I’ve never been a huge beer drinker, but I think that might be because I haven’t done enough research. I like research.

If you are going to be there, I am helping out at Medalta’s booth (booth T40 in the resource hall), so stop by and say hi.

Montana

(Or: mountains, clay, mountains, bourbon, clay, mountains, clay)

I recently took a little jaunt down to Montana—to visit a couple of schools for the great MFA search, check out the clay scene in general, and, of course, see the Archie Bray Institute.

After my 40-hour driving odyssey to get from Ontario to Alberta, the 7 hours from Medicine Hat to Missoula was a comparative breeze; although I must admit, that I wasn’t quite prepared for the massive stretches of landscape where no human habitation was evident… Montana is the 4th largest state in size, but ranks only 44th population wise (its population finally passed 1 million in 2012!).

Needless to say, it is a beautiful place, and, even though I’ve never been a “mountain kinda gal” (more into lakes personally), I can honestly really see myself living there.  I mean seriously, where else can you find such an amazing concentration of incredible ceramic artists/craftspeople/potters within what is essentially a 3-hour radius? Add to that, beautiful scenery, cheap bourbon, and the ability to buy bottles of wine in your local coffee shop, and I’m pretty much sold.

Both the schools I visited (the University of Montana with Julia Galloway, Trey Hill and Beth Lo, and Montana State University with Josh DeWeese and Jeremy Hatch) have great people and programs, so I’m going to have some tough choices ahead…

Here are a few pics from my trip:

1000 Miles Apart

I was up in Calgary last week for the 1000 Miles Apart conference—it’s an annual student run conference, that alternates locations every year between ACAD, Red Deer College, the University of Regina, and the University of Manitoba.

It was great to get out of the studio for a few days, spend some time in the “big city” and meet new people. Although it meant three full days out of the studio, it was totally worth it—it’s amazing how much you learn from watching someone else demonstrate and talk about their work and influences.

The presenters this year were Sean O’ConnellRyan McKerley and Steve Gorman, and I learned something new from each of them—a new technique here, a new tool there, or a new way of thinking about things.

But now the fingernails are getting too long and it’s time to get my hands dirty again!

Medalta Bound

In a matter of days I’ll be on my way West to Medicine Hat Alberta, where I have been accepted as one of six, year long artists in residence at Medalta Potteries.

I’ve spent the last two weeks dashing around visiting family and friends before the road trip West, so I really haven’t had much time to process the fact that I am moving to the other side of the country. Now that the car is packed (my years of experience tightly packing a glaze kiln sure came in handy there), I can take a few deep breaths and actually start to get excited.

It’s hard to say what I’m most looking forward to—between the kilns, great studio spaces and all the history at Medalta, there is a lot of scope for awesomeness.  However, if I have to pick one thing that I’m most looking forward to, I’d say it is the community of artists and makers. I’m really looking forward to being surrounded by people who make ceramics a full-time pursuit—there is something about the energy and camaraderie that exists when a group of artists are all working together in a shared space. I can’t wait to get started.

Medalta Crock