Thinking back to my youth, I remember almost every new school year meant we were asked to write or talk about what we did over our summer vacation. Summer vacations in the old days almost always included a family road trip-carefully planned by my parents. Maps in hand, my parents loaded up the car and would take us on a yearly vacation to see a variety of sites in the state of California. Just to name a few there was a trip to Disneyland, a trip to see the giant redwoods, and maybe the biggest trip was a visit to all the Missions the state had to offer.
I have been very remiss in keeping up with this blog, as I also manage the blog at my new studio. I have been working hard at moving our studio website over to wordpress, as iweb ( my original website builder ) is no longer being updated by Apple. Damn Them! Next I will be tackling this website, but in the meantime I thought I would update you with what I did over my “summer vacation” or I suppose I should say over the last year.
A big part of my year has been filled with making sure our studio, which I would still say is in its infancy, is running smoothly and successfully. sfclayworks our “new” studio has been growing and flourishing during the past year. We started with only one class and we now have three, plus monthly community space membership all of which are full as we speak.
Other big events at the studio are our new t-shirts that yours truly designed and finally got printed. sfclayworks was also commissioned to make some pottery for the San Francisco Opera World Premiere of Mark Adamos Opera-The Gospel of Mary Magdalene. Tickets to the performance and a back stage tour were part of our perks so we had the opportunity to see our pots in action. We also held our very first ceramics workshop with potter Ellen Shankin and we are quite pleased with how the event turned out. I think for a first go we can be proud of the fact that we did not lose our shirts and that we are now just a bit wiser as to how to organize our next workshop. We are already talking about who we might like to have as our next artist.
Personal family issues and keeping the studio running smoothly has taken up the lions share of my energy and as far as my ceramic work is concerned it has really suffered since the closure of The Clay Studio. I have never really gotten out of my funk since I made the transition from studio holder to studio business owner.
In an effort to remove myself from my everyday existence and to learn some new techniques, I headed to Sierra Nevada College in Incline Village, Nevada to take a one week ceramics workshop with the very talented artist Kristen Kieffer. One week of absolutely no responsibilities other than to learn some new things and make pottery all day long. It was nice to be free of the day to day activities that usually occupy my brain.
The workshop has been good for me, I think it is the kick start I need to get me out of my doldrums. During the week we learned about stamp making, stamping, slip sponging, paper resist, slip trailing, and altering.
I think my favorite pots from the workshop were my altered pots-a technique I knew about, but had not experimented with in a long time. It was a week of experimenting and since my return home I have been working on some stamped ware. Stamped ware, you say? Yes, stamped ware. Not sure how much I really like them, but I need to play. I think the class was what I really needed.