Mud on the Wall

My daughters have a way of telling me that not only are we, as a family, not normal, but they wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Today, I wasn't here...

Back from the show in Hartford, CT and a frightening view into the economic fear of our friends of the arts...

It was great to see all of our buddies in the art show community after the winter- lots of hugs and laughs and stories to share!

Victoria, in her role as missionary for the adventure, was telling the story of our Paducah move and should probably get a commission for each inquiry she generates for the Artist Relocation Program there... She is a natural inspirational speaker and probably could have filled two buses by Sunday!

Today, in the midst of the freezing rain and the slush, I find myself thinking about storefronts and how we will move people toward our upcoming place of business. We will have a porch that virtually touches the sidewalk but that means that the actual windows that people would be looking in are an additional 3 feet up in the air and 8 feet away. How do we attract the eye into the gallery and the Kookie Bar?

Today, as I'm in the sculpture studio at Skidmore college, I'm thinking about which type of kiln I should plan for and how to fire the larger work that I'm doing now. Wondering what the new Art School that is moving into Paducah will emphasize and if there will be opportunities for me to teach.

Today, while I'm making dinner and running out through the snow to monitor the kiln in the barn, I'm thinking about what it will be like to cook with vegetables from our own garden again... thinking about how to include a chicken coop in the back... thinking about warmer days.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Next time, we'll try the beer...

Here it is, Saturday Afternoon, (tea time actually), and the NCECA conference has come to it's timely end... (NCECA is the huge annual conference for all of the clay people and educators- people from all over the world!).

We spent all of Tuesday driving (11 hours) from upstate New York to get to Pittsburg. Victoria got us an internet deal at the Hilton, a scant (and brisk) 10 blocks from the conference!

I walked over to the convention center on Wednesday morning and spent the day talking to vendors about kilns and clay and glaze and all of the things that no one but a clay person has any interest in at all! Spent a minimum amount of money (<$35) on tools and brushes and things like that... picked up about 40 pounds of printed materials! Stayed right up to 5pm, when they closed the hall. It was a good wednesday! I quizzed all of the folks with the ceramics engineering degrees about the possible merits of kiln coatings and layerings and heat sinks getting, predictably, a host of different responses and no new clarity. Damn.

Walked home and we walked from the hotel to a little hole-in-the-wall Greek place for dinner and then back to rest.

Thursday the Seminars, classes, and panels began and I moved through the day, up to 6:30pm, without a break, (or a cup of coffee), listening, taking notes like I was 19, and chatting with some interesting and amazing artists. Hung out with Sandy Brown (from england) after she was done with her demo! Saw pictures of the new wood kiln that Bill just built in North Carolina, and ended up with lots to think about.

Friday was much like Thursday, with the exception that I bumped into William Shin doing a demo with an extruder that stopped me in my tracks! I ended up getting a great 'at the Show' deal from my friends at the Clay Center in Tacoma, WA (Thanks!) on a new extruder of my own!

Stopped and looked at the Orton Box Show- all of the submissions have to fit in one of the old 3" by 3" by 6" cone boxes. Met the curator and she encouraged me to send in something for the next show. No one actually used a cone in their sculpture (a natural, I thought). Ducked in to the 'la Mesa' show as well and enjoyed that as well. A gallery in Santa Fe has put together the show of items for the table- all for sale- ranging from about $40 to $2500. Saturday, Xan, after seeing the show, bought a plate of her own at the show... she has such good taste!

I spent a bunch of time chatting with people about workshop possibilities (teaching) and networking in the Kentucky part of the country... met even more charming people!
Clay people are the best!

Victoria asked me at lunch, on Saturday, if I had fun at the conference. I thought about it. I had a good time. I enjoyed so much of it but it wasn't 'fun'. Maybe if I had traveled to the show with a group from a school, or if I was meeting buddies from other parts of the country and hanging out, or even if I'd been here before and wasn't so intent on seeing everything on my list... you see, next year will be fun!

I did really enjoy walking up and down in the city with my family and finding a nifty place to share our evening meal... I really wish that Victoria was feeling better! They tell me the beers here are tremendous...

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

On the side of Light (ing)...

After finding an actual limit to the excuses for not actually accomplishing the task of re-shooting all of the photos for my work, I went out and bought $25 worth of plumbing parts and constructed an full-sized photo booth for product. I made it out of 3/4 inch PVC Pipe and, after carefully marking all of the parts, fully intend to take it apart and re-use it again later!

I have a couple of borrowed photo umbrellas (the type that you bounce the light off of so that there is no reflection on the surface of things) and a borrowed tripod. I painted my own transition background after pricing it out... and I'm using a cheap little digital camera that actually belongs to my youngest daughter, Xan!

With Victoria sick and on a nearby couch, I was able to try different lighting scenarios and upload them to the computer and have her eagle eye critique of the background vs. object texture... She is good! Always my best editor!

At the end of a full day of this exercise, I have done all of the items that sit on a surface and have re-set the lighting to shoot the things that hang on the walls (tomorrows fun). Aside from the acrobatics of climbing in and out of the lighting and hanging each item, it seems like it works as advertised... Please comment on these shots and lend me your collective wisdom!

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