This is a question I was asked while talking amongst fellow artists at a meeting for organizing a CT Nasty Women Exhibition.
I wasnt sure sure how to answer it at the time, but I thought it was a fantastic question.
After pondering the the question for a few days, I realized the moment that being an "artist" felt most concrete for me. It was when I was applying for my passport in 2015 and they asked for an occupation. I remember my heart fluttering when I wrote "artist" and the immedediate self doubt that came rushing afterwards, realizing I wrote it in pen. Art is such an odd profession in this regard--where we question our validity.
When I was in school it was easy to say I'm an art major. It was a crutch, like dipping my toe without fully committing to the title of "artist," and the possible (and entirely made up in my head) backlash from the public telling me otherwise. As if there's an authoritative crowd out there to tell me I'm not an artist....why do I and so many of my peers feel like that's a thing?
Notice I didn't say the title felt real after graduating with my art degree. It's probably because art school doesn't actually prepare you to be an artist, but rather teaches you how to talk about it, why it matters, and how to technically do it (some art schools don't even do that). Still, it doesn't teach you how to BE it. I think only you can do that.
So to all my artist peers out there, its as easy as taking a deep breath and saying:
"I'm an artist."
And when you meet new people and they ask what do you do, say "I'm an artist." I promise it gets easier the more you do it. You might feel the need to follow up that statement with validations like mentioning your latest exhibit, but fear not! It's not required. Most people respond, "Oh, that's really cool!"
And it is. We're cool people y'all. So here's to being artists, in all our anxiety-filled glory!
I've returned to my most favorite way of working with clay:
It's a slow, methodical process. I shied away from it because there's only but so fast you can go. However, with the challenge of making pots sans wheel, I found it fitting into my aesthetic now more than ever.
I'm so happy with how this big guy turned out! I left some of the coil texture on the outside and added some slothy goodness to the bottom for a sweet surprise. I've got two more bowls to glaze fire; one with a dancing sloth and one with a kitty cat. They take up quite a bit of real estate in the tiny kiln, so they're all taking turns.
Cant wait to see those glazed!
I've decided to start offering made to order mugs! I've found my groove in the studio since the move back in May, which means I can start rolling out some new ideas!
This candy corn party mug is the first, super fitting for the upcoming season. It'll only be available for the month of september so act fast if this is your jam :)
I'll be adding a few other made to order mugs to the etsy shop soon. What would you like to see?
I have been using porcelain all year, and it took a while to realize I wanted a darker clay body. Thats when i found a recipe for chocolate porcelain while i was at school. It was great while it lasted, but I've officially finished up the last of it! Since it's not a clay that's readily available by my suppliers, I decided to give earthenware a go.
And I love it!
It's warmer, cozier, and definitely more my vibe. I'm surprised it took me so long to try it out! Now that I know my love for red clay is real, I'll be trying a few different ones available to me. What's really cool is most of the red clays around here are locally sourced.
Here's to red clay adventures!
When I'm putzing around the studio and don't know what to draw on a pot, I let my mind wander. I lay out all my colors and play with patterns. I try different ways of mark making, with different tools.
I've always loved clouds, so naturally rainbows come next. I might sit on this idea for a bit! What would you like to see drawn on a pot?
The last month of the postbac was dedicated to exploration and my professor was adamant about hand building my forms to match my aesthetic. During that month I gave it a go but hated the outcome. I think It was because I was working in white clay and only tried a half a dozen forms. BUT now that I'm working my way through all of my left over clay so I can get to what I REALLY want, I tried slabs again. And I kinda love it.
Something about working in a richer, warmer, darker clay body has me swooning over these wabi sabi playful pots. I tried slabs for a few reasons besides the looks. I don't currently own a wheel, the studio doesn't have heating (and who knows how long I'll have access to it....just saying), nor a sink, and sometimes I don't really like throwing *gasp*.
But with hand building everything, I'm not dependent on a wheel or a location that can tolerate it. I can make where ever I can take my rolling pin! Also, I really reeeaally missed hand building. That's how I made all of my sculptures! So, here's to slabs :D
So My time at UMass Dartmouth has come to and end and a new chapter has begun! This will be where I work for the foreseeable future. My friends Miguel Benitez and Ninh Truong are also working out of this lovely garage set up, all thanks to Miguel and his mom! It has taken a little getting used to, but It's great to be sharing a studio with my clay mates from undergrad once again :)
I had a blast! I really enjoyed Old Wethersfield--it's so picturesque. I was nervous about setting up the tent, but a few vendors graciously lent a hand, setting the tone for a lovely festival. I'm looking forward to adding to my set up!
As part of the curriculum for UMass Dartmouth's post baccalaureate program, we have to find a location and put together a show. It proved to be quite the challenge, but we made it work. I am so so so happy with the results of our efforts! The reception had a great turn out and some of my friends and family even made the drive up from CT <3
A huge thank you again to all of those who came by and made the show possible!
NCECA is the event I look forward to every year! It is the BEST event for a young ceramicist eager for inspiration. What is it you may ask? It's a four day conference focused on the education of ceramics. AKA a muddy gathering of people who love clay in a city who's willing to have their downtown transformed into a dirty paradise. The committee gets as many galleries and businesses as they can to showcase sculptural and functional wares. In addition to that, there's panel discussions, demos, workshops, schools/residency/programs to talk to, vendors in the industry--not to mention all the parties that go on! It's really great.
This year it was in Kansas City, MO. I made sure to try out some BBQ, because what does CT know about BBQ? :P Anywhosies, here's some photos from my trip!
I'm TOTALLY looking forward the NCECA 2017, which will be in Portland OR! It'll be my first time on the west coast :). The conference hops all around the country so it doubles as a way for me to see different parts of the USA.
One last thing, The Phantastics played for the Potter's Dance (another annual thing NCECA does) and you HAVE to check them out. Slightly obsessed. I bought a shirt and a CD. No regrets.
Maybe I'll see you there next year!
Artist and maker discussing art and making. Peeks into my studio life, professional tips I stumble upon, and discussions about contemporary art and craft.