Thursday, June 26, 2014

It Feels Like I'm On A Roll . . .

Or How Getting Up Off My Duff and Putting My Work Out There Paid Off. 

It certainly pays to have a studio mate who is “heads up” for you. My studio mate for the past 8 years or so, Tyrell Collins, recently emailed me a link to the California Arts Council website where they conveniently have a list, “Opportunities”. Under this, they list the possible exhibitions, grants, residencies for all sorts of artists - visual artists, writers, dancers, musicians – from galleries, museums, performance halls all over the world. What a gold mine! I couldn’t believe I hadn’t been aware of this before.

The exhibition she wanted me to look into was one for my work in clay, which I have subsequently entered. I won’t know about that until the end of July so I’m not going to jinx it by mentioning more now. While going down the list of other upcoming exhibitions, I found this sponsored by Art 4 All People and the Commonweal Institute for Art and Healing Gallery in Bolinas, California - MUSE: The Art of Transformation and Healing. They were looking for work that somehow speaks to the healing properties of art. Besides entering the work, they asked for a short statement about how art has healed us.

Art as healer? Hasn’t this been the underlying (if not specific) theme throughout my creative life? And yes, specifically in my series of 2 dimensional mixed media pieces, Protector/Betrayer, created just after I was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1990. Three pieces of this series were finished just in time to be shown along with 16 other mixed media works at the 1991- 92 German exhibition, Aspekte der Gegenwartskunst in den USA. Since that time, I’ve only shown this work in Open Studios. One sold during Open Studios several years ago. Two hang prominently in our home and the last, I keep in the studio to remind me how far I’ve come since that first diagnosis, and that I am truly a survivor. Here is the series in the order in which they were created.

One Out of Nine - hanging at home

2800 Rads - currently in the studio

Jewel Of Hope - hanging at home

Myth of the Cure - sold

I entered the first three to be juried. And this is the one chosen for the exhibition.

Jewel of Hope

I deliver the piece to the Commonweal Gallery tomorrow. The exhibition opens on Saturday, June 28 through Sunday, September 28. The opening reception is on Saturday, July 12. For more information about the goings on – workshops, music, performances, films – please go to this website:

So I really do feel like I’m on a roll here . . .

Or as my dad used to say, as only he would . . .  “A Kaiser roll.”

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

They Came. They Saw. They Purchased . . .

Or How I Learned to Stop Kvetching and Love Open Studios.

Studio Cleaned Up for Display

After two days of opening my studio to people coming and going, friends and the general public generally milling about, taking in the scope of my newest work in clay, offering many positive responses not only about the work but also about the studio itself (“So clean.” “Beautiful floors.” “Your studio has the best light of all we’ve seen in this building.” “Do you work here?”), I had a moment to sit and take in what had transpired. With the Master Copy of the price list in hand, I saw that I had sold 10 of the 32 pieces which were displayed and 2 which weren’t for sale but had caught the eyes of a couple of insistent buyers.

Needless to say, I was thrilled. Each sale meant a part of me was going home to live with someone who found a piece that was irresistible. Here are a few of those special works.

Earth Erupted - stoneware, pinched/torn, glaze, oxides

Empty Nest - porcelain, pinched/torn/coiled, glazes, oxides

Dawnrise Nest - porcelain, pinched/torn/embellished, glaze, oxides

Inside of Dawnrise Nest

Aquatic Aerie - white stoneware, pinched/torn/embellished, glaze, oxides

Water Lilies Nested - stoneware, pinched/torn/embellished, glazes, oxides

Inside Water Lilies Nested

Deep Sea Nesting - white stoneware, pinched/torn/coiled/embellished, glazes, oxides

Lotus Landscape - stoneware, handbuilt/torn, glazes, oxides

With these sales, I am encouraged not only to continue creating my nests and eggs, but also to find new venues to market my work. I have to admit marketing isn’t my favorite thing to do, but with this exceptional success, I really should try and ride the wave. 

Now, if only I could find where I put that surfboard.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before. . .

Or Don’t Believe What I Say, Just What I do.

Ready for Pro Arts Open Studios 2014

Those of you who know me well or who follow this blog know I have a love/hate relationship (well, hate maybe too strong a description) with Pro Arts East Bay Open Studios. Every year, after of taking a good 2-3 weeks to prepare the studio for outside viewers; spending two exhausting 7 hour days mostly standing on my feet, chatting with friends and strangers about everything from my work to THEIR work, to the weather, or the A’s/Giants, or the price of potatoes; and then another 2-3 weeks putting the studio back in working order (now, where did I put the ­­­­___________?) I tell everyone within earshot, “This is the LAST TIME I do Open Studios. You heard it here first.”

And every year it seems something happens to change that very firm pronouncement.

This year, two things happened. The first was a shocker. After doing Open Studios in our expansive 2200 Adeline live/work and work lofts building with only one or two other artists for years, this year 10+ signed up! How could I not be part of this massive “block party”? I honestly couldn’t say “no”.

And then, much to my surprise, another bump came from having my work on the wall at the Pro Arts Gallery along with the 400+ artists who are participating in EBOS. This year it was a bit more challenging putting up something representative because the Pro Arts people insisted we hang an actual piece as opposed to just putting up a picture or poster of our work. After I deemed this wall piece, Broken Dreams, made specifically for the 16”x16” square each of us had for display too fragile, I went with plan B.

Plan A - Broken Dreams - porcelain with glazes and oxides on painted masonite

Plan B - Eggs & Nests -  stoneware, porcelain with glazes & oxides

The glass whatnot box provided a perfect shelter for three of my new Egg/Nest series. Unfortunately, its mirrored back wall doesn’t lend itself to a good, clean picture, but it gives you an idea.

But more importantly, this display caught the eye of Aimee Le Duc, Director of the Berkeley Art Center, where, this year, BAC began a new partnership with Pro Arts to showcase the breadth of talented artists who participate in East Bay Open Studios. BAC launched an affilitate exhibition of “work from this year’s most compelling EBOS participants”. Aimee chose ten of us for the exhibition, "Known Associates", which opened on May 31 and runs through this coming Sunday, June 15.

So there you have it. All my bellyaching year after year and yet, year after year, doing Open Studios has been opening doors for me in so many different ways.

It’s only been five days since I closed my studio door to the throngs, and I'm still exhausted. I’m already thinking I truly am getting too old for this. This really IS the last time I do Open Studios.

You heard it here first.