I am very happy to report a huge step forward in the progression of the studio build… WE HAVE DOORS!!!
While I have loved having unobscured open vistas to look out at while I’m working, the ability to lock up the studio, have a safe place to keep the dog while I run errands and a weatherproof/bug-proof area to hang out in is pretty priceless. There is still a lot to do to make this place fully functional and decked out in all it’s creativeness, but this is one giant leap forward and I am stoked.
I’m so proud to say that the Awesome Foundation of Santa Cruz just gave away it’s 13th micro-grant! That’s $13,000 going out into the community to make Santa Cruz more awesome!
Congratulations to the first two winners of 2024! In January, the group selected Melissa Kreisa of MK Contemporary Gallery for her project Rydell Foundation Showcase and February’s winner was Suzanne Connolly & Jessie Marie for their project Mic Drop! Open Mic. Check out past projects here…
We love reviewing these amazing, creative ideas – keep them coming Santa Cruz! $1000 micro-grants are given out monthly. Got an Awesome idea that needs a little funding? Pitch it here!
I had decided from the very beginning of building my new studio that I wanted to include a bottle wall in some aspect of it. I had spent time in buildings in Haiti where bottle walls were used in construction and I’ve always love the look and of course the repurposing aspect of it. Here in Baja, it’s very hard to recycle colored glass, so I wanted to make use of these bottles. The back of our studio faces our road and a neighbors house, so I didn’t want to have big windows on that side but it’s also the side that the sun comes up on, so we designed high long windows for airflow and light while maintaining privacy. Two of those four long windows are going to become bottle windows. I’ve been collecting and had friends collecting green bottles for me for months now. Thought I’d share the process of making the ‘bricks’.
So far I’ve cut about 60 bottles with a tile saw and made 30 bricks that are the same depth as the window opening. I take two cut off bottoms and duct tape them together to create each brick. I just collected another 40 bottles so those are still awaiting processing. I’m estimating that I’ll need about 70 bricks per window. Once I have enough bricks, they will be mortared in place in the window and the ends will be cleaned off to allow the light to shine through. I’ve taped out the size of the window on the floor so I can get an idea of the spacing, the layout of shapes and colors and how many bottles I’ll actually need. It will be a while before this project is finished but it’s been really fun to work on step by step. I’m very excited to eventually see the sun shining through them and casting the colors around the studio. I will definitely share more pics of this project as it progresses.
In all of my time coming to Todos Santos, this was the first year that I was here for the weekend of the Open Studios tour. While I wasn’t able to participate as an artist, I was able to go participate as a visitor which was a great way to meet other artists, see studios and see how the event was run. With only 41 artists participating compared to Santa Cruz’s 300+, it was obviously a very different event but it was great all the same. The event is also a fundraiser for The Palapa Society which offers community education and enrichment programming to local children and adults.
Many of the artists showing in el centro and were exhibiting with local gallery or retail spaces, but outside of town, artists were opening up their homes to the public. This area has a lot of narrow dirt roads that lead to places unknown, so it’s definitely an adventure trying to find some of these studios. I was able to visit 9 different studios and chat with the artists about their experiences participating in the tour, which was great and there is definitely a lot of talent in our area. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a lot of photos of artists or studios, but I did find this super cute cactus wheat-pasted to a random wall when I got out of the car.
And I added a few pieces to my collection, a shell painting by my neighbor and fellow clay artist Christa Assad and a pulpo (octopus) print by Gererdo Rendon, both of which I love! Looking forward to being a participating artist next year and if any of you are in the area next February, be sure to come and find me in the desert!
If you missed it in my February email blast, I wanted to give you an update on life in the studio these days. I’ve started to get back into a routine of being in the studio all day again which feels pretty good.
I’m making some fun projects for the studio like signs and wall sconces for lights but also more Umbel flowers and smaller sculptures. And as for the logistics of the new studio; doors and windows have been ordered, solar bids are coming in, and the septic and the water systems are almost ready to connect, so we’re getting there. I’m taking my time picking out design choices for the bath and mini-kitchen areas so they will be awhile coming but I’d rather take my time and really enjoy the choices than rush just to get it done. I’m also planning on making a sculpture garden trail that will run through the property, so lots of fun projects ahead. Poco a poco…
On the horizon ahead, I’ve been invited by one of my neighbors to make a site specific ephemeral piece responding to their architectural work for an upcoming art event, should be very interesting! I’ve started mocking up some models for that, so we’ll see how it comes together.
And in early spring, I’ve planned to be teaching a hand-building clay class and a weekend workshop at Barro Sur, our local community clay studio. It’s a great space and it will be a great opportunity to engage with the community and meet more creative people.
On a personal note, we officially got our Mexican resident cards and drivers licenses so that feels pretty good. Now we’re learning about tax id numbers, opening bank accounts and getting work permits, not the super fun part, but we’re learning and everyday is a new adventure!
As I’ve started to get back into playing with clay, I’m paying closer attention to the natural world that I’m currently living in. The plants, birds, bugs and bones I come across here are inspirational in texture, color combinations and form. I love how quietly persistent the desert is, even in the toughest of environments, there is life abounding if you look closely. It will be interesting to see how I use these forms and textures translated into clay. I also had to include a photo of the most spectacular double rainbow I’ve ever seen which happened just as the sun rose over the mountains and within minutes it was gone.
Here’s just a few images of what’s inspiring me here…
It’s been such a long time since I’ve actually made anything with clay that I thought it was deserving of it’s own blog post!
As I’ve noted in previous posts, my new studio doesn’t have power, water or sewer set up yet or even doors and windows but that doesn’t mean that I couldn’t make something with clay. So I dragged out a bag and got started. It’s hard to jump back into making the serious stuff, so I started with a brand new batch of Art Hearts since they were completely sold out at my Open Studios in October. It’s a great was to get my hands dirty without having to think too much about what I’m making.
The best part is that hours flew by and I hardly thought of anything else but the making process. It’s so great to get back into that flow state. I also started a few prototypes for some outdoor lights that I want to make and some signage for around the studio. I’m also thinking about making parts for a gate, which could be really fun if the ideas all work out. So, lots of fun and random projects are starting to brew in the studio and you really can’t beat the view!
Getting a new studio set up and organized is its own exciting and very creative project. But at what point do you need to stop reorganizing your tools and just start using them?
It has literally been months and possibly my longest break from actual art making as I’ve moved the studio. As I get myself geared up for a new rhythm of working in the studio again, I was reminded of the last time that I moved studio spaces, it was documented in an article in Ceramics Monthly magazine kind of by accident. I had been invited to write an article about my studio space and art practice in my home/garage studio space for an upcoming issue, but over the following months, I had the opportunity to move to a much larger warehouse space. So I ended up re-writing the article to talk about the process of moving studios.
I recently re-read that article to see how I thought then about that switch from moving into making again. I also flipped back through my sketch book to look at ideas I’d had brewing before this move started. I’ve started talking with friends about upcoming local art events and possibilities and I have to say, I’m getting very excited to get my hands back into some clay.
Logistically, I’m about a week or two away from actually jumping back into making art again full time and it will still take me a minute to get my kilns up and running. That said, I’m really looking forward to returning you to your regularly scheduled blog posts of new work, art events, successes, failures and all the nuances of life in the studio. In the meantime, please enjoy images of amazing sunsets… and thanks for sticking with me as I transition from one studio and country to another.