week two: ephemeral art installations

Here we go with week two…

Click the link to start from the beginning and understand what my thoughts are behind starting this project…

valley of fire, nevada
grand staircase escalante, utah
grand staircase escalante, utah
grand staircase escalante, utah
grand staircase escalante, utah

Just a reminder, that I am not leaving any of these pieces out in nature. I’m not littering or impacting the environment, in fact all the above pieces were made with the same piece of clay I reclaimed each day. Hope you’re enjoying these fleeting installations and remember to pack your trash too!

week one: ephemeral art installations

Ok! Here we go with week one of ephemeral art installations… ENJOY!

Wondering where day one is?

Click the link to start from the beginning and understand what my thoughts are behind starting this project…

day two Mojave National Preserve CA
day three Mojave National Preserve CA
day four Mojave National Preserve CA
day five Mojave National Preserve CA
day six Mojave National Preserve CA
day seven Valley of Fire NV

Since I’ve been asked by quite a few people (including a park ranger), I just want to clarify that I am not leaving any of these pieces out in nature. I’m not littering or impacting the environment, in fact all the above pieces were made with the same piece of clay I reclaimed each day. Hope you’re enjoying these fleeting installations and remember to pack your trash too!

art in the time of coronavirus

Well, these are definitely weird and perplexing times. As everyone around the world is trying to reinvent the way that they do their jobs, care for their families and go about their day, we are doing the same by reworking all of our plans for this year.

Right now we should be driving through the desert of Baja, eating fish tacos on fresh made tortillas and swimming in warm waters, but we’re not. I had hoped to create some works at the Taller de Terreno studio as we camped out on our adjacent property in Todos Santos, but that’s not happening either. Our multi-month North America road trip has been rerouted to only include the US, not Mexico or Canada and rather than go see art and cultural events in cities while visiting with friends, we plan to stay out in nature instead. And this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but a lesson in how to make flexibility the key to our planning these days.

Please note: Before you say ‘Why are they traveling at all?’, if you don’t know this already, we live full time in our converted, self-contained van, so technically we are staying home, our home just happens to be wherever we park it. That said, we are being responsible in our travel, only getting groceries as needed, no campgrounds, hotels, restaurants and we’re staying away from crowds. Luckily we are set up to stay out in nature like this for a long time.

Ok, so with that note out of the way, what exactly IS my plan to create art in the time of Coronavirus? Before we left the studio, I loaded up the van with a few bags of clay and some tools to make some art on the go. Taking inspiration from nature and really connecting to a sense of place, I plan to create small, ephemeral, site-specific works in nature. I’ll be documenting them and then removing them (no littering in nature!). I’m intrigued to see how these installations will simultaneously document where we go in our travels and how i respond to those places from a creative perspective. Maybe all of the images will all end up in a book in the end – we’ll see! I’ll post the photos on my Instagram feed and here on the ‘the dirt’ in weekly posts. Hope you enjoy this process and hope you are all staying healthy out there!

Here’s the first one to get you started…

day one Los Padres National Forest CA

inspiration through exploration: japan (part 2)

On the recommendation of a friend we ventured out to Naoshima Island, taking every possible means of public transportation to get there but as the brochure says – if you like art, architecture and nature, then this is your place – and it totally was. The island is dotted with site specific, modern, minimalist sculptures and museums all of which play with the natural beauty of the island and the South Seto Sea.

(l to r) Yayoi Kusama, Walter De Maria & Lee Ufan

Many of the indoor places you were not allowed to take photos, so there is a lot that is not pictured here, which was honestly kind of nice to just experience the spaces and the art. They also timed the entrances into spaces so that you could enjoy them as they were intended rather than in a space squished with tourists from wall to wall. I imagine that if the Louve showed the Mona Lisa in this way, it would be a completely different experience viewing her. It was a good reminder that slowing down and focusing on what you are seeing is way more important than getting that perfect photo.

(l to r) Sou Fujimoto, SANAA an architecture studio led by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa & Cai Guo-Qiang

We also visited the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park which was a little bit of a research trip for me. The have a very coveted residency program there I would love to apply for at some point in the next few years. So I reached out to my circle of clay friends and was able to meet with the program director to get a tour of the studios, kilns and the grounds. Now that I’ve been there, and seen how amazing their facilities are, I want to go even more! Fingers crossed for this in the future.

shigaraki ceramic cultural park (l to r) gigantic 5.2 cubic meter gas kiln, entrance sign to the park & one of the many ceramic installations

By now, we are actually back in California, and in-between saying hi to everyone that we’ve missed for months and going through our ridiculous pile of mail, we already planning our next adventure. Next up is a North America road trip, so stay tuned for more art, studio visits and a little bit of actual art making. Thanks for joining me on this amazing adventure!

inspiration through exploration: japan part 1

Japan has been on my mind for 20+ years, I have no idea why it took that long for me to finally get my body here. Even after all that anticipation, it did not disappoint.

We flew into Tokyo, took in the sites and the food! We were here during the off season, which meant that we kind of got the best of both worlds. Beautiful snowy days when we ventured up into the mountains in Nagano and we got the first hints of spring with premature cherry trees starting to blossom in the city. It was not hard to find beauty here.

The Tokyo National Museum houses some of the oldest ceramics I’ve ever seen, the horse is from 500AD and the vessels are from 11,000-7,000BC, the forms and decoration are striking. The history of clay here is real and humbling. Juxtapose that with the modern crowdsourced art project my husband was adding to – Tokyo has got it all. Being able to buzz around the country on the Shinkansen we adventured all over and eventually worked our way south to Kyoto.

(l to r) My husband contributing to a crowd sourced art project, a banner from a JR Inside/Out event & early ceramics from the Tokyo National Museum

Kyoto is an eye-candy of a city; with its traditional architecture, geishas and multitude of shrines and temples all mixed up with the attributes of any modern city. One of our favorite finds was a once a month flea market filled with antique kimonos, fabrics, bonsai plants and food stalls. And the food, have I mentioned the food?

On a day trip to Hiroshima to take in the Peace Memorial and Museum, we also discovered the sculpture garden of the Contemporary Art Museum. I was surprised to find some of my favorite artists work in this gorgeous location.

Henry Moore, Magdelena Abakanowicz & Shingu Susumu at the Hiroshima Museum of Contemporary Arts

This is only part one, stay tuned…

inspiration through exploration: sydney

After a two+ week adventure through New Zealand, we returned to Australia to spend time with friends and family we hadn’t seen in years. It was great to base out of our friends homes and venture into the marvelous city of Sydney for day trips. We happened to spend our time there during the most rain the area had seen in a decade, so instead of spending a lot of our time outdoors, we hit the museums.

The Australia National Maritime Museum had a beautiful display of sea animals that were all created from upcycled ghost nets. The work was made by indigenous artists from Erub Arts and collaborating non-indigenous artists to bring awareness of the irreparable harm caused by the abandoned nets in the oceans. This is just a small sample of the work they had suspended from the ceiling in the entrance to the museum.

The Museum of Contemporary Arts Australia had engaging exhibits of object based pieces, video and installational works all by Australian artists. (l to r) Image 1 is a detail of salt crystals growing on a piece of found wood by Nicole Foreshaw, Image 2 is a found driftwood installation by Fiona Hall, Image 3 is a photographic print on the wall by Barayuwa Mununggurr and Image 4 is bronze work by Ricky Swallow.

Despite the rain, we of course did some hiking – getting completely soaked in the process, but having so much fun anyways! So I did get some shots of the eroded sandstone rock formations on the coastline. I have a feeling that these might show up at some point in future works.

inspiration through exploration: new zealand

We drove New Zealand from Auckland (very near the top of the north island) to Queenstown (very near the bottom of the south island) and saw quite a few amazing views along the way. Besides the epic landscapes, there was a ton of art to see too!

We started at the Botanical Gardens in Auckland where Debbie Fish, a friend from my residency in Iceland had some works installed as part of the Sculpture in the Gardens tour. The gardens themselves were gorgeous but the sculptures made it even more intriguing to wander through the plants. Below are a few of my favorites from twenty pieces installed…

L to R: Debbie Fish ‘Urban Invasion’, Jane Downes ‘Bee Haven’, John Ferguson ‘Breathe’

While I was still working in Taiwan, I randomly met Sarah McClintock ; the curator of the Suter Gallery in Nelson, New Zealand,. Nelson is at the very top of the south island, so after we crossed over on the ferry, we made sure to stop in on our way through town. I was lucky to get a tour of the beautiful Fire & Earth ceramic exhibit and I got to say hi again to Sarah. So grateful for her taking the time to show me around! Here’s a sampling of this exhibit which was all ceramic artists from the northern part of the south island:

L to R: Katie Gold ‘Moutere Garden Colour Swatch’, Daryl Frost ‘Visual Domestic Ware’, Erika Aupperle ‘Moving Line’

As we made our way to the bottom of New Zealand, we found our way to the coastal town of Dunedin. Despite an insane rain storm, we braved the weather and went hunting through the downtown area for some street art. There were some pretty striking pieces hidden around alleyways & parking lots, and if we hadn’t gotten soaked through, we would’ve looked for more!

check the city of Dunedin for artist credit on these beauties!

From top to bottom, in all mediums, high brow and low, New Zealand has got its art scene going on! So grateful for this art adventure!

inspiration through exploration: cairns + planet earth

From Adelaide we flew across Australia to the coastal town of Cairns and drove up the coast to the town of Port Douglas, both of which are the gateways to the Great Barrier Reef. So this weeks post is partially art inspired and partially planet earth inspired.

We crossed off a major bucket list item getting the opportunity to dive on the GB Reef, and although everyone told me, ‘the reefs are dying’, ‘it’s not as beautiful as it used to be’, and ‘I hope you’re not disappointed’. I can tell you now, that it did not disappoint.

That said, climate change is real, the reefs are dying and we need to make drastic changes to alter our impact on the worlds oceans. And as amazing as our experience was, I can’t even imagine how many more fishes there used to be and how healthy the corals once were. Yet, it was truly incredible to swim among one of the worlds largest ecosystems. All of the above photos are from a snorkel dive which gave us some up close experiences with the giant clams and amazing corals, but on our scuba dives we also saw sharks, eels, rays, octopus, barracuda and of course Nemos and Dorys too!

On land, I’m equally inspired by the nature of Australia. The below photo left is the variation of color and texture on a palm tree that I got a little obsessed with, the middle photo is weaver ants building a nest for their larvae and the below right photo is a finished weaver ant nest. Works of art by mother nature…

In addition to being in complete awe with the creative powers of planet earth, we also did visit a few galleries in Cairns to check out some local artwork. Below are a few samples of some of the works that caught my eye.

From left to right: detail of a vinyl cut paper piece from a local artists exhibit, two pieces from a concrete based exhibition and a linocut print from a children’s book illustration exhibition. All were on exhibit at the Cairns Art Gallery.