Going big…

When given the opportunity to create a piece for the event ABC Art Baja 24 with the Cascabel Mountain Collective, I knew that I couldn’t create a fired work. There just wasn’t the time or resources but I embraced the idea of making an ephemeral piece for the the green roof of the main house designed by Taller de Terreno Arquitectura. The house is the vision of Kevin Wickham and is a cast in place concrete structure of angles and grandeur all the while it is quietly hidden in the desert landscape. The sculpture is responding to the house’s shapes and angles while also responding to the desert landscape in which is resides.

I created a small model in clay of my sculptural form and then scaled it up in cardboard. Using the cardboard model as a template, I created large scale panels in clay that dried enough to hold their form and be attached together. Getting the clay dry enough to hold its shape and still wet enough to be modified while taking the desert climate into the equation makes for a tricky balancing act. While building this piece, I realized that it is probably the largest single item I’ve made. And the reason I’ve never attempted to make something this big is that it simply wouldn’t have fit in my kiln, so it’s kind of a why bother. But on the flip side, it’s liberating to make a piece that will be ephemeral and kiln size isn’t an issue and just to challenge my skills to see if I can actually do it. And I did.

We still need to transport it from my studio, up the hill, and onto the roof. And I need to attach the rods that will move in the wind. And we will see how it degrades with wind and moisture, so there is still a lot of uncertainty but that is also what I love most about this process.

Studio updates and more…

Studio updates and other fun and random things that have happened lately…

The big news is that I got the entire outside of the studio primed for painting and as of this posting one wall done with color. It’s funny because the color is so close to the concrete color, it almost seems like a fruitless effort, but it is a little warmer and browner than the concrete, plus of course the walls are sealed and protected. Over the coming days, I’ll slowly get the rest of the walls done. It’s a bit of a frustrating process since the blazing sun and/or whipping winds seem to make it impossible to get the job done and I’ve had to start painting just after sunrise to avoid both of those elements.

I also made my own plaster wedging table for the studio, which if you don’t work in clay, it is used for recycling clay on and as a surface for wedging or kneading your clay. It’s a pretty simple thing, just a low wooden frame with plaster poured into it, but it’s the kind of thing that I generally rely on my husband Nate to help me make and this time I did it all on my own. I’m pretty good with most power tools and making basic stuff but I’m not super confident with using the skillsaw and that was a requirement for this project. So while it’s only a box, I’m pretty proud of myself for this one!
And in other news…

A cow kicked my car door while I was passing it on the road, that was a first! I bought an entire used kitchen cabinet set from a local online buy/sell/trade group and the sweetest couple delivered it to my studio. I fixed up a few rust holes in the roof of one of our shipping containers, only to discover there’s a few more that need my attention, so that’s not great. I had my first Santa Cruz visitor come to the studio; artist Sandy Cherk and her family braved the dirt roads to come say hi and see the studio, we had a very sweet visit. I was gifted some Oregon cheddar cheese (which I’d very much missed!) from my friend Mike and it was delivered courtesy of Sandy. A mouse ate a huge chunk out of one of my crochet projects. I was given fresh cut roses and basil from the woman working the counter in the paint store while I waiting for my paint to be mixed. And I figured out how to ask for a door sweep and plaster at the hardware store in Spanish. Let the adventure continue!

Taller de Terreno y Cascabel Mountain Collective

ABC Art Baja Exhibition at Taller de Terreno with Cascabel Mountain Collective

March 16th 2024 | 4 – 7

Taller de Terreno | Las Playitas, Todos Santos BCS

Excited to be included in this show, which will be my very first exhibit in Mexico. I’ll be contributing a site-specific, ephemeral work in raw clay that responds to the architecture of the structure it sits on, as well as the environmental elements of the desert that it dwells in.

About the exhibit: Cascabel Mountain and Taller de Terreno invite you to a unique art exhibition in the desert’s serene environment, merging intellect with art through sculptural explorations inspired by Zen philosophy and land art. This event explores the transformative power of space on the mind, presenting sculptures as catalysts for new perspectives and ways of thinking. It emphasizes the intentional shaping of consciousness through the art of architecture, inviting you to experience and contribute to a collective revolution in mental and spatial architecture.

Sculpture Gardens Shine in Winter

This time of year on the central coast of California, flower gardens are pretty lack luster with winter storms and seasonal changes, but this is the best time of year for your sculpture garden to shine! When everything else is dormant, the colors and textures of sculptural works in your garden bring life to these spaces. Not only will it add visually vibrancy to the space but it is proven that engaging with art enhances positive emotions and tickles the reward pathways of our brains.

So if you’re needing a little color in your garden and/or a little more inspiration to get through the darker days of winter, head over to Sierra Azul Gardens in Watsonville. There are dozens of sculptural works that are wintering over from the Sculpture IS: exhibit in their demonstration gardens and many of these works are waiting to be transplanted into your garden. My four fennel flower inspired pieces are there and need to find a happy garden to live in. The height of these pieces can be modified for your space, they are simple to install and will add color and texture to any garden!

studio update!

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.

first awesome winners of 2024

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!

project in progress

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.

open studios baja style

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!