who’s got the power?

After taking months to research solar systems and different providers in our area, we finally chose a winner and we stoked to have sunshine powering the studio now! The funny thing is that we don’t really have a lot to power up yet, so until I install the new track lights and we get a water pump and refrigerator ordered, our sunshine will just be charging our devices and lighting up these little temporary lightbulbs – even still it’s pretty exciting! Next up is a functioning plumbing system…stay tuned.

In other sun related news, we are in a spot for about 95% coverage of sun for the eclipse the other day, so we put on our welding helmets/goggles and sat down to watch the show. Always an impressive phenomenon to watch the universe do it’s thing. It amazed us that even with that much coverage it didn’t get particularly dark, it did get noticeably colder but I guess we’ll have to try to catch the 100% path next time to experience the difference.

staying busy over here…

I am very thrilled to announce that I am finally be done painting the outside of the studio and I’m loving the way it looks! It took me a bit longer to do than expected since I got side tracked making my big piece for the show, the wind was very uncooperative in the past few weeks, and I also had a color matching snafu at the paint store when I went back to pick up a little more paint but that got sorted and I was underway again to finish the project. A few touch ups and clean up spots but other than that I’m done – phew!

I cut another batch of bottles up for my bottle window project. Loving all these green shades in the sunlight. I think I have enough bottles for one window to be completed, so now I’ve only got about 100 more bottles to go!

I’ve also just scheduled our solar to be installed next week – so very, very soon we are going to be powered up at the studio, which will be game changing! Lots more projects to check off the list…. poco a poco!

this weekend!

Excited to setup my ephemeral site specific piece on the roof of this gorgeous structure in the middle of the desert! Join us for an afternoon of art and mezcal sipping followed by panoramic views of sun set on the ocean.

Saturday March 16th from 4 – 7

Taller de Terreno | Las Playitas | Todos Santos

Learn more here…

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!

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.

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.

current status 6.0

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!

back at it

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!

to begin again…

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.