On October 9th-12th, at Genesee center for the arts, we hosted the Flower City Pottery Invitational and it was a pottery whirlwind of an experience! At RIT, Mark Shapiro did a demonstration on the 7th and Liz Quackenbush had a pottery round table discussion on the 8th to coincide with the activities. It was great to meet Jane Shellenbarger and Peter Pincus, the ceramic professors in the RIT art department; they were quite welcoming. Their ceramics facility is wonderful. I loved sipping tea and eating scones with the students at the round table discussion. We touched on a variety of modern pottery topics, including making work based on your on diet and eating habits, which I connected with the most.
Of course, Audrey, Kate, and Lynn, the main coordinators of the invitational, were already checking in the potters while professionally displaying the pots throughout the whole building starting Thursday. That evening, Jenny Mendes hosted a workshop on the second floor. The class participated in a terra sigillata process after she gave a presentation on her work. She is such a kind and great soul. I got emotional as I carved into the terracotta tile brushed with layers of chartreuse terra sig I had painted on. I knew at that moment, my next pots had to have carvings.
Once the 9th came, the preparation got more intense. Kate and I made a wild trip to Wegman’s grocery store to buy all of the horderves and drinks for the opening reception. The largest Wegman’s in Rochester is like going into the BassPro in Springfield, MO: fucking crazy. We got back and began helping more potters unload. The exhibiting artists were Mark Shapiro, Dan Finnegan, Jane Shellenbarger, Kristen Kieffer, Jenny Mendes, Forrest Lesch-Middelton, Mary Barringer, Bob Briscoe, Julie Crosby, Peter Beasecker, Ryan Greenheck, John Gill, Doug Peltzman, Liz Quackenbush, Bryan Hopkins, Kenyon Hansen, Matt Metz, Tony Clennell, Carolyn Dilcher-Stutz and Richard Aerni. It was fun getting to meet each and every one while seeing their personalities as they arrived and unpack their work. Kelly (the other resident), and I also helped in getting all the boxes of pots to every room. The rickety wheel chair elevator was quite the experience. It’s like what an elevator was before they were completely invented. If you ever have to go up in one of these, take the stairs!
On Friday night the show opened. Each room had its on feel, lit to perfection with pots galore! I made sure to scope out and put the pieces I wanted to purchase to the side before people arrived. Once the sun went down, the building was packed in every room with people from all around the state of New York and nearby areas. Kelly and I had the task of pouring the champagne for the opening toast. It was an interesting attempt to get a glass in each person’s hand before Pincus, Beasecker, and Metz gave a great toast. After everyone left that evening, there was a little chit chat between the staff, and I slept like a baby!
Saturday came, and I worked with wrapping pots that people were purchasing, worked as a pot carrier when someone had a purchase, and ran the raffle table. I got to see Trevor and Amy Blackwell-Bennett, old friends from the ceramic world of UALR. They live in Alfred, NY at the moment. There wasn’t a slow minute the whole weekend. Everyone involved worked their butts off. Saturday evening, all of the potters and staff got to eat dinner catered by Han Noodle Bar around 6:00. Gosh, it was nice to chill out after the hubbub. Co-workers and I were able to chat and mingle with the artists. They were all so engaging and fun to be around. I especially enjoyed the company of Peter Pincus, Kristen Kieffer, & Bryan Hopkins, who were so kind.
Sunday arrived. I worked all day, then helped Liz Q pack up her plethora of pots, and finally purchased a teapot from her. All the potters quickly loaded up. The only one who was shipping work was Forrest Lesch-Middleton from California. All the others gave warm hugs and drove off in the distance. Forrest did a demo Monday morning; his screen printing process on pots is mesmerizing. Forrest, the staff, and I ate at Dogtown, gave our goodbyes to him and called it a day. Somehow, I made it back into the studio to do more work that afternoon. I think the adrenaline and inspiration put a spark in me. We were all recovering from the event for a good week. Kate and Audrey had a cold nearly the whole time, but held up through the event. The weekend was filled with energy, love, and community. I had lots of fun and took away much than just pots from the experience! I am beyond thankful to have been a part of it all.
My residency position officially started 12 days ago. The ball has started to roll and it's only gonna roll faster from here on out! In the past couple weeks that I've worked here at (rochesterarts.org/), I have helped open a gallery show in our Firehouse Gallery featuring artist Richard Nickel (https://richardnickel.wordpress.com/ceramics/), reclaimed over 200 lbs of clay for the intro classes, mopped the hell out of the studios, worked in the office taking calls and payments, co-taught a Friday night fling with 12 beginning wheel throwers, met tons of people, thrown a few mugs, continued my brainstorming, and had a good number of beers.
One gal, whom I'm becoming friends with, took me out for drinks at a 1920s speakeasy themed bar named Cheshire. (http://www.yelp.com/biz/cheshire-rochester) It was very dim, they only played music from the decade, and the bartenders dressed to the nines. I discovered a delicious cocktail that I believe is called a whiskey over easy. It had frothed egg white which caused a delightful custard taste. Needless to say, everyone has been very welcoming!
Office work has been great because I can read, network, edit photos, write, eat, chit chat, and even work on art!
Coming up October 9-11, the art center will be hosting the Flower City Pottery Invitational. Rochester is known as The Flour/Flower City (https://www.rochesterarts.org/special-events/pottery-invitational-2015/) This will be a big event for the center and a number of great ceramic artists will be exhibiting here in addition to demonstrations. I can't wait! Doug Peltzman will be doing a demo and I absolutly love his work. I'll have to snag one of his cups in addition to absorbing any info he has to give.
I am off work in 10 minutes from here and I am gonna go sling more clay. Woo hoo!
The week before last, after a few grueling days of travel through some beautiful lush states, I arrived in the quirky city of Rochester, NY. (aka The Four City)
It has been quite an adjustment living with roommates, riding a bike more so than traveling via car, and the difference between Rochester and Little Rock. Rochester has a bigger city feel without as many problems. There are numerous murals, good street art, and it has that certain city smell down Monroe Ave. Like usual, there is awkwardness with the roomies, but what can one expect while living with complete strangers? I've already displayed my cleanliness tendencies spending hours tidying up the place and letting my personality be known.
Like any good move, I lost my wallet within less than a week while riding my bike to the studio. I've already applied for new cards and didn't have any cash in ther, so what the hell! Murphy's law, whatever. I have some dough in my Starbuck's account if I really need to treat myself.
I was able to meet my coworkers last week and everyone is great! The building and facilities are larger and more eclectic than I thought. I may even take a letter press class if time allows. Today, I threw a dozen bowls of our November chili bowl fundraiser and will head back tomorrow to trim.
My car is packed to the brim, including the passenger side. I'd say it's as full as a Vino's calzone. You don't realize how high maintenance you are until you live out of your car for a few days. I'm so thankful for the friends and family who have let me crash at their place until I leave. It's been full of laughs and tears, and I love it.
I'll start my two day trip in the middle of this week and hope to arrive in Rochester to pick up the keys to my housing. I'll be living with roommates again in order to afford my living situation. Sacrifice is such a large part of reaching goals and I think it is one of the biggest lessons I'm learning from this experience so far. I find myself thinking about what I'm giving up in order to gain. If your giving up something and not gaining what you desire, then what is the point? Life is such a crazy balancing act; no need to go to the circus when we all live it everyday!
As usual, the summer went by in the blink of an eye. I taught a wild month of ESL art summer school in addition to working at the wonderful Rosalia's Family Bakery. Now, I never imagined how stuffed my car would be or the emotions that would arise from this whole thing. People have been moving for thousands of years though, so it ain't nothing.
Like my Grandma Ag said, "I'm not worried about you. When I was 27, I was on my second child and my second marriage!"
In other words, this trip will be a breeze compared to that.