Saturday, July 16, 2011

About Time

The whole idea of building an artist studio began in our minds over ten years ago when we first visited Paducah KY. We would walk through the streets and sit on porch stoops imagining what it would be like to live in this town. We drew and drew plans for our small imaginary studio. I still find those little drawings fascinating. We looked at several books for inspiration- the Tiny Houses book, The Tree House book, The Rural Studio, just to name a few. The streets were a little "rough" back then, but the area was be gentrified by artists coming from as far away as California. We fell in love with several houses, but at the time we could not afford to purchase a $35,000 craftsman style home or the colonial style home for $8,000, even that was out of our price range. I lived for the moment and did not have any savings and didn't even have a bank account. At the time too, Shand and I had only been dating for six months and truthfully buying a house was a big commitment at the time. We decided to wait...

As time passed we kept imaging sitting on those stoops and we kept drawing imaginary studio plans. We kept watching Paducah grow as an arts scene. The city was giving houses away and over 60 artists moved into the area to build studios and galleries. In the meantime, I was teaching art in North Carolina and Shand was working on her masters in Metalsmithing at East Carolina University. One day my aunt called and told me that an art teacher at a nearby school would be leaving and wondered if I was interested in filling her position. I was curious and we set up a mock interview where I would be a visiting artist at the school so I could decide if this new art education position was right for me. Needless to say they hired me right there on the spot. A hard decision was made to move without Shand and begin finding a place for us to live in Paducah. We kept in touch via Skype. Don't know what I would have done without the internet... Shand finished her masters the following year and we were reunited finally in that artist town we fell in love with so many years ago.

In November 2010, we purchased a small 1890's Victorian home and the city sold us an adjacent lot for $2! Once we had the property the ideas multiplied and the designs were drawn and submitted to the city for approval. In early May 2011 the plans were approved by the state and we could finally begin to build our studio in a historic neighborhood we now call home.
Here is the house we bought:

Here is the lot ($2):

Here are a few images of the plans and studio in progress. It has taken a lot of patience and many hours in meetings but our dream home and studio are finally being made.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Here is an image of the completed body of the ceramic sculptures for the N8 show in my studio. I am working on these sculptures in sections and hope to have almost all 8 finished by this weekend. Keep your fingers crossed!!! Each sculpture measures over 4 feet tall, but they will shrink a bit. I plan to use bases created from roughly sawed tree stumps for the sculptures to sit on, adding contrast to texture and allowing variations in total height for interest. Keep checking back.

On another note, our studio design was not approved and we will be submitting our original idea for a "rural county" style studio. The HARC board actually liked that idea more, but we first submitted a modern design. Keep your fingers crossed for the second approval hearing next month.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Began working on the N8-CHICAGo works this weekend. The bases are 18"x10" and take approximately 50 pounds to create. I have proposed to make eight pieces for the show. Each one will represent one of the members in the show. After doing some simple math, the pieces will cost $480 just in clay! I plan to wood fire some, raku fire some, and electric fire the others. One work will represent me and it will be unfired raw clay. Viewers can leave their mark by dipping their fingers in a slurry and add to the surface as they view the show. I plan to coat the floor in one section of the gallery with a thin slip so foot prints will spread out of the gallery. After discussing installation art with a few other artists they generally said how are you engaging the space? How can you leave an impression on the viewers? And what are you wanting to get out of this show?

To answer these questions I had to marinate on them for some time. I finally came up with these solutions: 1. I plan to engage the space by directing gallery traffic with the arrangement of the peices. 2. I plan to leave two impressions on the viewers- one by asking them to help decorate the surface of my piece; and two when the viewers walk around the show their shoes will be collect thin slip from the floor and they will leave their impression on the floor marking where they have been. 3. I am wanting to get some larger scale pieces out into world and tackle my first installation. This last question also has another perk in the fact that this show will allow me to test out these new works for the Foundry group show in March 2011.

So, lots going on and I have one month to pull it all off. Wish me luck and speed!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

New studio plans. Looks like we are finally on our way to making a studio in Lowertown Paducah. We have two bids on the studio and they are very good. Louis has married the two plans we wanted with this nice rendering: old barn style and modern studio (a hard sale)-

We also have two good bids on renovating an old home next door to the studio lot. This old home was built in 1897 and only is 1187 sq foot. It has lots of charm and we intend to make is ours! It has been completely gutted 0n the inside and has lots of usable space, not to mention lots of the old wood work and architectural details.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Wedding Birds

Things are progressing at a snails pace with the studio here in Paducah, but things are exciting elsewhere. A few of by friends are getting married and I have been asked to create the wedding cake toppers for them. This is the first bit of clay that I have touched since school let out in June. It feels good to get back into making with clay. Pics to follow soon but for now keep cool.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Summer Studio Plans

Well it has been a year since my last post and I do have lots to tell, so let us focus only on the good stuff. Since moving my lovely wife, Shand, to Paducah with me, we both now have full time positions educating the impressionable youth about art in Kentucky. This has been the first time in our lives together that we feel "financially secure". So, now since that life goal is checked, move onto another life goal: build a studio! STUDIO O O! (like Phil Collins)

Paducah is a place like no other. Only in Paducah will the city sell you a lot for a dollar! After cruising around the neighborhood and exploring lots, cool old buildings with potential, nooks and crannies, we have selected the perfect lot for the pottery studio. This lot is nestled next to a foreclosed home (more to come about that situation later) with lots of trees for a country feel in an urban local.
Shand and I have been working with an architect to help with the designing of the studio and it has been great. Louis Lovera has great insight into building artist friendly studios/workshops and he is also considered a "green" designer. We have meet twice and Louis has drawn up two very cool layouts for us to choose from. Option A has a small loft and two smaller studios, while Option B has two larger studios and is all on one floor. Shand and I both think Option B is more ideal mainly for being on one level, but both layouts are possible. So we will see. There are just a few modifications to the plans and we will be off to the bank for a construction loan!

If anyone out there has some helpful tips about their pottery layout, please let me know. I have consulted the "Designing a Pottery Studio" book and have looked at several other potteries from sweet North Carolina to the sweaty Mississippi. Hopefully everything will fall into place. Well, until next week keep turnin and burnin!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Summer Moving

Summer is here!  Hot days are not made for moving... Lately I have been boxing up my house in North Carolina and getting ready to merge our two houses into one in Kentucky.  My wife has a job offer in Vail, Colorado and we have been playing the pros and cons game. However, we have decided to move ahead and spend time with each other and develop our artistic careers in Paducah, Ky.  To get ready for the move we had a garage sale, uploaded images to Craigslist, and advertised on Facebook.  Craigslist got the best views and we sold several things before the garage sale.  Yay!  

Well, not pots are being made right now, but I hope to have a soda fire during the 4th of July.  I will post some pics then.  My wife made the best peanut butter pie and thought you would like to see it.  It is much like a cheese cake but better!  Hope to be moved in two weeks.  Until then, keep it turning.