grad school is hard.

as i was biking home tonight i was thinking that maybe happiness and contentment have some pretty significant connection to the feeling of wanting to be where you are.  i mean, looking back on life, there have been times and places that felt so right, and others that took some adjustment.  some things just never panned out.  i’ve definitely struggled with feeling totally at home or connected in this town since i arrived.  i guess there’s always a bit of an adjustment.  ups and downs, that settle (eventually?) (hopefully?) into and upward trajectory.  but what about when you don’t seem to adjust?  even before i was on this ceramic artist track i was pretty nomadic, so i’ve rarely been settled in one place long enough to really come face to face with overcoming disconnection.  until now.

i was just thinking that, when things don’t seem to feel right, when you find yourself procrastinating more than you are being productive, it’s not because you are a terrible person/artist and lack any discipline, right?  perhaps it is because of the totally human reaction to discomfort and disconnection—>avoidance.

i definitely don’t mean “place” entirely in a physical sense.  where we are is definitely a mental state too.  and since we can’t always choose where we are, or how long we’ll be there, maybe we naturally cultivate acceptance and excitement about how to move forward.  unless we don’t.  i mean, sometimes my reptile brain just takes over and avoids and it’s only when things get bigger (i.e. finding yourself avoiding making work a.k.a. your favorite thing in the world to do) that you have to take a step back and evaluate.

ok, so it’s fine.  despite all the positives, benefits, and amazing people around me in this time and place, i’m finding myself not feeling it.  this is normal-ish.  and as a flawed, awesome, multi-faceted individual i can call upon my strengths to move forward and embrace this unique experience i’m having.

a more realistic day in the studio.

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just a few things to get done.  no big.

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i’ll just knock some important computer work out of the way.

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and read a few books on professional practices, technique and conceptual development. they didn’t just sit there in a pile.  that would be crazy.

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i drew some….i just used invisible ink.

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my work table was sagging under the weight of all my productivity.

 

in my imagination anyway.

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wow, after a day like that i’m gonig to need an additional ware cart.

not.

it’s go time

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i’ve been anticipating this moment with excitement and trepidation.  though i’ve had plenty of time to prepare, my syllabus and assignments are approved, demo materials are pretty much prepped and my class blog is all set up, i’m still a little worried.  that’s normal right?   mostly though i’m excited to dive in:)

i’m planning a speed building activity tomorrow to help everyone get comfortable with the clay before we tackle any content associated with the first project.  we’re going to do timed relays pinching, making coils, coiling and slab building small items.  has anyone ever tried anything like that before?

my goal is to get everyone hands in clay without any worry or anxiety as to whether their thing will be “good” or not.  after we finish we’ll fire the objects and use them as test tiles through out the class.

i’m going to play this song for them.

life before grad school.

it’s grim.  haha.

after 8 months of living a somewhat subsidized life (via student loan money) i hit a financial wall.  all the sudden i found myself with bills up the wazoo and no money to pay them.  omg, i had to find a job! 

in gainesville. 

kind of the land of way too much supply and not enough demand (job candidate-wise). 

i had been putting aps in at the hospital all semester, picking up shifts at planned parenthood and the sweetwater branch inn (as banquet staff) but the hospital wasn’t calling me and with out student loan cash i wasn’t making ends meet.  i mean, the pp here isn’t even open on saturday! (hitherto my bread and butter day as a contract employee.)   so i hustled.  i EVEN wrote a resume specifically for reception.  (i hate making new job specific resumes.)  the first call back i got was for a martial arts school in jonesville, which is about a million miles away as far as i was concerned, not bikable (at least not according to MY definitition of the word bikable) and a hot BUS mess away.  the second call back was way better.  (thank goodness, i didn’t want to write a COVER LETTER!-seriously)  small, locally owned plumbing business needing a dispatcher.  i went for the interview and got it.  there’s even a bike path (not a lane but an actual shady path) pretty much the whole 6 miles between it and my house.  in the weeks since i started working here i also got a car (another hot mess for another time) which helps (kind of).

next week i start a fourth job (yes FOURTH) working as a studio assistant for nan smith.  i’m so happy to work with and learn from an amazing artist for a little while this summer.

so that’s what i have been up.  most of my inspiring fellow clay folk seem to be gallivanting off to haystack, arrowmont, penland and lots of other legendary locales (i.e. the bay area) but i’m not complaining!  i’ve been pretty lucky to get to live a life focused on the pursuit of dreams for the last few years.  now that i’ve accomplished one of my big goals (get accepted to grad school–oh, have i not mentioned that??) i can handle a few months being studio-free, working behind a computer, and staying in one place. 

buuutttt all those facebook pics do make a me a LITTLE envious of course:)!

anatomy of an installation.

fauna installation.

this week i was honored to be part of a four person show curated by kara walker tome in west palm beach.  the show took place at the whitebox at the whitespace, the personal collection of west palm beach couple elayne and marvin mordes.

the space was mind blowing.  you enter from the back and walk into a beautiful, labyrinth of a museum-like space.  white walls and gray floors act as a backdrop to the fanciful and exciting collection of cutting edge contemporary 2D and 3D art including gilbert and george, frank gehry and gelatin (among many, many others).  one of the back walls actually turns on an axis point and allows access to the mordes’ home.  it’s totally wild.  a portion of the space has been used this season for a series of exhibitions featuring regional artists.  the last of the series, “approaching nature” opened on friday.

the very good company i was in consisted of ryan toth, rick newton and bethany krull.

on a warm and fuzzy note, i really could not have pulled off this installation with out tons of help from my friends (and a lot of cooperation and understanding from the curator.)  i flew in on wednesday, then second day of installation for the show.  a.w. my bestie, was in philly with me so we flew down together.  we got picked up by m.m. just in time for surprise brunch for 4 other friends who were in town.  the brunch graciously swelled to include us and we got to breakfast on home made eggs, greens, plantains, potatoes, tortilla’s and beans (yummmmm).

after that we headed to AAA sod and supply, my “sponsors” who helped me out with my crushed shell needs.  the owner there is such a cool guy.  he totally remembered me and asked after j.w. my partner in crime during the 2008 10 x 10 show (during which he gifted a van full of crushed shell and garden stones).  we then loaded up and headed to the whitespace.

installation went pretty well, we ran into a few snags but a.w. and j.g. were there helping out with heavy lifting and strategies.  i don’t think i could install a show with out a.w. lending her good eye and moral support.

of course all this running around was done in the car m.m. so lovingly lent.  a lot of other people where involved behind the scenes to make that happen (c.j., w.) and s.s. came out the day before the deliver my work to the space and i’ve been crashing on her super comfortable couch all week.  all this not even including everyone who came out to the show, or my new friend l.a. who i’ve been hanging with all week.

basically, i didn’t realize just how much would go into making this installation happen.  somewhere else i would have had to rent a car or truck, run around, hire an assistant (or something??)  but it feels really good to have so much support and encouragment from my friends.  it was highly tight, budget wise, for me to make it down here, and i really appreciate everyone who helped make it happen.  :- ) love love….

getting shit done.

it’s true, getting adjusted to a new space kind of sucks.  you don’t know where anything is, perhaps like me you didn’t get to bring all your favorite blue plastic and chunks of old foam mattresses.  anyway, the point is i feel all awkward in a studio at the beginning.  oh, and the clay situation is different (as it turns out better) BUT then i finally just dig in and make something.  something that i’m excited about and then i remember why i’m there.

i mean, nothing beats that feeling of satisfaction.  i don’t know if it’s just having brought to fruition this image from inside of you or the point when you start to get totally warmed up and loose and the clay and your hands kind of start to do their own thing but it’s good stuff.

anyway, here’s a pic from my phone.  i’ll post some later today when it’s finished.

gearing up…

haven’t posted in awhile because i’ve been meaning to take some pictures but keep leaving my camera at work!  november is going to be a crazy month, lots of great stuff going on.  first of all, us a.i.r.s will load and fire the wood train kiln monday.  it will be my first time firing this kiln.  i missed out on a fun filled, peanut butter cup s’mores laden firing last month when i was out of town so i’m really looking forward to this.

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last month's wood train. with autio platter. yay! pic by red.

next up i’ll be rocking a soda kiln.  i think j’s going to join me in firing, very exciting.  i’ve been “cranking’ out work, but for me that never means too much, too slow and trudgy.  especially since my show opened, it’s been hard to get back to the grindstone.  this week so far i’ve almost finished 10 small wall peices.  i’m working on tiny versions of my flora peices, in hopes of trying them in a few different kilns and also, getting them out to people for a more affordable price.

three sales coming up, eclectic and then some in gulfport, fl (will post info next wed.), atomic holiday bazaar (check out vendors now and start planning) and SPCC’s annual holiday sale.

spcc will also host 3 artists this month.  matt long, john ballisteri and don reitz will spend a week and a little with us making work in preparation for the anagama firing in january.  i’ll take the whole time off work to be around and help.  john and don were here firing the anagama on my way in to the residency so it’s very fitting to have them here on my way out as well.

i’ve got a few shows lining up but more on those later.

more in november and then….december.  proper pics and posts coming soon.

 

cha cha cha changes…

i guess there always comes a time when you have to decide whether you are going to write about how great everything is or how things really are.  the thing is that things are not usually great with out some hiccups or horrible with out some bright spots.  the last month has been quite a lot of both.  it’s been awesome seeing friends prepare to exhibit, to see them succeed and move onto the next step in their careers.  it definitely makes me very excited for the next move i’ll make and for my upcoming show but it’s hard as well to see folks moving on.  it occured to me while wondering the streets of bowling green, ohio with j and s that this last year has definitely been a hey day.  these are the times you remember.  i’ve always felt confident that if you go after what you want the universe (or whatever) will sweep in and provide support, whether that means money,friends or public transportation.  and it certainly has.  what a great year with a great studio, great friends and roommates, great jobs, the list could go on and on.  great and comfortable.  then enter the last week.  studio is full of new people, everything at work is different and of course two of my favorite folks are gone.  thank goodness for j and n.p. and m and v.    it’s funny though because everyone is going through these changes alongside me but for some reason i’m balking.  i just don’t want to move right along to the next step.  i feel grumpy about music in the studio and and nervous about sharing the bathroom with some one new and possible less tolerant than s and i feel like i want to escape.  why the heck am i so full of all these super useful and rational feelings?

oh yeah!  i hate change.  i crave it but when it’s happening i hate it.  for awhile.  and then i get over it.  at least i think i do.  and i better get over it soon because i have about 700 things to do in the next month.  so check back in a month.  let’s see if the brattiness gets the best of me.

get to work!

nicjam

gallery BEFORE

tomorrow is jamie and sarah’s show, can’t wait.  i’m sad to see them go but very happy to see how much they’ve accomplished in their time here.  jamie and i will do one more personal firing before she leaves, so need to get to cracking on more work for that.  then fill the kiln at least once in august.  maybe a second time in september? this summer has been so crazy and busy and it won’t settle down for at least awhile longer.  in a couple of weeks the three of us will head out for bowling green.  i’m looking forward to a couple of days of FREEDOM!

soda firing with fireworks.

friday.  my day was made complex by the fact that the minivan had a minor melt down on thursday.  conking out on 22nd st. literally in front of a automotive shop which burned down about three months ago was funny, having n- from the clay co behind me at the light was lucky. she was kind enough to lend me her aaa service and found a car shop.  s- came by and helped us move the car out of traffic.  we had some fun mosquito infested converstaion while we waited by the  burned out auto shop for the tow truck to arrive.  i had to commute the next day to sarasota so my parents came and got me and i so i could drive their car to work the next day.  my luck seemed to continue because the problem was minimal, fixed on friday and i was able to get out of work early to go and pick it up.  definitely best case scenario.  with a little help from friends and family what could have been a real mess was made bearable.

friday night loading with j- ended up taking a little longer than originally planned.  when we finished up at 2:30 am we decided NOT to start at 6 am.  first turn up was at 9 am.  s- and r-sensei were firing rudy inside.  they had started at  6.  we had taken good notes during the last firing and this time everything seemed to stay on a similiar schedule.  around 6 pm s- and r- headed out.  it started to get dark.  i knew that we were looking at an estimated soda time of 1 am and though i was looking forward to the fireworks we would see after the sun went down i was starting to feel a little clausterphobic.  i’ve never been a big fan of dusk.  day is great, night is awesome.  dusk is clasuterphobic.  but once the sun fell i started to get my second wind.

once the fireworks started going we climbed out a second story window to the roof where i could see fireworks going off for 360 degrees.  the best show in my line of sight was coming from down town st. petersburg.  seeing fireworks definitely makes me nostalgic for tokyo.  there’s no fourth there of course, fireworks are a summer long thing with different areas hosting shows.  most are free, some you can pay a fee for good seating (ash and debris falling on your head good) and some you have to brave psychotic crowds to see.  in the event listings each event has a number next to it, so and so thousand for example.  knowing that the sumida river event was the biggest of the year i incorrectly thought that the number was the amount of folks in attendence.  i felt very silly when i finally realized the number was the amount of fireworks being fired off.  sumida river, the last time i went boasted 20,000 fireworks.  crazy.  regardless of the numbers thoug there is something about all that sparkly light in the night sky.  it’s breath taking.  j- said she’d considered becoming a pyrotechnician.  that would have been awesome.  just like judy chicago.

around 12:30 am we got everything ready to soda.  shot in some soda/sawdust chalupas, sprayed and then added some wood for good measure, let it burn and then shut her down.  i finally made it home around 2.

just as the exhaustion threatens to settle in, it’s time to soda and just as you think you’re going to drop from the heat, and dehydration you’re done and it’s time to start wondering what’s going to come out.

christmas or halloween??

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can you see the cones?  rough, since it was taken with my cell phone.

can you see the cones? rough, since it was taken with my cell phone.