Wednesday 18 January 2017

Red Lodge Clay Center Residency

Winter 2016 - 2017

Week 1

I was awarded a three week residency to the Red Lodge Clay Center over the winter break of 2016-2017.  My residency was funded through a Faculty Research Scholarship Award through UT Tyler.  Thank you to everyone who made this opportunity possible!!!

We arrived in Red Lodge, Montana on Sunday, December 18, 2016.  What a beautiful town! We settled into our digs above the RLCC Gallery in downtown Red Lodge.  The folks at RLCC have made Cody, Wren, and I feel so welcomed! I am so excited to be here!  

Our view as we arrived at Red Lodge, MT. 
I made the trek out to Fox Studios on Monday and have settled into my studio space in the short term residency wing.  The studio is located just in front of Rock Creek, what a picturesque view from the studio!  

My fellow short-term residents are Brooke Armstrong, Holly Thompson, and Jared Peterson. The long-term residents are Allison Chochran, Matt Fiske, Raven Halfmoon, Joyce St. Clair Voltz, and Lars Voltz.  I am so excited for the opportunity to focus on working in the studio for the next three weeks!  

RLCC Short-Term Residency Wing
I plan to spend the next three weeks making new work.  Recent travels to the Far North have opened my eyes to a very different quality of light and color unique to the northern landscape.  My recent body of work, the Switchback series, stems from a previous residency at The Banff Centre.  The small, highly abstracted sculptural forms of the Switchback series, were inspired by the geologic and climatic phenomena unique to this location including the rock formations of the mountains as well as lakes and rivers, glaciers and ice fields, and coniferous forests that surround Banff.  New clay bodies, as well as a new palette, draw from the cool yet brilliant light and color unique to the north. 

view from the studio window
Rock Creek, which runs just behind the studio. 

Week 2

Woke up to a snowy Christmas!!!  Spent the day with my family then ventured out in the snow for an amazing pot luck dinner with all of the residents who are here at the Red House.  

Have been busy in the studio working on components to new sculptures and new cliff cups and mountain cups.  Below is a sneak peak of the work-in-progress.  

Week 3

The family has gone home and I am finishing up everything this week.  New Year's Day is snowy and quiet in the studio.  A herd of deer were moving through the woods behind the studio while I ate my lunch! 

Loading and unloading my final kilns.  I've ended up with over 20 sculptural cup forms and components for about 10-12 sculptures! Spent the last day packing seven boxes of work to ship home, whew!

Beautiful sky on my last day in Red Lodge!  Thank you to the amazing folks at Red Lodge Clay Center.  I am so grateful to have been able to spend time here and get to know everyone.  I can't wait to come back!!!

Saturday 9 August 2014

Sightseeing Around Banff

This week Cody arrived for a one week visit.  We spent time exploring the town of Banff, fished and took a boat ride at Lake Minnewanka (and had trout for lunch, yum!), saw the opera #UncleJohn at the Cave and Basin, drove up the Icefield Parkway to the Athabaska Glacier, and spent a day around Lake Louise, where we hiked to the teahouse on Lake Agnes. Whew, what a wonderful week!


Sunday 27 July 2014

Week 3 Recap

I have spent the last few weeks with my nose to the grindstone in the studio...lots of new mugs with surfaces created from the stones I picked up outside of Canmore, and I am now working on the surfaces of my new small sculptures!  

Even though I have been hard at work, I have taken time to enjoy my surroundings and the offerings of The Banff Centre.  

To the right, some photos from my little hike to 
'Surprise Corner', a little spot off the rode with great views of the Bow River rapids and the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel.  As you can see, the baby in my belly is getting big!  

I also enjoyed a reading by Susan Orlean, non-fiction writer of The Orchid Thief, a Q&A with Susan and Ian Brown, a Dance Masters Performance by the ballet students studying here this summer, a free concert at the Whyte Museum, a viewing of the documentary Our Man in Tehran, with a Q&A session with Ken Taylor, his wife Pat, and a producer and director of the film, and a visiting artist talk/performance by artist Daniel Barrow.  So much great culture...I am trying to soak up as much as I possibly can!

Tuesday 15 July 2014

Goodbye week 1, hello week 2!

I can't believe my first week at The Banff Centre has already come to a close...time is flying by!  

Week 1 at The Banff Centre was super-productive.  I have several small sculptures in-progress.  Most of the pieces I am working on are about 3 inches tall or smaller and are landscape abstractions based on my surroundings.  Outside of my studio window I have views of both Mount Cascade and Stoney Squaw... and the occasional mule deer (picture below)!  This little female spent about an hour grazing outside my window on Saturday morning.  

Working at this scale has really allowed me to be much more playful and experimental in my approach.  My hope is to make 50+ sculptures and then finish at least a handful while I am here in Banff.  I have a lot of ideas for surface and finishing the works.  

Week 2 began with the BAIR's (Banff Artist in Resident's) giving a short slide talk about our work and a brief agenda for our time at The Banff Centre.  This week is pretty much devoted to the studio, with a few breaks to see some of the amazing performances and lectures offered. 

Over the weekend I did take some time out to explore a few 

local sites including the Cave and Basin National Historic Site.  This thermal spring is the birthplace of Canada's National Parks system.  

Above ground the site offers a boardwalk trail through the marshlands where, if you look closely, you may see the endangered Banff Springs Snail...they are very small, with larger snails only measuring about a centimeter in length.  

I didn't see a snail, but I did see two small garter snakes while there!  

Saturday 12 July 2014

Getting to Work

 I've spent the last few days getting to work in the studio.  I use a lot of natural materials in my process, so, in order to gather a few stones and sticks, I had to leave the national park.  We took a short hike just outside of a town called Canmore, which is about 17 kilometers from Banff.  Just off of the highway is a hidden spring that locals visit to fill up their bottles with drinking water.  The spring's stream is full of the most beautiful variety of stones.

I will use the materials I picked up to create press molds or directly press or stamp them into my work.  I also spent quite a bit of time making press molds around The Banff Centre campus.  Because Banff is located within a national park, you can not move or remove anything.  There are, however, plenty of natural things to take molds off of all around!

While my main focus is a series of small abstract porcelain sculptures based on the landscape, I have moved a pottery wheel into my studio and I plan to make a few pots while I am here too.    

Above right: natural spring just outside of Canmore.
Above center: studio shot.

Tuesday 8 July 2014

Settling In...and my first bear sighting!


Today was all about settling into the studio. I arranged my furniture, unpacked the meager studio supplies I brought with me, and ordered my clay (which will hopefully arrive tomorrow), all with the help of the amazing ceramics facilitator, Ed Bamiling. 

My trip to Banff is not only an opportunity for me to re-focus on my studio practice while working on an experimental body of work, but also to take in the landscape, which is an integral component of my work both formally and conceptually.  I didn't realize the landscape would be found indoors as well as out! Tunnel Mountain can literally be found inside the buildings around The Banff Centre, including the basement area of Gylde Hall, where my studio is located.  
Afterwards, I took a nice hike around the Banff Centre and checked out the views  from the lookout near the Tunnel Mountain Trail head.  From here you can see most of the town of Banff, along with the Bow River. 

Late this afternoon the invited guest artist working with the thematic visual artist residents, Shary Boyle, gave her artist talk.  

After dinner, a few other women joined me for another hike...the plan was to get a better view of the Bow River.  There is a hiking path from The Banff Centre that goes right down to the river.  We had just gotten onto the path when we were met by our first wildlife sighting...a black bear!  Needless to say, we immediately followed the suggested protocol and slowly backed away!  


Sunday 6 July 2014

Welcome to The Banff Centre

View from the Vista Dining Hall
I have left Tyler, Tx for an extended stay in Banff, Canada...what a journey!  The Banff Centre is located just outside of the town of Banff, which is nestled in the Canadian Rocky Mountains and is within the boundaries of Banff National Park, Canada's first national park!  

The Banff Centre is an amazing place with a mission to 'inspire creativity'.   Originally a school of fine arts, The Banff Centre now hosts a wide range of guests who study visual arts, performing arts, creative writing, communications, math, and science.  It is truly an arts and creativity incubator!  My six week residency was made possible through a International Residency Partnership Award, generously created through a partnership between The Banff Centre and NCECA (National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts).  

Tagging along with me is our 20 week old baby in utero...what an exciting adventure!  

I am using my residency to make a new body of smaller works, but I also plan to take in the beautiful surroundings and all that Banff and The Banff Centre has to offer.  Keep posted for updates and many more new photos!