Wednesday, April 28, 2010

UF Post-Baccalaureate Ceramics - A Year in Review

It's official. I finished up the special study, post-baccalaureate ceramic program at The University of Florida last week.

Though I had hoped to do more blogging during my journey, I found I ultimately needed to spend more time focusing on being a student and becoming more immersed in my work.

But I did want to take a moment to reflect on the past two semesters - what I've learned, what I'll miss, what I'm excited about for the future. The past few weeks, people kept asking, "So, was it worth it? Did you get everything out of the program you had hoped? Was it was you expected?" My simple answer is a hands-down "YES"!

Our wonderful group led by fearless leaders Nan Smith (far left) and Linda Arbuckle (far right)
Not pictured - Fall Graduate TA Kristin Schimik & Spring Graduate TA Charlie Cummings.
What I will miss the most is definitely the people! We truly had a wonderful group. We worked well together - sharing ideas, constructive criticism, and good times. For me, getting out of my studio at home and interacting with other people was priceless. I learned so much from just working in the same room as these artists! There were definitely ah-ha moments when I would observe how someone was constructing a piece or we would problem solve together.

Overall, I wasn't at school, on-campus as much as I would have liked to have been. It was tough juggling the UF-student world, with my married, Ocala world, but I think I did it without compromising too much of either. Commuting back and forth to Gainesville and coordinating what materials, work, and tools to haul on what days was a challenge. One thing's for sure, I definitely will NOT miss that hour-long commute, the subsequent fight for parking, the bus ride to the art building, and then the commute back home!

So, what did I learn? Wow! That's a hard one to put into words, but I'll do my best to sum it up.

I learned that when you push yourself to stretch in new directions, great things can happen. I learned that if you feel like you know what you're doing, the you're probably not growing enough. (It's also ok not to know what you're doing for a while, but important to keep on working.) I learned to think more critically about my work and analyze it from a different perspective. I gained confidence. I was humbled. I learned new techniques. And I started a new direction with my work.

Our end of year exhibition - Fresh from the Fire
Opening Reception: April 9, 2010, WarpHAUS gallery, Gainesville, FL

Here are a few quick snapshots of the work/artists in our group. None of these photos do the work any justice, so I encourage you to check out the website links where provided.

Lauren Faust

Eric Lewis

Alisha Lewis

Alan Schulte

Chloe Rothwell

I failed to get a good picture of Rebecca Rhyne's final presentation. She had her work, a series of 5 ceramic heads depicting intense emotion, thoughtfully installed in a small room off the side of the main gallery.

A group shot of my newest work. I plan to do a longer post talking a bit more about the transition I'm making from relief sculpture to work in-the-round.

Though school is done, the learning never truly stops. I finished up the semester full of ideas for new work. I'm looking forward to getting back into my studio to start these new projects.

Also, I cannot wait to get back to into our garden! It has been sadly neglected, and is in need of immediate attention! I often find it ironic that I spend days in the studio making work about being out in the garden. So, it's time for me to get outside, enjoy Spring, and be inspired!

Thanks for reading along. I hope to be checking in more often from now on.


Pole beans, okra, tomatoes, dill, squash, arugula, parsley... oh the fun work to be done. Cant wait!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Home from NCECA

Returned home Sunday morning from a busy NCECA (National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts). It was my first time attending, and I must admit, I was pretty overwhelmed at first. There were so many talks, lectures, discussions, exhibits (over 90 in the Philadelphia area!) people, new tools, fancy equipment, schools, residencies... It was hard to do and see it all. But I had an excellent trip, and left feeling inspired (though a bit exhausted)!

I'm still process and digesting most of the things I saw and info I learned. But I did want to post a few pictures from my trip. Why is it that I never seem to end up taking as many pictures as I think I will? But here they are. I think I just stopped carrying my camera after our first day...

Earth Matters, The NCECA invitational at Moore College of Art and Design.

National Student Juried Exhibition at the University of the Arts' Rosenwald Wolf Gallery
La Mesa - Santa Fe ClayWork by Gwendolyn Yoppolo at La Mesa
My traveling buddies - Nigel and Cheyenne Rudolph. I didn't get any pictures from Off the Wheel (the show Cheyenne curated and was a part of), but it was a great exhibit and they have pics posted at Rudolph Clay Studios.

I added two pieces of pottery to our collection too. A plate by Emily Schroeder. (I bought a cup of hers at Arrowmont Utilitarian Clay Conference in 2004 and it continues to be one of my favorite.) And a plate by Meredith Host from Flotsam +Jetsam. Here's a gallery shot of Flotsam+Jetsam. The work on the right is Rain Harris. Meredith's work on the left and on the back wall.
We also went by The Clay Studio saw some beautiful work and talked to current residents.

That's it. My quick photo tour is complete. It's off to the studio for me. Hope you're enjoying Spring. I came home to beautiful Florida weather and a yard full of azaleas.