Archives for the month of: February, 2008

Here’s the lobby… two six foot tables.


Yesterday morning we got up early, packed up the kids and headed for Eastern Michigan University.  I went to class and gave my midterm, then met Jeff and the kids at the clay studio to load some pots in the bisque. We went out to breakfast at “The Bomber” with Patrick, then got on a plane in Detroit, and by suppertime we were in Englewood, Florida with my mom and dad.

The first thing to hit me was not the sun, or the warmth — though I have spent the winter, like my fellow midwesterners, clenched against the cold and zipped into a parka, skating across icy sidewalks and parking lots.

It was the SMELLS that grabbed my attention. Ohio and Michigan are frozen, outside, and dessicated by dry forced air heat inside.  There is no humidity and we have the sniffles most of the winter.

So to wake up under an open window with orange, lemon and grapefruit blossoms wafting in…  such luxury!  Fat pink roses and bouganvilia climb across the doorway, and rosemary and basil grow like shrubs. I poked around the neighbor’s garden, spotting lizards and checking out his beehives, but mostly just SNIFFING things.

Stepping off the plane didn’t exactly shift me into vacation mode, though.  This morning I went to the store and got white gator board, gridded off in half inch squares, and started a project.

Using a printout of the floor plan and dimensions of the Ford gallery where my MFA show will be, I cut out the floor, walls and odd cubbyholes of the gallery and put them together with T-pins and tape. My edges are wobbly – especially the pedestals, which I built to scale and put together with a glue gun — but it gives me an idea where everything might go. I even made a little person-figure to get a sense for where  “eye level” should be.

Then I found the kids’ box of art supplies and mixed together modeling clay until I got a nice clay brown.  Tomorrow I will start making scale minis of the pots I have already made for my show, and putting them in the gallery to arrange and rearrange like a little doll house.

I did manage to get to the beach with the kids, and tomorrow the library will be open and we’ll make our annual trek for books. I hope to find something on the art critic I have to cover for my grad seminar class.

It’s lovely to have a break, though I was unsure about how I could leave home with so much needing to be done now, now, now.

Anyway here are pix of my gallery model!


I just drove to EMU on my “night off” for a meeting in the gallery. The gallery director gave us a packet of forms and information — wall dimensions, checklists, available displays and pedestals, lighting info, everything we’ll need to set up our MFA shows.


I’m kind of excited, now. It was bewildering to me how fast two years has gone by, and now we are talking in terms of months. Now I am sketching pots perched on pedestals, hung on the walls, really tall pots in groupings on the floor…

I have a few decisions to make. I can choose the Ford gallery, a nice big gallery with white walls in kind of a nondescript campus building where the art department lives… for the first week in June, when everybody’s gone for the summer…

Or I can choose the student gallery, a smaller but modern studio with one glass wall, in the new mall-ish student center (as student union, food court, meeting rooms, etc.) in late May. (Everybody’s still gone except maybe the profs.)

If I choose the student center, there’s a freight elevator and a ramp, and it’s more accessible if my 93 year old grandma comes… but I will have to use the Union’s caterers ($130 for 36 cookies, water and juice.) On the other hand, if I choose Ford hall, I have to carry pots (and maybe grandma) up a flight of stairs, but it’s a larger space, and we can bring in our own food. (My hubby makes a lovely california roll sushi.)

Here’s the biggie: If I want to walk in the graduation ceremony when classes end in April, I have to finish my show and defense by the end of May. That means it has to be the student gallery slot, if I want to walk in graduation. I guess I have to decide how much I really care about the whole cap and gown thing.

I skipped it for my BA at Ohio State (too darn many people in line, and I was fed up with school and off on some adventure.) I did it for my MA at U of Oregon, and my parents flew out to watch. Now, though.. I dunno. Jeff and the kids would like me to do it, but the truth is, I’d just throw my hat in the air and get right back to work for another month and a half until I was REALLY done.

As much as I’d like my kids to watch me graduate, after all they have contributed during this two years of craziness, I’m tempted to dispense with the ritual and just focus on the show. If my friends and relatives are going to make the long drive north for something, I’d rather it be my opening/reception than the stadium full of cap-and-gownies.

Anyway I’m getting kind of freaked and excited at the same time. The upcoming spring break in Florida with my folks is a cross between an almost physical craving for sunshine, color and the smell of green grass — and a total panic about being unable to throw, glaze or fire for a WHOLE WEEK.

Especially since I plan to fire the salt and Patrick and I plan to fire the wood once I get back to town.

The kids — along with raffled pots — made $1200 for the Northwest Ohio Food Bank at the First Unitarian Church soup fundraiser. It was awesome. Toledo Potters Guild members, local majolica artist Ann Tubbs, and my bud Patrick Green from EMU donated bowls for the raffle.

The kids made enough bowls that parents could buy one to take home, and plenty more were left for sale to all the church members eager to sample from the two dozen crock pots of pot-luck soup (provided my church members as well.)

I had unloaded the hundred bowls (still warm, of course) the morning of the event, and my hubby and the kids helped me fill each one with water to check for leaks, and find and sharp and crunchy bits to sand down with emery boards.

We had a separate table at the sale for the half dozen “Lovely but Leaky” bowls… they all sold, as well.

It was great for the kids. They worked really hard. Kids are as aware as anyone of the unfairness in the world; maybe more so, because they can’t rationalize or write a check. It’s hard to save the world when you’re a kid. But with this project, they worked really hard, made something they cared about, and were brave enough to let it go — for the cause.

It was a lot of fun, but a little bit like having a baby… it will take a while for me to forget how much work this was and say, “Maybe I should do that again!”

I love how kids’ minds work. I brought a bowl of dry alphabet noodles so the kids (all ages) could sign their bowls by pressing noodles into the clay. (They burn out in the firing.)

When I saw little Veronica planning to put her name inside of the small foot ring she made for her bowl, I suggested that there might not be room, and she might want to sign her name outside the foot.

She did… mostly…    ;0)   I almost bought this one, but her family wanted it more.