Friday, November 6, 2009

The First "Concrete" Workshop

One would think that since I'm a ceramic artist the first workshop to be held at the pottery would be clay related.
Close but no cigar; with the success of the concrete leaves, and my sweet mothers admiration of them. The first workshop was to be the construction and techniques of working with concrete.

My mother saw my leaves in photos and was entranced with their beauty. She wanted to see how I made them so at her home in New jersey, I purchased a couple of bags and made some concrete leaves and pots to show her.
Well that did it. That night she called her two best friends to tell them of the little demo; and all of them being extremely creative they decided they wanted to come up to Cornwallville and make their very own concrete treasures.
It was settled that they would come up in early October for a weekend of relaxation and learning.

They arrived early on a cold Saturday morning, full of energy and excitement. They barely even put their bags down before someone said " When are we going to make the leaves? ".

10 minutes later, the ladies were dressed in their " best " dirty clothes to play with concrete.
We all went down to the pottery and got to work. I sent them down to the pond to find leaves and anything else they wanted to experiment while I started to prep the area and mix the cement.

They returned with seedpods, grasses, bark and of coarse leaves.

I then showed them my techniques on how to prepare, place, and cover the leaves for their entombing in concrete. I learned all of this from trial and error of using several hundred pounds of the stuff as well as doing some online research.

Several hours later everyone made two large leaves and several pots and troughs that will be covered in a another post this coming spring. All of this making and creativity worked up a real appetite, so we went into the warm stone house for some roasted vegetable soup and savory muffins.

After lunch we relaxed by the fire and shared our experience of the day. We later went for a beautiful walk, saw some wildlife, and had an amazing dinner, before we tucked in for the night.

The next morning the crew was as anxious as I was when I first started making objects out of concrete. They said they couldn't really sleep, that they couldn't wait to see their creations. So not a second later we bundled up and headed out back and began to turn over the leaves and open up our pots and troughs.

The results were amazing, everyone had experimented in different ways with different materials giving each one of their pieces a unique touch of their own. I showed them how to clean their work and give it an aged look if they desired and then we packed up the leaves carefully in the car.
We headed back up to the house and picked them some flowers from the gardens so they could take another little piece of Cornwallville home with them.

Before we could even say our goodbye's, they all stated how much fun they had and how they couldn't wait till next time to come up to the house and create more!

This coming summer of 2010, I and the Cornwallville Pottery will be hosting various ceramic artists with different skill sets and offer various workshops covering different topics.
Camping will be permitted on the property as well as a few available rooms in the stone house. Please check back later in the spring for details! This is another great endeavor that we are taking to link the pottery and our home to the public.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pack it up, pack it in, Let it begin.

It's early November and this post begins in my studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I have been at that location for almost two years sharing it with three lovely and talented ceramic designers. It's a beautiful west facing studio with high ceilings and a view of the Williamsburg Bridge.

Since we moved upstate to Cornwallville, I have been completely absent at the Brooklyn studio.
As you know I have been busy setting up the pottery, and as winter comes and the barn doors close; it is time to set up the new studio in the stone house basement.

I went to the Brooklyn studio one morning in late October with an empty car, and the will to start again in Cornwallville. It took several trips up and down the service elevator to empty the contents of my space. Several hours later, and a deep sigh of sadness and optimism, I was ready to head north with my ceramic life.

I am truly going to miss the girls and all the inspiration, laughs, and beauty that we shared there.
It was a great time, and now it's time to open a new chapter of the book.

Thank you Lisa, Lorena and Sarah.