Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Year, New Beginnings




Progress being made in the basement. Started out with a messy sawdust pile, wood scraps, equipment, boards, and a pile of tools and supplies.....now a plastic-sheeted room ready for more mess to be made!

Holidays have passed and this last day of school vacation has me feeling mellow and pleased with the past week's accomplishments. As it goes with vacation time, the sleep-in hour gets later and later. I rolled out of bed at 9:00 a.m. after an eleven-hour slumber. This is nearly unheard of for me, as I am usually up before daylight breaks and taking advantage of the still creative time. But the longer I have off from work, the later the sleep-ins get. Yesterday wore me out physically. By bedtime, I wasn't sure I would be able to get myself vertical long enough to get up the stairs to the bedroom!

The day began with four straight hours of emails, phone calls, and downloads. A documentary is being made about last summer's Lubec Arts Alive and I need to acquire multiple images from the artists involved. Sounds simple, but with various digital requirements, requests, and thirteen artists in total....it is a lengthy process. We are fortunate to have Jon Wing Lum, a talented film-maker, on board for this project. I am eager to see the final result and hopefully it will be finished in time to debut at a public event this coming spring!

After a lull emerged in the onslaught of emails, I headed into the new basement to begin set-up for the pottery studio. Originally I had planned to have the pottery on the main floor - but this space (from which I am writing now) is so pristine and sacred-feeling that I decided it should be reserved for the less messy endeavours of weaving, drawing, and workshops. So off the the basement I went.

I actually enjoy working in such a environment, which seems quite a contradiction for me since I am one who needs my space "just so" in order to begin a project. But, my beginnings with clay at USM were in such a space, deep underground in the Robie-Andrews building. I remember the "long" walk down through the concrete-lined halls into the gray, cement-walled rooms, dirty, dusty, still, and lit by overhead flourescent lights. Not glamorous by any means, but it felt right. Maybe it is because clay comes from the earth, and what better place to work with clay than deep in it.

My father had planned to be here this weekend to work on more trim and doorway installation in the new addition. As it turned out, this storm that started Thursday evening proved to be too dangerous for travel. So, the wood that we had planned to use is still being stored in the basement. On a tight schedule and needing the clay studio ready for the MFA projects to begin, the first task on hand down there involved moving several boards from the right side of the room to the left. A mere three feet or less of movement, but awkward and heavy. Have you ever tried maneuvering 14 foot boards through 8 foot openings?

With careful calculation (and Chris' help!) the task was completed. Then I was left for a few hours on my own to strategically set-up the space for optimum production. Organiziation just happens to be one of my skills, and already I had been planning the placement of things in my mind for several weeks. My muscles got a workout as the heavy shimpo wheel was moved around, tables placed, glazes piled, and plastic hung.

Yes, plastic. The new clay studio eerily resembles a scene from Showtime's Dexter. In an attempt to isolate heat into the work area, I sectioned off a 12'x18' space with plastic sheeting. It is quite cold down there and am thinking the heat might be less likely to bolt for the high-ceilinged stairwell. I have a second heater on order. It is a tricky thing to plan out the heating for this space since I can have no blowers. Flying clay dust is extremely hazardous to one's health!

So - at this moment in time, the basics are set-up. After the student art show opens on Wednesday, and between storms, I hope to get to Calasis to buy some remnant linoleum from Marden's. This will be placed under the main work area in an attempt to make clean-up easy, or, more easy than having to clean up slop from concrete floors. That's the hope anyway. Then, another work table, clay organization, and I think I am good to go.

Today - I will try to recoup my energy for a hectic day of teaching and artwork-hanging tomorrow. I have some brain-type activities that need my attention: reading a book for the MFA program and more downloads and emails to tend to.

Holidays were a blast and it was wonderful to spend time with family. January, which is usally quiet time for me, is looking to be off-the-wall crazy with all kinds of activity: student art show, Chris heads to California, Mom visits, and the clay and fiber projects begin for the Heartwood MFA program. The new studio will be in full production, upstairs and down! It is also being used for monthly winter crystal bowl healing sessions and live figure drawing sessions with a beautifully full-bellied pregnant model.

January is typically my hibernation time. Seems that trend is coming to an abrupt end.

3 comments:

Fearless Nester said...

New follower here. Came here by way of Onedia in Arkansas...but I'm right here in Maine. Your studio space is wonderful! Enjoying your posts.

SHANNA WHEELOCK said...

thanks fearless nester! glad you found me.

shanna

Onedia Hayes Sylvest said...

nothing like being busy is there!