Monday, May 7, 2012

Upcoming Show and Furious Studio Production

Shanna Wheelock,  Downeast potter, sculptor, and weaver, presents a solo exhibition of multi-media works featuring "Razed", a seven-foot ceramic installation commemorating the lost factory industry of Lubec.

Lubec Landmarks
June 1-19, 2012
50 Water Street, Lubec, Maine
Gallery Hours: 10 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Thursday-Tuesday
(closed Wednesdays)

Opening Reception
Saturday, June 2, 2012
2:00-4:00 p.m.  

"Lubec Landmarks, Inc. is a non-profit organization founded in 1995 to restore and maintain the McCurdy smokehouse complex, and to preserve the region’s maritime and fishing heritage to the benefit of the town and visitors seeking to understand the commercial and cultural significance of the herring smoking and sardine canning industry in Lubec." (excerpt from their website)

 Over 330 clay shingles in nine different sizes have been made for the installation sculpture that will be featured at the Landmarks show in June. The sculpture will be installed on-site during the week preceding the opening.

Some slab work pieces for the show. What I love most about the "column vessels" is their fragility despite appearing so sturdy. The texture was created by pressing an authentic defunct Lubec factory shingle into the clay. The jug on the left features a hand-carved herring.

Following along the shingle theme, I also made a smaller wall piece. The mini shingles are each textured with an authentic Lubec factory shingle.

 Carved sake cups (with herring theme) to match the sake bottles that I made two weeks ago.

Bisque ware is piling up! 
I plan to do a major glazing marathon next weekend and hopefully will soon after have all outstanding orders filled and shipped so that I can fully focus on the Landmarks show.

 The past few days I have been tethered to my cave. Well, not literally but metaphorically. It seems that I have barely seen the light as I saunter from kiln, to table, to wheel, to clay pile. I have been in one of those focused tunnel-vision sort of artist modes as deadlines loom. The reality of being a production potter and exhibiting artist is smacking me upside the head. There is no such thing as an eight hour workday; I don't put down the tools when the clock strikes 5:00. Still, it is not drudgery. I love what I do and am thankful for passion and inspiration that keeps me in the studio from sunrise until bedtime.

I am breathing easier since pressing and cutting the 300+ shingles for the installation, but still, they all need to be fired and then finished with a stain or paint. I hope to have the remainder of the shingles fired by mid week and a test sample done so that I can make a final decision on the finished surface treatment. It's six of one, half dozen of another as far as time involved. Either way, it will be a frenzied mess as I near toward the finish line.

I have taken to making slab-formed vessels in the shape of columns. The texture on these mini replicas mimics the cedar shingle grooves found on the larger installation piece that I have been working on. The seven foot sculpture will be quite hefty. When finished, I estimate that it will weigh upwards of 150 lbs or more. The column vessels, ranging in height from six to sixteen inches, are on the other hand, quite delicate. They have a sturdy and stable appearance, but in the hand, possess a fragility that defies their symbolism.

I have been enjoying the carving, too. I love to carve into clay but since the production pottery has picked up I seldom find time to do it. What I have discovered is that the artist and the potter in me is always present when either is at the forefront. For example, when creating pottery, the artist in me wants to individualize each piece even though production tends to be about creating multiples of the same item. On the other hand, when sculpting, I tend to gravitate toward multiples of the same item, like with my grenade sculptures or the current installation piece that involves over 300 smaller components, all of which are essentially the same item. I just find it interesting how these two parts of my personality overlap and that never, it seems, that the potter and the sculptor do part.

The cave is warming now and I will begin my studio session with a few thrown items. I will try out my new hydrobats and spend some time carving onto items that I threw this past weekend. Then onto the less glamorous business-related paperwork types of things. Gorgeous day brewing outside, birds are singing, sun shining. Though tethered to cave, I will perhaps open the doors wide and enjoy the warmth of spring.


Eileen said...

Love the carved pieces! I can understand balancing the need to do the production work (if nothing else, to pay the bills!) and the desire to do creative, individual pieces. I've done production line type "art" work and it sucks the creativity right out of you, but people buy it and it keeps the doors open so you can do the creative stuff, too.


Thanks for the comment, Eileen. I thought that about the pottery - refused to become a production potter, but I must say, I have fallen in love with it! It is a challenge balancing both the artwork and the pottery. There are never enough hours in the day!!!!