Friday, August 17, 2012

Nudged by the Universe

"A Poet and a Potter"
Presented on August 13th at Catbird Seat Gallery, Eastport, Maine
Heidi Reidell (gallery owner/artist), Chris Crittenden (poet), Shanna Wheelock (potter)

Donald Sutherland Ceramics: A Retrospective
on view at Catbird Seat Gallery, Easport, Maine

The universe gave me a little nudge last week. Alright. It was a big nudge. After ten years of teaching art in Lubec, I resigned my post. It was one of the toughest decisions I have ever had to make. Logically, it seemed I had no choice. Still, it is difficult to imagine not being at school at the beginning of the year greeting the kids. Whatever circumstances arose that led to my decision I have decided to focus on the new direction that I will take in my career. Though scary to leave what is known, it is exciting to think of the possibilities that lie ahead.
You know that old cliche: "When one door closes, another opens." Well, I do believe that to be true. The same day that I handed in my resignation at the superintendent's office, I was asked to exhibit my woven work at Washington County Community College. The irony is that the parking lot for the superintendent's office is shared with the college. Literally, one door closed, another opened....just a few parking spaces away. I took this as a good sign.

After I resigned I decided to keep the news quiet for a while. I needed time to process. Slowly I began to tell a few people here and there. Soon, another opportunity came my way. My former Heartwood MFA mentor offered me a week-long work-study position at one of her upcoming encaustic workshops in Kennebunkport. I am so excited about this! I have taken Kim Bernard's workshops before and she is a fabulous artist and instructor. Though I will be spending my time setting/cleaning-up, taking photos and film, and being a general right-hand-woman/gofer, it will be an intensive refresher course in encaustics with some new information that I have not previously learned. I will also get to spend time with friends and perhaps find, here and there, moments of quiet to reflect and plan.
I am excited about the fall and starting a new semester in the MFA program at Heartwood College of Art. Project proposals are due and I look forward to our pod's trip to Quebec City in October. The group of women that I have been working with the past two and a half years are phenomenal. Most of them are experienced world travelers so I will trust them to teach me the ropes. I haven't been to Quebec since a small child when my family would head north for camping.
For now, the pottery is a full time job and then some. I try to do most of my throwing in the morning and by mid afternoon attempt to get to lunch and either weaving or office work. Work on the Cobscook Pottery internet shopping site is in progress and though I had hoped to have that online this summer, it will take a bit longer than planned. In between the various tasks and errands, Chris or myself tend to shop visitors. It is tourist season here in Maine!
This past week Chris and I were guest speakers at Catbird Seat Gallery in Eastport. This was our first-ever co-presentation titled "A Poet and a Potter. The evening's discussion was led by gallery owner Heidi Reidell and focused on war and peace. Two of my political works were on display and Chris read some of his war-themed poems before a lively discussion ensued engaing much of the audience. Just being in the theater-turned-gallery is a real delight with its dramatic black walls, high ceilings, plush vintage furniture, and incredible artwork. Currently showing is a restrospective of ceramic artist Donald Sutherland. If in the Eastport area, or even if not, take the time to see this show. Sutherland was a much loved and respected Eastport artist who unfortunately passed away last year. His massive clay constructions will astound you. Really, go see the show. And, if you visit the gallery before Wednesday afternoon, two of my pieces are still on display: Grenade and U.S. Totem.

Some of Donald Sutherland's ceramic sculptures...
on view at the Catbird Seat Gallery, Eastport, Maine

Next week boasts a busy itinerary with Lubec Arts Alive meeting, Chris' birthday, friends, and two kiln firings. I am honored to be one of five speakers at the Eastport Art Gallery on the topic of "A Women's Aesthetic" (August 22, 12:00 noon).  I have a bit of work to do to prep for that and I best get moving on it. Farmer's market tomorrow morning. Taking the tent in the event of rain, but hoping for sunshine. I opted out of last weekend's market but heard that it was hopping despite the wet weather. Can't wait to get my 5 lb. box of organic blueberries from Hatch Knoll Farm and some free range meat and cheese from Olde Sow Farm and Creamery! There might be a loaf of bread in the mix from Boot Cove Breads and I'm hoping for some green beans, too.


Eileen said...

Sounds like you are making very positive moves forward! I'm very proud of your choices and wish you ever success!!

Eileen said...

Sounds like you are making very positive moves forward! I'm very proud of your choices and wish you ever success!!

artistinthewild said...

Shanna, You are brave indeed, but it was time to enter the challenging world of self-employment! I saw the ad for an art teacher the other day in the Quoddy Tides and said to myself, "Shanna finally did it and made the big leap of faith". Work hard, as I know you will, and enjoy!

Carol Steel said...

Congratulations on making this move and letting go of the teaching. Working in that system destroys the soul. At least it was my experience of teaching in schools. I shout out to you congratulations on taking new directions! You have lots of opportunities coming your way and that's exciting.