Monday, January 1, 2018

As the Crow Flies

My new digs.
Bonnie waving goodbye at Crow Town Gallery. After three years as a resident artist, the keys are in my hand. Bonnie Beard has been the main gallerist since 2003 and is taking a break. I can't wait to get things rolling! I'll be taking a few months to think about the vision for this space then will re-open with pottery and art at this location in May 2018. I have a multi-year plan forming and can't wait to see how it all unfolds!

 Belvedere Handcraft Award
2017 was off to a great start when I learned that I was the recipient of the Belvedere Handcraft Award. 
(photo by Lisa M. Dellwo)

 I was a Crow Town Gallery resident artist for a third summer running. It was an honor to exhibit in the opening show alongside Richard Van Buren and Kathrin Hilten. In this photo, Richard Van Buren's colorful resin sculpture is in the middle, and my ceramic work is to his left and right.
 To the moon and back!
I have not been much of a traveler the past few years. I am sort of a nester, but....I could not pass up the opportunity to do a ceramics residency in Croatia at the American International School of Zagreb. I worked alongside phenomenal art teacher, Kendra Farrell, and loved having k-12 students from so many different countries.

Work by students in Zagreb.

Even though the teaching schedule was pretty tight in Zagreb, I managed to get to Zadar, located on the coast, for one weekend. The Roman Ruins were incredible to see in person!

Looks like the teacher in me is still alive and well even though I left public school almost six years ago. I am now teaching Art History at UMM (one class, part-time adjunct). It's been demanding time-wise.  I am like a new teacher all over again writing a curriculum from scratch. The students have been such a joy to work with, though!

Teaching art history, we cover many different periods/cultures. Bernie Vinzani (head of the book arts department at UMM) had this vase in the university art collection, a Korean vase from the Silla period (668-935 AD)

2017 marked my fifth year of creating the awards for the annual Bay of Fundy International Marathon. This year the theme was starfish. I love meeting the runners and hearing a bit of their stories. What an accomplishment for them! And this past year, an Ultramarathon was added!

The "New" year has begun and like most, I have been reflecting on the past 365 days. And like most, It can be summed up as a mix of both joy and challenge. I would say that for me, 2017 was primarily about limbo and transition.

While I was somewhat out of my element in 2017 with having to shuffle from space to space on a daily basis (home, studio, gallery, shop), I allowed myself the process, and from that process, learned much about my needs, goals, and probably most importantly, that I can move through the challenges somewhat gracefully as they are presented. While I understand that we are in control of how we deal with our challenges, I have also learned that there is so much out of our control, and that sometimes we just need to let things play out.  I am one of those that, thus far, has seen that even the difficulties in our life are part of the path that leads us to our ultimate personal evolution, and in the "end" it's all good. In a manner of speaking.

If we take the approach that all experiences are opportunities for us to learn and grow, it is perhaps "easier" to accept what is before us. Acceptance does not mean that we allow unhealthy things to continue. Rather, it means that we acknowledge the natural ebb and flow of life, and from each experience, we pick up from that point and move forward.

As 2017 approached, I was facing some of my biggest challenges thus far, but at the same time incredible opportunities were opening up for me. I learned that taking a leap (physical safety intact!) leads to new adventures. Is it scary to jump outside the comfort of what we have known for so long? Absolutely! But without leaving our comfort zone, there is seldom growth.

All this being said, I have had an incredible support team of friends and family behind me as I made these leaps. As soon as I was flying into the unknown, doors opened and new opportunities came into sight. In 2017 I rented living space from a friend, received a prestigious arts award, traveled to Croatia to teach, relocated my business to a downtown space on a long term basis, taught art history for University of Maine, exhibited with artists that I have long respected, created new artwork, met new friends, and bought a gallery.

In 2016, I did not "see" what was to come. All I knew at that time was that I had difficult decisions weighing on me. I was scared and had to face fears, push myself out of the nest, leap, fly, dream, and work hard. 2017 was a bit wobbly but now it is as if I am a plane that is finding it's smooth path once again after unsettling turbulence.

Going into 2018, I am excited to see how the journey unfolds. I sit here typing from my big comfy chair, newly relocated to Crow Town Gallery. As May approaches, I will be setting my intentions for this space and will re-open with excitement and new vision. A lot of folks have been asking what I plan to do here. Taking the advice of a friend, I have chosen to take time to work out the plan while I resettle, and will reveal more fully in a couple months. For now, what I can comfortably say with certainty is that my pottery will be located here starting in May. Yes, some things are changing from the previous gallery format. While my pottery and art will be sold from here, there is a larger vision for this space, and that will require much planning.

And patience....

The universe has its own timeline.