Takin’ It Outside and On the Road

In terms of ceramic art, mine and others, I did it up royally last weekend. That means I went for maximum effort and uber-luxe spectacle by attending and participating in both the California Conference for the Advancement of Ceramic Art AND the Santa Cruz Clay Show and Sale at Bargetto Winery.

Friday: To Davis, CA and back (2.5 hours each way) in 12 hours. The other 7 hours we were NOT in the car, we toured 45 exhibits and demos at the 22nd annual CCACA. What a whirlwind of wonderful work! I’m always dumbfounded by a few pieces and suitably inspired by a great many more. For the first time, I was kinda sad not to have the whole weekend there.

Biggest showstopper of course: Cabrillo College’s outdoor exhibit titled “Hard Times.” Described as “a social comment on the economic down-turn and a trompe l’oeil ceramic art installation.” My all-ceramic aquarium piece, which I have previously spoken of, was made for this. Here are a few shots, a street view and one from the uphill side of things.

It was almost TOO realistic!
Anything not white is ceramic!

All the “pedestals” are pieces of furniture. Everything else is a ceramic treasure. (Well, you already know the aquarium is glass…) It’s daring to take an outdoor space and fill it with such a large concept. And when the sprinklers went on Sunday morning, the aquarium even held some water.

Saturday and Sunday: My first away from my studio outdoor ceramic booth set-up and sale. I called it a Pop-uP Pottery Village. It contained a population of around 25 local ceramic artists. We were all lined up in row and around a courtyard, representing an impressive range of pottery and sculpture, featuring artists old and new to both the craft and the sale. (Me? Definitely a Newbie on all counts, really.)

I found an authentically playful way to engage my visitors and my colleagues, felt surprisingly comfortable and pleased with how it turned out. At the end of Sunday, all my business cards were gone, I added a dozen new fans to my mailing list, made respectable sales, got a couple of leads to galleries (!) and found out I must have a bigger vehicle in order to safely hold the booth, furniture, display shelves and all the carefully packed boxes of breakable work.

Here are two views of my booth set-up, front view and from behind the “counter.”

Yeah yeah, I really need some signs!
I asked my visitors if I was the appetizer or the dessert.

It was probably a good thing to be so incredibly busy because my game got really tight. Not only did I survive some completely new ventures, I was energized and encouraged by them. A few things still need to be put away, the studio needs a good clean-out, but I am happily aware of how getting out there completes the creative cycle for me. Each time round is less scary and confusing and I savor the recharged impetus to make more work. And, best of all, thankfully these two events will NOT be on the same weekend in 2012. Yes!

Share this:

The End of Waiting? New Waiting.

After a time, active waiting fades. It has to. One just cannot hold stark vigilance indefinitely. We get sleepy, need some popcorn, remember what we didn’t remember earlier.

Have you tried meditating? A moth lands on the knee. A dog barks, the door squeaks, there’s that unfamiliar electrical humming….again. And that’s just the outside stuff. The mind abides in its job of unceasing cognitive narrative, past and future. The body itches and aches, is too cold, gurgles and needs unkinking. We drowse. And yet nearly any meditation instruction will tell you that’s perfect: a complicated and obvious attending to the present moment exactly as it is. Allow. Allow. Allow.

Last post I talked about distracting myself from worrisome hyper-vigilant waiting by playing the piano…or, my new keyboard ploy, writing about waiting. I was then waiting to present my work for jurying to become an Exhibiting Member of the ACGA and my mind was looping through my packing, breakage, my set-up, imagined traffic snarls, breakage, low blood sugar, pressure to execute and stay attentive and in my body. Breakage and breakdowns. I was deeply on edge and vulnerable as hell and I was concerned about that too.

Still, I felt good about my work – mostly! – but not sure about successfully getting it seen because of my own bumbling. Over and over I ran my game plays. So much out of my control.

It actually could not have gone much better. People were personable and positive. The vibe in the room of about twenty artists, while pretty intense, was professional. I couldn’t do the set-up I had practiced, needing to adjust it for the half-well-lit table location -that I chose! – but I still could think on the fly, telling myself to move slowly and thoughtfully. No rush. It’s all just fine.

Here’s a shot of one part of the room, with my friend Susana Arias’ sculptures in the foreground and my set-up in the back far right.

ACGA Jurying Final Touches

And here’s my presentation.

Liz Crain’s Ceramic Industrial Containers

Once set up, we left for a few hours to grab a bite and see family. That night San Francisco could not have had more threatening traffic and steeper streets, with the GPS maddeningly mispronouncing their names, such as “DAV-ace-derro” for Divisadero. Just wrong, stupid GPS lady-voice! And of course I was on edge the whole evening thinking we would not be able to return on time to pack up and they would put my stuff out in the hallway like they had said they would.

Yet, once home with everything put away, everyone thanked, and a few nights of better sleep, I forgot to actively wait. I remembered what I hadn’t remembered earlier and got back in the studio with some new clay and new forms. I played with the dog, did laundry, commented on Facebook, meditated, visited with my Mom.

And when I offhandedly checked my email last night, there it was, a missive from the ACGA, with the Message Snippet blessedly saying, “Dear Liz, I am happy to inform you…..”

So, now…. new waiting of a different sort, tempered with validation, gratitude, wonderment, gusto, a wee bit of aw-shucks-I’m-not-worthy and a whole lot of curiosity about what happens next. Allow. Ole. Allow.

Share this: