The hours ticked away and the gallery space bustled with excitement and panic. In moments like this, I usually hide away, too nervous that my interventions to help will be unwanted, but this was different. This was the rumble of improvised hanging and cleaning and at this time I was needed. I was needed. Not one moment did I spend wondering what to do or how to help, no, I knew how to help and so I did. I even tried every type of glue in my box to attach Yasmin’s turtle shell to a magnet. Yes, I was part of this rumbling energy. Reflecting now, this show was a peak of collaboration, of bringing our skills together. I settled in that night with an expanded knowledge of the art world, and a warm appreciation for being welcomed into and becoming a valued member of a community.
The critique made me realize I wasn't very happy with my final project. I had hoped to do something more out of my comfort zone than just a photo series and ended up doing just a photo series, but I was wrapped up in simply making the project instead of thinking about my motives. The event itself was everything I hoped, and a surprising amount of familiar faces from Boulder and new ones from the surrounding area made a mixed but great crowd. The highlight of the night was probably beheading the Eve pinata with one of the Bison swords, or a great conversation I had with the neighbor about bikes, art, and California.
One reason I decided to be an artist was to be a part of a community. I jumped into the ceramics world and found a beautiful, welcoming, helpful group of people. This past three weeks has opened my eyes to another wonderful community. This week in Byers has shown me what is possible when a group of passionate committed people come together around a common goal. Today during critique, I was asked how the Field School is going to change my work and my studio practice back in Boulder. That is a huge question and I have not begun to process this experience enough to know how it will affect me. However, this class has expanded my definition of what a studio practice can be and I am excited to see how that will translate when I get back to Boulder.
Today we were working on installing our works. I decided to change and adopt my piece as I discovered I cannot use the floor to install my work. Everything happened very intuitively while I had a general vision of what I wanted it to look like. I am happy with the result but when I think about the work I see the process of me putting the work together in a limited time, with limited materials and all unpredictable I what makes it successful for me. We all had very intense three weeks but I will miss Field School and Field Schoolers!
We had our exhibition today. Finally after all the work I put in this last week I was able to install and display it. People seemed to really like my sign and I was able to talk about it with many people which was great. The food was great and so was the conversation. In retrospect, this was an amazing experience that I was so privileged to have. It really gave me a different way of understanding my environment and a new perspective on things. I know that sounds cliche but it really opened me up to what is in the rural and how it exists as a place outside a conventional urban area.
Happy National Donut Day. I couldn't develop my disposable cameras in time for the party, but I stopped at the donut shop next door to Walgreens to make something of the trip into urbania. Drove back into Byers bearing two dozen glazed cake sprinkle and crawler and two dozen x 15 minutes to get those seeds back in their squares and hanging twisted from the ceiling. I couldn't decide which were more unruly, my fingers or the seeds. After 2 thirds of my time was exhausted breaking far more than I fixed, I made a few final grunts of frustration, ungritted my teeth, and let the empty squares be empty squares.
I decided to throw away the table I made. While struggling to load it in my car, I realized how ridiculous it was to keep this coffin of nostalgia from a past I'm not very fond of. I put a lot of time and energy into the table, but sometimes effort doesn't need a result. I grabbed a couple objects that I knew my mother would be sad if I permanently discarded, and trashed the rest. It was nice too; I didn't feel any sadness or disappointment in finally getting rid of these pesky things. All I can hope is that the person who has to load it into the garbage truck, gets a chance to question it, and it's many personal complexities, first.
This story felt like it wrote itself. I spent a lot of time thinking about what I wanted to make, but my best ideas didn't come to me until I gave up control and started just working. Through working, what I was experiencing came out naturally in my art. I ended up with a project greater than the sum of the individual parts I put into it, and both the process and the result taught me a lot.
Installation day made me realize the importance of all the framework under presenting a piece and an overall show. Even if your work is sound, if you don’t hang it properly, or the wall is dirty, or its not well-lit, or a plethora of other issues, it will significantly detract from the experience you hope your work can provide. At this point I am happy to work on other things as sitting at a printer in a small white room for 10 hours had an adverse effect on my mental state and lower spine.
With our work and critique done we began to relax and enjoy. It was great to finally step back and really look at what we all had created after spending so much time worried about deadlines and what was coming next. What struck me the most was that we have spent the majority of these past three weeks working together. It has been incredible to be in such a collaborative and open artistic environment. The joy and importance of social artistic engagement is clear.
We did it. I am pleasantly surprised at how well the show went. Everyone's work looked great, the food was delicious, a pretty large crowd showed, and everyone was having a great time. Three crazy days finally paid off!
I was thinking, what can go on the back? Then I had the idea to duplicate the sign and put that on the back. This makes the idea of the corner a little more ambiguous and also prompts the viewer to stay in motion. Executing it was not that difficult, although I did venture into unknown territory with the addition of lights, and even more so, wiring them myself. The man at the hardware store said I could take an extention cord and cut off the plastic and screw it onto the light fixtures which is exactly what I did. Much to my surprise it actually worked without any problems, aside from a burnt bulb.
Make. Shower. Clean. Eat. Make. Today I was reminded of how satisfying it is to finish a project. At the start of the day my stuff was peppered all over the house and shop. My piece was still many separate scraps of material. The dock was a sea of materials, workers, and activity. The house was a mess. Then with a flurry of activity it was all finished, moved, organized, put away, and cleaned. It was so good.
Today I took a break from focusing on my piece, and trecked back down the railroad tracks to grab something I hadn't been able to stop thinking about. I found it by the section of the bridge holding up the railroad that had been scorched by fire. Essentially, it is a chunk of charcoal with a metal rod embedded within. It appeared to have fallen from the structure during the destruction; cut from it by fire alone, metal rod and all. I found this so fascinating. I feel that humans give ourselves too much credit in creating; forgetting that nature and the elements can do and make just as well, and often more magnificently, as we can. The fire itself is intriguing as well, for the cause is still unknown, but the 2013 fire shut down the railroad for nearly five days. This roadway is the main line between Denver and Kansas City and has about ten trains frequent it per day. I sure hope that chunk of coal isn't crucial for the structural integrity.
I went for a walk today as part of my daily habit and were doing the deep looking practice at the same time as a practice I have started with the field school. I saw a sign that got my attention on the gate of the local park which I barely saw more than a few people there.