State of the Studio: Summer 2017

The studio is in a constant state of flux.  Studio assistants come to participate in a work-trade for a year or so.  After their time here they pursue the next opportunity, growing their work and growing as individuals along the way. We each learn from the other.

Part of refining my pottery is becoming aware of areas in my work that really need improvement. Reflections from people about how it functions, hearing what people notice first, or discovering new references I want to include within my expression are all ways my awareness grows. Working with different mentors helped me see different viewpoints and learn to ask questions of myself.  They keep me growing. I offer my ways of seeing, sharing they way I create in the studio, and continue to improve the workflow with my assistants now.  

I am learning a great deal from having assistants work in and around the studio. I am learning what I need help with in the studio, how to explain the way I would like things completed more clearly, realizing what my priorities are, and sharing resources while leaving room for each individual to motivate themselves in their own time.  The biggest thing I am learning is how to rely on others.

I am grateful for the people who have offered their time here. Please read on to last years group, Canne Holladay and Vanessa Norris, and this year's incoming group, who are now settled in and making in the studio! As a studio we will be showing work on the Objective Clay Website Gallery in September.  Stay Tuned! And Vanessa is starting a studio in Boston! Learn more as your read through each assistants news below!


Three new studio assistants for the 2017-2018 year at Rat City Studios!

Eliane Medina
Eliane Medina

Eliana Medina
elianemedina.com

My name is Eliane Medina and I grew up in Auburn, Washington. I received my BFA from Central Washington University with an emphasis in studio art. I came to Rat City Studios to continue my work in pottery and gain valuable experience working for a studio potter. I’d like to use my time here to develop my work and its meaning, as well as my skills. I plan to take as many opportunities as possible to apply my pieces to shows and galleries. My work is functional and deals with the human figure, as well as celebrating everyday life. I look for beauty in an average day, and hope it can relate to everyone in some way.

 

Jon Johnson

Jon Johnson
johnsonclay.com

I grew up in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex, but have spent the last decade or so in Lubbock, where I received my BFA from Texas Tech. I worked there at the clay studio at LHUCA for a couple of years as a studio tech, before heading out to California to hike a roughly 800 mile section of the Pacific Crest Trail this past summer. From there, I came to Seattle and Rat City Studios to work in a community of accountability, to push my ceramic work both technically and intellectually, and to learn as much as possible from Deb and the rest of the Seattle clay community. I am a potter seeking to make functional work that encourages and invites use by invoking a sense of natural wonder. In the past, I've utilized soda firing almost exclusively, so I am looking forward to the challenge of learning the cone 6 electric environment and developing a greater understanding of materials chemistry. When I'm not making pots, you might see me tramping through the wilderness of the PNW, breathing in the mountains and bringing back what I can in the form of photographs.

Jon Johnson
Jake Corboy
DSC06946.JPG

Jake Corboy
jhcceramics.com

Jake Corboy has been throwing clay in a basement in Seattle, as a hobby, for nearly two decades.

His unique ceramic style includes wheel thrown multi-tiered columns, rhythmic guitar-strummed hand texturing and making molds of giant clam shells.

Without formal training, Jake looks forward to catching up on the things he missed out on in art school such as figuring out glazes, expanding his knowledge of the clay arts, and simply being an artist. 

During his time at Rat City Studios, Jake is interested in working with porcelain, learning from and collaborating with other artists, having a gallery installation, and being active in the ceramics community.


Past Assistants from the 2016-2017 year at Rat City Studios.

Canne Holladay

Canne Holladay
evelyncanneceramics.weebly.com

What's Next?
I spent the last year (2016-2017) as an assistant to Deborah Schwartzkopf at Rat City Studios. During my time at Rat City Studios I worked on a number of projects such as shelf construction, casting and pressing clay/glaze reclaim bricks, changing kiln elements, and printing studio t-shirts. In her own practice, Also during the year, I developed intimate sized functional work fired to Cone 6. Currently I am driving across the country to  the East Coast- to Philadelphia, PA.  Here I will be a member of the Work Exchange Program at The Clay Studio for up to two years. I am hoping to learn from working in a few studio flow, participating Clay Mobile, and gain teaching experience.  In my personal practice am going to focus on sculptural opportunities in utilitarian ware.

With in my work, I am fascinated with parts of life that are intrinsic, but often unseen. Microscopic images are used as metaphor in my work to draw a parallel between the details and patterns in life and the process of living. I frequently utilize dots as cells, and curving lines as a study of the curves of the body. A cell can be defined as “any one of the very small parts that together form all living things.” This microscopic foundation of the body inspires in me a dialogue about the macroscopic function of life. I present various layers of content related to this idea of patterns between the micro- and macro-; layers that represent a process, uncovered to the viewer through use, as one might learn more about a friend over time.

Vanessa Norris

Vanessa Norris
vanessamnorris.com

Vanessa Norris

This past year, I reflected and built on my undergraduate career--allowing time and space to immerse myself in other mediums in addition to clay. And though I am neither athletic nor an early riser, I got a job that required me to be onsite no later than 5am--and I biked six miles to get there. (As it turns out, few buses run that early.) Oddly enough, I got used to the strange hours, and the challenge of biking up endless hills reminded me that seemingly impossible things can be accomplished if taken day by day, piece by piece. The early morning schedule allowed me the flexibility to balance the assistantship, my own studio practice, and my other jobs. Sometimes sleep, too. I made a home there--in the pages of my sketchbook, with bits of clay, and in between each line of poetry. The time has come to move on, but the year will echo and reverberate in my brain, pushing forth new ideas long after I’m gone.

I have returned to Boston for the foreseeable future to pursue opportunities here. This summer, I divided my time between teaching at Indigo Fire, instructing a high school summer intensive course at MassArt, and being a teaching assistant for Kyla Toomey at Harvard Ceramics. I had access to those facilities to continue making my work, so I was able to create new pieces for my portfolio and sell through various venues. This fall, I plan to continue making/teaching at local ceramics studios. I am also embarking on a new path with my partner, Gustavo Barceloni. We are in the process of setting up our own ceramics space called Dirty E Studios in Everett, MA. The first step in the process is to raise the funds necessary to hire an electrician and insulate the space, among other things. To accomplish our goal, we will be launching an IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign on September 8th (the link will be posted on my website and Instagram on that day).

If you need me, you can find me working on the new studio, at an open mic poetry night, or sitting by the Charles River esplanade--still with clay covered jeans and my head in the clouds.
http://www.vanessamnorris.com/dirty-e-studios