By Canne Holladay
Over the past few months I’ve been reflecting on my time in Seattle at Rat City Studios. I was granted the opportunity to work with Deb following the completion of my undergraduate degree. For many months I felt an uncomfortable sort of intense growth, and now looking back I feel an incredible sense of appreciation for this time in my life. So, in this season of Thanksgiving I feel it is appropriate to share with you many of the ways for which I am improved and thankful for this experience.
1. Environment - Deb works hard to give her assistants a good situation to foster a good experience. This includes an affordable, convenient housing situation and spacious studio with a private table and shelves. While living in Seattle I zipped back and forth between home, work, and studio. There was even a period of a few months where most of my studio time came in blocks of 20 minutes at a time. I learned how to be more efficient in planning my studio time and work load, and this was made possible by the proximity of the studio to the rest of my world.
2. Relationships – Deb has a real skill at bringing people together. Though our immediate community at Rat City Studios was small, the community was reaching. I’m grateful for both my fellow assistants and the friends of Rat City to commune with. Interacting with so many good artists at many stages of life was a really good way to learn about process, perspective, and ways to navigate this field.
3. Projects – When people ask what I did during a typical work day the best answer I can give is “whatever was on the list.” The list ranged from chores, to preparing clay, to hanging party lights, to moving mulch, to posting on social media , to packing and shipping work. Whatever Deb needed to keep her process in motion is what we did. This often included projects big and small. Over the course of the year I made test tiles, built shelves, made paver bricks and molds, did kiln maintenance, screen printed t-shirts, and so much more. Every project was a learning process, and the things I learned from every little thing on the list are nearly impossible to recount.
4. Timeliness – My family tends to run around like the white rabbit, always late for something important. Once Deb told me I am bad at time management, but good at deadlines. While I’m still working on time management, I *think* I finally got better at promptness.