Saturday, July 25, 2015

Two Busy Weeks: Archie Bray and Seattle

A little over a week ago I was in Montana for a workshop, "Pots, A Studied Approach" with Peter Beasecker at The Archie Bray Foundation in Helena. It was a week long workshop focused on throwing on the potter's wheel and functional pottery form. 

a wall made of ceramic pipe at Archie Bray

I signed up for the workshop with my students in mind. My own work is sculpture, but the majority of my students are generally focused on functional pottery. 

the view of Montana from the B&B where I stayed

The Archie Bray Foundation was an absolutely amazing place to be. Our workshop took place in the old pottery, about in the center of the campus. The Bray was originally a brick and pipe making factory and the old beehive kilns and some of the buildings are still around, though mostly in disrepair.

old buildings at Archie Bray

Walking around the Bray there is always something to look at, be it the old buildings, the new buildings, the site-specific artworks, the new artwork by resident artists or the abandoned work of the "boneyard."

ceramic pipes at Archie Bray

The Bray has had residents artists since the 1950s, and perhaps the studio where we took our class had been around since the beginning of the residency program. It was certainly an old and less cared-for space.

The Pottery (classroom studio)

Just outside of the pottery where we had classes is an area with a few picnic tables and some landscaping that seems superficially like flowerbeds, but instead of flowers, the beds mostly contain damaged pottery and ceramic sculpture from past resident artists and others who have made work, unsuccessfully, at the Bray.

the boneyard

These accumulations of cracked pottery, sculpture with glaze faults and teapots with lids glazed permanently shut are called the boneyard and can be found piled and stacked and hidden in locations all around the different buildings of the Bray.

cracked work in the boneyard (Jason Walker?)

At lunch and after class on the first day of my workshop I walked around the picnic area and later, the whole Bray campus looking at the abandoned or donated artwork. I continued to walk and look at most of the break times through the rest of the week and each time I noticed something I hadn't seen before.
wheel thrown and altered forms by Martha Grover and (Can somebody tell me who made the pice at the top?)

Of course its also lots of fun to play the artist's name guessing game. So many of the pieces are by well-known ceramic artists and there are so many pieces, that this game could be a fairly extensive one. Unfortunately I didn't discover an answer key while I was there.

the "railing" in front of one of the galleries at Archie Bray

On that first evening I also took a walk around the edges of the Bray to see the site specific installations by different artists. The most immediately noticeable of these is the round "shrine" across from the pottery classroom.

the Pottery Shrine at Archie Bray

 another fun game for Archie Bray: find all the tops (left)

Several of the large-scale works incorporated bricks and pipe that may have been from the original pottery business that pre-dates the Bray as an arts space.

 two large site-specific installations at Archie Bray (behind on the left, an old beehive kiln)

The space was almost overwhelmingly interesting. I would have been happy to visit and just spend several hours walking around the grounds, visiting the resident artist spaces and looking at the work in the three gallery spaces. I took far more photos than I could possibly share without boring my audience.

These things are neat, they were stuck into a gap in a building wall--I didn't see them until the third day.

However, the experience was also exhausting for a variety of reasons.  By the time the week was over, I was too ready to come home. The view of Mt Adams and a familiar valley as I cam down I-82 was a welcome sight after eight hours of driving, the last three through the monotonous flat brown landscape of Eastern Washington.

going home

Sadly, my driving break was short as I had to drive to Seattle twice last week. On Monday I de-installed my Storefronts exhibition on Mercer Street in South Lake Union. And on Thursday I went back to Seattle for my shift at CORE Gallery.

 my work at in South Lake Union

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