Sunday, January 14, 2024

Before and After Dust


some of the stacking pieces on a worktable in my studio in the days before the installation

Now that our faculty show, Dust, at Larson Gallery has been installed and has officially opened, I am experiencing that funny feeling of being done with a massive project that has consumed a great deal of my mental energy for quite some time. 

I began working on this show in earnest almost immediately after finding out that it would happen. Last May, during the Student Exhibition, several of us asked David Lynx, then Larson Gallery director, for an art faculty show. Though we have had individual pieces in the student show, we've never had a faculty show that allowed us to exhibit a body of work. David immediately said yes and almost immediately gave us a January 2024 date. We discussed locations in the gallery for half an hour and by the time we left the gallery, I was excited to start making new work!

my work in the gallery during installation

I started throwing my "stackers" aka tall pieces, which turned into the "Pseudo Equisetum" installations in the Dust show, almost immediately. In fact, I started throwing so quickly, that I didn't bother to think through the eventual plan enough to do some basic things like measure the way the pieces would eventually stack.

my stacking pieces in September, before glazing

By April, I already had my "throwing prescription" from my Occupational Therapist, so I was already in the habit of daily throwing. Once we decided on the show I changed what I was throwing (I was already looking for something more interesting and conceptually challenging than dishes). I produced a ton of work during the spring and into the summer and based in the quantity of pieces I was making and firing, was able to work through quite a few of the logistics of throwing, stacking, and sizing during that time. I ended up with a of pieces that didn't fit, as I worked through the measurements and design, but also a lot of pieces that did work.

stacking pieces and wall pieces on the floor during installation

During the summer, I also worked on other sculpture, including stand alone sculpture, and individual pieces for the other two installations in this show. I knew I wanted to revisit both a gridded wall installation and a more organic arrangement of unmatched forms. I wanted both to be heavily composed of new works, though the exact plan, especially for the organic wall installation, changed throughout the course of building, glazing, and installation.

Kekino Motes installed at Dust

I spent most of fall and winter break glazing, testing fit, firing, and building a few replacement parts for those that warped during drying or firing and for those that weren't measured to begin with. Classes restarted at YVC on January 2nd and I basically put a pause on most of my union work during the first two weeks of the quarter so I could get the work finished, packed, delivered and installed.

a far too heavy box of stacking pieces before I realized I needed to repack

I did most of my install myself on Wednesday, then Kate, in the gallery, finished installing the work on Thursday when I had to go to class. When I got home Friday evening, I unpacked my car (I had a bunch of boxes of packing material, as well as the pieces that didn't make it into the show).  Saturday morning I walked into my frosty home studio (there was literal frost on the inside of the window) and started unpacking and organizing the towels, bubble wrap, foam, and other materials I used for transporting the work to the gallery. I don't want to have to take two trips when the show comes down in February, and I'd like to be able to use my studio between now and then.

my studio Friday night

When I went looking for my paper installation template for the gridded installation, I found an older box of wall installation pieces packed away, some of which I used for the Dust installation. However, this box included work from a few years ago (some of which I think I never showed as an installation) as well as older pieces. Some of older pieces had small holes for hanging (because I learned something from those earlier installations). I opted not to install that older work in the gallery because the small holes made installation annoying. 

the older (small holed) pieces above our oven

While I was unloading at home, I decided to prevent myself from ever bringing this work to an installation again by installing it at home.  Some of it is now above our oven in the kitchen. I also opted not to show any of my peapods, just because I feel more distant from the creative process of making that work. I hung some of them above the door to my clay studio, in place of some bulbs that are in the Dust show. I have had this installation here for years, but I tend to change out the bulbs based on what I am making now or most recently, or what I choose to put in shows. This is the first time I've mixed in the other work with it.

the bulbs and peapods that didn't go to the show

This morning I finished putting away glaze brushes and tools I had been using in the studio and started getting out some of the pieces of unfinished projects I haven't had time to get to. Though arguably I should make some progress on some other work that has been on hold during the show install, I feel like the transition between a much anticipated show and a particular body of work is a good time to clean, refresh, and set up my studio so that I'm ready to work on the next idea.

very old pieces and a new piece that I considered trying to finish before Dust (I didn't get to it)

Friday, January 12, 2024

Dust: YVC Faculty Exhibition

Kekino Motes, installation 2024


I am excited to announce “Dust” the Yakima Valley College art faculty exhibition at Larson Gallery. The show opens Saturday, January 13, 2024 with a reception from 3-5pm

This is the first faculty exhibition in my 17.5 years at YVC, and it comes at a great time, when our campus gallery, Larson, is in a beautiful large and still new space and our art program is bigger than ever.  

The show features works by our four full-time faculty: Chris Otten (photography and Digital Design), Kayo Nakamura (drawing, painting, and printmaking), Monika Lemmon (drawing and painting in Grandview), and me (clay, design, and various other classes over the years). It also features artwork by part time faculty Timm Wauzinski and David Lynx, as well as research by our part time (and occasional full-time) art historian, Robert Millard.

I am thrilled to have this opportunity to show together locally. This week I spent about 5-6 hours delivering and installing my work, as well as a few more packing and doing inventory and pricing.

“Pseudo Equisetum East”

I’ve started working on this show back in May, as soon as then-Gallery Director David Lynx agreed to the show. (David has since accepted a position running the Kirkland Arts Center).

Psuedo Equisetum West

The newest group of work is my installation of standing forms. I call these “Psuedo Equisetum” after the horsetail or puzzle grass plant that partially inspired them. 

In the gallery Wednesday wondering if I brought enough stuff

I made a ton of these stacking Equisetum forms (and learned a lot in the process), but I didn’t end up showing all I made. I narrowed it down to just 21 pieces or stacks for the show.

The most directly lymphedema inspired new sculpture

I also created a bunch of new wall hanging sculpture, much of it wheel thrown during my OT prescribed daily throwing time in spring and summer. I ended up installing this work with a mix of older wall pieces and some that I think I never got around to showing.

The title that made me giggle “Etreudamine Hirsuta” 

Besides these two installations I have an installations of my familiar bulb forms, including my chemo port bulbs started during my cancer treatment in 2022. This is a gridded installation of 100 bulbs, both abstract and cancer-related, the newest ones just out of a kiln this past weekend. I haven’t even seen this installation because Kate at the gallery finished installing it while I was in class.

The name that made me laugh the longest: “Duosenes Magnamassa”

Thought I’ve already described at least 145 ceramic objects, I also have several (11) individual sculptures, too, all of them new since the pandemic, and several new this year, in case you were wondering what I’ve been up too.

Psuedo Equisetum in my home studio

It should be pretty clear why I’m so excited for this show, did I mention there are 5 other artists and an art historian with work in this show? It’s gonna be great! I hope you can join us for the reception on Saturday. If you can’t, Larson Gallery is open Tuesday - Friday 10-5 and Saturdays 1-5. The show runs through February 24. I hope you are able to see it. For my distant friends, I’ll plan to get good in-gallery pictures this month.

Obligatory cat/glazing photo

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Pottery Sale, Evening Pottery class in Winter, and last class week at YVC

Last class week: Raku, firings and Pottery Sale

This week is the last full week of winter quarter and a busy week in the clay studio. Tomorrow we will be running a raku firing for both classes and Tuesday is our pottery sale.

pottery sale poster for this fall

Pottery Sale Tuesday

The Pottery Sale features pottery and sculpture made by myself and Yakima Valley College clay students and employees over the past year or years. All work is for sale and very moderately priced, so it’s a great opportunity to pick up some handmade gifts for the holidays.

The clay sale features lots of bowls, mugs and vases and many one of a kind items

All proceeds from the clay sale go to support YVC clay studio operations, including paying our hourly worker and allowing us to purchase equipment and supplies not covered by studio fees. 

Palmer Martin Hall at YVC

The sale will be Tuesday, November 28 from 11-6pm in the lobby of Palmer Martin Hall (building 20) on the south side of the Yakima campus. We take cash, check, card, and even Apple pay, so put us on your schedule for Tuesday and stop by and see us.

Some tumblers from my home kiln that might end up in the clay sale

Evening Pottery Class in Winter

I’m also hoping to talk to visitors about the evening pottery class that I will be offering in the winter this year. I hear from students and community members who work during the day that they’d like to see an pottery evening class, but this is the first quarter in a long time when I’ve been able to offer it. I am hoping to reach those who don’t already know about it.

My work at Larson gallery (sold)

Last weeks of Central Washington Artists Exhibition at Larson Gallery

While on campus, please consider stopping by the Larson Gallery to check out the Central Washington Artists Exhibition, which is open 10-5 on Tuesday. I have two pieces in the show, including an award winner. I also have some pottery for sale in the front gallery at Larson.

Raku Firings Monday

Hot pot being put in a combustion bucket

Tomorrow is our raku firing for both clay classes. This firing process is lots of fun, as well as lots of work. Tomorrow we’ll be unloading three kilns we fired last week and loading up three more firings to make sure everything can get finished in time for their final critique next Monday. Those who choose to participate will load and unload the raku kiln throughout the day.

Hot pots ready to come out of the raku kiln

Western style raku is a fast firing where we take the work out of the kiln while it is hot (the glaze is literally molten when we first open the kiln) and put it into a bucket of combustibles. Alternatively, we take it out when it is hot and burn horsehair onto the surface. It’s a fun process to watch, but I’ll smell like a campfire when I get home.

I hope to see lots of folks at the Pottery Sale on Tuesday!

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Central Washington Art Exhibition 2023

The award winning (and sold) Opuntia Verde, 2023

The 68th Annual Central Washington Artist Exhibition opened this past Saturday at Larson Gallery. The show runs through December 9, 2023

Orange Cactae, 2023, also in the CWAE show

I have two pieces in the show, and I won an award on Saturday for the green one. The award is the Lilian Adamns and Muriel Adams Memorial Award, sponsored by Leo Adams

my award from Saturday

The Larson Gallery is open Tuesday-Friday 10am-5pm and Saturdays 1-5pm. Admission is always free and open to the public. Larson Gallery is located on the southwest corner of 16th Avenue an Nob Hill Boulevard in the newest set of Yakima Valley College buildings, behind Taco Bell.

Another view of the green one

Besides my two artworks in the Central Washington show, I also have functional pottery for sale in the front sales gallery section of Larson Gallery. And if you're in town looking for fun activities, don't forget about the Yakima Valley Vintner's Tasting Room right next to Larson Gallery. Besides wine brewed by the award winning YVC Viticulture program, they also have non-alcoholic drinks and snacks.

another view of the orange one

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Labor Day Artist Tour Wrap up


My studio on Tour day

Last weekend was the Labor Day Tour of Artists Studios in Yakima. I hadn't posted here for over a month, in large part because I was getting ready for this. (Though we also took a 3 week vacation and I took a total break for the first time in years!)

sign for our tour

My home studio was on the Tour, along with 5 other sites. At my house, Monika Lemmon, Chris Otten, and Kayo Nakamura showed their work this year, too. All four of us have been teaching studio art classes at YVC this year, with Monika teaching drawing online and in Grandview, Chris teaching photography online and in Yakima, and Monika teaching drawing, painting, and printmaking in Yakima.

Drawings by Monika Lemmon

Monika showed her drawings and paintings and had some prints for sale. Chris showed his photography, and you can tell he's the photographer, because his is the only work display that wasn't photographed (he took pictures of everyones work and I took pictures of mine).

Installation detail by Kayo Nakamura

Kayo was new to the tour this year. She is a versitile mixed media artists and at the show she had prints and drawings as well as sculpture and installation. We also got to see some of her video projects. 

My bulbs on display (see if you can find Kayo's addition)

It was great fun having these 3 artists at my studio because we all get along very well and we got to hang out and get to know each other better. Though the tour was a bit less busy than last year at my studio, we did a lot of laughing during the down times.

my bulbs with a Kayo sculpture joining in 

As with the past two years of tour shows, my daughter and her friends (Dezignosaur) also showed their jewelry. The older girls are now in high school and the younger in middle school which changes their dynamic a bit. They started making jewelry during the pandemic when they didn't have much school, but they are a lot busier than they used to be now.

thrown jewelry bowl

This year I made a lot of new functional work, including some jewelry display pieces for Dezignosaur.

jewelry display vase

My "throwing prescription" had me on the wheel a lot this summer. By default, and when I'm not thinking very hard, I naturally throw bowls, so I had a lot of bowls on display and for sale this year. Honestly, I might have had too many, as it was hard to fit them on on my shelves.

new bowls for the tour

All this throwing, and the required glazing that must follow, also explains my absence from this blog this summer. As Chris put it, I have four jobs (teaching, ceramics, the union, and being a band mom), so some stuff doesn't get done.

rainbow mugs and bowl 

Besides lots of functional stuff, I've been throwing sculptural forms using the wheel this summer, too. 

thrown wall sculptures

The sculptural forms take a bit more time after throwing. I throw them, but then have to alter or combine the thrown forms. 

thrown and altered sculpture

I made several standing sculptures, as well as some wall pieces that I intend to display at the Larson Gallery for our faculy show in January 2024. However, I also threw some sculptures that are a little more interactivem, where the bulbs can be picked up and moved around.

thrown and altered sculpture

One of these sculptures sold at my show. When the buyer came back to purchase the sculpture, he asked if he could swap out some of the bulbs for others (I had three sculptures with moveable bulbs and a few extra bulbs on the table as well). 

...with some of the bulbs removed

Today is my last day of summer, as convocation starts tomorrow at YVC. I've got a very full fall, but I hope to still be able to finish more work before the January show. With that in mind, I better post this and get to work.

another moveable bulb sculpture