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)


  1. Thanks for sharing the behind the scenes — so much new work! I love getting to see some photos of the installation and wish I could see the finished show in person. It looks wonderful! Congrats!!

  2. Wow this is the first I hear of this technique.


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