Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Beautiful Mess

Our work is going well on the new studio, just chipping away at it each day. In the two weeks since my last post, we have completely moved from the old studio (all 12 truckloads of stuff!), cleaned it and turned in our keys. All of our stuff ended up in the yard around the new studio as we began cleaning it out from the last 30 something years of its previous incarnations as a residence, a hair salon, an office, a studio, and lastly, storage of holiday decorations and other random stuff.

It has also fallen into disrepair in many areas, and has sustained water damage. It requires flooring and roofing repairs, plumbing repairs, ripping our old carpet and tile, and major cleaning of all surfaces. We did find some adorable nursery-themed linoleum under the carpet in one of the small rooms (pictured below). The plumbing is almost finished, but is particularly tricky with the line going to the glaze room. Jason's dad bought us a large utility sink for the glaze room which will be awesome! The other two sinks and toilet are working now, which is helpful for cleaning. Jason completed installation on a real door on the porch, complete with deadbolt, so we have something more secure than a flimsy screen door. We held our breath when it rained last week, and were relieved that the roof only leaked in one place! Evidently, the area where the leak occured had been patched right before a big rain, and hadn't had time to cure. The area has been repaired now, and will hopefully no longer be a problem.
Last week, we put down new linoleum in the large area of the studio, and it made a world of difference! I also washed down all the walls and windows in that room, and encountered more tiny spiders than I cared to in a day. I also washed down the majority of the kiln/glaze room (former laundry room), and organized all the glaze ingredients onto shelves. We are still working on the porch area, where much of our stuff is stored, and the kitchen area, as well as all the back rooms, where there are still many repairs to be made in the floor. We are slowly bringing our things inside from the yard, as we are able to make room for them in the studio.

We long to get back to work, and are frequently impatient with the slow progress. The work is hard and exhausting, and there is only so much our bodies will allow us to do at a time. I bought myself the best respirator mask I could find, and thankfully that has helped with my sensitivity to the dust we're working in. We hope to be close enough to being finished with the major repairs and cleaning in another week or so, and then we can resume working and teaching again. There are many things we will continue to fix up as we go, and at some point we'd love to add on to our existing space. For now, it's a work in progress, but we're both very thankful that we had somewhere to "land" when the old studio situation became unworkable.
Another benefit to our move is that it has pushed us to seek other places to show and sell our work, and I have recently begun consigning with Daly Designs and Coffee to a Tea, both downtown Greenville. I will continue to seek other venues of this sort, as we don't currently have a show space to sell from. We do plan to have events, kiln sales, and the like at our new studio, and we plan to participate in Greenville's Open Studios in November. Hopefully, when I post again, we will be working, teaching and finally open for business!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

the hard part

So I'm moving out of the studio. I've cancelled all classes for the next two weeks (at least) and I am focused soley on getting out of there. It's amazing what one accumulates in 5 years. It's been emotionally trying and exhausting work, but we're making progress. I have my mom here to help me too, so that's immensely supportive. Today we got much of the little stuff out, and the rest of the pottery and sculpture. Then Jason and I brought over the truck and made a trip with some of the bigger items. The new studio space at Jason's is coming along too, with work he has been doing on it each day. I feel like I am beginning to detach from the old space, especially with all my artwork out, and with workmen in and out each day. It is no longer mine. It's a little frustrating with people in and out of my old studio space working on the HVAC and the floors, but nothing has dissapeared that I know of. We anticipate being out by the end of the week, and then spending at least another week getting cleaned up and organized at the new space enough to be able to work. I got a little discouraged today because everything is still so far away from what I envision it to be. I am still unsure that it will be a space I will be able to teach in, or if potential students will feel comfortable coming to a home studio. I don't know how we will be able to show or sell any work from there either right now without a gallery area. I have plans to get my website shopping cart activated, and to get my Etsy site going again, and eventually I'm sure our "brick and mortar" space will in good enough shape for the public to visit. It is encouraging that most of the potters and ceramic artists I follow work from home, and are very successful with it. In the meantime, I am keeping a sort of tunnel-vision focus to complete this part of the journey.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Decision

I have decided to blog about our upcoming studio move. My partner, Jason Hall, and I have been studio residents at Gallery 1279 in Greenville, SC in the Pendleton Street Arts District for 5 years. Two weeks ago, our landlord informed us that it our gallery and retail area would soon become a salon and boutique, and that our rent would be increased.
Upon much consideration and deliberation, it has emerged that we will be best off not paying rent anymore, and moving our studio back to Jason's where he has a workspace already established as Alberta Pottery. It consists of a single-wide trailer from the '60's with a built-on enclosed porch area, and a covered kiln yard. Currently, it is in rough shape and needs a lot of cleaning and TLC, but it has much potential, and it is a starting place for us to build from. We have big dreams of light-filled, glass-walled studios overlooking gardens and a koi pond, with plenty of room for all of our equipment and work space, a teaching area, kilns, and a gallery showroom. It may be far off now, but I believe it's doable and certainly more within our reach than if we keep paying rent some place that we will never own and in which we cannot grow.
Last night, we had our last First Friday at Gallery 1279, and today we started moving our work from the gallery area, and then we went back to Jason's and started working on the studio there. We got some of the porch room cleaned and some things moved to make room for all of the equipment and pots we will have to store there initially. We also worked on cleaning up the kiln yard, and organizing the kiln furniture for the Bailey downdraft kiln. At some point we will continue the concrete slab out from the studio and put the Bailey alongside our updraft Alpine kiln and the soda and raku kilns we also plan to build.
Beginning this process we are optimistic, and even the beginning of it helps break the inertia, and the frustration of indecision. We have a direction and a plan now, so that is something, at least. Now comes the hard work, but at least I can look forward to not paying anyone anymore rent(!!) and the guarantee that we won't lose what we will work to establish from now on. We are trying to see these changes as positive, and part of a greater plan which we can't fully see. I think this move will help us grow, and rely more on ourselves to create our own success.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

studio days, 3/2010

I've been resisting creating a blog for so long as I've felt that it will somehow take energy from my studio work, or that I don't want one more thing to keep up with, etc, etc. But as it seems to be a pretty decent marketing tool, I guess I'll give it a try!

Here are some images from my studio, located at Gallery 1279, in the Pendleton Arts District in Greenville, SC. These were all taken this weekend, March 12-13.