The Other House
An informal collection of ideas.
It's time to do the thing I've been thinking about doing, and I guess it would be best to start at the beginning.
Art was always a part of my life.
I made my first piece in clay at the age of four. My mom's parents were art teachers and our house was never wanting of art supplies. I remember my grandma dropping off clay for my brother and me to play with; I made a lot of coil pots. We would then give the pieces back for her to fire and glaze. I was mystified by the shiny and colorful pots, it was magic!
They lived in a big old farmhouse in the finger lakes and I would pour through room after room of art supplies and projects. The house was massive and full of antiques and curiosities: a life-size porcelain bulldog, a human skeleton, endless antique glassware and uni-task utensils. I would marvel at oil paintings crafted by my grandpa, intricate renderings of engines and guts of cars. My grandma worked on commissions of people, pets and houses, in oil and ink. To this day the smell of a painting studio takes me back to that big house on Pre Emption Drive.
My dad's dad is a potter. When my brother and I were young, he would mail us clay whistles that looked like puppies. As I grew older I learned to appreciate the process behind the pots and clay fish he made. One summer, while I was visiting my family in Minnesota, my grandpa took me on a studio visit with Warren Mackenzie. At the time, I had no real idea just how important the man met was. I just knew I was impressed by the size of his kiln.
Because of these early introductions to clay, I was inspired to take Basic Ceramics at SUNY New Paltz. This class changed my life. My professor, Bryan Czibesz was incredibly energized by ceramics. His enthusiasms was instrumental in my decisions to apply for the BFA program in Ceramics, I had to be a part of something this exciting. This program taught me how to really conceptualize and write about the work I was making and provided a deeply technical education about ceramic processes. Two years of study in the Ceramics Department culminated with my thesis body of work, The Other House. After which, I decided to name this blog. Click here to view a PDF of the book documenting my process and museum installation.
House of Leaves, by Mark Danielewski is one of my favorite pieces of literature. I reference it's formal structure and logic in my thesis. With artful use of typography and design, the structure of the books dissolves and boundaries are blown apart causing the reader to question reality and the edges of existence. I would lay in bed wondering what was real, where the edges of my body were and if the room was still the same size. I heard someone buried the book in their backyard after reading it. But I digress.
After I finished my degree I began the hunt for residencies. I applied to three and got into one: Taos Clay, in Taos, New Mexico. I had never been to the south-west before and in a month I packed up all my things into my '02 Toyota Corolla and drove across the country. I really hoped my car would make it. It did. I feel in love instantly with both the desert and men with a penchant for transience. I have a romantic and mystical view of my time in the Land of Enchantment. I learned more about myself than I knew to be possible.
Now I find myself back in New York. The pandemic has turned what was supposed to a long visit into a move. One positive outcome is I have been able to devote time to grow my studio practice and business.
It's been a strange trip.