Every once in awhile I go on a downhill slide in the studio. I hate to refer to it as a losing streak, but sometimes that’s how it feels. It’s the time where I’m the studio on a daily basis working away fervently with visions of cranking out lots and lots of great work, but in reality all I have to show for my efforts are clay spattered clothes and a full reclaim bucket. Sigh.
Used to be that I’d get really down on myself and discouraged. What the hell is wrong with me? Why can’t I make great work like everyone else? I’m a terrible potter, what was I thinking?! And on and on. Now I just shrug and keep going. What else am I going to do? Besides, usually when I hit the creative skids like this, it’s usually before some sort of big breakthrough, either with an ongoing series or a new technique or new depth of range to my artistic voice. So here I sit, behind the wheel, covered in clay, listening to my audio books (humor to keep my spirits up) like Charlie Brown stepping up to the mound.
Another factor in this creative trough is that sadly, we said good-bye to my most beloved studio assistant, Petey Pie Westheimer, who died of cancer at home last Wednesday. Good bye my sweet clay dog!
But then I attend an opening reception of my work and all is forgiven. In this regard, the opening reception of Sacred Spaces Holy Places at the Nails in the Wall Gallery in Metuchen, NJ did not disappoint. Nails in the Wall is a bit of second home to me and my artwork. The gallery is a very good fit for my work as their themes slant towards the sacred with components of social justice. Linda Vonderschmidt-LaStella, who runs the gallery is an amazing soul. She is a huge supporter of every artist she takes under her wing and a big booster of the art scene in the town of Metuchen. She creates a lovely vibe for the receptions with wonderful food, music and talks by the artists, even some via Skype or video. The gallery is located on the campus of the church of St Lukes, so there is lots of foot traffic. I particularly enjoy that many of the people who come into the gallery do not consider themselves art collectors or art appreciators. Interacting with these folks allows me to see my work and the work in the show with fresh eyes. I love answering questions and explaining the motivation of my work to them.
I had the good fortune of having 3 of my works in the show, Holy Innocents*, a multi fired stoneware sculpture with 14K gold, Murano glass and acrylic inclusions, Hotei Hideaway**, a raku fired stoneware sculpture with resin inclusions, and Hotei Hideout,**, a wood fired stoneware sculpture on a carved cherry wood base with glass and resin inclusions. I enjoyed spending the afternoon at the reception, catching up with Linda, her wonderful husband Nino and the other artists in the show, many of whom I have been in shows with previously.