Monday, February 27, 2012

Ceramics Studio Tour Part 1

 We are fortunate here in metro Phoenix to have the Arizona State University Ceramic Research Center. Each year they sponsor self guided tours of ceramic studios throughout the Valley of the Sun.
This weekend was the 11th year of the tour. So far I've missed it the last 10 years, imagine that! One of my work colleagues mentioned going this year. I had little idea which artists were participating, I just wanted to go! Nancy Kay already had selected some studios to visit and off we went.
First stop was the studio of Patricia Sannit. Above is pictured "The Citadel" an installation that was on view at the ASU Art Museum Ceramic Research Center from Feb-April 2011.

First, these sculptures by Jennifer Allred caught our attention.
They were thin, and layered and full of motion.
Loved this one. You got the sense of the clay being pushed and squeezed. How do you get clay to do that? We were able to ask the artists about techniques and materials. What was the trick? Paper clay... Oooooooooooh... I've heard of it. Never tried it. She recommends it for working with kids. I anticipate a perfect opportunity for art teacher professional development.
I was all set for the day long excursion with a full coffee travel mug and water for later in the day. What's this, cookies? Had to try some cookies. What an intriguing platter. Clay? Paper pulp? What was it made of?????
Patricia Sannits' sunny, studio was situated off the carport/patio area. Her pieces were displayed in the patio, inside the studio and throughout the front garden.
I was drooling. I know, not that hard to get me to do that but I loved that layered, textured quality of her sculptures.
This piece laid in the ground in the shadow of a mesquite tree.
Plants and art, double drool factor. As much as I looked at the art work, I also enjoyed looking at the garden.
An incising demonstration was scheduled for 11am.
 Here, Patricia demonstrates how she uses the tool to make precise lines and incisions in the clay.
 Pieces are pulled out leaving marks and shapes.
She spoke of her interest in archeology and anthropology and of her studies abroad in Norway and with artist Viola Frey in California. Her clay is a collection of discarded clays from schools and studios that she reworks into massive, thick slabs. We stood and watched as we connected her words to the finished sculptures we'd looked at. Amazing stuff!

It turns out we had a connection. We were both exchange students in Norway and then went on to to study at folk high schools there.  We both studied at California College of Arts, in the Bay Area. She spoke Norwegian to me. We were both rusty but we detected each others distinct accents from the regions we'd lived in.

For another perspective of Patricia Sannit's open studio. Visit Nancy Kay's blog. 
I love how we both had the same experience but our perspectives differ.

I left there feeling like our brains had been stretched, with lots of ideas and lots of possibilities, wondering what we'd see at the next stop.
More to come!

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