I'm home again after a 6 week residency in the South of France. I cannot think of a softer landing from 6 weeks in la belle France than the Bay Area, we live in such a beautiful country right here. However, certain adjustments have to be made, and I can't say I've been totally happy making them. Two weeks back home, and I am still bothered that I have to pay more than a couple of dollars for a bottle of wine, to say nothing of what I have to pay for un verre du vin. I miss my daily baguette slathered with butter. I long for the salty Mediterranean and its clear blue waters. I walked past a display of cheese at my local Whole Foods, and winced at the way they were all packaged in clear plastic, killing off any smell, possible ooze, and sensual pleasure. Forget foie gras, it's just wrong, the way we treat cheese in this country. And more than anything, I miss my fellow residents and the people I met in France. All of them.
This is the second residency I've done in my ceramic career, and I've decided that residencies are crucial for my creativity, and I'm going to start making them a priority and try to do one every two years or so. I've learned the most profound lessons by totally checking out of my studio and making stuff in a completely foreign place.
This last residency in Vallauris I approached very casually and with zero expectations artistically. I only wanted to go to France, eat the food, drink the wine, go to the beach, then perhaps make some pottery. And that is pretty much what I did. But then, unexpectedly, I met Limoge porcelain, and I fell in love. And I realized that the clay body I've been working with for almost 20 years no longer fulfills my needs. Whoa. Big change. Then, I made a couple of things that I like a lot, different things, so now I have something to look forward to making in the studio. As soon as I can find a decent substitute for Limoge porcelain, that is. Know of anything? Email me here!
Maybe it's time for you to do a residency. Have you ever done one? If so, post a comment here and let the rest of us know where you went, and if you are not too shy, a few words about what you learned. Also, two links that may help you find your residency:
And another successful show in Rinconada Park, I'm so proud of all of us for showing up with so much incredible work. It was great to see all of your shining faces at the Palo Alto Clay and Glass Festival, and to once again experience the appreciation of the people who go to the show and support the artists who are exhibiting. A big extra thank you to Mary Lou Atkins, our show producer who really is the one who makes it happen and her support staff at the Palo Alto Art Center; our show publicist Kathy Bentaieb who really got the word out in a big way this year, and our peeps at Pro Event who sheperd the day along and look after everyone.
Enjoy the rest of the summer, everyone!