Montana Trip: Continued

I love the fresh crisp Montana air.  It has a way of clearing my head.  When I was most stressed Jeff would take me for a drive up to Hyalite Lake.  In the summer we would go for a bike ride and in the winter we would drive up in the deep snow to sit by the lake and take in the view.

We didn’t get to do that on this trip but I can remember how I would get tunnel vision about school and my ceramic work and that drive would clear my head.  I could see that tunnel vision, the passion, the drive, and single mindedness in the current graduate students at Montana State University.  While I was there I was able to observe a couple of critiques.  It was refreshing to be on the outside looking in at what their working on and thinking about.  I enjoyed listening to the questions and the rich dialog that developed.  Three years of “What is it about?”, “Why that form?”, “Why did you choose that color palette?”, What is the historical significance associated with that form?”, and on and on.  All those questions sit with me today and are a part of my current studio practice.  We’re taught to defend and to have confidence in our work because we’ve analyzed it from every angle.  It’s not that often that we have that dialog outside of school so I relished this opportunity.

After visiting with friends and attending an opening Jeff and I left for Helena, MT for a quick trip to the Archie Bray Foundation.

I did a summer residency in 2005 at the Bray and I feel like it changed everything for me.  That’s when I started making the large figurative sculptures I made for my thesis.  I was surrounded by 20 other ceramic artists from all over the world.  We would spend all day in our studios passionately working towards our own goals.  We would take breaks to sit by the wood stove, to play ping pong, and of course to have a few drinks at the end of the day.  I love this place.  Time seems to stand still.  It has a magical feeling like an artist’s play ground.  I dream of going back.

Take a moment to enjoy these photos and imagine yourself walking around this place, so rich with history.