The Independent Artist Podcast

Risk Factor/ Erica Iman

May 29, 2023 Douglas Sigwarth/ Will Armstrong/ Erica Iman Season 3 Episode 10
The Independent Artist Podcast
Risk Factor/ Erica Iman
Show Notes Transcript

When Erica Iman was a middle school art teacher fresh out of college, she recognized a trend among her coworkers. Her fellow teachers were counting down to retirement. She also identified that her favorite educators were those who led interesting lives. This prompted her to experience life and get outside her personal bubble. Erica and her husband joined the Peace Corps and spent two years of service in Mongolia. Her experiences in Asia fueled her drive to pursue her own art practice with ceramics as her medium. After years of working with clay, Erica's curiosity inspired her to explore 2D paintings that work seamlessly within her entire artistic vision. Erica's work has garnered many notable awards, and reputable shows look to her as a voice when selecting their artist exhibitors. Tune in to her thought-provoking conversation.

Douglas and Will discuss celebrity sightings, logistical nightmares, and art show reactions in the preamble discussion.

Visual artists Douglas Sigwarth and Will Armstrong co-host and discuss topics affecting working artists. Each episode is a deep dive into a conversation with a guest artist who shares their unique experiences as an independent professional artist.

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[Music] foreign
artist podcast sponsored by the National Association of Independent Artists also
sponsored by zapplication I'm will Armstrong and I'm a mixed media artist I'm Douglas sigworth glassblower join
our conversations with professional working artists welcome back to the podcast everyone
it's a stressful anxiety-ridden nauseating banter segment before this
lovely talk with Erica eyman that's right what there's a little bit of uh pounding outside my window they decided
that they were going to replace the siding on our house today after we had hail damage a year ago and they were
supposed to show up nice and early and get that taken care of and well it's gone a little bit long so uh I think
they should stop speaking of um podcasts and hail damage and and whatnot I got uh
photographs here just earlier from our good friend David Mayhew the storm chasing nice photographer right um he's
going to be a future guest and he sent me some shots of the hail damage that literally smashed his windshield even
side windows like this guy's nuts so he's like he's chasing the storms and
that shit's all coming down around him and oh sure yeah he's he's in the [ __ ] as Bill Murray said and uh yeah it's no
it wasn't Bill Murray who was the guy Rushmore oh as they say in Rich Moore were you ever in the [ __ ] okay that's
right he's he's been in the [ __ ] okay there you go all right speaking of Bill Murray I spent all of jazz fest looking
for Bill Murray this year because of your post on social media well you know you can't find Bill Murray if you're
looking for him that's the the laws of Bill Murray you'll never see him if you're looking well I guess my uh my
point is I wasn't specifically looking for Bill Murray but somebody of the celebrity ilk you know since you had
that did you didn't run did you run into any celebrities uh here's the thing at the end of jazz fest we were not too far
from the blues tent and so Melissa Etheridge was performing there wow and
which she could have been easily you know on the main stage so I'm kind of surprised they put her in the Blues tent
because the crowds were just like insane anyway okay we were parked just behind
the blues tent they put us there because of my my uh handicap issue and I'm
walking back and forth doing a little pre-packing she's the last act for the whole weekend grabbing boxes and I'm thinking that is
her that's her what do you call it her um what do they call those who are those that was her tour bus right there I'm
thinking I wonder if I just walk really slow by here if I could get a celebrity sighting on her way to perform
did you get one I did not I did not but it leads me to a different story about
that whole scene so the crowds were so packed outside our booth waiting to see
her perform and the tent was full and the 50 to 100 feet between the tent just
standing room only backed up so there's people's backsides all the way up against our booth and standing there a
little Log Jam there in front of your exactly blood clot yeah all right so there's uh these nice ladies had threw a
blanket down on the hard concrete and sand and in front of your booth just right there right on the entry of our
booth there and they're sitting there kind of leaning against some of the panels and I'm thinking you know what see I'm the show we're about to break
down let them have their fun so we're sitting there Renee and I having a nice little end of show Chad
kind of planning what we're gonna do to get the heck out of there like we all do and suddenly one of the women
starts putting her hands up against her throat like she's choking and I'm like
Oh Renee I think she might be choking and Renee doesn't mess around she's had a history with people who've been yeah
we're like joking before so she knew you don't wait so she's like excuse me ma'am she hops up excuse me are you choking
are you choking and she's got the hand on the chest she's nodding up and down and and she's like we got to do
something and getting her friends to acknowledge that that her their friend is having a problem wow so it starts to
get kind of scary and then the lady looks at us she was able to spit out asthma asthma right so she's having
trouble breathing Renee's like do you have your inhaler we've got a lot of energy here ramped up with this lady you
know the friends are starting to panic too because we're getting them worked up and she's trying to communicate to us
that this is no big deal so the only way that she could get us to calm down was to walk away
walk away from us so we would just leave her alone you were giving her asthma
like it's all anxiety driven and everything maybe she was getting a little excited about Melissa Etheridge I
was like maybe still do come to my window and then she starts asphyxiate like my God you're like the panicking
glassblowers oh boy so yeah that was our that was our nice end to uh to a good
show so to have that that crazy experience absolutely I've told I've told many
stories and I can't remember whether I talked to you or the show or David Mayhew but uh have I talked about my
celebrity sightings at at jazz fest besides Bill besides not besides Bill Murray Bill Murray was the one I
remember you know this guy comes to the booth and he's he looks sharp but casual if that makes sense you know he's got
like a nice shirt on button-down shirt uh kind of stylish right yeah style dark
jeans cowboy boots and uh whoever I told the story to last time was like so you
uh but anyway I'm like I really wanted to go see Beck and I'm talking to Susie
and I'm like I just really I want to go over there and see Beck and she's like yeah just go it's fine and I was talking
to this guy and I'm like I'm sorry buddy I'll leave you in the able you know the much more capable hands of my wife she's
the artist and I hit the road and went over to see Beck and as I'm walking over there I'm like God I hope that wasn't you know somebody right walking over to
back and everybody is somebody will yeah some people less than others you know what I mean like it was Steve Miller
Steve Miller Band and I totally big leagued him you know you didn't deserve
you didn't deserve him well I was looking at the Jazz Fest uh Instagram feed later on and I'm like
oops there's Steve Miller like sorry buddy yeah what is can you think of
another celebrity that is less recognizable than Steve Miller like I don't recognize them and I'm even trying
to picture him right now so yeah he's probably late 60s to 70 you know early
70s maybe just white guy average looking white guy Average White songs right yeah
nope there certainly were plenty of people walking in the booth that had that style you're talking about you're like you look like you could be someone
but I'm not quite sure I can't put my finger on it so yeah yeah yeah all right
well that's uh celebrity sightings there Jazz Fest that's good yeah yeah how was how's your last show been you came from
Greenville yeah uh the drive was [ __ ] brutal absolutely just you know elbow
throbbing you know uh brutal it was a it was a good you know I mean I guess getting to Greenville actually was not
as bad the first day I enjoyed the you know I I had built it up in my mind as
like I just am really tired of driving right now um everything is so far from where I
live it really is it's like you know it's 14 hours it's like oh Texas it's
close it's bordering and I'm like well you gotta drive through like factory farms and everything smells
awful and all the sadness and it's just it's gross and uh getting to anywhere
it's like 14 hours it's like 14 hours to Bayou City in 12 hours to this and it's
just I'm not I'm tired of driving yeah yeah that sucks I mean but I was thinking about the fact that I've got
four shows coming up here starting and which sounds like a lot but they're all
four hours from home it's like a good old Midwest tour here I get to come home probably with it before noon the next
day I'll be home in the studio so that that changes things and when you're like all the way across country and you're
kind of like you're there and it's gonna be days to get home so that changes things I haven't I haven't driven that
that uh short of a distance since I left the east coast and would drive to like Alexandria or something from Richmond
but everything is you know I'm thinking about close shows like from you know
we're getting ready to leave for Minnesota this weekend and I'm looking at oh my next show is Old Town that's
only nine hours away that's a short distance and I got nine
hours that and then the next weekend I've got Lakefront like do I even bother
going home like nine like a full day of driving another full day of driving means only one full
day at home do I even bother and it's a Friday it's a Friday show set up on Thursday so you are really a short week
so Monday Tuesday Wednesday it's a setup Thursday I can't drive I'd have to leave on logistic nightmares that's for sure
yeah oh the whole goddamn career is hi I'm your podcast host I'm tired of my
career brightness and shiny today yeah can we get a can we get some more money
for this podcast by any chance so we can I can just retire and flap my gums
shitty things about people that's usually Easy Street yeah oh hi
I'm just gonna talk to people they're like that's the guy that used to do shows oh man but you asked on my last show it
was Artistry yeah and um have you ever done that one never no okay Greenville
South Carolina um it's a little weird um in that Greenville is like
aggressively friendly like really like a green like green Villas or people who
come to that show I mean maybe it's the people that come to the show but every everybody that I've met that is from Greenville or in Greenville is is like
so friendly I'm almost like you know I Richmond just kind of got like more of a
I don't know where I grew up it's more of a yeah it's a little more Northeast kind
of feeling you know it's a more a little more New York Boston Philly kind of feel it's a little like like that it's not a
southern I guess and uh you get down south like down to Greenville and people are like really nice and they come in
I'm like are you making fun of me like I feel like you know like how they're so friendly I'm like wondering kind of
what's up like what's what's the catch yeah where are you you're like oh hi how
are you yeah oh you're so great your your work is so amazing I was like I
love that no I mean it it's amazing well thank you no you don't understand it's amazing I'm like
[ __ ] get out of here I can't I don't even I can't even look you in the eye anymore it's like it just got weird yeah
you made it weird you made it weird I don't know but it's so nice and people are so lovely and I should look up the
name of the artist that I was next to because that that well there was Adam the boxed music guy he's he's awesome
he's hilarious and a great neighbor if yes I know the work yeah cool cool stuff it is I gotta admit
um drum circle sounds are like just below like
a monkey that found a pot and a spoon like that's where it lands on the
musical hierarchy for me like so monkey with a pot and a spoon like
you know at a shitty like Snake Farm Zoo okay you got that and then you got below
that you got uh hippies doing a drum circle and it sounded a little drum circular to me okay and on the other
side had a big double Booth of uh just the loveliest uh couple I should look up their names but uh uh a young couple two
lovely kids they're doing digital and some like kind of Renaissance colors and stuff in them nice question
um I know their names but I can't remember the business name so I should just shut up but whatever they're they're lovely well before
Greenville we had the pleasure of being directly across from each other at South Lake and that was kind of interesting to
see that was like last year wasn't it it was like yeah many many moons ago but
listen oh that's right because I talked to Camille about it when I interviewed Camille because I
just finished and then interviewed but so I talked to her about it and then like yeah we never got a chance to to chat about it that's true we haven't
right um but it was kind of a bizarre experience sitting directly across from your big double booth and you're looking
at my big double Booth we're right in line with each other and I mean at first when we were sitting there I look over
and I'm like take it in your work and I'm like I'm really enjoying it I'm enjoying all the subtleties and your
pieces your layering and the sheet music and it's just all of it just totally cool and then the crowd starts coming
and you know I'm pretty comfortable at a show I kind of know that I I do draw
eyes you know people will walk and they'll see the glass and they'll just do the ooh kind of thing right so at the
beginning of the show it was quite an experience I'm seeing the crowds walk they look to the right they see my booth
they look to the left they see your booth and then they keep looking at your booth and they keep walking okay I know
I'm gonna get my crowd but at the beginning beginning I'm thinking Wills win in this battle Will's getting all the eyes right now oh man that's that's
wild I there are it's funny you bring that up because there are people that I don't want to be uh right next to you
know I feel like I can hold my own against just about anybody and then all of a sudden I'm like
I would like to go to dinner with Dolan and Ali Marie but I don't want to have
them right next door that's a little it's just a little too sexy just a
little too much you know yeah but that's you know you got that booth and it's
like you've said this again and again you get like a pace and a half right to get across that 10 feet and like boom
boom and you crossed it so if something happens that's why we get all these I mean I could do a show 10 years in a row
there's no way I'm not going to have somebody come up into my booth and say oh is this your first year exactly I
mean I thought they were actually looking right I mean it was a really good point that that Camille made about your last talk where it's funny how that
happens to us as artists that they'll come every year and then suddenly you're the new thing even though you've been in
you know you've been there you've been in the same spot or whatever whatever thing that could make you mem you know recognizable from year to year it's
really funny that that whatever hits that year is what it is you know right then sometimes they're not even like
they may have may have seen you but they're not really ready for it mentally right like they're not ready to you know
commit to you know one of your uh Tower installations but yeah so therefore they
they're like yep didn't see anything like that last year but like wow it was here in the same spot but um like
different colors maybe but yeah right yeah and if they're ready for or or maybe they went home and they they didn't think they were ready and it's
like you know subtly got inside their head and then they come back to buy the next year boom and I do think sometimes
collectors they show up with a list in their head like you know that spot over the couch I really want something there
so they might have they might have tunnel vision about what they're looking for might be a certain 2D kind of piece
that they might be looking for so yep jewelry coffee mug monkey banging on a pot
welcome to the road everyone welcome to the road I don't want to hear anybody's Booth you know yeah it boils down to
that well it uh reminds me of a conversation that I had with Jeff zachman at uh at my last show uh Jeff
SackMan kinetic artist he's the one foreign
yes well rolling balls down his kinetic sculpture
all weekend I hope I don't get this wrong because I don't want to offend him I'm trying to remember the story that he told me I'm
going after everybody he said he was next to an artist who she shall remain nameless and uh she said oh
I'm so glad you're my neighbor this weekend because um you get to get all the idiots in your
booth or something along the line you get the you get the people who just want to look at shiny ball going through the
you know the following something and I said to him I go was that offensive I mean did you find that offensive he goes
oh hell no I thought it was hilarious because I do I do get those people standing yeah hey I wanted to bring this up it was kind of funny uh there was uh
some knucklehead was online talking about it was like the stupidest Post I think I've ever seen uh nah it wasn't
stupid no it was dumb yeah all right yeah that was dumb I'm throwing your
words out at you right now I know but I mean somebody came up with this topic and they're like
uh maybe this would shake up the art fair world or be interesting if uh people would let you jury in with one
thing and then just show whatever the hell you want and it's like I mean I just I did respond
like it's it was so ignorant that I was kind of like well why is anyone even talking about this giving like any
Oxygen right right I mean like the very definition of cheaters right definitely
right I mean if you want to show the the stuff and and granted there are there are so many artists out there and we got
one on the show today that have two different bodies of work that uh work beautifully together it just Exquisite
uh space when you walk into her booth Erica eyman she's curing and with uh she
sends her ceramic jury in slides in and then she sends her paintings in yeah and then she's got the same booth shot hey
here's what they look like together that's what I would assume right did she say that on the show I can't remember
um we did not no but but anyway she does talk about the fact that you know it's a challenge if they don't both get in
together because the display is kind of integral now that both bodies of work just work together so and you're kind of
I mean I don't want to disparage any juries that don't let in both bodies of work but you have to be a fool if you didn't
let both of them in because it looks so cool together yeah I mean it it makes total sense for sure yeah that's kind of
what my reaction to this this post was which like you had brought up in your
responses a lot of words that people were giving what I'm gonna get through together
for balls do we need like that's just it's just like it's like a child walking
up and you're like I want free ice cream for everybody it's like well Billy ice
cream costs money so you know lovely idea but like why would you even
give their like free pizza party okay Billy that's not gonna happen either
well I was just trying to say in my own way that that system does exist just
submit to Applications three applications five applications and show the work together it's there it's not
like you can't show multiple bodies of work they just have to get juried that's the whole point so submit your ass I
mean that's why there's a jury there's a little catch-all against you for bringing your you know your macrame flower holders and
with your paintings I hear Spillers doing that now macrame her macrame game
is on point yeah man pretty damn awesome oh it's she doesn't do macrame all right
I don't know yeah she weaves it out of cat hair smells smells like ammonia
okay back to Erika here is Erica eyman I had a really great time with her this
week and I was kind of surprised we talked you know we nerded out a little bit on Craft I didn't know some of the
directions we would go with it but I loved the whole point about risk and so when you get to that part of the talks
just know that that was one of my particular favorite parts of this conversation that's yeah that really was
a shining spot uh too as well as her her demeanor as well which I really I feel
like it matches the work there's a subtlety yeah and a calmness about her
uh that seems to come across in her work as well as the way she speaks and I feel like like my wife always says that that
we all kind of look like our work she thinks everybody kind of looks like I thought most people look like they're
dogs but no no no yeah sometimes but uh there's an element of like a an ed
pribble sculpture that even when he's carving Batman I'm like Ed that looks
like you but yeah there's an element of like I I definitely look like I've walked out of
one of my paintings and um you and Renee look like you're floating on the wall with it in the garden you know we're so colorful
colorful yes absolutely all right but um enough about us here's Erica so here's
Erica Erica men from Kansas City Missouri
this episode of The Independent artist podcast is brought to you by zap the digital application service where
artists and art festivals connect you know well I started applying last week for next season's art shows and I just
really love that with application we can categorize our shows by favorites and
then I can go in and sort those favorites by application deadline so I never miss an application to one of my
favorite shows it's true it has lots of different options lots of different add-ons and tags that we can use and
there never seems to be enough time I just got home from a show I need to get back into the studio there's pieces to
be made but applications are coming due I'm so busy with all of the other hats that I wear to go on to other websites
to apply to shows to be honest I don't even do it I only go to Zeb yeah and basically if I don't have to think about
it then I'm a happy man okay we have a call to entry this week for the Edina fall into the Arts Festival in Edina
Minnesota that is one of the Minneapolis area shows of it's a fall show coming up
on September 9th and 10th of 2023 but the deadline is more quickly approaching
folks when is that Douglas the deadline on that is June 9th and edina's a pretty
sweet little area in Minneapolis it's a got a lot of boutiques and nice shops
pretty affluent area yeah if you're looking for a show in that particular area if that's how you plan at your
schedule you're looking for a minneapolis-based show the Edina area is a safe and welcoming beautiful area
Centennial Lakes Park is a prime location for an art fair as is said on
their website and it's a beautiful location there in the midwest so if you'd like to check out this show log on
to this application and look up Edina fall into the Arts and check out all
their information yep deadline is June 9th coming up fast folks
is the pronunciation of your last name Iman it is yep that's right okay not
like David Bowie's wife right now Iman that's much fancier but yeah it
does you could actually adopt that if you wanted to just gone with that at least for like the studio name or
something right exactly well Erica thank you for joining
me today I'm looking forward to our conversation and getting to know each other yeah
yeah we don't really know each other that much um no just kind of cave on each other's radar
lately and I'm like you know what I think I want to talk to you so we'll see what happens today well I appreciate the
invitation yeah for sure well a funny little story that um not a funny little story but a little story to kind of get
us started that I was talking to Camille Marchese recently and um you were
exhibited at her show Coconut Grove this year and you had kind of a good experience right yeah amazing experience
so yeah I listened to the podcast from this week that you released and uh yeah it was great I mean I'd never done any
Florida shows before let alone Coconut Grove but yeah it was it was great well I'm trying to give you the opportunity
to tell us about your big prize win never mind so tell me about that part of it you won
the big prize okay we'll start out with the big prize yeah yes I got master of show and it was amazing I mean I was
completely blown away completely surprised uh a funny thing was as they came by with this um kind of bagpipe or
a marching band maybe this is the usual thing this is the first time I've been there so no actually that's what I was
kind of interested in oh really Camille said she wanted to bring in kind of that Pomp and Circumstance that they did at
Winter Park and wanted to cut but she couldn't get the marching band so she said well I guess a bagpiper will do
right well there were multiple and it was a large group coming through and it
was so loud was it it was coming through and it was just enough room for them to
come through so it really cleared the crowd out and then I see Camille just kind of like through the bagpipes you
know and she kind of like peeking at me like hey and she's like pointing at me and then I'm like what oh okay I'll come
out what's going on she couldn't get through because the band was still marching by yeah anyway it was a it was
a funny experience so well what she told me and I if I get I wonder if I'm getting this right or if this is what
you what you noticed they were doing their their procession to your booth and
she says they're walking along and she's looking back and forth and looking side to side and all of a sudden she looks
over and she sees you in your booth looking out at the you know at the spectacle and she's like wait a minute
that's where we're supposed to be going right now and the bagpipers had to stop and turn around and come back and catch
you I was I'm wondering like I said it was like she couldn't even get across to me so it was like
the skinny like she's just like waving at me from the river of the bagpipes coming through so yeah it was it was
funny well congratulations on that that's really exciting it was very
exciting and it was just an amazing show like weekend you know all of that kind of came together so yeah it was great
well the first thing when I heard about you winning was I know that you show in
two mediums so did you win Best in Show for your both your bodies of work or was
it that they choose one so I think it was just kind of an overall like I don't think it was yeah
one or the other so yeah I think it was just the combo okay so tell me about that tell me about how you work in 3D
and in 2D yeah well so I I mean I've worked in clay for over maybe 20 over 20
years so maybe like 23 years now I went to school for clay just had a lot of experience in that and
then the paintings really came about just in the last five years I've kind of really developed those and started
showing them within I guess you could say in the last five years but really art fair wise just the
last three years I would say so oh okay the paintings are actually made out of black iron oxide so one of the colorants
that I use in my ceramic glazes so really I just started experimenting with those materials and that's how the
paintings came about and you're not working with brushes right right a different technique yeah yeah so um
really it all started with like just raw material experiments so the things that I had in the glaze studio and the
ceramic Studio I just started noticing the materials doing some really interesting things naturally on their
own um and just wondered how I could kind of capture that back when I was in school I
did a little bit of experimentation with Clay slips and things on paper and some other oxides and things so it kind of
stemmed from that which was about 10 years ago so um okay but then yeah within the last
five I've really tried to develop them into more finished works and so the black iron oxide I'm mixing it with
water in different proportions and then I'm pouring it onto a prepared panel at
this point and I'm kind of just as I'm doing it the panel is vertical and so I'm kind of drawing and pouring at the
same time so I'm kind of drawing the forms out but I'm allowing the material to really run down the panel like I said
I just started experimenting with the material and seeing what it did on its own and then notice that beautiful
branching details and thought okay now how can I use that and show that in the
work it also has a really nice kind of atmospheric um kind of wash effect and so as I build
up hundreds and hundreds of layers on each piece it can really show kind of a
almost a misty depth to the uh it does work as well so yeah you can kind of
tell like the darker oxides versus maybe I don't know if you use different
concentrations or more watered down to give that sense of depth in your piece so it's like it might be a horizon of
the mountains a tree landscape or or something it gives that real natural
almost minimal but yet ethereal kind of feel to it yeah yeah thanks so I'm
mixing it as I'm painting so it's very much feels like a performance piece I have to keep the piece fully wet or else
the material starts to really stain and embed into the surface but if I want to go back in and work and kind of wash out
and lighten areas I have to keep the piece like wet the entire time so really
I have a pretty short window of time that I can work on the pieces when you talk about layering it is really in the
moment layering it's not like you'll go through and do a pour let it dry completely and come back is it all real
like right spontaneous and most of it yes and little happenings you know you
know I'll be pouring in one spot in like this beautiful little kind of uh kind of a little Arch forms early in the
painting where the surface is dry and there's a little bit of tension on the surface and so the material will make
these little kind of arched little details and so when that happens often I'll try to preserve parts of that and
kind of adjust my idea of what I'm trying to make so I'm very much in the moment responding to the piece as I'm
making so I'm making a choice whether to go darker or lighter in an area so I'm
mixing it yes proportionally with water sometimes just pure water if I really
want to go in and lighten an area up and then on occasion I will let the material
set for just about 15 minutes and that's enough to really embed some of the texture and the material on the surface
and then if I go in it'll have a very slightly different effect it will kind
of cut through the material in a sharper way that makes sense as opposed to like a wash and kind of a bleed effect so
occasionally I do let it sit but it's only for about a 15 minute okay period
of time and that's yeah to me I mean uh I'm I'm having a lot of connection to
what you're describing with being a glass blower it feels very similar to our process yeah it's all kind of a
One-Shot you're in in it as you're doing it and you're reacting kind of intuitively to
what the material is doing right right exactly is that what you're describing yeah definitely definitely like you know
you notice that a certain blend happening in this area or you see something just spectacular
that's like happening I'm thinking I'm picturing in glass you know like a Twist of colors and things and like and then
just going with that and trying to um even use those uh little happenings to enhance the painting or whatever it
is yeah with glass you know they we have the heat component so it changes what
we're looking at do you feel like you have a little bit of that like your experience will tell you that when it
dries that this piece is gonna look how it has in the past but when you're actually working it it'll have a
different kind of an effect that's my experience with glass anyway yeah a little bit with the painting I mean as
it dries it tends to lighten up quite a bit and then but once we seal it again
it will kind of pull the richness and the detail back out once I put a seal it with the varnish so there's a little bit
of that happening though I feel like with the painting it's a little bit more you know what you see is what you get as
opposed to the ceramic work is very much on that you know right because then you
fire it right you fight once it's fired you come back and the next day and like oh I like what happened there yeah
definitely and I have kind of developed a certain glaze palette within the ceramics that it's it's very sensitive
so even like if it's a warm day versus a cool day where my pills are and how
slowly that cools whether it's like 50 degrees an hour to 100 degrees an hour the glaze comes out very different and
so there's definitely an element of surprise when I open the Kilns to a certain extent right yeah well you have
such a long history with Ceramics what prompted you to Branch out and kind of
take the aesthetic that you have developed three-dimensionally what made you want to get into painting yeah
um you know it just it really happened organically like there wasn't kind of
you know I'm gonna start doing paintings now or I want to develop you know into a different medium it really just came out
of a curiosity with the materials noticing again like even on the inside of the glaze buckets that I'd be mixing
you know you'd have a separation of material on the sides yeah and it's that
similar texture that I have in the painting work and so I had a show here
in Kansas City that uh said well we have some wall space and at the time I really
wasn't making any ceramic wall work and I was like you know I kind of played around with some paintings several years
ago you know maybe I'll just try doing that again and so a little bit here and there I made a couple paintings for that
show and then I started to getting more Curious and more curious about it and just trying to affect it in the the
details so uh yeah it kind of just slowly crept in yeah yeah well I can relate to what
you're saying because we also work we work within the same our same medium so
it's our two-day work and our 3D work is still glass so it's not like we have to apply in separate categories sure but I
would say shortly before the pandemic and really during the pandemic we really fleshed out this idea of how can our
design aesthetic translate not just three-dimensionally on a pedestal how can it also be on the wall
and have them work together yeah and do you find that your collectors will
incorporate both bodies of work as one I mean they will display them at home like that yeah that's funny it seems like
people either go ceramic or they either go paintings really okay yeah usually I
have some I have some kind of long-term customers that will they I've noticed after they'll like maybe buy multiple
Ceramics pieces they came at me through Ceramics um and they've started to maybe buy a
small painting you know but they're pretty set in their medium it feels like
um and I have so many people that come into my booth even just last weekend I had several people do this and I had
black has like they'll come in and they'll be like oh how do you make these and I'm like oh do you mean those
Ceramics or the painting and they're like oh you have ceramics too or they'll
they'll be like oh you have paintings also like they have they're not even noticing one of the other they're just
like blinders on and are attracted to one so yeah I've had that experience too
or they'll go when did you start doing this and be like well just about always but whatever caught their eye initially
yeah you know that was the thing and everything else like becomes a spotlight yeah they just they saw something and
that's all they noticed so yeah I'm surprised actually they from
that story because when I look at your work like if I look at your booth or you
in your booth I do think that the 3D and the 2D work goes so beautifully together
and to me somebody would just be like this just totally makes sense what you have sitting in front of this painting I
want the whole thing I want this I want this I want what you got going on here well thanks yeah yeah I you know it's
hard for me to show just one or the other anymore because I just feel like there's such a combo and uh the booth
just feels strange if it's just like just paintings or just Ceramics now I
occasionally do have someone that comes in and does just that they're like this piece sitting right under that painting
is exactly what I want let's just they're meant to be right we'll have you run into a
situation I mean during into one media sometimes is challenging enough but have
you ever had that tension between you get in and one and you don't get in on the other and you have to decide well what do I do oh yeah oh yeah definitely
I feel very lucky that I've gotten into so many shows with both I mean it just
seems impossible at times um so I feel very lucky but definitely I mean we we have several shows we just
showed paintings down at Gasparilla um again it felt you know strange it's
there but yeah yeah um and then you know we've had the opposite where you know we just get in
in Ceramics but I love being able to show the two together so and then often
like my setup really isn't great for just showing the ceramic work so like I said I don't really have Wall work clay
wise and so we kind of tend to like if we get in or we're kind of testing out I
guess I should say the just showing paintings but pretty much if I just get in Ceramics now I just can't yeah it
would require me to redo the booth and shelving and things like that yeah so it
would feel like you'd have to take a pass on that on that show yeah it is yeah yeah and I felt like I said I feel
lucky enough that we're getting into enough shows with both if that weren't the case then I probably would have to
reconsider and redesign the booth yeah well we've talked about the process of
your paintings and I kind of wanted to um before we discuss your Ceramics since
it is really a long history I want to kind of get into your Peace Corps work
and your stuff that really influenced your body of work kind of the experiences that you've had you know in
your earlier years so you were in the Peace Corps when was that yeah that was
back uh let's see that was 2005 to 2007. um so yeah my husband and I went over to
the peace core we were in Mongolia we part-time taught English and then part-time did a gardening kind of
neighborhood Workshop project and Library project kind of doing just Community projects that we you kind of
see a need for is what what Peace Corps requests so so yeah if you're an educator then that you said you went
over to teach so were you a teacher at that point uh-huh um so I uh my first
degree was in art education and so they said oh so you've had education experience we'll place you where you can
help with it was you know teaching English as a second language uh okay yeah
um so so yeah and in the Peace Corps they the country requests for specific
kind of Educators come in and Mongolia specifically wanted English teachers
like second language teachers so so yeah we went over did that and like I said it was about it was only part-time and so
then you can really kind of get out in the community for the other part part-time of the work and do different
projects is it a volunteer type situation it is uh-huh yep it's a volunteer organization through the
government and it's set it's set up pretty well like they take care of everything you have great health care
and you know set up kind of safety and and because some places that Peace Corps
goes are you know places that are a little more difficult Mongolia is a pretty peaceful country so there wasn't
much of that because people who don't know geography that well it's an Asian
country right north of China yep sandwich between Russia and China okay
yeah and what's the economic conditions there is it quite quite poor or what
what are you experiencing there yeah it's a pretty poor country it's a really low population there are a lot of uh
other countries that are kind of exploiting their natural resources it's historically a nomadic culture and a lot
of that has they've been kind of pushed out of areas there's not a lot of private land ownership though now you
know different businesses are coming in and trying to kind of buy up land and so it's a real shift in culture for them
and then you know the city especially the capital city on butter is pretty
poor like there are a lot of kids living on the streets and down inside manholes and so it was you know it was a it was a
pretty eye-opening experience to see all of that and and then still to be able to see the nomadic culture and though they
seemed somewhat poor maybe especially compared to what you see how people live in um you know the United States but
really they didn't seem like they seemed very comfortable in their lifestyle and
you know maybe they only had few belongings but they really loved their lifestyle of being nomadic and you know
hurting yeah yeah so two separate worlds within one country like high poverty in
the cities and then kind of this peaceful nomadic like throwback to older
times okay well what inspired you and your husband to get involved in the
Peace Corps uh you know I think we've just gotten out of school I like I mentioned had done an art education
degree and then uh and what was his Focus he was uh he was a political science major but then minored in art
history so he was a little bit interested in art as well but I think it
was mainly just we were both ready for something like to kind of get out of our own heads a little bit
and do something that we felt like was for someone else and you know we had all of this uh focus on getting our degrees
and then it felt like it was time to you know like settle down and get a house and you know start some kind of a family
life and we're like you know what before we do that let's while we're you know not tied down we can kind of get out in
the world and just you know for the pressures of growing up and and doing like the formula you felt like you
wanted to experience something like that yeah yeah just kind of get out and just feel like yeah we were doing something
for others so you know we um we probably had this kind of silly idea or even like
hearing about like oh like you go over and you dig ditches for you know in another country or something and it
definitely wasn't like that but I mean it was it you know was a life-changing experience for the both of us and you
know we keep in contact with several people from our time there and uh um I
know a couple of the students that we even taught there have made their way to the United States uh for college
um they don't really have great universities there and so for them to go study somewhere else is a big deal and
so yeah we we enjoy keeping in touch so do you feel like you have kind of this strong
drive towards service and kind of learning about what else is out in the world is that what sparked it yeah like
I said I think we just we felt like we wanted to do something with our lives that felt like it wasn't just focusing
on ourselves we really wanted to like get out and try to do something that felt like it was going to help help
other people um and then just kind of experience and see what what it's like out there like
what you know what other lifestyles are there and and you know what's it like out in in different countries and uh and
how do people live so that was part of it getting out of our privileged bubble that we yeah that a lot of us don't even
realize we're in you know honestly right right right exactly so yeah it was it
was an amazing time I mean like I said it was two years and we like lived we lived with a host family to be immersed
in the language uh for several months um which was interesting without knowing
the language right um well you know Peace Corps kind of preps you a little bit they give you like a CD to at the
time it was a CD to practice up a little bit
um yeah but you know you can only do so much and so really this we live three months with a family that spoke no
English at all and that was what really you know like this is getting real this is right that's right you gotta go to
the bathroom you gotta know how to ask so oh my gosh yes so when you got there
were there were there like some feelings of like what did we get ourselves into were you
nervous or was it exciting what sorts of things were you experiencing internally sure yeah yeah I mean definitely it was
very hard at times I mean it was a pretty major culture shock and the food was very different and just the
lifestyle like all of it was was pretty difficult um but then I say once we once we got
back to the United States the culture shot coming back was worse so you were gone for how long uh it was two years
about two and a half years once we and we kind of stayed over in Asia afterwards for a while and then there's
three months of training on top of that as well so so did you feel like that too or so many years away from the U.S that
the like what you came you said you came back to culture shock into the U.S was it like coming back to what you knew or
did it feel like things kind of kept moving in two years and there was still like there was like learning new things
like was kind of The New Normal in the U.S I think what it was was like it did it felt like the United States was
fairly similar to what we had left um I think we had gotten so used to the lifestyle over there it was much slower
we lived kind of out in rural areas it was very peaceful there were no
Billboards at the time while we were there um it's very like the commercialism is
you know pretty small you know even we got used to the food uh you know like uh
transportation in where you just had to like you might have to wait an hour two hours if it ever comes you know that
kind of stuff and I think we just really got into that feel you know you live
pretty close to the Earth there you know and so I think coming back from that it
felt a little over stimulating to come back to the United States um you know like fast food or anything
like that just killed yeah our stomach's coming back and you know we're like oh
wow this is interesting you know it's pretty pretty shocking to kind of come back into like just kind of hyper
culture and yeah even coming back you know like with family and friends it felt kind of
overwhelming like like just so much to like make decisions on and and people to
visit and whereas you know we had a small group of friends out there but you know life was a very much slower pace so
that's interesting I can totally relate to what you're saying it's like you get
out of what is normal the us and what you know the hyper stimulation everywhere you go and then when you come
back you're like whoa was it always like this right I know how did I manage this
before you know why are we all so anxious
so did you try to bring any of that simpler type you know experiences from
from over there back here in your in your everyday life yeah I think I think so and I mean I think it really
influenced my work I mean the the peacefulness there and like these huge
open Landscapes where you just see the like slightest bit of a mountain ridge Horizon
um I mean it was vast like amazing and a little bit on the severe side as well a
little bit overwhelming there's just big expansive open spaces so I think a lot
of that came into my work like I feel I feel like a lot of that sensibility and
spaciousness almost this kind of meditative space um I feel like has come into the work
um I'm very interested in the raw materials and like the materials of the earth and how they react and you know
kind of like freeze and thaw and cracking and rough textures versus you know soft
um forms you know like River Stones weathered Stones things like that um and so I think that totally can see
that in your in your work it looks it looks very geological landforms and all
that and the textures are just you know it's like when you don't have let's say like our work it's about the
it's about the transparency and the the flow of color and whatever but when your
color is minimal it lets you focus on other elements like texture like form
like you know a visceral feel that you're getting yeah definitely I mean and I try to you know really Pare down
as much as I can and so I'm very focused on form it has to just be spot on and
then same with texture or just the the slight Edge undulation and movement of
the top edge of a bowl I love kind of having a little bit of a play in soft form versus kind of something a little
more rough raw kind of unrefined so all of those you know I love having these
just simple forms that really don't your first thought isn't necessarily
like the finger the hand of the maker right whereas a lot of clay work is
about that really showing the the hand of the maker and so I like to kind of keep a clean form I want like there to
be a very strong just emotional kind of intuitive feel more of a uh you know
feeling that somewhere it kind of hits you in the gut or in the chest that feeling first then because and that's what I'm trying to find for myself and
so I hope that you know comes through into the viewer as well I think you ride that balance of like you were talking
about that that being refined but yet also having it be raw and so it's like
where is that balance you know between is this like not like a perfectly
centered wheel thrown piece of pottery like a vessel or whatever
this is it's like it's hand built right the way you're creating your work is all
hand built and shaped and it is you're right there's like an emotional
connection or reaction to what you're walking up and seeing because it is so different than what you expect when you
think of pottery for example sure sure yeah yeah I I like to balance that like
that kind of masculine feminine raw refined you know they have a real weight
to them a lot of them look very heavy but then I thin the top Edge out to give it a you know something very delicate
um most of the forms have a rounded uplifted bottom also to kind of give that lightness and lift as well but then
you know that black glaze kind of brings the weight back into the piece yeah I
like that I glad you mentioned just kind of that balance back and forth for sure so well like I I see it because it also
is something that we try and work on in our work because for example when we
work and I've talked about this on the Pod so people are probably like ah stop talking about it but it's the flow and the and
the fluidity and the work and how do you go from somebody walking up and saying that piece looks crooked to being oh my
God look at how it flows you know what I'm saying and it's like where do you where do you feel like you feel
confident that what you're putting out there isn't like somebody to look at it and think it's a mistake or something you know what I mean and I'm not I'm not
imposing that thought onto what onto your work but that's what I think about when things maybe happen yeah asymmetry
or something right no I definitely see a similarity in our works with certain forms and things like that I too am
looking for again that there's usually that sweet spot right of like yeah I've taken it too far like too off balance
it's almost like that's the first thing that I notice and it feels off to me uh versus that sweet spot where it's like
oh it's just off just perfectly like just that barely out of round circle right like just kind of pushed and
pumped in a few places it's like that's how that land form was it's like that's how the glacier came through and and it
feels like it fits it's not so out of balance that it feels manipulated or
right or like a happening or something yeah right like something something
happened to it right like something hit it with like a yeah I watched a really cool interview recent well actually a
couple months ago you know the series on YouTube uh the actors on actor where they sit down and they talk back and
forth it's very podcasty um and they talk about their process and it was Michelle Yao and Kate Blanchett
talking about their big roles that they were just in okay no I don't know it and um uh Kate Blanchard is talking about
the creative process and I feel like how you've described working intuitively and
really being so in touch with the medium and allowing the materials to flow it
relates for me too where as as a Creator we write that line between what we
create we risk destroying it you know that that idea of like we've gone too
far with it it's been come overworked and it's like it's that it's that place
where that makes us kind of like it's like that adrenaline rush you know what I mean where you're like riding the edge
yeah right like if you don't take the risk you'll never know the reward of that yes yeah exactly yeah right yeah I
I remember reading a book the um well I hate you what was it called but it was about the work uh he it was a
Craftsman book um the workmanship of risk I believe is what he was talking about in the book
and how that is what kind of really distinguishes us from say like something
mechanical right that that risk factor in the work and he was talking again specifically about craft uh and uh
traditional craft artists and how uh you know that's the the pure magic in the
work is if you don't take those risks you'll never have that magic in the work right because then it becomes more
machined looking yeah um you know it's interesting like certain forms I make
over and over but it still feels like there is this back and forth and back
and forth pushing to find still that middle I can kind of uh feel like I'm
doing something that something that feels a little bit risky but then also
there's a familiarity in there as well so there's kind of I feel like I'm much more in a comfort Zone with risk now
than I used to be whereas it used to be just like we'll just play around and see what you get whereas now there's a you
know I find that kind of middle Zone within that well I'm sure when you see an inspiration like when you were inspired
you know when you saw what was happening in that bucket and you're like this could translate onto the wall and then
you then you had that time where you could again ReDiscover play
push it too far bring it back in on another piece kind of a thing right yeah yeah definitely and that's you know
that's one reason I don't like commissions I feel I feel like I cannot like just
let go I can't risk as much as I really want to um and every commission I've ever made
has had a self-consciousness to it and it looks rigid to me and I feel like ah
you know let's why don't I just try to make some pieces similar to that in the
next round of work I make and we'll just see if it if you like them rather than like let's do a solid commission here
and sign on the line I I like that and I've I've done both and I would say that
no matter what even if it's like a 200 piece that seems kind of like a filler you know I still will stress myself out
like what they saw or what they're picking out based on what they think they're getting yes I'm afraid they're
gonna look at it and go and it's like I can't deal with that stress I know I can't either and it just
I can see the stress in the work and I know it's not my best work is part of it you know yeah so I'd rather just make an
attempt to make it make a few send photos put them out come to a show
whatever and then yeah they can experience the magic of whether they like it or not that's right that's right
I you know I still will do um commissions I I like doing it the other way where it's just a little more
organic but um I still will do commissions but I tend to now like if it's a single piece
um I'll set myself up with multiples and make two or three at least it takes the
stress off and as long as that stresses out of my body then you know I might all three pieces might be perfectly you know
wonderful but uh if I'm just if I just have one piece in front of me and it's like this is what they want I've got to
look at the list again with you know it's just too much it's it's just not I can see it in the words right they might
not see it but we feel it and it's that's true I know right exactly I mean because we know yeah we know what feels
fresh to us but we've you know what our ideal might be yeah well uh so back to
the the edge educator piece so you were kind of going down a path of being an educator but then did you Veer away from
that at some point or yeah yeah I started teaching middle school art and taught it for a couple of years and I
enjoyed the kids and the teaching mostly but it was just such a rigid environment and you know
that I felt like uh we the teachers were held under this kind of magnifying glass and and there were all these kind of
rules and there was this one teacher that came in one day and uh she said oh I've got you know 22 years I'm counting
down to retirement how many years I just sucked she said 20 she had 22. she did
do you think yeah I think that you have over two decades to look forward to something I mean why can't you look forward to something like what's gonna
happen tomorrow right I know well she was already counting down and I just you
know I could just feel it and I was just like you know what I just can't do this yeah
um so and I mean I it was a multi you know many things I was still interested in going back and learning specifically
like I had also studied you know taken multiple classes for art education everything from Ceramics fibers drawing
all of those things but I knew that I wanted to go back and really create my own work and focus on a specific medium
so so kind of all of those things together you know I just felt like the environment wasn't for me and uh like I
said it you know the kids were great and fun but uh just the atmosphere in general uh and then I thought you know
the best teachers that I had in my lives were they were interesting beyond the
way they were teaching you know they had interesting lives and had done multiple things in life and you know they really
brought their lives and experiences into the teaching that they did and so I thought you know if I'm going to be a
teacher I want to like go back and study you know and at the time it was either Ceramics or Metals actually and also
just go get some life experiences and you know that was probably part of the Peace Corps thing as well like just kind
of get out and experience the world so you know I thought if I'll if I come back to teaching great but for right now
I need to go out and do some other things was the Middle School teaching before the Peace Corps it was yeah okay
so the Peace Corps kind of change you towards a direction when you came back
of pursuing art for yourself and to kind of you know Express what you wanted to
do yeah yeah I I remember while I was in the Peace Corps you know I wasn't doing art at all and uh I was kind of visiting
a few artists in the country trying to kind of get a feel for things but you
know it was a time more of reflection and kind of thinking about what I wanted to do with my life and I knew
probably halfway through the Peace Corps that I was really craving making something with my
hands and getting back into that again and so you know that whole like absence makes the heart grow fonder
right like yeah not being even able to do it during that time really set me
down the path of okay as soon as I get back I'm going to be I'm going to go back to school really study this
um and try to figure out how to make it more a part of my life of making things so
um yeah and that's I mean yeah that's the thing when something is taken away and it's it's not there and you long for
it then you know it's something real that it has hooks in you yeah definitely I could I could feel it then whereas
before that I was kind of like well I could do this I could do that but you know once it was like oh you can't you
can't really do much to make while you're over in Mongolia uh in other ways
it was very much a clay thing for me at the time like I really craved working in clay again and with them being a nomadic
culture they really had very little clay history you know some places you go visit and they've got ancient Kilns and
a deep deep history of clay and Mongolia is not one of those countries well you
did find a place that had a deep history right you went to Japan and you did some studying there what was involved with
that yeah so that was it right afterwards so while we were in Mongolia like I said I decided that I really
wanted to get back into clay just full force start making again um and so while we were there I went
ahead and applied for a kind of a workshop ceramic Workshop program in
Japan and so that way instead of heading straight back to the United States we headed just straight over to Japan to
that program right immediately so so yeah um it was in tokoname Japan it was
it's called the international Workshop of ceramic arts in tokoname it's one of
the six ancient Kiln sites in Japan has a long history of of pottery and ceramic
making so um we hung out there for the entire summer and lived with a host family and
we got to travel it was an amazing program I don't think it's any like I think they closed the program down a few
years ago Unfortunately they took us around to multiple artist studios in the
area some really amazing places museums and then we also had a workshop where we
got to work in clay had multiple visiting artists come in and show us how
to make traditional Japanese tea bowls and contemporary Japanese artists coming in had just a most amazing experience
the whole summer and of course just experiencing Japanese culture and and just way of life was was amazing so and
that it really really drew me in like I loved getting back into clay seeing how these other artists were making but also
their lifestyle like I just loved how they pulled the beauty and Ceramics they're such a respect for pottery in
Japan oh there is yeah there's like a um you know there's the tea ceremony and
how they hold the t-bowl and they're very you know ritualistic in how they hold it how they present it to you how
the teas whisked and it's just you know it's just rich with that tradition and really when I started uh
ceramics that was kind of my introduction was to through traditional Japanese pottery so this was a chance to
really go and experience it so um wow and it sounds like being kind of tied into their customs and their rituals and
stuff like that but the artist was it like that the artist was a little bit elevated or or revered like they
wouldn't call them the starving artist like we would in the U.S right no it didn't I'm sure there is some of that
but you know we definitely got to go around to the uh you could say more successful artists in a way that they've
been doing it for years and a lot of them were older um had yeah beautiful Studios and had
such a good rapport within the community sold their Pottery directly to people in
the area and made a good living that way yeah it was just a really it was
wonderful to see how integrated into the culture and just the lifestyle of all of that it was so I feel like I really took
that took that with me and I wanted to be an artist but also I wanted it to be
a lifestyle I wanted to you know it all to kind of flow and and have art in my
home and uh you know even I had done some wood firing here in the United States before that but like even like I
have some images but of their wood Kilns and stuff and they're just beautiful they're just like built into the hillside you know kind of a grassy green
uh Hill in the background and then this you know beautiful form the the Kiln
itself it's functioning to fire the the pottery but it itself is just a
beautiful piece of work you know beautiful artwork and so I just yeah I loved it
it sounds like it fired in you this passion to it just inspired you just to
to go down that path and to be like this is this is for me and to be young like
that and to be exposed to other cultures and to to see how it's different from
what you know you grew up in it is kind of like this this WOW kind of moment
yeah yeah it definitely was and just to even see to see people being able to
make a living doing art and it be a part of and part of a lifestyle you know it
was pretty eye-opening at that point like I don't feel like I knew many people that were making art for a living
and uh and that that could even be an option and didn't come from a background
that that would have you know a family that would would think of an artist as a
career or a way of life oh definitely not no we were kind of more of a rule farming family and Community yeah yeah I
mean we didn't go to museums or uh much of anything there I took a few art classes in high school and that kind of
sparked me a little bit into studying it in in college but other than that it was pretty limited but I mean I feel like my
synth there's a lot of sensibility from just kind of that rule lifestyle even
that kind of pulls into my work the hard-working aspect but I wasn't ever encouraged or pushed into that yeah yeah
right that's cool well I mean I think it was a huge step for you get getting out
of college to be like let's experience this I feel like in today's society I look at my kids who are in their young
20s and I feel like so much of what they are planning for their future is what they're predicting
has been shown to them already either on the Internet or YouTube videos or whatever and just having yourself
getting out of your comfort zone and going somewhere where you just experience life and allowing things to
unfold in front of you is huge I mean that's that's a huge Awakening of of options for you to follow and to get
excited about yeah I know I see I have some nieces and nephews that are um kind
of in like their early 20s and I just want to tell them like just drop everything and go like go do whatever
you're curious about doesn't it be traveling the world right but just do some things that it's not about money or
setting yourself up in a job or you know just about having experiences and and finding what really kind of Lights you
up right and and you never know what that is if it if you haven't even seen or experienced it yet right yeah you
can't predict what's going to light you up as you say it's like you have to they just have to have it happen it's
spontaneous you know yeah yeah so were you able to when you came came back to
the US and kind of start your life were you able to bring some of that that sensibility of not letting the world
that we're used to in the US the over stimulation were you able to kind of keep things more on a on a natural level
for yourself yeah I mean like I said it was pretty shocking coming back but I think we kind
of knew that it was going to be uh because before we even came back home um I mean we did some traveling over in
Asia um and went down like into Cambodia and Thailand and and did a little bit and we
knew that this was our opportunity because we wouldn't be able to like afford a you know another plane ticket
back for a long time but uh so we kind of planned ahead and knew that if we
came back and just moved right back to our hometown or around family again that
we probably easily slide kind of just right back into our old lifestyle we
felt so good about the experience we had and these ideas in our heads as to what we wanted to do with you know the next
few years if nothing else um and so we said well let's just move out to Oregon
somewhere yeah we had a couple friends that had gone
on our radar as a place we wanted to kind of go anyway but then they had moved out there and we're like okay well
we're coming too so so we knew we'd just like we can't go back to Missouri right we just we had to
do something fresh that kept that those ideas flowing and not kind of easily go
back into that kind of old life and so we moved out there for a couple of years and I knew that I uh wanted to study
clay even more intensely and so though I had gotten a I had gone back and just it
took me another year I got a Ceramics undergrad degree before going to the Peace Corps so
um but so after the Peace Corps I wasn't sure if I wanted to go to grad school or what but there were a couple of Potters
out in Oregon uh Tom Rohr he worked at a community college let me come out and
start working in the studios and then a Potter just south of Eugene where I was
living Hiroshi Ogawa he had a wood Kiln and had a community of Potters that would come out and help fire the Kiln
and once I I knew that I had enjoyed wood firing in undergrad and knew I
wanted to kind of pursue that a little bit more so I just randomly ran into him at an art opening in Portland and asked
him if I could come down and fire and usually people who fired with him paid money to have space in the Kiln and be a
part of it okay and so uh he said sure you can do that if you come down and split wood and mix glazes and clean the
studio so earn your keep yeah right so I kind of had an in like an informal uh
you'd say apprenticeship with him nice um and had an amazing experience there
you know I told him what I was doing and what I was interested in and I said I you know I really want to get my work
good enough to apply to grad school and so he he helped me do that like he was
almost like it was almost like going to grad school already if I'd only known at the time because he would critique my
work and and make suggestions and you know of course saved all that money I
know a really good experience oh but it sounds like you know each of
these experiences just LED you down the path you were supposed to go to get to where you are yeah yeah honestly yeah so
definitely so that's awesome yeah well so tell me tell me a little bit about your family your husband your daughter
and kind of how you guys all navigate this this life now yeah my husband he's
working in the studio with me now we have an eight-year-old daughter um and so she's kind of goes along with
us to most shows now and hangs in the studio and it's almost a you know Family Affair now okay yeah he was in Antiques
and an auction business he's a third generation Auctioneer um had his own really company for a
while yeah yeah so does he do like that was he'd be the one who stands up and does the car this color this color this
color oh my God that's awesome oh yeah yeah he's uh he's called auctions since he was 15 I guess so which he grew up in
it so yeah yeah yeah um but so he uh we moved up to we moved to Kansas City and uh he started doing a
few more kind of Online Auctions this and that and uh and then eventually decided that he didn't want his own
business so he still enjoys doing the his family's auction business is about two
hours away so he gets to go help with it on occasion and still enjoys it but and
what does he do for with for with you in the studio yeah so he um well in 2020
the plan was he was putting his auction business aside and he was going to join me in the studio and we were going to do
our first full year of a full lineup of art fairs right like previous to that
we'd only done like maybe two three tops a year and they were all in the area so
you know we're like all right we're in the whole world shut down right right of course you know so
um so yeah things dropped out but we just kind of you know hung on to what we could and uh we still just stuck with it
he still just stayed in the studio and worked with me um and at this point he helps like seal
and prep all of the my painting panels um he does a lot of grunt work yeah
right and uh he um he even like he'll even help me kind of prep clay he helps
package and ship do all of that kind of stuff and then when we go to the shows uh he is usually the one to set up so we
kind of switch on and off with our eight-year-old so I'll try to help set up and then once it's like the
eight-year-old's done and it's just more more like you know it's harder for her to be there than it is easier so then
I'll take off with her and let him just he does mainly set up and take down and I hang with our daughter and then we
switch for the weekend so they get to go out and have fun go to the museums and
things and I work the show all weekend so yeah that's a wonderful balance that
you know it's like the there's so much more that goes into our careers than just the creation of the art and to have
a partnership like that it makes it makes it work it makes it viable you know yeah it's it's a lot of fun I mean
we it took a while for us to find our roles within it so that we didn't like step on each other's toes constantly
which I'm sure you and Renee have you know we do it you know the two of us
were both the artists so we are integral in the design and the execution of each piece but then you throw in the whole
the whole kid thing yeah and we're not the traditional family where it's like
Renee would have never thought that she would have done the woman's work and I would have done the man's work but for
some reason it just kind of happened that way I know I right right I know well when
before we were doing a full line of art fairs you know I was kind of in that more traditional role while my daughter
was young and then now it's completely switched like my husband's the you know does drop off and pick up at school and
you know he's usually the one like cooking dinner and doing the laundry and I'm staying late in the studio and
um so the roles have kind of Switched in our house I mean and it's it that's great I mean that's that's really what a
true partnership is and should be where it's uh where the roles get defined
based on what the needs of the family are you know and not necessarily by what
society says is supposed to be yeah right right no I love it I mean I had no
idea art fairs were really like this that they were so independent and like I
mean I feel like my husband and I enjoy traveling and so we're like wow this is a perfect combination for us to be like
this is our business but also we get to travel and see all over the United States and uh you know we when we don't
have an art fair for a while which we don't for a couple of months we have a some down time like we're itching to get
on the road for sure and so it's nice that both of us love it and and our
daughter too most of the time yeah is she in school or does she have like a
homeschool program or how do you do that she's in a small private Waldorf School and so we can take her out as much as
possible as much as we want and uh yeah yeah so but we are thinking of doing a
little bit of a homeschool combo for next next year it's really interesting you know people would ask us about that
if we would ever consider doing that and our first reaction was no way but
nowadays I have some family members whose kids do what would be considered
home school but it's so hybrid it's so integrated it's really cool what's available now that can be done on on the
computer but then they also will get together for for social time in in
certain activities and stuff because there are so many things that kids need that traditional homeschooling doesn't
from the olden days doesn't really cut it you know yeah I know well in my idea of homeschooling previously years ago
was very different from like you say what people are doing now and the resources available and the social
groups that can get together and I mean we found that when we are on the road you know we're pretty well homeschooling
like we're you know even the museum taking her out to museums and this and that and we practiced you know telling
time on the way down to Florida this year you know uh using the clock so and
then she loves meeting up with the other Art Fair Kids
Neil has a couple of kids and so we met up with them at Houston and uh um you
know my husband and his wife took the kids to the aquarium and they hung out in the behind the booth just playing and
yeah um Bryce McCausland he has a young a couple of young kids that they
homeschool and bring to the shows so we've met up with them and uh and then
there's a whole new generation I know yeah uh Duke Clawson and I talked and he considered his his daughters growing up
as free-range kids their idea of the art fairs was like I mean your daughter's way too young for that but they would
just kind of roam and get into all sorts of Mischief yeah well there are times that I don't know where she is I'm like
hold on wait okay
yeah but yeah it's pretty fun yeah wow well the last thing I wanted to talk to
you about and we've talked I don't want to make it too long of a convo because we've talked a lot about juries lately on that's fine on the show
um but specifically what I wanted to talk about is you and I were on the art in the pearl jury and it was a nice
experience in my opinion I don't know how did you what was your reaction yeah I thought it was a great experience I
mean I've had I've had good experiences on some other juries this one just had
this feeling of and I think maybe you had mentioned this even previously though about how you could really just
go with your gut reaction and to the work and the quality of the work often discussion muddles it quite a bit and so
we had limited discussion unless it was something that really pertained to you know buy sell or issues with certain
artwork work and it just felt like a nice clean very fair way to jury a show
I liked it too totally yeah it's incredible how even just the slightest
question which I think is needed I mean I truly like for example a jewelry thing
and and what's what's going on here yeah but even just uh just a reaction or a
sigh or whatever can make me go oh do they have a different reaction than I have because this is how I'm taking it and then I'm thinking I'm getting in my
head about it I'm like no I need to stay in that that mode of letting it hit and
scoring and not not scoring based on what I think Erica thinks or what you
know Patricia thought or whatever and I felt like if we would have gotten into a debate about it it would have felt
almost like a a politicking yeah kind of thing sure I yeah I agree I mean I think
a lot of times the comments aren't very constructive and helpful uh within
juries to help you select the best work and I think especially when you're just
looking at the images and a small statement by everyone and so then when
comments start coming in unless it's something that you know is
very relevant because it's like against the rules to be doing this right or if
it's a comment about like I don't know enough about jewelry right and so to have a jeweler on that jury is great
because they can tell me that like oh those parts are purchased and put together as opposed to handcrafted or
things like that so very relevant information but whenever a lot of times I think just personal
you know uh experiences other artists have had with other artists come into play whenever the disc and the
discussion can get out of hand and emotional even to the point of I just
feel like this I feel like it's much more fair um when everyone's just presenting
images a short statement uh and we keep it Pretty Simple and Clean I feel like
that's it feels like the fairest fairest way it does and I also feel like it is
about integrity even though we know some of the work that might be before us I
had the courage like I know all of us had the courage to really score it based on how I felt not on how I feel about
the person but on the work yeah and I know another jury happened recently and
it's been just about any of the shows I've been out lately that's been the topic of like oh my God I didn't get in
what's going on three of the jurors gave me a bad score who were they I know they
didn't reveal the names of the juror but to be juror number one four and five and
be like people would be like sure oh my God who who scored me like that I thought they were my friends and it adds
such a level of stress that is just yeah it's it's a lot it's a lot to deal with yeah yeah no I felt like the jury that
we were on made it so much simpler like it took the stress off of the jurors
um and I feel like several like I don't know what like what your personal preferences are or any of the other
jurors because we only discuss more kind of just like things that really applied to whether we you know this was
excellent work did it follow the rules um you know all the technical components to it right right exactly and so I
appreciate not knowing what the other jurors really like they're just kind of personal subjective opinions are on
something and so like juries that I've been on before though like it can be
such a strange beast that's what I feel like one of the shows that I helped jury I felt like this show is a five-headed
monster fine like it was all we all fought for
like some of our top artists that we thought should definitely be in the show but let's say three jurors thought
definitely not um and so there was this weird kind of Shifting of like I felt like you know
we've been all kind of fight for our tops and so then there would be kind of an interesting mix of
I feel like who got in the show in a way and this show also requested that there's you know certain kind of quota
for each you know category right okay so there was more discussion I think
whenever that's the case um so I feel a little bit lucky that what we the show we were during uh
didn't have that those requirements any quotas for any mediums either because then it does feel like people start just
chatting more so yeah I it I mean there have been shows that I feel like
like I know the opinions and what type of work that some of the jurors like and
I can like the comments made and stuff like I can tell that we've got a split jury and so
you're going to have a really different show whereas like with the show Ouija read I don't know at all like I actually
still don't know who even got in the show right what the full overall show looks like so right it just feels a
little bit it feels I don't know it feels a little bit more blind and fair in that sense I
[Music] um my um my comment earlier from like
listing the jurors and the score scores I really do appreciate when shows want
to be transparent about the process I get that and I almost feel like in this
case maybe being too transparent is is it doing any good because you know
you have five jurors this year it's gonna be five different jurors next year it's gonna be right five different tours the next year so getting that info of
what those jurors reacted to your work doesn't it mean squat right when it
comes to the next five years right it doesn't really help you improve I like the transparency as well I think
transparency is great the I was worried about comments though because
I feel like a lot of times they get taken out of context or they're not super constructive things like that and
so I would hate for an artist to get a negative comment on something but from one juror that says something that maybe
the rest of the jurors completely disagree and yeah and then they take that to heart and like either like okay
I'm done with this right and just stop making because you know that's can be pretty painful sometimes or or they make
changes to their body of work or the direction they're going yeah based on one comment persons nature of the Beast
is we we don't remember all of the the glowing comments or whatever we think
about that one random head scratcher right right right so I worry about that
and um with with the comments so they can be helpful but they can also be you
know hurtful and yeah hopefully yeah and we're not dishing any other any shows
process we're just giving a discussion about it no yes
I mean it's interesting and like as artists you know it's like I want to understand that side of things and so
many shows do it so differently and and uh and there's reasons but I mean it's
good to hear how it affects somebody who is getting that information and
wondering what they can do with it you know the person who's been juried and then also the point of view from the
actual people who are doing the during to know what kind of stress that puts
the jury under sure sure I mean I've gotten you know emails after during shows from very unhappy people before
and uh I thought we were friends
exactly one out of five please exactly yeah but that actually was when
we did the area for art in the pearl when at first it's a slower process just because we're all trying to find our you
know find our rhythm with it and what helped me find my rhythm was I might be
getting this one wrong on either way down a low score or high score but I'm
confident that the other the other ones have my back and they're going to catch my mistake yeah yeah I felt the same way
and I loved like we had a one through ten scoring and I've been on one you
know juries that was either like a yes no or a one through five don't use three
type of uh scoring and I felt so much better on the one through Tim because I
felt like I could get like score in that middle range if I felt like you know what
I think the other jurors probably know more information I'm not quite sure on this one and so that way I it was almost
like I let the other jurors skew the scoring a little bit whereas if I was definitely a no or definitely a yes if I
threw a one or a 10 out it definitely I think overall helped push that person
into you know like more options for nuance yeah yeah so I felt like if I felt strongly it actually had a more
more of an effect than that you know really short one to five ranges is hard
or yes no and I did like on this one where it was like you said one to ten
we couldn't score the middle scores the middle three right so I kind of felt like
but that reaction was okay I know they're above the middle range or I know
they're below the middle range from my you know when I was during and now I within that where does that you get
three numbers three the high part of law or the lower part
of high yeah and then anyway yeah yeah so I know it's well this was a good talk
Erica I really enjoyed sitting down and learning about you and your process
thanks for having me yeah it was fun yeah cool so what do you got next what are you what are you getting ready for
oh Cherry Creek week and then we'll head
out west in August so kind of trying to make make for the yes well I think I'll
be at both of those with you we just got the call from Denver that we got pulled from the wait list so sweet
yes it's a little weightless you never know oh that's great it was an exciting
day when we heard that yeah yeah excellent and we'll see out there at the next ones and thanks so much appreciate
it all right thank you appreciate it bye great talk with Erica Iman Douglas I
really appreciated bringing her voice to the show and to all of you folks out there I I enjoy spending time with with
the work yeah when I'm at a show with her and her husband and then to to get to hear her talk is was really cool my
favorite part is when she said when she was teaching and she said her favorite teachers were people who lived
interesting lives and had interesting experiences and how that you know that contributes to the work and I really was
really great hearing about that history and the Peace Corps and her travels through Asia that kind of set a course
on what kind of life she wanted to lead but then also the kind of work she wanted to make so yeah that was fun I
really enjoyed that that is I loved that part as well and I didn't like the part of the the jury discussion at the end
because I disagreed with you oh really you like the you like the the the banter
part where people can write the problems down to this I think and it depends on
the kind of jury that you have I thank you guys at Art in the pearl had a very educated panel and it was it was all people that
knew what they were looking at and I think when it boils down to a jury once you start bringing in community members
and things like that and it's like okay they may not know what they are even looking at sometimes those talks can be
a lot more crucial to the process I agree I I see what you're saying if if if it isn't all artists on the jury I
totally can see what you're saying on that one yeah also I mean I think that that so many different shows
um run their juries in different ways and I think that's fine I don't I I'm kind of against uh an overall
homogenized every rule works for every show I don't think that that's true I
think different juries for different different things there can be some standardization between shows but you're
right if there's details within the context of how a particular shows focuses if they are let's say they are a
chamber of commerce versus an art center that's providing arts for kids all year round they have different intentions and
focuses so it only makes sense that they're going to tailor their show differently for whatever reason sure
exactly exactly all right enough about us all all episode I think it's uh we
should wrap this up and get back to the studio what do you say my studio is a mess we will uh talk soon I gotta pack
some stuff up and head North up to your part of the country all right well safe trip and see you soon thank you brother
bye this podcast is brought to you by the National Association of Independent Artists the website is
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