My New Studio Home

Hey There!

Since my last post, some major changes have happened.  After the conclusion of my MFA show, I packed up my studio in Texas and headed back to my hometown of Oak Park, IL.  I have started an artist-in-residence position at Terra Incognito Studios & Gallery.  As a resident artist I do some work for the studio and gallery (i.e. - helping keep the studio clean, mixing glazes, making clay, firing kilns, etc.) in exchange for use of the studio.  There are 5 other resident artists, and I'm looking forward to working alongside them and exchanging ideas.

With a new studio comes the challenges of adapting to a new way of doing things.   The funny thing about ceramics is that it's very scientific, but not.  There is a good amount of math and chemistry involved, but everyone does it differently.  There are a million different ways to mix glazes, fire kilns and make clay, so I'm relearning it all.  Not to mention, I was totally spoiled in school with my own private studio.  Now I share a studio with all the other residents and students, and I can't hide my messes behind closed doors anymore (which I was getting really good at).  Despite the fact that I no longer have  a private studio, I am loving working among others again.  I had missed the daily back-and-forth that happens in a community studio, and I have felt warmly welcomed here.  I am also SO grateful to get the chance to teach again (yay!).  So far, I've taught a few Introduction to the Wheel classes that we offer through Groupon and it's been really fun.  Oak Parkers, come by and see me if you get the chance!

It has also been challenging getting back into the groove of making again.  I feel very slow these days, but have been working on trying to get some pots made for the holidays.  On my list includes replenishing my supplies of mugs, mini planters and hanging planters, and making some new serving dishes.  Have any thoughts on what items you'd like to see me make in time for the holidays?  I'd love to hear your ideas in the comments below.  With big life changes like these, I expect some big changes in my work.  I'm feeling the urge to do something different but am not exactly sure what that something is yet.  It's exciting but also very frightening.  I'll keep you posted as new ideas come about.

-Geryn

Terra Incognito Studio

Terra Incognito Studio

Rex, the studio dog!

Rex, the studio dog!

The "Boneyard" at Terra.  A nice collection of bisque ware from visiting artists over the years.

The "Boneyard" at Terra.  A nice collection of bisque ware from visiting artists over the years.

Our little wood kiln in the back yard.

Our little wood kiln in the back yard.

Some incredibly talented artists represented in the gallery.

Some incredibly talented artists represented in the gallery.

homescapes

After 3 years of blood, sweat and tears (yes, all 3 literally),  my MFA thesis show is here and you're all invited (see the link to the Facebook event below)!  Whether you can be there in the flesh or digitally, I hope you can take a moment to view the exhibition.  It will feature handmade functional ceramic housewares that reference a narrative of suburban life and a quest for the ideal of 'home'.

I also want you to know that I will be moving back to the Chicago area after the exhibition.  It's crazy to think back to 3 years ago when Texas was the last place on earth I thought my Midwestern-self might would end up.  I am so thankful for all of the incredible creative friends, students and faculty that I've met here.  THANK YOU for being there though this most challenging and rewarding of journeys.  I'm certainly sad to leave this amazing little community of Denton, but am looking forward to being back in Chicago to continue working in clay and reconnect with family and friends.

Stay tuned for good things to come! 

xoxo, 

Geryn

 

here is a link to the facebook event for details about the show:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1411215539103056/?ref=14

here is a link to the facebook event for details about the show: 

https://www.facebook.com/events/1411215539103056/?ref=14

the DIME Summer Bazaar

Hi all!  Phew, busy end to the semester, but it all ended really well.  Lately, I've been working hard preparing for the DIME Summer Bazaar!  I am thrilled to have the chance to put my marketing skills to the test and sell my pots live and in person.  I love getting the chance to talk to people about why handmade pots are special and how I make my work, and being able do it locally makes the experience that much more meaningful.  Events like this make me so proud to be a part of a budding arts community like the one in Denton. 

If you're looking for some great housewares, jewelry, vintage clothing or handmade paper goods, or of if you just want to hang with me at my booth for a bit, swing on by! See the image below for more info...

for more info about DIME, check out their website: www.dimehandmade.com

for more info about DIME, check out their website: www.dimehandmade.com

Squarish plate set

Mugs waiting by the window

Mugs waiting by the window

Process: Joy & Disappointment

Recently, I opened a kiln only to find disappointment.  I glazed pieces with the same glaze I've been using for awhile now, but in a different electric kiln.  About 2/3 of the entire kiln load had blistering and gross spots caused by bloating of the clay.  After trouble-shooting with some of my colleagues and professors, I think there were several problems with this firing:

1. It got too hot.  In the kiln I had previously fired in is much older and may not have been firing to a true cone 6 temperature.  And/or the newer kiln over-fired.

2.  It fired too quickly.  Previously, my firings were extremely slow because it took so long for the old kiln to make it to temperature.

3.  I didn't fire my bisque hot enough.  The last bisque firing I did, we were out of 06 cones, so I just fired to cone 08.  It's possible that cone 08 was not hot enough to burn some of the gasses off, and they were trapped and came through during the glaze firing.

My plan going into the next firing is to test the same glaze batch at cone 5 in the newer kiln and see what happens.  I also plan to fire again in the older kiln since I have gotten consistent results.  I will be sure to use witness cones in every firing now to see what temperature my pieces are actually firing to.

I must admit, it wasn't easy to make this post and admit failure.  But I think that its healthy to talk about mistakes and is helpful for everyone.  Seeing clay go through the process of dirt to permanent, useful object is one of the most beautiful things about working with ceramics, but it's also the most frustrating and difficult.  During drying, pieces can warp and crack, bisquing can cause explosions, and glazes can blister, run, craze or just plain look ugly.  Is all this pain and loss worth it?  I think that the brutally unforgiving process makes it much sweeter when you open a kiln and find that one brilliant pot.

I'm trying to stay positive and use this failure as fuel to make, make, make.  So for now, it's back to work!

Oh and p.s. - I welcome comments, questions, or discussion, so please feel free to leave comments below!

Workshop at Collin College

My friend, and former colleague at UNT, was kind enough to invite me to do a mini workshop for his students at Collin College.  I did some demos on making stencils, creating stamps and using them on soft slabs to create vessels. 

I must admit that the idea of giving a full-on 2 hour workshop was intimidating, having never done one before.  I tried to stay calm and casual, and I hope that my fun-loving, relaxed attitude rubbed off on the students.  I was really grateful to have the experience of giving a workshop, to see if it was something worth pursuing in the future.  I think the whole thing went well, the students were attentive and asked great questions, I was able to work and talk at the same time (doing 2 things at once isn't my strong suit), and everyone seemed excited to learn the techniques I was showing.  Oh, and the demo piece I made wasn't that bad either :). 

I'm always amazed by how much I learn about my own work and process through demos.  What a great venue to experiment with technique and reevaluate process! Using only hand building during this demo has made me consider using soft slab techniques in my own work.  I also got the chance to use red clay for the first time in years, and am dying to make some red pieces!

A big thanks to Jason Hyde for giving me this awesome opportunity!  I'll be heading back into my studio with renewed energy and ideas.

In Progress

Hi All!

It's been a great start to the semester.  I'm keeping busy with some new work in the studio, and teaching 2 drawing classes.  Recently, I've been playing with using stencils to create different levels of relief and layered imagery and texture.  I'm hoping that with the right glazes, it will really add another level of depth to my surfaces.

What else is in store for spring?  Preparing for my MFA show (the big shebang), going to NCECA in Houston, hosting a visiting artist, and much more.  Looks like it'll be a busy couple of months.  I let you know how these pieces look all finished!

- Geryn

New vase form

handmade stencils

Welcome!

Teapot2.jpg
Teapot1.jpg

It's been a long time coming but I FINALLY have a functioning, up-to-date, brand new shiny website!  My site will serve mostly as a place to show my portfolio and projects I'm working on.  I plan on keeping you informed about upcoming shows and events that I'm involved in through this blog.  I'll also be sharing about life in and around the studio and thoughts about making.

I was honored to have 2 of my teapots chosen by Juror Jeff Oestreich for Baltimore Clayworks' 100 Teapots VI exhibition.  My work, as well as teapots made by my colleagues HP Bloomer and Caleb Zouhary  will be available to view and purchase online starting at 12 PM EST on Monday, January 14th.  Check out the show at the Baltimore Clayworks website.

Thanks for visiting, and let's stay in touch!