Sunday, September 2, 2007

Afterword: Arriving home in San Francisco

Seems impossible to capture in story the full influence of our combined residency in Den Bosch at the .ekwc. Drawing from the strengths discovered, and the exchange, Sarah and I meet for a working dinner when we’re back in San Francisco. We’ve not had a chance to brainstorm an appropriate title for the work during the flurry of tasks and exchanges.

We are entering the piece into the Taiwan Ceramics Biennale 2007 and begin to reconnoiter how to create a life for the pieces we’ve sorted as inside/outside panels, artist proofs and experimentations.

Dinner at Fire Fly is a delight. We refine the title from “Ties that Bind Us” to a simple, stand alone description with a taste of poetic nuance.

Ceramic Skin: Transforming Light and Space

Pearl is a natural

Somehow we fit into our last week pottery projects with Pearl, shopping, family visits, dinner and much appreciated from Sarah’s family. Each aspect of the exchange and shared work enriches the experience and connection.

Collaboration seems fluid when each is willing to express our personal inner dialogue. Learning how the other listens’ deepens the connection.

Continuous learning is possible on this topic.

Side Tracks: Plaster Room

Recognize that .ewkc has so much to teach concerning casting. I regret not selecting a less familiar path when we elected to use plastic clay for our slabs. I may have learned how to use plaster and slip while here. In an attempt to learn the basics, I make an outside panel and cast a plaster slab. Watching Marlise is a great beginning place. Hope to retain the essential details when I again attempt working in slip/plaster.

Reflections on Combined Residency with Koos and Staff:

Wednesday, a day of “Rest after our Final Presentation, Sarah and I meet with Koos de Jong, director of .ekwc, Marianne Peijnenbur, staff advisor and Anouk Rooth, PR intern. When we asked what would they tell us, we’re told the meeting is for listening only. They want to know our experience.

Koos asks good questions. He first wanted to understand the shift from our initial idea when applying to .ekwc, our expectations and then the reality of our experiences.

We closed in early on conceptual idea – arriving in June with a clear direction and proposed design solution; make a translucent panel for an architectural skin, Use space to define an experience using light and surface.

I had a base understanding we’d use porcelain either as a slip or as a slab. The particulars of scale, how we’d manage to achieve flat, thin translucent “ceramic skins”, and what was possible, eluded me.

In my mind, we “Stop Experimentation” when we came in June for the longer of our two stints at .ekwc (nine weeks) Day one upon arrive in June, I attempted “scale” – the panel weighted 3 – 4 x’s the final panels, was not translucent, but demonstrated could make “large panels” _ 30 x 50 cm.

However, even the last panels we made less than one week from the final presentation, uncovered subtle shifts in working methods, hand positions, details and potential refinements. During our talk with Koos, I sketched a diagram attempting to define the profound transformations of being in a combined residency. {see adjacent pdf}

Visit to Wienerberger: Sustainable Brick Manufacture

Often in the last weeks we find ourselves “off track” or not working directly on the panels. These side ventures keep us fresh and energized.

.ekwc has made arrangements for us to meet Geert Segers from Wienerberger. As Geert Segers states after I describe our project working with bone china, making translucent panels 1. 8 mm in thickness, we move tons of clay each day.

Our journey to the factory one day during our last week at ekwc, reveals a deeper understanding of how sustainable Wienerbergers’ practices for processing clay, creating building materials and a vision to lead in providing solutions for the Netherlands commitment for zero carbon foot print by 2010 is evident in all facet of the factory tour.

As well, we see first hand a large dike, and begin to decipher the landscape in a renewed eye to water management. Everywhere, one can now decode the dikes from simple canal banks, to the small bumps between rows of trees lining a marshy wet land between the two parallel lines.

Packing: 3.5 cubic meters of fragile bone china

Packing begins in earnest early on Thursday morning. We have several staff advise us over the weeks to set out to pack 76 extremely fragile panels. Nothing has prepared us for the monumental task, nor given us confidence that our strategy for packing will provide safe passage.

We plunge forward, gaining confidence, methods and a reasonable progression toward completion. We leave behind all the offering bowls I’ve made, and multiple panels. At 3AM, we take multiple seconds panels to the trash receptacle. A cathartic activity after the stress of uncertainty, fatigue, endless meters of bubble pack and tape.

Final Presentation Night Arrives:

Since we are on the top floor in the far back studio, we place a vase of flowers, a few ceramic pieces done during down time in the studio on tables at the top of the stairs. Yoko’s studio display is staged on the top of her packing crates. Brilliant use and representation of the transient nature of our time at .ekwc. Meeting everyone will continue to influence for years to come.

The center is a buzz with friendly faces, mostly inside participants and local individuals who are familiar with the center.

Sarah, Yoko, Zhei Fei, and I have prepared a meal that we begin with shared bowl soup. Then we eat and share tales into the night. A wonderful closure to the days leading up our final presentation.