Probably what you're looking for on an "About" page is to be found in one of the buttons above, but since you found yourself here, enjoy a little story about us, our work, our studio and our lives that I wrote for Ceramics Monthly, published in December 2018.
Ceramics Monthly article
“Where do we go now?” I asked. “To stroll the fields of our imaginations,” he said, and off we went. I met my husband Colin ten years ago when he asked me to Tango and we have been dancing through art and life ever since.
Nestled in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo mountains of Santa Fe, our studio and home originally belonged to Colin’s grandmother, renowned sculptor Una Hanbury. Managing two full-time artists with multiple bodies of work in various disciplines requires versatility, creative use of space and…lots of wheels.
The Studio: Our home is a traditional adobe that we renovated to suit our “all art, all the time” sensibilities. Forgoing non-essentials like a dining room, living room and TV, we created a contemporary home that integrates indoor and outdoor spaces and features an 1100 square foot gallery/exhibition space, a 600 square foot primary studio and a 450 square foot kiln/metal working studio. Given our temperate weather much of the year, projects that are particularly noxious or messy are often tackled al fresco.
The studio is flooded with natural light via skylights and window walls which open into the back gardens and aviaries (we raise exotic pigeons that often visit the studio as we sculpt.) Our work spaces have abundant track lighting that is color matched to daylight, providing a smooth transition for nighttime sculpting. The gallery has window walls everywhere which highlight our artwork against a backdrop of mountain vistas and xeric gardens.
So…wheels… I am a ceramic sculptor and also work in bronze. Exercising both disciplines provides a more diverse palette of sculptural options. Colin is a sculptor and painter. Accommodating the workflow of two productive artists requires adaptability, consequently just about everything is on wheels. The studio is frequently (and quickly) reconfigured to suit our current projects. When one of us is preparing for a show or we’re sculpting a monumental commission, our workflow expands into the exhibition space. Flexibility is key and everything has its place which keeps the studio fairly tidy. Even though things can get a wee bit congested, we revel in sharing the same space- constantly talking, giving input, sharing ideas and collaborating on sculptures. Our rapport, camaraderie and support for each other are my favorite parts of how our studio functions.
Paying Dues (and Bills): A professional illustrator friend once jokingly said he imagines my day as “going into the studio, sitting around being all inspired and making stuff.” Yeah, well… not exactly. Sculpting is only one part of how I spend my days and, like most artists, it’s the part I wish I could spend more time doing.
I have a BFA in ceramic sculpture from Northern Michigan University. After graduation, I apprenticed with John Glick, where I learned a ton about the daily operations of an effective art practice. In our studio, I spend more time on business than I’d like: providing information for shows, publications and applications, returning calls, attending to emails and social media, bookkeeping, photographing, working with models, preparing talks, managing our commission/show/production agenda.
My daily schedule is largely deadline-driven. Deadlines motivate me and I generally say “yes” when asked to participate, so my calendar is usually packed months in advance. Most days start at the gym around 6 AM with cardio (during which we study anatomy videos on proko.com) and weightlifting (insurance for the sculptors’ lifestyle where most things are big and heavy.) After a quick walk with the dogs, the work day begins with critical “need-to-do’s.” It releases them from my mind so when I start sculpting, I can focus on my work. Usually we do art-related activities until 9 PM, with breaks for meals. Our schedule can be intense - there are times where we work literally from 5 AM to 11 PM for weeks on end to keep projects on track.
Mind: While we don’t often take full days off, we do travel often for exhibitions and talks, scheduling in museum get-aways which always inspire and invigorate us. We’re passionate about studying historical artworks and plan vacations around specific pieces and museums we want to visit, generally overseas.
We adore audiobooks, podcasts and Pandora. When I need an “infusion of happy,” I have my go-to playlist of love songs. As part of my creative well-being, I fill sketchbooks with collages and ideas for future sculptures and shows. These books function as a combination inspiration board, journal, sketchbook and workbook. The process is enormously satisfying and in times where I’m spinning my wheels, flipping through the pages gives me a roadmap to get back on track. When confronted with a serious mental roadblock, I go for a jog. I take a few moments to define the problem clearly beforehand, then let my mind wander as I run. Invariably potential solutions occur and I’m re-energized to dive back in.
Important Things I’ve Learned: I’m happiest when I am busy. Having many irons in the fire means that if one opportunity doesn’t pan out, there are several others I can focus on to keep from getting derailed. Juggling business, commissions and my personal art is challenging. When the art that I’m most passionate about gets put on hold for too long, I can get a bit grumpy - it’s important to maintain the balance.
Many years ago, in the wee hours of morning, I sat alone, bathed in the warmth of the kiln that held the final pieces for my BFA exhibition. Quietly, I pondered the future, the relevance of what I was doing, my self doubts and excitement about the unknown. I wondered how I would know what the next steps on my path were. And I heard these words, as clearly as if someone had spoken them directly into my ear: “Do not doubt your muse. As I live, you shall not fail.” Wherever they came from, those words resonated deeply with me - then, as a young woman and still today. In them, I hear “Trust yourself. Trust your voice and your vision. Respect and delight in your artistic soul and enjoy every moment you have to create.”