Thursday, January 9, 2014

SHOWCASE – Newport Visual Arts Center

So sometime around Thanksgiving, Angelique brings to my attention a showcase opportunity at the Visual Arts Center located right smack at (and nearly on) the beach in Newport. It’s called COVAS, Coastal Oregon Visual Arts Showcase. It’s specifically for professional mid-career visual artists to showcase their work. That seemed perfect for me. The application was due in short order so we rushed to get the paperwork done and the photos and get it dropped off in time, briefly noting that the showcase was sometime in January which seemed miles away at the time.

Cut to a few weeks later. All the pots I’ve made have been delivered to galleries for Christmas sales or put up on Etsy. I’m in the studio working on custom orders to get them done for the holidays. Pots are put aside for gifts or already delivered. Etsy sales are coming in regularly. Then, we get the notice that I’ve been selected for the showcase. Great! We keep going. Nose to the grindstone until Christmas. It isn’t until around December 27 that we finally come up for air and realize that we have no pots left for a visual showcase, much less my absolute best showcase-worthy work. Coly how!

Start to finish, it takes about two weeks to make a pot to allow for all the adequate drying and firing in between the steps I have to do; it just can’t be done any faster. This is not an art for the impatient or the easily distracted, which makes one wonder how I ended up doing it. I have to believe that pottery found me because it was something I needed. I needed to learn patience, to learn to slow down and focus, to have quiet time at the wheel without my thoughts bouncing around in my head, to have something that I can point to and say “I made that, from start to finish.” It might be why my show is called "Ora et Labora - Working to stay centered." 

Ora et labora, which means “prayer and work” in Latin, is how we spent our days at the monastery – which is where I first learned pottery – prayer and contemplative work. This work is intrinsically tied to my experience while a monk at Mt. Angel Abbey and to my faith and as a man of many interests; I need something to return to, something that keeps me centered.

Long story short, I managed to get this thing together though I think it’s safe to say that my best work is still ahead of me. Which means you too will have to practice patience. If you live in the area, I hope you’ll stop by the Visual Arts Center in Newport, Oregon, to see the exhibit. It will have a retrospective element, comparing some of my older work to new work, and will feature a video of me working (THANK YOU, ANGELIQUE! You are an excellent film maker and I'm showcasing you through your amazing video). 

All of the pieces are for sale, though I believe you have to wait until the exhibit is over to pick them up. The showcase has featured artisans working in wood, metal, fiber, glass, paint, photography and pottery and it is an honor to be part of it. 

The showcase will be on display from January 10 to March 1, 2014. Also, there will be an artists’ reception from 5-7 PM on Friday, January 10 with food and drink. If you can’t wait to get your hands on one of my pots, you can always head over to the For ArtSake Gallery to pick something up. I’ll be working there on Monday, January 13. Come visit me!

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