Monday, May 2, 2011

Feats of Clay, Featuring- Me!

To say the the artist's reception at Feats of Clay was an amazing experience is to make a giant understatement. I almost don't even have words for it!

It was the 24th year of this event, held at the historic Gladding, McBean factory in Lincoln, California. One of the volunteers mentioned that it was the only factory of its kind in the western hemisphere, and it manufactures, among many other things, terra cotta sewer pipes.
The evening started off with a catered meal.
Thirty pounds lighter Mr. ShellHawk and his artist wife.
 Gladding, McBean also makes roof tiles, shown ready for shipment, below.
 Below, a small section of the factory, where the main reception was held.
This is, I believe, one of their kilns, though I could be wrong.
Below are some examples of the work the factory has done over the years, and to what buildings they were installed.
Below is another area of nifty clay stuff on an upper level of one of the buildings they used to display the art. If I had the cash, this would be the model for my "dream studio space." There are a few pics below that totally inspire me when I create that space in my mind. We were seeing this factory as the sun was setting, and the golden light was hitting the floorboards just right and turning them into a beautiful, aged honey. It really gave me one more insight into what my goals should be.
 It amazes me that one of the seals I grew up with was made at this factory. They made a fun, Alice In Wonderland-themed series of architectural elements that was just impressive as all get-out!

My sexy husband in front of one of the displays explaining the factory's

I thought this was a great thought to keep in mind.
 After we went through a couple of rooms in the upstairs area, we came to the show area. That was the moment it truly became real to me. Even though I've been working hard at improving my technique and all the stuff that comes with being an artist, I had a hard time claiming that for myself, especially since when people hear "artist," they think, "dropout" or "flake." The value of what we do as artists is still not widely understood or appreciated. Saturday night, I finally felt like I was part of something worthwhile.
This was the first time I had the chance to witness a total stranger's reaction to my artwork. Mr. ShellHawk chuckled at my taking a picture of the moment. I couldn't help it; these folks were totally excited by it!
 And just a few minutes later, these two ladies walked over and placed the "Purchase Award" ribbon on my piece, meaning that my piece was already bought. It took a half hour of the show being open to the public for "Manitou" to sell! I was so surprised that it went that quickly, and a little sad that I wouldn't be seeing him around any more.

 Squishy girl that I am, I had to fight back tears of happiness. I felt for a minute like I had "arrived," as dumb as that sounds. It makes all those times when people kept trying to bargain with me for my work disappear. (And the next time that happens, look out!)
 Unfortunately, this photo doesn't show the pink and orange of the sunset coming through the windows. It was beautiful!
Last was the presentation of the artists to the public. Again, a very surreal experience. I was totally giddy!
 After the applause had died away, Mr. ShellHawk and I ran into a couple of my students from Parks and Rec. We walked around for a bit, and saw this big old kiln running.
 One gal told us that one of the display areas was in the oldest kiln in the factory, which had been in use for one hundred thirty-six years. It was a wood-burning kiln, and the bricks inside were partially melted from the mineral salts that were thrown in during the firing process.
Have I mentioned that the whole experience was really humbling, too? It was that, and just incredible, too. I was so glad that I got to share that with my husband, who has really given me all the support I have needed through this whole process.

Thanks, hon. You mean the world to me!


  1. Very cool looking place. Super big congrats on selling your piece.

  2. fascinating pics (and yes, I want that artist space/studio, too!) and congrats on your sale--a very special accomplishment, indeed!

  3. Congrats, all the way around! So nice you sold your piece (even though, I know, it must've been difficult to part with). Sounds like this was an incredibly fulfilling experience.

  4. Sounds like a great experience. I'm sorry to see Manitou go, but I'm happy he sold so fast. Congrats, Shelley! Well deserved.

  5. Thanks, All. I really do appreciate your good wishes! *sniff*

  6. Well that's just fantastic all around :) So nice to see you achieving new accomplishments and having new experiences as an artist.


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