Friday, May 30, 2014

13th day in the road: Carbondale Clay Center, SAW, And Anderson Ranch

Yesterday we woke up on the North Rim of the Black Canyon at Gunnison River (a National Park in Colorado). We quickly packed up our tent and went on a short hike to further explore one of earth's most amazing places (that I've seen at least). We then took a scenic drive through the mountains towards Carbondale Colorado.
Along the way to Cardondale we drove past what looked like a long line of beehive kilns and we quickly pulled off the road. Sure enough they were kilns called coke kilns for cleaning coal in part of the coal mining process. At the kilns we met an older gentleman who had his MFA in sculpture from Ohio University and retired from Kent state in 2003 after a long teaching career. What a small world!

We then arrived at Cardondale Clay Center for a tour and visit with two of their residents: Matthew Eames and Mike Stumbras. We first met Matthew (who holds the MFA Studio Tech and residency position) and talked with him for quite a while about the clay center and their residency program. While we were there we got to see resident artist Kendra Spark's exhibition. Next we talked with Mike Stumbras, who recently accepted at LSU for graduate school. After Carbondale Clay Center we visited SAW Carbondale (Studio for Arts and Works). At SAW we visited with artist Jessi Maddocks who gave us a nice tour of the space. SAW offers studio spaces to over 20 artists who are working in just about every medium. We mostly visited the ceramic studios and were lucky because the entire studio preparing for an open studio and reception. This meant everyone had their work out and we were able to admire a variety of ceramic art. SAW seems like an amazing opportunity for artists to continue working in a close community environment. 
After SAW we drove up the road to Anderson Ranch Arts Center. Anderson Ranch was incredible! Tucked into the Rocky Mountains in Snowmass, Colorado (near Aspen) this arts center offers summer workshops in almost every medium. Everyone was working hard to prepare for the first week if workshops that start on Monday! We met  Doug Casebeer (the artistic director), Ralph Scala (the ceramics studio coordinator), and all the summer staff. We visited the ceramic studios and kilns. Ralph takes pride in the kilns (and he should!) as he showed us his newest baby, a small anagama wood kiln. Ralph even showed us where a shower was so we were able to freshen up after a few days in the woods.Feeling like a million bucks we drove the Independence Pass and crossed over the Continental Divide. Next we're heading back to Denver for an interactive food exhibition and after that we'll head South to Dallas, Texas. Thats it for now!

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