SPACES / DAY #256

Over the past twenty years I’ve had so many different creative spaces. Even further back, I vividly recall the garage at my childhood home and my grandmas dining room table really being my first places where I would art and immerse my mind in the river of thought and craft.  In undergraduate school (1998-2001) I had this space at Slippery Rock University with the most dynamic and brilliant track lighting, white walls and hardwood floors. Late at night when no one else was there I could just turn on the glow of my space, the world around me detached in darkness, the jazz music set on my cassette radio to 11. The following year I spent in Bratislava Slovakia as an exchange student. My studio there was a collective overlooking the historic downtown. In the fall and winter days and evenings we would work independently with the giant studio windows open, smoking grass, reciting poetry, and listening to records. When I returned to the states I contacted the rotary board in Butler Pennsylvania and inquired about potential spaces available on Main Street. Mrs. Worsley -who owned a furniture company for 50 plus years- had an old storage space on the third floor and that became my first bonafide painting and drawing studio. I worked out of there for about two years. There was no electricity, heat, or running water. The room was lit by oil lamps and heated by a kerosene heater. The following year (my girlfriend at the time) and I moved to Texas where everything was bigger. We got jobs, made friends, and I moved into an airplane hanger studio with my buddy Chris Leonard. Chris was a switch hitter, into painting and ceramics. I worked at that studio for less than a year as it was just too much. The heat was draining (100 plus degrees) and the insects at dusk were beyond belief. Texas lasted for about four years as I recall and then another move, this time to Cleveland. By now it 2006. There I was setting up shop in the basement of our apartment off Belmar in Cleveland Heights. A new series of works on canvas and paper, though I was desperately longing for clay. For the next year and a half I burned through almost 50 or so works into submit my best possible creations to graduate school. Ten years ago now, In the fall of 2008, with the acceptance of a graduate assistantship I found myself at Kent State University. The graduate painting and drawing studio spaces were comfortable, a partitioned room about 20 x 20ft. The ceramics graduate studio spaces were roughly half that size. Throughout my short two and a half years there at Kent I made so many friends, and I worked in all the studios, collaborating with a lot of people, mentoring and exchanging ideas as it goes. It was there that I realized that it wasn’t just about me, it was about something so much larger, purpose. And then in the blink of an eye, I graduated and it was time to move forward to two more home studios in different towns. Though it was now somewhere in the not so distant past, where I assembled all the parts at last and made it function harmoniously. A friend at the time offered me a space at Artcraft on Superior Ave in Cleveland. It was small and not practical but it was my first ceramic and drawing studio officially zoned as a business, and open to the public. Over the next few months I quickly grew out of that place and moved into my preset space at Hectic in the Hildebrandt. I’ve thankfully been here now for three years, and during that time the I’ve grown so much by keeping my doors and my heart open to everyone and everything. Cheers to 2019 and everything after.

Something New. Something More. / DAY #254

So many thoughts, so many words. I’ve decided beyond my Instagram that there is so much more that I want to share about my creative process and my life as a potter in Cleveland, Ohio.

This is the first post of many more to come over the course of this year. It is my hope that you all will find inspiration, interest, and substance in this journal.

All the while, as some of you may know, or not. In May of 2018 I decided to spend a year without alcohol. In such when you look at the posts the Day # at the top is where I am in the 365.

Feel free to submit questions and comments and engage in all of it. I wish the best to you all and a very happy and healthy 2019.  

 -Billy