Friday, January 21, 2011

John Thain and I Are Fellow Renovators

john Thain the rennovator
     Lately, I've been reading many potters' blogs on the topic of studio design.  Emily Murphy in particular has documented her lengthy journey in the last year moving from a group studio situation at LillStreet Art Studios in Chicago to setting up her own studio in the basement of a new house in Minneapolis.  She notes how such a move includes emotional and social adjustment as well as a whole litany of practical challenges.  And, of course, work that is produced in the new space is sure to be shaped in some way by the new environment. 
Her posts on this subject have made me reflect on my own experience this fall setting up a micro studio at my home.  In an effort to both make my work life more comfortable during the coldest months and to help me better meet the needs of my young family, I converted a gloomy 4" x 8" carport closet into cool little space for producing portrait sculpture.  My pottery shop is a mere mile down the road from my house, but it's heated with a single wood stove and in the colder months can take an hour or more to become something close to "comfortable" for working.This was only a slight inconvenience back in the old days before my wife and I started having babies.  Now, with morning diapers to be changed, and mouths to be fed there simply is no time to be blissfully staring into a wood stove for an hour every dawn waiting for the shop to warm.  My new space at home is making my winter much more comfortable as I can now quickly get to work in a cozy space not 8 feet out the door of the house AND more importantly, I'm at the ready should a baby need tending.   
   Ironically, one of the first portraits I was to undertake in this new space was fellow renovator, John Thain.  Remember him?  John was the former head of Merril Lynch who commissioned a 1.2 million dollar upgrade on his office as the American taxpayers went on the hook for billions of dollars to keep his bank from cratering.  Well, sure, John did a much fancier job on his space than I did but I'm thankful for my garage closet turned sculpting studio just the same.    
I think I like John  better as a patio torch than a banker.

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