searching. / by Jeff Herrity Artist

Sorry for the long delay in's been a busy semester at school! I'm so happy that the artists from FLUX, myself included, are participating in a Handmade in America studio swap show with a gallery in Asheville, North Carolina. The show opens this Friday, and I'm sad that I can't be there. (Student teaching and Art History TA responsibilities keep me in DC.)

My work for the show is a further exploration of some work I started a few years ago and have continued. I created these Totems as an exercise in a class and really enjoyed the process of slipcasting, and even had a totem in a show at the Smithsonian Craft Show (as part of an exhibit of emerging artists of the Corcoran College of Art and Design, where I showed work twice...) But this work is not something new to me. My mother worked in ceramics as I was growing up, and she even had a shop in the town that I went to high school in that sold her work. Mostly kitschy stuff and dollhouse parts. But what I remember as a child (of my few memories) were the easter eggs that she created from ceramic molds. I clearly remember the box they were kept in, and the shredded newspaper to protect them. They were in the dining room buffet, and I would often - year round - look at them.

I thought these eggs were the most magical things on earth. We had a huge (ok, like 10) selection of eggs that my mom hand painted and we put out every Easter. Oddly, thinking back on them as I write this, there may not even have been that many, but magic knows no number.

As the years have passed, and I have become slightly estranged from my conservative family, I have had to seek a new family. One that accepts me for who I am, or maybe more importantly WHAT I am. I'm totally ok with this and realize that the people that I talk to daily, or who would do ANYTHING for me, are my family. For many years I wanted to fix or make my family better, but that just didn't happen. I knew that I had to make this new family.

The Totems I create are born out of that thought. A totem is an object that represents family, and my own alleged American Indian heritage, of course, includes totems. Those stacked figures that are representative of a group of people that are a clan. We are all different, yet we rely upon each other - for if one goes missing, we all fall.

These totems that I create are my journey to find family. Each element doesn't have to be the exact same. Even looking at my friends, we are all so different, but need each other.

However, we all need our moms, and so my Totems all generally have an egg.