some color! It has been such a wild six months. I have barely been able to process everything I have seen and done, but I am, and will write some posts about my time in Mexico. I came home and immediately continued work on my solo show which opens in a few days at The Fridge Gallery in Barracks Row.

This show includes a bunch of NEW work in which I have been exploring the use of color and highlighting the 'parts' of the molds being used. And there are bunnies.

There is a bit of a vague narrative running through the show that I think I am still trying to figure out - and will be able to once the show is laid out how I want.

Mostly this show is about how we want so badly to be individuals yet only through the acceptance of that by our friends and by crowdsourcing on Facebook and Instagram. We are able to quickly and repeatedly recreate ourselves and 'try-on' our identities based on moods of any particular day - yet not realize the repercussions of these changes.

But in the end, what happens when nobody 'likes' an image or is there to respond to your lunch choice?

My show Transmogrifications opens this Saturday - September 12, 2015 from sometime after 6pm until around 11.

alchemical vessels - a healing arts project and benefit. by Jeff Herrity Artist

The blank canvas. Each year a fantastic organization/gallery Joan Hisoaka Healing Arts Gallery at Smith Center for Healing + the Arts has a benefit to raise money and awareness of their efforts. Over 100 artists are invited to participate. I know that many artists do not agree with donating time and artwork to causes and I'm not sure why.  To me it is a vital part of my art making as well as a way to integrate my past life as a fundraiser with this new direction I am on.

Each artist is provided a bowl. A vessel. Our mission is to convert the bowl or use the bowl to show our interpretation of alchemy or healing.  I was very excited to be invited this year to create a vessel.

For a while it sat on the dining room table, various objects filling it at times. Here it transformed itself into a spare-change dish, a key-holder, random things that had no home. I then moved the bowl to my studio where it served the same purpose, sponges filled it, debris, again things that needed a space temporarily. At this point it became a reminder to me about so many things I needed to change and resolve in my own life. A reminder that healing was about to occur. A reminder that healing needed to occur. A reminder that creation was waiting for me.

So many ideas of what to do with this bowl. But around the same time I started to revisit my therapist to deal with some lingering issues of my own that I've been avoiding and carrying around like this blank bowl.

Finally, it came to me. Ceramics came to me. I knew WHY I make the work that I make - rooted in the same slip-casting work that my mother made when I was smaller. I realize now that my mother who made sure that when I was growing up I had everything that I wanted, gave me the biggest gift of all: understanding of why I make the work that I make.

Below is my bowl and my artist statement about it:

Where to the memories go?

To me, healing begins from within and often only after looking deeply at yourself and your willingness to heal. As I have been processing the many challenges in my life as a result of growing up in a house of abuse, my mother has been losing the battle against Alzheimers; I find refuge that in her last days she will not have any of the memories that I have been trying to forget. I long to find a vessel, like this bowl, that will contain her memories that are rapidly fading to nothing. I would protect them and remember for her.

I am confident that out of all the pain and sadness my family has faced, and continues to face today, that there can be beauty in the healing process. This bowl begun a healing process for me and the result is that I've realized that I am a vessel my mother created to carry her forever. My mother is my porcelain, and I'm with her every day as I create.

objects of my devotion. by Jeff Herrity Artist

Installation shot. So, interestingly my last post here was at the start of my show planning and I didn't even have an idea what it would turn into. I'm still processing the very successful opening last night at the Hillyer Art Space but wanted to make sure my site is updated! Thank you ALL for coming out and buying my work. Over the next few days I will be making major updates to this site but have already included a lot of the new work in the new page "NEW WORK" (genius naming, right?) I've also updated my 'about' page with my new bio and the artist statement for this new body of work. Enjoy. Let me know what you think!

Prepping for my solo show. by Jeff Herrity Artist

So, another long lapse in posting to this blog. But, thanks to me telling people about my show I am now seeing the need to start updating this blog more regularly. I hope.  Email me if a post is more than two weeks old!!! Last year I decided to try for the Hillyer Art Space 2014/2015 calendar. I had never applied before and thought that I had a good chance since my work has been noticed a bit lately. I was excited to make it! I immediately began freaking out that I have a full show to produce and several areas that I've been exploring in my studio.

My opening is scheduled for October 3, 2014....seems so close!

I think this is a great time for me to start experimenting a bit, but stay a little more true to my original work - I don't think this show should be all new work, but a chance to put the work out there to be looked at and critiqued. I've been thinking about my totems in different colors, mostly black, but I may try some new or different colors...not sure about this yet. I'll be posting more as I come up with more work.


change by Jeff Herrity Artist

Having finished with my graduate program and finalizing my written thesis over the next month, my fall is going to be a time for change.

I start teaching at the Lab School of Washington in multiple divisions. I am very excited to be joining the team, and working with so many people and organizations. In another post on this blog at a later date, I'll discuss the 'other' part of my job at the Lab School.

I will be teaching three different classes, the first is the Intermediate Art class which is very similar to my student teaching last school year, which helped me get hired full time. Several years ago, I would have shook my head as a response to teaching the 'young' kids. Now, I couldn't think of anything else. These kids are great, and I am eager to bounce teaching ideas off of Sarah.

I'll also be teaching a Jr. High class on Technology. This class is pretty open and it's mostly about helping the students build their technology skills in areas that are relevant to their needs and interests.  Also important to cover with this age group (developmentally speaking) is the 'common sense media,' or, online safety and ethics. This age is starting to create their identity and so they need guidance in knowing the right from wrong when they have difficulties processing the two. 

I've not yet starting planning this class because I have first started working with my third responsibility: a high school level Foundations of Technology class specifically for Prince George's County Students (this is a part of the statewide Common Core standards being adopted.)

Because the Lab School is a one-to-one student to iPad/laptop, this class is tricky because the students are already firmly entrenched with technology, and are also the learning population considered 'digital natives' (the younger teens who have always had technology in their life.) 

I've decided for my planning and lesson creation to only use technology, or as much technology - and as openly as possible - that I can. Sometimes, I do like a whiteboard and sketchbook to map my ideas, but can also do this with mindmomo or mindnode. By doing this, I can directly share the information with the students. And, since I'm a new teacher this year, I can start to create carefully considered habits. 

Another approach I will be taking with my syllabi is creating them in as many forms as possible from straight text, to a more visual wireframed look, to something even interactive.

I plan to cover all aspects of technology from the history (which I will have to confirm the degree of which background info has been taught) from the stone age to the information age. Hopefully I can schedule a skype session with Vint Cerf - considered one of the fathers of the Internet, and someone I worked with briefly at InternetMCI 'back in the day.' Maybe he can talk about where he thinks technology is going. 

Perhaps we read some technology focused essays or stories. We will definitely create projects that help the group understand the impact that technology has on our lives. They may have to live a few days without any tech. or device. 

I'm still processing everything. But will post my lesson plans and any documents I create for you to use or modify for your own purposes.

Only a few weeks until my first class as a teacher, not a student.

searching. by Jeff Herrity Artist

Sorry for the long delay in posting...it'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.

finding friends in unusual places. by Jeff Herrity Artist

One never thinks that you will find a life-long friend at jury duty. I'm one of those people that, for some reason, ALWAYS gets picked to be a juror. Luckily they are always very interesting cases: Medical Malpractice, Homeland Security, and Gangland Style Double Homicide. I never thought a horrific crime - murder - would bring me a new friend. No, no, no, NOT the accused. Gail. It was pretty instant that we both realized that sitting amongst our 'peers' we were the only ones who dreaded being there. We quickly became friends and ate lunch together every day. At the end of the several weeks we gave up, we continued our friendship.

Gail met Scott. I don't think there was any crime involved. We've all maintained a fun relationship. So, both John and I were delighted when they announced their engagement. This coming weekend, September 8, 2012, we'll be attending the wedding at the Cape Cod Museum of Art. When Gail told me that the wedding was in a museum I wanted to make something 'arty' for her as a gift. Gail being the complete opposite of a bridezilla accepted my offer. She sent me an image of her dress and I started sketching.

After many trials and prototypes, the final piece is a play on the drapy fabric of the dress, but also of the sea, sand, and shells. I worked with so many slabs of clay, trying to get several pieces that 'felt right' and that nested together gracefully - like people coming together. I also wanted to make a piece that Gail and Scott could continue to showcase and use in their home. They are casual, they are 'dressy' - they can be used as a centerpiece, and individually. Much like people, we adapt and grow.

I hope she likes the finished pieces.

Congrats to Gail and Scott. I look forward to adding more pieces

to your porcelain collection.

read all about it by Jeff Herrity Artist

The Washington Post printed a great review of the NEXT show at the Corcoran. I think the reviewer, Michael O'Sullivan had interesting things to say and he picked up on the common theme through the show. My work FOCUS GROUP is mentioned in the tail end of the article as a side bar, I think my work doesn't fit into the thread of the show...mine stands apart in some strange way. Read the reviews here and here

The show opens again tomorrow having been closed this past week because they have been prepping the area for the big Corcoran Ball....I may not be there, but my cameras are...



inspiration, hiding in plain sight. by Jeff Herrity Artist

So I've been slowly organizing my studio at school - meaning picking up random chunks of wood that have littered my space. I always like the post-creation mess. It's a great way to document the residue of the process. I've always been the type that documents my process every step of the way, taking photos and keeping records in my sketchbook. I like to look back and see how things evolved and the physical evidence I leave behind. Hidden Inspiration

Pinned to the wall in my studio, from the very beginning of the year, was a photo I took last year from the Met. This was taken during my 'fascinated with shadows' period. It's a Giacometti sculpture. I probably didn't even realize that I look at this every day and I suppose my subconscious finally made me act on how much I LOVE Giacometti but didn't know it.

One of the things that I really had to determine when making my figures was my vocabulary. I had made several maquettes of the pieces and there were some structural decisions that I had originally made that I edited out in my final work. (not to say that I won't re-introduce them in my next pieces) I really tried this time to focus on what makes a male figure look male and what makes a female female.

In the one form, the male figure has a broad chest made by adding an additional piece to the chest area, but in the others they ARE very narrow and simple. Just two arms along the body starting at the shoulders. For the women forms I went with smaller pieces and created hips. For the smaller, children, forms, they had no extra pieces, just the plain form without any physical development. Post-Modern? or Neo-Post-Modern? I'm not quite sure. But there is was. Waiting for me to discover it.

Even once the work was done.

in the shadows. by Jeff Herrity Artist

My final piece in my studio class last year was a large installation with several parts. While the whole piece should have been experienced differently alternating between lit and unlit, the strongest element was the projection on porcelain shards and the shadows that were cast on the wall. This piece evolved from many different ideas which came to me constantly. My first original idea was born from my desire to do a painting for a project. I'm not a painter, but really felt that I needed to try many different approaches to dealing with similar themes. And, because our CORE studio class encouraged different explorations it made sense for me to take a risk and try something out of my comfort zone.

I think that there were several subconscious things happening with this piece that were revealed when I finished. The main thing that (clearly) jumps out is the floor work and the shadows that create a new landscape on the wall. Not entirely a surprise to me because I really like artists who work with light and shadows. I had more 'fun' trying to get it right and to have the shadows and projections create the right effect. But most importantly, working with the porcelain solidified my purpose of returning to art school - i love clay.  Why not have both?

I was really happy to be finished with the semester but of course the fear of the big show next year - the thesis show in the museum. What the heck would I do and what would lead me down the right path?

It wasn't until John and I were in NYC to see the Alexander McQueen show at the MET that something else occured to me: the shadows are just as important to me as the physical work. The work can stay the same but depending on how it is lit, or what is projected on it, the experience can be totally changed. After the mind-blowing McQueen exhibit we were walking around the museum  - John taking pictures of hands and other things with his hipstamatic app (he's quite good) - I found myself more interested in the shadows that were cast from sculptures. It started with a piece from the show Reconfiguring an African Icon: Odes to the Mask by Modern and Contemporary Artists from Three Continents called La Cuisine. As we walked by this piece (and many other similar ones) the complex shadow caught my eye and I felt that it really brought the sculpture, the mask, to life.

Suddenly I was prowling through the museum looking at things differently. There were shadows everywhere.

I am not sure what I can do with my work that will explore this effect, but I know that I am excited that I can enter my thesis year with an idea to build upon. I have no idea where it will take me and as I have learned (often the hard way) that I cannot always know what the end result will be.

a new experience! by Jeff Herrity Artist

I created this blog a little while ago but couldn't for the life of me figure out a good way to start writing, or what I would write about. As a former marketing professional I suppose that I'm a bit harder on myself and didn't want to start something without some goal or purpose. I think I started about ten blogs. None of them have any entries. Until this one. Now.

Just today I printed my new lease for a studio space at Flux Studios.

As a student at the Corcoran College of Art + Design we are given studio space to do our work. This is fine and great, but we get very little work done. Being a ceramics and sculpture person, installations and performances too, a small space is very hard to create in. Worse yet is my studio space at home. AKA the third floor bathroom. We won't even talk about the amount of my stuff around the house that is starting to drive even ME crazy. To get serious work done I have been looking for a space. Some place where I can be inspired, instead of annoyed, by the people around me and where I can safely work out new ideas and concepts.

I also want to start focusing more on my studio practice. This is something that we are constantly challenged to think about...'what kind of practice will I have?' I think that I am ready to pursue this angle of my art career. Become a practicing studio artist.

And student.

So, the nature of this blog has revealed itself to me. This will be the place where I will write about this experience.

scenes from my studio. by Jeff Herrity Artist

The final days of third year are coming up close and fast. We are on our final 'contract' - 6 - which is a connect-the-dots piece that is the start of a series of work. We are to look at each project we have done over the year and then make a series of at least three pieces based on the common thread or key aspect to our work. This basically translates into 'the studio is kinda chaotic' Partial projects are all over the place, and my own studio is looking rather manic. I've seemed to run out of room for all my work and various ideas. Time to really get serious about a studio!