Tooth Letter

January 21, 2010

In cleaning out the filing cabinet a couple days ago, I came upon this letter I had been saving in order to photograph and post online. My friend, Jasmin, mailed it to me while camping in the middle of nowhere, and, well, the post office had a field day with it… This is what I received:

Funny how what's left is tooth shaped

Sorry that it’s blurry, but in case you couldn’t tell, she enclosed a couple real teeth, probably dog teeth and the post office confiscated them! And apparently they couldn’t confiscate them by just opening the envelope and taking them out, they had to rip the corner off containing the teeth and then deliver the letter to me as shown… really!? Come on post office, this is how you treat peoples’ mail!?

Lesson learned from this:  if you want to send me some teeth in the mail, put them in a padded envelope or box…

Time to Learn

November 19, 2009

Time for the good old Things Learned entry! I seem to have developed a habit of writing an entry at the end of every major project about new lessons learned along the way. Thinking about the project retrospectively helps me tie up any loose ends in my mind and gain some closure with it before moving on, even if I think I may revisit it or its themes. So here goes…

1. I can’t afford to take classes at Harvard! Despite working at the studio in order to fund using the space, without a real job, it is completely absurd for me to think I can continue making ceramic work there. Time to look into some other media that I can do at home without expensive firings.

2. Doing large scale work of any kind is complicated by not having a car. Zipcar is wonderful and all, but when it comes time to install in other locations, especially outside the city… well… it gets expensive very quickly. Not to mention the zipcar trips for dragging large supplies around. No one likes it when you try to carry a 4’x8′ sheet of plywood on the bus.

3. Living in an industrial area of the city is AWESOME! A lumber yard is less than a block away for building materials, FedEx, USPS and UPS are all a block away for shipping or receive large awkward objects, hardware store is a block away, many zipcar locations within walking distance, easy highway access, etc. etc.

4. Living in an apartment with no walls is so… freeing! I can transform the place depending on what I need at any given moment with almost no limitations. And if walls become necessary, it’s pretty easy to hang curtains or even build a temp wall.

5. Problems are often unseen pushes in the right direction. Can you imagine if glazing all those teeth had actually worked? This would be an entirely different project and not nearly as visceral.

6. Having a supportive partner during extreme transitions (nearly $50K to $15K as one example of many) is sooo important. I am not sure I would have survived this project or the last 9 months without his encouragement every step of the way.

7. Being an artist is painfully hard on so many levels. But despite my regularly scheduled panic attacks, there are so many moments of complete elation, it is difficult to wish for anything different. Life is so much more of a rollercoaster, but do I really want the boring predictable alternative?

8. I can do it, I can do it! I can start and finish a project totally on my own, without any outside deadlines, teachers for advice, fellow students for critique (although still plenty of friends to bounce thoughts off of), or institutional galleries to show in.

9. When in doubt, just do it. Do something. Really anything will work. As long as you are doing something, you are bound to find your way out of your stuck spot.

10. DON’T try to mount an 8’x4′ sheet of 1/2“ plywood to the ceiling.  Don’t do it by yourself, don’t do it with a partner, and I might even argue don’t do it at all!  Cut it into pieces first whenever possible.

11. THANK GOD for universal healthcare. It may not be perfect, but at least I have protection because lord knows I wouldn’t if I lived in any state other than Massachusetts.

Alright, thats all I’ve got for now. Next up is a boring budget entry and then on to the next new exciting project, which will happen in Vermont!

Theatrical Photos

November 17, 2009

I don’t feel like writing for once, but here are the photos as promised:

View when you walk in

The most important view, not reproducible in photos

Makes great shadows... kind of like xrays...

One of my favorite teeth


Soon I will do my usual budget info and “Things Learned“ entry…

What a whirlwind this week has been! I finished installing the show just in time for Open Studios to begin Saturday and Sunday; had over 300 strangers come traipsing through my apartment, loving it or hating it, respectful or browsing through our personal belongings; cooked an insane amount of food for my reception Sunday evening (I am still eating my way through the leftovers!) and had several friends stop by to chat, check out the  work and deliver some gorgeous flowers; crashed early every night to try and catch up on lost sleep and recover from taxed people skills (thank god for Flour!  If it wasn’t for working there I’m not sure I would have the ability to tactfully deal with all of them!); got up as early as I could force myself Monday morning to take down the big piece and figure out how to transport and more importantly, translate the configuration; loaded it all (including the bed) into a Zipcar, drove to Warren, RI, just outside of Providence, reinstalled the whole thing with 2 foot higher ceilings, cleaned up the disaster we had made of the gallery, and drove back to Boston!!! Then it was back to the jobs Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, with a trip BACK to RI, this time by commuter rail, for the opening reception Thursday night.  AND a 5am commuter rail back to Boston this morning to arrive in time to open the bakery.  All I can say is thank god for Kent, who was key in installing the Paper Jungle way back when, and for Zipcar, even though it cost me an arm and a leg…

Install 1

We were both on ladders for the full 4 hrs. of reinstallation

Install 2

We used trace paper on the ceiling to translate the exact locations of all the eye hooks

Install 3

And numbered each tooth individually to map out which belonged where in the composition

Install 4

Ellen Blomgren, the gallery owner, tested the view when we were done

AC Show 1

At the opening...

AC Show 2

Dearest friends Rachel and Nick, visiting from Providence, enjoyed the view together

I still have to share the “nicer“ photos I took of the piece when it was still in my apartment with ALL the lights turned off except the two illuminating the piece from below.  Those will come soon…

Open Studios Success!

November 4, 2009

I had over 300 visitors over the course of the weekend!  The building received over 700, but I imagine most people got lost and didn’t hit every studio or were scared by the room full of teeth and didn’t bother trying to come in.  Here’s what they missed:


My studio door: Old Arsenal work outside, New teeth work inside


Wall of real and fake teeth specimens

Teeth Book

Book of printed Teeth Stories

Teeth Wall

Wall of Teeth Stories

Overall View

Overall view of the whole setup

And just for fun…


Larry, Curly and Moe enjoying the view

I also took a ton of photos of the big piece by itself in super dramatic lighting.  I will post those next…

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