Fall quarter is definitely over (hallelujah), so I figured I'd post the final pieces I made for my ceramics class. This was by far my favorite class. It's called Performing Tableware, and it frames the actions and objects of the table as sites of research and art-making. 

The first piece we were assigned was to create a serving tool or utensil inspired by the food that was being served. (My original choice was peaches, but since peaches are 110% out of season in November, I had to make a last minute switch to red pears, which turned out to be a very appropriate choice after all.) Viewers were asked to approach the arrangement and eat the fruit. I wanted to mimic the measure of destruction/breakage that occurs when we pick a fruit off a branch, and because of the precarious arrangement of the fruits and the "utensils," the action of "picking" the fruit called evoked a breakage and dismantling.

Glazed white clay

My final project for this class was a 25-ft, 15-piece installation titled Providence and based on the Bible story of Peter's vision of the clean/unclean foods. I wanted to create an installation that would invoke a measure of religious awe and manifest the action of providing and delivering and bestowing, particularly from heaven to earth. Each piece was hung with clear fishing line and filled with ice that then melted through the holes and dripped onto the staircase below. 

Providence (Glazed slip, fishing line, ice)
The next day, Peter went to the rooftop to pray. He became hungry, and while lunch was being prepared, he fell asleep and had a vision. He saw the skies opening up and a large blanket being lowered from heaven by its four corners. Every kind of animal and reptile and bird you could think of was in it. A voice told him, "Get up, Peter. Kill and eat." Peter said, "Surely not, Lord! I've never eaten anything unclean." The voice came again, "What I have cleansed, no longer call unholy." This happened three more times, and then the blanket was pulled back up into the skies.

(If you have any questions at all about either of these pieces, don't hesitate to ask!)

the art of opening up

I have a hard time doing things half-assedly, so I feel a little ashamed crawling back to this blog with months between posts. But while reading Amy Merricks' very lovely blog this morning I was reminded that "it doesn't have to be all or nothing. All you can do is the best you can do." Which isn't just a blog related note-to-self or an art note-to-self, but also a general life note-to-self. So I think I can be okay with going MIA without feeling guilty, even and especially if that means coming back around with very little other than sketches. I had a long, up-and-down summer. I worked for a month, flew a lot - Chicago > LA > Hong Kong > Jakarta and back again. Visited my family, put together a real portfolio, got my wisdom teeth out. Slept in, woke up to my mother's breakfast, snuggled with my siblings, had a bit of a love affair with the Indian Ocean

Visiting home is always an exercise in absorbing moments instead of grasping for them. It's rare that I get to be with my family for very much time at all, and when it happens, I tend to have a bit of an internal panic. You can feel the moments whizzing past you like wasps, and you start counting down the days you have left, curled against the sand like it's a warm body that reaches for miles.

School started in October. I've been kicking up a lot of leaves, eating a lot of microwave popcorn, waking up for a lot of early mornings, and listening to Death Cab like I'm fourteen again (they released a bunch of Translanticism demos I've been eating up like an emotionally starved middle schooler). 

I've also been terribly busy with art things - maybe moreso than I ever have been before, which is ironic considering I have very little to show for it other than in-class margin sketches. But I'm in a ceramics class that's been the light of my life recently, to the point that my hands perhaps spend more time caked in clay than they do otherwise. I've been practically living in the art building. The ladies in the cafe know what muffins I like and nod sympathetically when I ask for an extra shot at 2pm and leave the studio after midnight.

The curiousest thing is that the art I've been making, for the first time ever, has been almost exclusively 3D work, and the things I've been thinking about have been almost exclusively large, sculptural things, hanging things, shining things, moving things, things with curves, things you want to touch. Which isn't at all what I anticipated myself being interested in, and now I can't imagine seriously pursuing art that isn't sculpture-related. The other art class I'm in is about as conceptual as anything could possibly be, but when I'm not fiercely confused I'm fiercely fascinated. So when I'm not making art, I'm thinking about it. And that's new and very nice. 

I should have some actual images to show for it soon, if everything goes according to plan. Other than that, I've just been trying to power through this quarter and preserve some sort of mental stamina for the nightmare that is winter quarter in this city. 

"To be lazy is to give way to other processes that exist in that moment. When you're sleeping, eating, moving, standing still, you are still an artist at work, projected outward."

I'll be in California over Christmas break, which should be a very welcome break from the Chicago wind and ice and sideways snow. I mostly plan on sleeping on couches with too many blankets and/or driving to the coast for my annual seawater fix. You can only pretend for so long that Lake Michigan fills your soul like the ocean does.


School finally closed out about a month ago, and between now and then I've been working at a start-up in the Loop (RIP Cakestyle), traipsing around downtown, and eating unhealthy quantities of Wisconsin cherries and salted-caramel ice cream. I haven't had much time to sit down and produce any quality art, but I've also been planning on making this particular post for a while.

I have the very crisp memory of being sharply scolded in 7th grade by a teacher who could absolutely not tolerate any shape or form of doodling on notes or homework. This was one of the many falling-outs I had with this particular teacher, and doodling has been both a huge help and huge part of my note-taking process, to the point that I've saved countless notebooks that are one part notes and one part sketches. 

So this post isn't particularly awe-inspiring or deliberate, but more of an end-of-the-school-year tradition of documenting my "note-taking process."

Beginning sketches for a logo I made for the lovely and talented Keely Yount!

This particular quote was a bit of a fixation during my last quarter in school. I'll probably flesh it out into a an actual illustration sometime soon. It's based off a Mark Twain quote - “Eat a live frog every morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” If you do the worst thing on your plate first thing in the morning, the rest of the day is easy/breezy/beautiful. I've tried to wrestle my life into some form of regular frog-eating instead of laying in bed eating pretzels and hoping all my work going up in flames so I don't have to do it.

In other news - I'm leaving for Indonesia next week, to see my family for the first time in a year, and I'm not sure how much time I'll have for updating. It's a hypothetical toss-up between being busy and on-the-road the whole summer, and having too much time on my hands and thus making heaps of Things. I have a few big design projects I'll be working on over the summer, one of which is trying to figure out how the hell to use Squarespace and hopefully putting together a portfolio of sorts. As always, we shall see. (For those of you with trust issues, I promise I'll definitely be posting regularly on my Instagram if not here.)

x, j

poema 14

Mis palabras llovieron sobre ti acariciándote. Amé desde hace tiempo tu cuerpo de nácar soleado. Hasta te creo dueña del universo. Te traeré de las montañas flores alegres, copihues, avellanas oscuras, y cestas silvestres de besos.

Quiero hacer contigo lo que la primavera hace con los cerezos.
My words rained over you, tenderly. I've loved your sunkissed mother-of-pearl body for so long. I'm sure you own even the universe. I'll bring you bright mountain flowers, bluebells, hazelnuts and wild baskets of kisses.

I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.
Prints available on society6.


“When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.”
Hemingway / A Moveable Feast

(prints available on society6)

peace is every step

This is a quote by a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk and poet who wrote a book called Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life, a really beautiful guide to fully loving yourself, fully loving others, fully loving where you are. If I could paste the entire book into this post, I would, as some of my most favorite snippets of wisdom were written by this little Vietnamese man.

“Sometimes it is better not to talk about art by using the word "art". If we just act with awareness and integrity, our art will flower, and we don't have to talk about it at all.”

From time to time, sit close to the one you love, hold his or her hand, and ask, 'Darling, do I understand you enough? Or am I making you suffer? Please tell me so that I can learn to love you properly. I don't want to make you suffer, and if I do so because of my ignorance, please tell me so that I can love you better, so that you can be happy." 
“Each time you look at a tangerine, you can see deeply into it. You can see everything in the universe in one tangerine. When you peel it and smell it, it’s wonderful. You can take your time eating a tangerine and be very happy.”

on the road

I've spent a considerable portion of my life on the road. If I were to sort out my most favorite memories, I'm convinced most of them came to be while on some roadtrip or another (perks of having parents with a penchant for adventures and going-places.) There's something about being piled in the backseat of a truck in a heap of sweaty siblings and pillows for leg-cramping hours at a time / waking up to a groggy sunrise / my mom making passing back sandwiches on quarter-baguettes from the front seat. Stevie Wonder 5-part family sing-alongs / bathroom stops in dingy little gas stations / stretches of non-city views for miles miles miles.

Laying back in my little sister's lap at 3am and looking up through the windows so that all I can see are fly-by stars and no road, as if we weren't anywhere close to an earth at all / when everyone but my driving father is asleep, their hot sleeping cheeks pressed against the cold glass of the window. Waking up warm on one side with the heat of another body, cold on the other with the foggy highway dawn. Finally finally reaching A Place, stumbling out of the car barefooted and bed-headed and grateful and antsy, blessed to finally be ocean-windwhipped and ankle deep in burning sand.

Lately, however, and more often than not, I find myself sitting in canned AC, drinking bottled water, drowsy between underlining a textbook or replying to an email - and achy-breaky for the familiar discomfort of my snoring siblings' bony warm bodies in the middle of a dark countryside at 3am.


So here we go.

In an attempt to document what feels like a more formal advent and dedication to my art and not just sporadic updates to Instagram, I've started a blog. A diary of sorts.

I'm wary of saying I'm going to start a 365 project because I'm always wary of saying I'm going to be daily dedicated to something when I'm rarely even dedicated to getting my ass out of bed. But a 365 project is in the works and I'd love to get it off the ground before the end of the school year. It will more or less consist of hand-lettering because that's what I've been drawn to (heh, puns), but it may stray into more of a daily sketch project. We shall see.

Until then, here's this. Feel free to sign up for email updates below and share with your friendlies!

xo, j