I moved into a new house in August of 2009 and I now work out of my basement. The work I made and the people I worked with at the Firehouse East/West Studios will always be important but a new series of work has been on the brink for a while, and it needed a new home. I'm firing wood again up in napa with a team of incredible artists and potters at Scott Parady's kiln. And since we're on the topic of change I no longer work for Whitney Smith. This is a post from Whitney's blog about the end of an era Whitney Smith Blog
WE'RE A NON-PROFIT! (Oct.18, 2008) It's true. The Firehouse Collective has just attained non-profit status with the help of the dance troop Artship. We've all been working really hard for the past two years and now we've built an arts community including 2 art studios with 4 apartments above them, a new gallery/community workshop space in North Berkeley, and non-profit status. Thank you to everyone who has helped the FHC get this far!
I Just spent 3 weeks out of the Bay area traveling across the country by car. While I was stopped in Las Vegas, NV I was invited to a Middle School as a visiting artist to throw pots for a day. For anyone out there who couldn't guess, 7th and 8th graders can't handle the pulling of a handle! (handle pulling demo) The teacher who invited me to his class wrote me a wonderful note after I left:
cannot express how grateful I am that you came out. You have honestly
made me reconnect with clay in a way that I haven't been in over a
year. It was incredible to watch you with my students and to show them
the love that you have for your art. They really loved you. They were
just talking about you. You have a gift, not only as an artist, but as
a teacher as well. If you can connect with middle school kids, you can
do what ever you want. I am going to make a bunch of stuff. My mind is
racing with all of these new ideas that have been extinct for some time
now. So I guess a big thanks helping me find my way again.
-Mr. S.T. Las Vegas, Nevada
Thank You, I enjoyed it just as much as they did-(if not more).
I moved to California a little over a year ago just before I was able
to settle myself in a studio in Queens, NY. I wanted to see the West
Coast and experience the arts first hand out here. I can't complain,
and I won't.
After several months in San Fransisco I met Tom Franco and Joe Kowalczyk in
Berkeley. They had found this vacant commercial space [Firehouse
Collective Studios] in South Berkeley and had a vision to start up a
ceramics/Art studio inside. I saw a very large project in front of them
but it was in a space that held so much potential and I didn't want to
walk away from the opportunity to help them get it on it's way. I
figured taking a leap of faith and moving across the country was one
thing, but if i pasted up the opportunity in front of me to become
involved with artists with so much ambition, and drive to make this
space work for so many other people, what was the point of my move across the country? This was in August 2006. I moved to Berkeley and the Firehouse
Collective project began. I started making work again and in this new
environment my forms are slightly different but I'm incorporating a lot
of my older work into more recent functional pottery forms.