Tuesday, May 7, 2013

My Artist-In-Residence term at the Worcester Center for Cratfs is sadly coming to an end.

Please join me and the six other Artists-In-Residence for our group show opening:

Opposing Directions: Artists in Residence Collection

Thursday, May 23, 2013 5:30 - 8:00pm (Opening)
at The Krikorian Gallery, 25 Sagamore Rd., Worcester, MA 01605

Show Run: May 23 - June 15, 2013

Gallery Hours: Tues - Sat 10:00 - 5:00pm

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Interview with OPP

I was just featured as an artist and was interviewed on the Other People's Pixels blog.

Follow the link to read my interview!

Real update soon, I promise.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

My Etsy Store is Open!

You can now help support me as an artist on Etsy!

Jennifer Koch Ceramics on Etsy

I have functional and affordable pottery for sale.  I may add other things like jewelry.  I have yet to decide if I want to list my sculptures. Comes down to the whole art versus craft conundrum. I feel that listing them could also cheapen what I'm doing with them. They serve a purpose and are not meant to be decorative objects for the home. So we'll see.
But, please consider purchasing my functional ware as a way to help support the work I am MOST passionate about.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Settling in at WCC

I moved into my new studio at The Worcester Center for Crafts last week.  I have yet to start a new piece because my days have been filled with orientation meetings, studio tech hours and setting up my space to my liking.  The head of the Ceramics Studio and AiR program, Tom, helped me put up a divider for more privacy in my space this week.  He also helped me cut down my worktable legs, since a short girl needs a short table!

My new space!
And view of my table and new wall divider.

I also have a paying job at the center now! Granted it’s only 8 hours a week, but it’s better than nothing at all.  I’m the Building Monitor on Saturdays from 9:30am- 5:30pm. Early morning is not fun but hey, beggars can’t be choosers.  Basically, I answer questions and make sure no one does things they shouldn’t be doing.  I’ll have administrative tasks at some point too.  Eventually they want to train me to be the Metals Studio monitor as well.  This would be great because I’d get to refamiliarize myself with that studio and hopefully start making and incorporating some metal into my work. But for now I get to be based out of my studio and work on my own stuff and essentially just be present.

And now for a story:

On Monday I did start working on reassembling my mamma sheep in the studio.  I made the huge mistake of using a Bondo-like repair patch, which smelled absolutely awful! I wouldn’t be surprised if the sore throat I had afterwards was a result of breathing in the chemical fumes.  I only patched the interior cracks and stopped there because the smell was so bad.  I wrapped up the bowl and putty knife I was using and took them out to the dumpster in a futile attempt to keep the fumes down. I then went down to the restroom and on the way back noticed that I could smell the fumes in the hallway!  It wasn’t too bad in the open workroom in ceramics but it must have wafted through to the other side of my space, which has a false wall, and into the WSU (Worcester State University) sculpture studio then into the hall.  Of course I panicked! First week there and I make the studio impossible to work in!
Now I had NO IDEA that the smell would carry like that. I also had forgotten that the ventilation system at WCC was not nearly as good as the one that I was used to at the Star Store, UMass Dartmouth Studios in New Bedford.  I wasn’t aware that there were even vents I could turn on to air out the space either. At any rate, I sent out emails, apologizing to Tom and my two studio mates, Dan and Lauren.  I had a panic attack that night and felt terrible for disturbing other people. I was not raked over the coals or threatened with expulsion as I had anticipated though.  I was simply told to not use Bondo inside again (not a problem!) and shown where the vent switches are located. I was also informed of a bonding agent I haven’t tried yet, PC-11, that isn’t as toxic. So, I ordered some from the hardware store and will test it out.
Live and learn, right?!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Teaching My First Workshop!

I'm teaching my first workshop on October 13th, 10-4pm!
Check out the link below:

Animal Sculpture in Clay

"Learn the basics of solid form sculpting in terracotta clay, while drawing upon inspiration from real or imagined animals. Join Resident Artist Jennifer Koch, who is inspired in her own studio practice by a lifetime of working with animals, who will guide you in the creation of a figurine scale animal sculpture. Working with terracotta clay, you will learn basic sculpting techniques while trying to impart emotional content and presence into your piece. You will work first with solid clay, then if needed, by hollowing out the form begin to facilitate drying and preparation for firing. Finished works will be allowed to complete drying and be once fired in the Craft Centers kilns, available for pick-up three weeks after the workshop. Size is limited to figurine scale, due to the short duration of this workshop. Open to all levels of student, from beginning to advance."

Sign up! I can't teach it if no one takes the class! 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

It's like opening a Christmas present and discovering you got socks

There's always this push and pull mixture of excitement and dread before you open the door of a recently fired kiln. Will your work be perfect, just the way you set it in the kiln? Will it be in tiny shattered bits all over the kiln floor and beyond repair? Will it have a few cracks? Or finally, will the cracks be enormous? There are countless other possibilities that I'm sure I'm forgetting but I'm sure you get the idea.  

Well, Momma bah didn't make it.  But, on the bright side, she should be an easy repair. 

The crack wraps all the way around her body, but it's clean and nothing shattered off. There are some big cracks that run lengthwise on either half but I should be able to fill it in with something.  I've been using wood putty but it's terrible and comes off really easily with water.  I'm open to suggestions, if you have them?

Baby bah did make it though! Hooray! I forgot to check her for small cracks, but she's solid. I was too preoccupied with analyzing Momma sheep's break.

The firing it's self went great! Slow and steady, so I don't think there's any thing I could change there.
I think if I attempt this scale again, and I likely will, I'll have to change how I build. (I don't think I said how big she was in the last post, but she's almost 5 in length).  I'll probably try firing it in two or three pieces and assemble post firing.  There's less chance for hairline fractures to get out of control that way. I think the weight of this piece and the warping created a lot of cracks I wasn't able to see.  I might even throw in a few structural supports, though I'm not so keen on them.  I'm fairly convinced they cause more cracking.  Maybe if I cut them out as part of the shell when I hollow it out, instead of inserting them after I hollow out the piece.

C'est la vie!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

June and July Studio wrap up

This has quite possibly been the busiest and most progressive summer I've ever had in the studio!  I think I'm still working off the momentum and accomplishments that I've made over the past year.  I've gotten used to just constantly being busy and I think I really enjoy it.  Ive had a few days of down time this week, while I waited for some work to dry for a bisque firing, and I actually got bored! August may not end up being time off from the studio like I planned if I'm going to be bored with nothing else to do.

What have I done? Well, first let me preface this with the fact that it takes me about 3 weeks per piece just to build. So it might not seem like a lot, but it is! Nothing has been surfaced yet, I may not get that done until August.

Below is a sculpture I actually started at the end of April but wasn't able to finish and fire  until June because of the chaos involved in setting up my BFA show and graduating, etc. The baby lamb will be scaling a fence (or something similar), so picture her vertical.  The Momma sheep's head will be mounted on a wall above and to the right of the baby lamb. I think I'm going to attempt to glaze some of the surface of this pair.

In June, I started my biggest piece yet! A full size Momma sheep that has a baby lamb as its pair.

Which obviously had some issues... I went home for the day and the next morning I found this.

After I patched it back together, I stuffed it full of dowels in a grid to help support the clay.  I also rigged up a better support for the back end, made out of bricks. Gravity and I  were at odds for several weeks.  This piece took a little more than 250LBs of clay. I mixed 3 batches for the whole project, which totals 375LBs and I used almost all of it!

Below are the pictures of Momma sheep where she is essentially fully built.  I still hadn't cut her up, hollowed her out, reassembled her and done the finishing details. But you get the basic idea.

Baby bah! She is almost finished being built in the photos below. Missing ears...

The next three photos depict how I cut the piece up.  I had intended to photograph my entire process with this piece but I forgot to get pictures of the rest of the process! I was in a rush. Next time!

The hash marks on the cut ends are so I can line up the pieces correctly when I reassemble.  I also keep each leg on a separate piece of foam and label it; BL stands for Back Left, etc. You get the idea.

Here they are! Reassembled and loaded into the kiln.  

With the help of a friend, Momma sheep made it in safely.  But I attempted to load the Baby lamb in before she was dry enough and the front legs fell off! Thankfully it was an easy repair, since she was so damp.  Lesson learned.

I fired these girls yesterday and is went great from this side of the kiln.  Tomorrow I'll open the kiln and find out if Momma sheep made it.  There are no interior supports in her body cavity and I think that may have been a mistake.  I had A LOT of issues with warping and cracking when I reassembled her.  I did view her as an experiment, since I have never made anything so big.  I've already come up with possible fixes, but lets hope I don't have to use them.

I have one week left in the studio until I've got to be packed and moved out.  I'm hoping to have time to glaze and fire the first set of sheep.  I'm going to have to cold surface the second pair.  If Momma sheep makes it, there's no way I'm risking a second firing! I probably won't get to that until August though.  I've got to convince my father to let me have some space in the basement for finishing work.  My new space at the Craft Center will be about a quarter of what it is now.

More to come!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Graduation and moving on!

Boy do I have a giant update to make!  The final few months of my Senior year were very, very busy.  Finishing up two studio based classes, sending out applications for artist residencies, setting up and taking down my BFA show AND trying to make some sort of plan for myself as a professional artist with less than no money.

Yesterday, I posted all of the images from my BFA show in May. Scroll down and have a look, there are a few new pieces there. I didn't sell anything but it was an accomplishment I never thought I'd reach.

My calf, Laura, went off to her new home a few weeks ago. I never posted about it, but I sold a few sculptures at Craft Boston! Laura, and two piglets, Amy and Emma. So yeay! I have economic validation from real life customers, haha.

The BEST news...

8 years of struggle and I finally accomplished something for once in my life. It feels damn fucking good. I also graduated with honors, Magna Cum Laude!

My parents were as happy as me, maybe even more.

There's even MORE awesome news!
I was offered and accepted a year long artist in residence position at the Worcester Center for Craft!
I'll have the opportunity to teach and be a studio tech.  Most importantly, I have a studio space to work in for the next year in exchange for these duties.  Unfortunately, it means moving back in with my parents after 8 years of living on my own. They live fairly close to Worcester. BUT, it will save me money so that I can move some where new once my residency is over. 

And that's NOT ALL!
I will have gallery representation!
The owner of the Colo Colo Gallery in down town New Bedford, MA contacted me, loves my work and wants to represent me. As of right now, I have a solo show planned for November 2013.

How's that for awesome news?!
Couldn't get much better in my opinion.  I'm excited and naturally, for me any way, incredibley nervous.  
My plans for moving to Seattle have been put on hold. My new plan is to follow where ever my art takes me. I did just spend an aweful lot of time and energy to get to this point and I don't want to waste any opportunities that come my way.  
It looks like I'm starting my career as a professional artist pretty well!

Knock on wood and wish me luck ;)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

BFA Show Images

Here are the images from my BFA show in May. In no particular order because I didn't feel like trying to figure out how to load them according to any theme.

Weaned 2011

Mulesing 2012

Babies Beget Babies 2012

Laura 2011

Anna 2011

(L-R) Lacy Taylor's blue girl, Judd Schiffman's sculptures, Christine Rebhunn's Wall piece and Paul Murray's Crowns

 Panels by Gina Elizabeth Guidi

(L-R) Sara Janoff's dress, Alecia Cahill's installation, my calf, Lacy's sculpture, Judd's drawings

(L-R) Sara Janoff, my two sculptures, Lindsey Viera's giant belt, two of Lacy's sculptures, two of Denise Sokolsky's textile pieces

Far back, Sara Janoff's textile piece

Jaclyn St. Laurent's jewelry

Jaclyn St. Laurent

(L-R) Lacy Taylor, Ge Yang, my mother and me

Me with Laura

Me and my brother, Christopher Koch, who did our show website!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

BFA show is here!

Just finished setting up the show!

2012 UMass Dartmouth Artisanry BFA & PBC Show

May 4- May 22

Reception: Sunday, May 6, 1-4pm
Artist talks around 2:30pm

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Application Goof

In mild state of panic.
I woke up last night to the realization that I forgot to sign my Northern Clay Center application. I checked and doubled checked and triple checked the list of requirements, nothing said "Don't forget to sign"! So I did.
I'm so mad at myself because I'm usually so attentive to little details like this. I'm worried that this is going to automatically put in in the reject pile because I can't follow directions (as a visiting director of residencies from Penland told us she does). I DO follow directions! Everything else is EXACTLY as they asked.

I'm waiting for them to open so I can call and see if I really need to spend another $25 for 2 day shipping.

ETA: It was no problem! The person I spoke to took my phone call as a verbal verification.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Finally finished the baby merino! She took such a long time since this was my first try at a lamb. And those folds! Oh my, what a tedious venture! But I love that kind of work.

Not perfect. I need to work on the skin looking more flexible. It looks to stiff for my liking. She was good practice for the next piece though. I'll be doing a baby scaling a fence/pedestal to reach her mom. The sheep will be a head mounted on the wall. My faces seem to be improving, slowly, but it's getting there.

I've had to scale my work down a bit since the kiln access is questionable at this point. I need to have work finished for my show by the end of April, so I can't count on getting the kiln I need. I plan on returning to large scale ASAP though. The following piece will be full scale momma sheep and a lamb being pulling away from each other by invisible hands.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Opening night at Craft Boston

I had spent the entire day packing up and then unloading and setting up our space with a few other students. The perk to all the hard work was being able to attend the preview party. Officially as booth workers but we had so many people for our booth that several of us were able to wander around and check out our (future) peers work. The quality and target audience of the work varied greatly. Whether that's a flaw or purposeful in the show I have no idea. I definately found some fantastic jewelry and pottery I'd love to own!

Our booth! Grace's steel backpack, Allie's showbox, James' pottery and Coral's tapestry

Zac's felted wool piece, my piglet, Emma, and Jo Anna's piece on the wall

Overall, the event was pretty fun. I was working with all grad students from our various departments (wood, textiles, metals and ceramics) last night and it was really nice to chat with them. I've never really had the opportunity to and typically in the ceramics department the grads tend to ignore the undergrads. But the grads from the other departments treated me like their equal and seemed to respect the work I was doing.

Jo Anna's textile piece on the left and Allie's wall piece

Avery's copper plates, and jewelry (L to R) by Danielle, Jaclyn and Kelly

I had a wonderful chat with Grace, one of the metals grads, who approachs art in a similar fashion to me. She is very interested in social change and while it's not animal rights related, still very applicable to what I do. She just got an interview for a public policy job and has no college degree for that kind of work. So naturally I was very interested in how she did that. Basically, stay active in the other field, the direct action field, that is. She had some great advice on pursuing BOTH studio art and activism. She was also very encouraging and said she saw a lot of potential in my work. She also complimented me on the show in Gallery 244. It was really an immense morale booster for me.

The egde of Ge's wooden coat hanger and Allie's figure

Me and my calf, Laura

I have my doubts that I'll actually sell any thing but it's a great experience and my work is out there. My work was definitely getting a reaction yesterday. Mostly "awwwws" over cuteness and sad faces. They're provoking something! I regret not signing up to booth sit again until Sunday. I'd like to be there to talk about my work if anyone has questions. No one asked me anything last night and there weren't as many people as I expected there to be for the preview party. It was mostly other exhibitors walking around. Second chance on Sunday! My parents will be coming by and I get to work with my friend Lacy. Should be fun! More pictures to come, I'm sure!