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Say what you will about Facebook. Some people passionately argue for its ability to more easily connect friends and family in far-flung corners of our vast nation, others argue that it is full of narcissists that merely want to shout to the world, “look at me!” I can see both sides of the argument, but recently I have found it to be a great connection to my past.

In my artist statement, I have written about my time at Church Street Station’s Rosie O’Grady’s as a Can-Can Girl and how that experience left such a profound impression on me, that it became the genesis for my line of barware. As I move further and further away from my time at Church Street and the wonderful people I met during those five years (I left my second stint at Rosie’s in 2000), I have found myself questioning whether or not that experience should continue to inform the course of my work going forward.

Hurricane Chalices (left) influenced by the signature drink of Church Street Station, The Flaming Hurricane (right, on table).

Recently, though, a Facebook group was started connecting the Church Street Station “Goodtime Gang,” as Church Street employees were referred to. Over the course of the last couple weeks, flurries of memories and pictures have been posted from Goodtime Gang members who worked there in the 1970s through later members – like me – that worked there in the mid- to late-90s. What I have found is that the immense nostalgia I have held for those times in that place is not unique to me. From the first day I started, it felt like you were part of a very large family, one you would never stop being a part of. And, it seems, that generations of the Goodtime Gang agree.

Rosie O’Grady’s and Church Street Station may have officially closed in 2001, but those memories are woven into the fabric of who I am, and I live those memories through my pots. There is no denying that all potters inform their work through past experiences of some kind whether it be time with a relative, a relationship with nature, or in my case a very special relationship with an entertainment complex. 

So, I just wanted to say thanks to Facebook and the Goodtime Gang for reminding me not to deny the influence of my past. It is through using our experiences that potters bring a genuine life story into a three-dimensional realm that we can share with others.

 

“Gulf Coast Sunset” Hurricane Chalices by Jennifer Lachtara, are available for purchase on the Lach Arts’ Etsy site.

Orion Lantern by Jason LachtaraOK…this is probably the 9,999th blog post you have read this month that is looking back on the year that was.  What can I say?  There is just something about the close of one year and the seemingly fresh start of the next that causes introspection in all of us.  That’s what New Year’s Resolutions are all about, right? 

But, this post doesn’t start with January 1, 2010.  Much of what I see reflected in this year really began December 23rd, 2006.  That was my last day as the Marketing/Education/Gallery Coordinator of The St. Petersburg Clay Company.  You see, by July 2006 we all knew what was getting ready to happen to the economy – the art market is really a canary in the coal mine, and art buying had already started to drop off pretty steadily.  So, I was laid off and spent the next couple of years feeling like I was pretty adrift.  Art jobs were drying up quickly, and it certainly wasn’t (economically) the time to be forging a path as a full-time potter.  What I really remember is a succession of New Years Eves (2007, 2008, and 2009) where I exclaimed out loud, “This coming year will be better.  I can feel it.”

Now, I will admit, 2010 hasn’t been all roses and rainbows (what year ever is?), but this year I finally got answers to questions that have been keeping me adrift for the last few years.  Not all of those questions were met with the answers that I wanted, but I am finally feeling more stable (or anchored, if we want to keep with the “adrift” imagery).  Armed with the answers I had been seeking, I was able to start making some educated decisions on the directions I was going to go personally and professionally.  In a way, I now feel like I have a course laid out ahead of me – a course of my choosing.

So, this New Year’s Eve I will not exclaim that next year will be better.  I recognize that this one was pretty darn good.  Maybe not in the way I expected this time last year, but good nonetheless, and the coming year will be good in its own way as well.  I am excited where this coming year is headed, and I hope you will all follow Jason and me through 2011 and beyond to see where the journey takes us.

Lanterns by Jason Lachtara, including the Orion Lantern pictured above, are available for purchase on the Lach Arts’ Etsy site.

My drawing professor once said to us that we should be childlike when producing our art (not childish, that is something completely different).  By that, he meant we should approach our work from the mind-set we had before there was a right way or wrong way to make art, a time when childlike exuberance drove us to create and before we let a fear of failure cause self-censorship.

As someone who is trying to make a living selling artwork, sometimes this can be a tough proposition.  You start to look at your work more with an eye toward sales and really start to become more and more judgmental with your work, causing frustration and dampening your creative spirit.  But, if you can find a way to look at your work with fresh eyes, sometimes you find that you have become over-critical.  Sometimes, you just need to find your way back to that childlike joy that brought you to becoming an artist in the first place. Read the rest of this entry »

Welcome to the new blog about Lach Arts.  Basically, Jason and Jennifer will periodically write about our work, inspirations, and general musings about life as studio potters.  We hope you will stop by and see what we’re up to, and we hope to amuse you or give you a little something to think about.  Thanks for visiting the blog; we hope you stop in to visit often!

For more information, we invite you to stop by our website at www.lach-arts.com to see our portfolio and lists of upcomming events.

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