It has been quite the Alaskan winter out here in the Matanuska valley, where temperatures hit a low of -32 degrees and the sun shined upon us for as few as 5.5 hours at the Winter Solstice. My kitchen sink may have frozen, but my momentum held strong. While it has been a number of months with no update, I am pleased to assure you that plenty has been going on with the development of my studio, exhibitions and current projects.
In my last update, I had indicated that I would begin establishing my own studio. At the time, I was shopping around for affordable spaces that would allow me to do some re-wiring in order to plug in a kiln. As luck would have it, there was a cabin available just up the road, owned by friends, which made electrical negotiations much easier. I moved my kiln into the 200-square foot space in November and successfully tried my hand at electrical work. Then I bought my first major piece of studio equipment: A slab roller (a choice that will be of no surprise to those of you familiar with my work). The studio is small and cozy and heated primarily by wood, though there is an electrical panel-heater that I use to keep materials from freezing over night. I must say that I greatly enjoy spending my days up the road in my very own clay cabin in the mountains.
At the end of November, I was accepted into the 9th World Ceramics Biennale in South Korea along with 92 other artists from around the world. The piece selected is Coriolis, displayed most recently at the Cranbrook Art Museum last May. This particular work is built on-site with nearly 800 pounds of unfired clay slabs, which means that I will be heading to Icheon-Si, South Korea to the World Ceramic Center in March to install the work. As you can imagine, the past couple of months have involved quite a bit of logistical planning, but slowly, everything is coming together, including the pre-purchase and delivery of clay to my exhibit location, a gracious assistant with whom I will be traveling, and a slab roller provided on-site. The last time that I built Coriolis, it took me 21 hours to install, post-slab-preparation. For the two weeks prior, I was able to roll out and store slabs in plastic, keeping them wet for installation. However, this time around will be an entirely new experience for me. As my assistants are rolling slabs, I will be building the work alongside them. We have allotted five-days to complete the piece, and at this point, I am keeping my fingers crossed that it will all come together smoothly within that amount of time. You will be able to follow my progress on Instagram (@alidavanalmelo), Facebook, or if you are not on social media, I will also try to update this blog frequently throughout the installation process from March 20-24th, 2017, so please check back.
Finally, with the studio set up and in production and with my upcoming installation in South Korea in motion, I have decided to switch gears a little bit. Last month, I developed a new, very different project in response to some recent decisions made by our newly elected government. My work is and has always been about change: about how we each see and experience change in our environments, about capturing pinnacle moments in anticipation of change, and how change occurs around us naturally, as we move around the sun and glaciers flow down the mountains. However, recently I have felt the urge to approach change in a different way: rather than acknowledging the more poetic, passive change in our environments, I am now promoting active change by making mugs to collect donations for global women's health organizations. My project is called Pink Mugs, and you can get involved as well as learn more by going to www.pinkmugs.org. I am excited to announce that we raised over $400 in donations to global heath funds in just the first week of the project!
As always, thank you for your interest in my work and studio development. Knowing that you are eager to learn about my endeavors helps keep my momentum going, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate that.