The first photo I ever took of Clara during a team building retreat, as RA's.
Clara and I first became acquainted while working as Resident Advisors at The School of the Art Institute where we both attended. She was a year above me and thus had a bit more time than I to develop her style and intention behind her practice. With a process and materials based practice that was heavily research and text based, Clara certainly wasn’t just an exception, she was exceptional. Although we didn’t develop anything close to the professional relationship we’ve established since her time at Home, I always respected Clara and her work, along with her work ethic. Despite Covid creating a sudden halt to my studies and my friendship with Clara, she managed to cross my mind and conversations more often than not. I often wondered where she ended up and what she was doing now as I knew there was little to nothing that could ever put a pause to Clara’s practice. I’m incredibly thankful that we were finally able to reconnect a little over a year ago now and have since become not just friends, but professional partners!
A few months ago while I was in Chicago and staying with Clara her mom came to visit. So, we went to pick her up at the airport but her flight ended up landing over an hour and a half late. This was the first true “one on one”I think me and Clara might have ever had. During this time we discussed my practice and the rapid growth of my business. I had just come back from a ceramic conference in California, where I not only affirmed my desire to start a community studio space but also received the validation and advice I felt I needed to start vocalizing this dream. After all the pieces were put together, Clara turned to me and said “So, when is this happening?” I’m not exactly sure what I responded with but I’m sure it was a long list of all the reasons I felt like would make it impossible.
Clara could see the potential in everything I had built, and because she’s Clara, I received a formal application for a short term residency at this studio that had yet to even exist. Shocked that she not only took the time to do this for me but that she had trust and faith in me to not just make this happen but make this productive for her. I read it over and wrote a formal response and we quickly began virtual meetings. What once was a barren field was quickly becoming a flourishing and nourishing garden thanks to the light Clara gave me. I needed someone to believe in me the way I believed in myself and that was just the spark Clara gave me.
Clara scoping out the rock on our hike in Zion National Park.
Clara's set up for "plate shaping" while at home.