While the word mondegreen is typically associated with song lyrics; I find it also has application to “Studio Co-ops.” I guess the interpretation of Co-op is what threw me. The dictionary says; “a cooperative store, dwelling, program, etc…, a unified effort to share.” Not only sharing equipment, but experiences and little secrets of the trade as well.
But what I find at my so-called co-op are egos that rarely fit the work exhibited… Further all the necessary kiln space and equipment needed from time to time is owned and/or controlled by a few individuals. While some are willing to fire my work for a price, and I’m okay with that, but it’s only at their pleasure. I’ve had work ready to bisque sitting on the shelf for over a month and she explains her mugs take a long time…”I’ll get to you soon she says!” I trust my fellow victims at “Artists on Santa Fe” will understand my frustration, but I’ve been there four years and as a ceramic sculptor I rely on having access to a kiln. It’s pretty basic right? Well it’s not that easy.
The “Queen of the Underworld” owns ALL the kilns in the basement where my studio is located. Much like Les Nessman of WKRP in Cincinnati fame my space is outlined in tape and a torn curtain. Others located in the upper portion of the building are also willing to sell me kiln space for $150 a pop without batting an eye! This is unconscionable!
There’s one artist who does delightful Raku pieces and has a portable kiln with a propane tank and fires regularly. I had an idea about raku panels in a sculpture I was designing and asked him if he’d allow me to join him the next time he fires and would pay for the propane. He averted my gaze and said he doesn’t let anyone use his kiln and walked away terminating the conversation.
I asked the owner of the “Co-op” (a dude about my age who bought a converted warehouse) if I could also build a portable kiln to be used within the outside kiln yard as they’re relatively simple to construct…but was told no.
The rent is reasonable and I otherwise enjoy working there, but at some point one needs to have some control over schedule. I wanted to try my hand at porcelain jewelry and sign up for a November ‘Art Fair’ but time is quickly running out and will no doubt have to push that back.
Artist’s on Santa Fe is NOT a co-op! Rather those of us working there are essentially prisoners of a mercenary system that sees me as a source of revenue! This is of course bullshit and will be making changes soon!
Perhaps I could actually form a REAL Cooperative. Cost per square foot is outrageous in Denver right now, but there’s got to be a way.