Sunday, June 20, 2010

It Really Is About the People

When Steven, is in the midst of feigning off overly effusive praise, he sometimes shrugs and says, “I just make clay people.” We’ve now reached the conclusion of the John David Crow project, and I’m newly struck by how much our work revolves around people, clay or otherwise.

In my role at the studio and gallery, I often struggle to balance the commitment and passion I feel here with the demands of other obligations and work. Likewise the studio staff works to try to balance large projects with the daily business needs of the gallery, other sales and collector relations. Our work on the John David Crow project intersected directly with a host of other deadlines for the work I do outside of the gallery. And the sheer size of the project itself tested Steven and the team at almost every stage of production.

There definitely were times when things were, to put it mildly, falling between the cracks. Plans and projects (like this blog) that we had hoped to pursue, develop and expand on all fell by the wayside in an attempt to stay sane and keep the project, more-or-less, on schedule. Now that, except for the final patina stage and instillation, it’s done, I’m newly cognizant that we are both dependent and blessed by the people we work with and the huge family of friends that support us in a incredible variety of ways.

Last weekend, the foundry we used to cast the monument held an event and they included a brief ceremony where they unveiled the finished bronze of the Crow monument. Seeing the finished piece revealed and lit against the night sky was a spectacular moment, but looking around the dressed up foundry grounds and seeing so many friendly faces, who had had made the two hour drive to come and celebrate with us, was by far the most memorable moment of the evening.

The whole night had the special feeling that sometimes comes for me on Thanksgiving - when you look around the room at your friends and family and recall each of them for the role they play in your life and in that moment you take the opportunity to give thanks for the friendship and love you have had the benefit of throughout the year. While not everyone could be there, last weekend, in the shadow of the over twelve foot towering monument to an athlete who has now inspired us all, we toasted the friends that helped us move and set-up our satellite studio, the friend who, as a licensed masseuse, came and kept Steven in sculpting form, and the countless numbers who just understood that sometimes when you have to work all night what you want most is a little bit of company.

Looking at some of the photos of the event, Steven and I are both wearing ridiculous smiles – they are the result of exhaustion, of relief and of pure joy. We are both so blessed and so grateful. We work with some of the best most talented people in the region and we are lucky to have friends who are as much to fun work with as they are to celebrate with – to their credit they are equally present for both activities.

We do create monuments of people. We research their stories, their character. But our story and the story of our studio is a story about these people –our friends, our colleagues, our family, our believers. Thank you.

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