About Crib Notes: I’ve often wondered how other artists work in their own spaces and how their environment impacts what they make, and vice versa. It seems to me my own working environment is a separate expression from my pottery, yet it is similar. I imagine other artists in the ACGA might be as curious as me to meet local potters and ceramic artists and hear what they have to say about creating art in their own studios. –Vince Montague
ACGA ceramic artist, Linda Fahey, lives in Pacifica, and her studio, much like her slab-built pottery, has an overlap, a seam where one space leads to another. In Linda’s case, her studio also overlaps with her retail store, “Yonder” inside a 500 square foot open store-front along Highway 1. It’s hard to know where her studio ends and the store begins, all the items artfully arranged to pull the customer back to her work table where they can observe Linda building her functional tableware and sculpture.
Yonder carries ceramics, home furnishings, jewelry and other handmade items curated by Linda from local and national artists. There’s abundant natural light, a kitchenette, a sink and a fridge. The slab roller and a large work table take up a majority of the studio space in the rear. Unfortunately, the building is old and isn’t wired to handle an electric kiln, so Linda fires her ceramics at her house a few miles away. She uses her own clay and estimates she goes through a half a ton of clay per quarter.
Stand or Sit?
Like many artists, Linda has back issues. She stands when she works to hand build, but she also takes break to sit down. Recently, she raised her table 6” higher and she feels an improvement.
“Small things happen over a period of time,” Linda told me when I asked her about how her studio space has evolved. Before she opened “Yonder,” she worked at home, making slab built pots and filling wholesale orders for retailers like Anthropologie. There’s a difference in making pots alone and making pots in public. “You develop a way of working as you figure things out,” she said referring to how to deal with customers and get work done at the same time. “You’re trying to be efficient as possible but also making do within the limitations.”
However, Linda completes the extensive and delicate carving work she is known for at home where she can focus and concentrate. In a way her house is extension of her studio, another overlap where she’s unloading and loading kilns, carving, and probably a million other things at the same time.
The one and only Obie.
Hypothetical question… Armageddon arrives. Trump becomes President. The cities are burning. You have minutes to flee. You’re allowed one tool on the last airplane to Canada – departing now. Which one would you grab?
This squeegee which she uses to compress her slabs.
Nature is all around her studio, whales migrating just outside her front door, the saltwater surf carved into her cups, mugs and bowls. Next door sits a coffee shop housed in a caboose. Tourists along Highway 1, local people, friends, interns – all sorts of random people can walk through her front door.
Linda seems energized by all the activity of her studio/shop, and you could say her artistic space harnesses a lot of energy from the people who visit and chat (even a local surfer walking by who once asked to use her sink to brush his teeth.) From where she handbuilds, Linda can view her work “in action,” observing how customers behave, what they reach for on her shelves, and what they confide in her as they talk. It’s hard to imagine that kind of energy isn’t transmitted into all the work Linda creates. Every studio needs a type of nourishment, a shot of adrenaline to push the work. What’s interesting about Linda’s studio is the degree in which she has integrated her art, her life, her studio and her world into a single overlapping space.
Visit Linda’s studio and store, or catch up with her online:
158 Reina Del Mar Ave
Pacifica, CA 94044
Vince Montague is a writer and a potter. He keeps a blog about pottery, writing, and walking at vincemontague.com