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Thing-a-Day – January 21 – travel to an arts retreat (the Takaezu Studio, Quakertown, NJ)

February 7, 2015

Day 21 of the Thing-a-Day Challenge

Materials: car, art supplies, friends, optimism

Today, I traveled to the Takaezu Studio in Quakertown, NJ, to begin a 10-day arts retreat with two dear friends – Laura Baring-Gould and Karin Abromaitis. We became friends over the years as we sold our work at overlapping shows (particularly the Washington Craft Show and Boston Craft Show). When we are doing the same show or in the same city, we often have dinner together after the show breakdown, but have always been in an exhausted state, in transition, and never feel we have enough time to complete a conversation. Our few longer visits over the years, usually just two of us at a time, have left us eager to find a more formal (but relaxed!) way to pick each other’s brains and support each other in our artistic endeavors.

Laura works in many media (often mixed) from cast bronze to wood to photography, sometimes in a small scale, sometimes monumentally large. Karin makes functional and contemplative clay work, as well as copper jewelry and installations employing materials found in nature (vines, fish scales, etc.). She is also a theater director, performer, choreographer, teacher, etc., etc.

We all are drawn to pod and vessel forms for their inherent visual simplicity and complex potential.

One of Karin's window bowls - terra sigilata surface treatment with metal leaf interior and folded copper element

One of Karin’s window bowls – terra sigilata surface treatment with metal leaf interior and folded copper element


My Polkadot Squash Vessel – flax paper shrunk over steel wire, printed w/ acrylic metallic paint



Laura’s cast bronze chili pepper, approx 2″ long



Between preparing for weekend craft shows and gallery shows, not to mention family obligations and other daily distractions, we are three fairly busy independent artists. Yet somehow we managed to arrange a small chunk of time when we could all get away from other obligations (for the most part) and work side by side, with hopes for collaboration and definite plans for small materials demonstrations and lots of cooking, walking, and talking.  We each brought our own projects to work on, but also gathered books, materials, recipes, thoughts, and music to share during our stay together. The Takaezu Studio, where Karin is living these days, provided the perfect location. It is halfway between Boston, MA, and Washington, DC, and in beautiful western New Jersey.  This entry from the Oakworm blog has some lovely images of the place in the spring.

This is an idea of what it looks like in January.


Barn with bronze bell and other objects

Barn with bronze bell and other objects

Lovely compositions everywhere

Lovely compositions everywhere


...even in the attic

…even in the att

Next door to Toshiko Takaezu’s home and studio (now inhabited and run by the capable and welcoming Don Fletcher and Carla Romeo), is a new artist residency house, a comfy private space, separate enough from the main house and studio to get work done, but close enough to accommodate impromptu afternoon teas and pot luck dinners. We were lucky that the residency space is so new that two of the upstairs bedrooms have not yet been fully finished, so Laura and I could use them as temporary studios, since we don’t work in clay and needed our own spaces for wax mold-making and papermaking work.

The next few posts will reflect the work that I do during my stay here.


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