For every full-time studio artist, there are probably a dozen artists trying to incorporate a creative component into a working life. For years, artist Jennifer Waverek worked for big New York graphic corporations while raising her two children. Frustrated by always working on other peoples’ ideas, she envisioned a day when she could be part of a community of artists, sharing ideas and resources, and developing her own creative voice. Two years ago, her hope became a reality with the opening of her studio, BKLYN CLAY. In a short time, the group of ceramic artists and students grew into the vibrant community she imagined, a community that has weathered a global pandemic and adapted to address new sensibilities about race and justice.
When Blair Meerfeld left a solitary Colorado life as a studio potter in 2009 to accept a position at a thriving East Coast art school, he had no idea how radically his life would change. As the Chair of the Ceramics Department at The Art League in Alexandria, Virginia, Meerfeld oversees 8,000 students a year in a program that has continued to grow under his stewardship. In a position that he thought he would keep for a year or two before returning to his independent artist’s life, his days are filled with constant interaction with students, faculty and administration. Yet it was not until the COVID-19 pandemic shut down all operations at The Art League that Meerfeld was able to reflect on his experience and fully appreciate the importance of human interaction in the creative process.