A Studio Visit and that Little Ball of Felt

(The latest issue of REFUELED launched earlier this week and this photograph is included. I'm honored to join Chris Brown and Cheryl Shulke for the third issue of this *gorgeous* publication. Go take a peek...)

Now then... snuggle in with a cup of tea, this post is a long one.

Friends, I've had a good week. I was notified on Tuesday that I was a finalist for a local art show, "Bay Area Currents 2009". The show is being hosted by two Oakland galleries and a San Francisco curator. I submitted a batch of photos a few weeks ago and got the phone call on this Tuesday. I couldn't believe it-- I'm a finalist! This doesn't mean I've made it into the final exhibition but this does mean that I was one of the 26 artists to receive a studio visit from the curator. My goodness, I was so nervous I wasn't sure what to do with myself.

So, the studio visit was this morning!

Bright and early at 9am before I went to work. The studio was clean, the photographs were neatly laid out in stacks on my work table, I had a few handmade objects placed around the walls of the room, some work in-progress resting on my desk next to my computer. The studio was all dressed up and ready for her big date! So I sat at the kitchen table, drinking my tea, eating my yogurt, taking deep breaths, glancing up at my sweetie who was lovingly trying to distract me from my nervousness with other conversation. Gosh, it felt like I sat there for several hours but it was only really about 20 minutes.

And then the curator came.

And then we went into my studio.

And then he quietly observed the work. And then we talked about the work. And then we talked more about the work. And then he made some great suggestions about the size of the photographs, the way they were framed, and the conflict of analog vs. digital. And then I talked about urban environmentalism, experimental nature photography, the size of the photographs, the way they were framed, and the conflict of analog vs. digital. And we laughed a little. And we agreed a little. And we disagreed a little. And it was all very lovely, in fact. My goodness, what a relief!

And so... now I wait again.

I wait to see if I'm selected as one of the final 7 artists to be shown in the exhibition. I wait to see if they want to include my photos, if they want more of them, less of them, bigger prints, different frames, or if they want to work with someone else. But you know what? It felt so amazing that I realized the benefits were not just about getting in the show or not getting in the show. (Of course, it would be nice!) But the benefits are about putting the work out there. Giving it a chance. And *amazingly* being selected for this round of 26.

And it was also about finding that little ball of confidence that rolls around in the back of my belly-- that little pretty felt ball that pushes up against my lungs from time to time, nudging from the center. It's quiet. It's careful. It's cautious sometimes too. But it's nice to notice it when it comes. (Hello little ball, I see you there.) And ultimately, I feel grateful for the opportunity to create the work.

To consider the world through the work.

To grapple with the thoughts and feelings and sensibilities in the work.

And to have the excitement to continue making new work.

Again, I come back to my friend's two little words: Be Brave! Maybe that little felt ball is also courage. And maybe we are sometimes led from the very bottom of our lungs, from the nudging up against our soft organs, from the feeling that reminds us we are full of possibility, opportunity, bravery, and courageous acts that tug us into the future.

Just maybe.


  1. how exciting!
    o my, o dear, o joy!
    i am thrilled by this post.
    amazing work, katrina.

  2. katrina... good for you! i know that curator - he's a nice/smart guy - and it's good that he saw your work - even if you don't get chosen....

    so glad it was a good experience!!!!!
    my fingers are crossed you get in!

  3. melissa: thank you, thank you!

    lisa: such a small little world! (i love it.) yes, he's a super thoughtful guy and i'm so glad he came to visit my work. thank you for your kind words.

  4. congratulations! that magical series was so great i was sure it would be a winner, anytime anywhere :-)

  5. Congratulations to you and to receiving such deserved interest. My fingers are crossed your wait is swift, and I second Lisa's 'good for you... even if you don't get chosen"... wise words indeed.

  6. It sounds exciting!!! I'll keep my fingers crossed!!

    (By the way, that photograph has now come to be another one of my faves)

  7. sweet congratulatory smiles for you :) xxx.

  8. such a wonder-full experience! i loved hearing about the anticipatory moments and how you prepared...so easy to think "other" artists are always prepared for such things as a studio visit.

    And I wish i could have been a fly on the wall to hear that conversation!

  9. roxana: you are so dear! what kind words. thank you.

    gracia: wise words indeed. and thank you for the cheers.

    esti: thank you. and i love knowing that's another one of your favorites. how wonderful!

    jen: aw. sweet of you.

    ambra: i know, "other artists" right? and yet at every turn there is something new to understand. to embrace. to allow!


Thank you for your comments, friends. I like to think we are creating a dialogue in this space--building a virtual community.