Full Circle Inspiration

Chandler Romeo

Chandler Romeo's ceramic cityscape featured in "11.11.11" at Gallery Nord in San Antonio, TX. Photo Credit: Steve Bennett / SA

A funny thing happened late last fall during a field trip for a class I took called “Field Books”. For this class we kept a “field book“, or sketchbook as a tool to map, make notations, sketch, journal, and analyze a site over the period of a semester as a generative process to document and as a way to make an intelligent design leap that an aspiring landscape architect might utilize when beginning a new project. Artists, use a sketchbook regularly to keeps notes, and to test potential design ideas – and this is very much a similar creative process. Historically, a field book has been used by scientists, cartographers, and others to document notes and imagery of the flora, fauna, and physical landscape of areas visited which was used at a later time to further research.

I LOVED this class and imagine my surprise when the instructor took us to an artist’s – a ceramicist’s – studio no less, to check out her clay work. I was slightly nervous since I know quite a few people in the local clay community, and had actually been introduced to Chandler at Plinth Gallery by my friend and ceramic’s mentor, Mary Cay, last summer during their Colorado Clay show – which incidentally coincided with the Marvelous Mud show at the Denver Art Museum (you can read the review here). It was an incredibly exciting summer for clay enthusiasts last summer! But I digress….

Of course, she didn’t remember me – nor did I expect her to after a brief 10 second chat 6 months prior. At any rate, the purpose of the field trip was to look at Chandler’s ceramic landscape installations through an alternate lens and as a way to begin to “sketch” landscapes in 3D. I am enamored with her work and pine more than just a little for some clay to squish between my fingers. Luckily or perhaps wistfully, school leaves very little time to think about any extracurricular projects beyond school. The memory of the trip to her amazing studio, that she shares with her artist husband, has stayed with me through winter break and I am am beginning to start imagining when I can get back in my studio on a regular basis. With less than 4 months until graduation, I feel energized and ready to craft a new creative career bridging art + landscape. I don’t know what it’s going to look like, but I’m ready.

*As a side note, I believe that Chandler’s ceramicscapes are handbuilt using slabs of clay, rigorously laid out using a map that she creates so that when an installation goes to a gallery, it can be installed as she originally envisioned.