Spring News Touch in Real Time

On 21 May 2013

Where I have gone in the last 12 months for this project: Edgecomb & Westport, ME- Tempe, AZ – New Orleans, LA – Houston, TX- New York City, NY -Houston, TX –AGAIN!- Charleston, SC – Pittsburgh, PA (the TREND Residency)

I’m home. It’s been an incredibly rich and memorable year of shaking and holding hands from Maine to Arizona. What have I learned?

Well for starters, how to give people social space. I learned that being catlike instead of doglike was important, how to lean back and recognize when people need time or space before total engagement. In Houston during the national ceramics conference, I had others shake/hold hands with each other, instead of me physically being the intermediary.

I thought clay was the conduit for touch. I was right and wrong.

The clay imprint became an artifact of the moment.
But interestingly enough, when my own brain was measured while holding clay, few neurons lit up. Why? My brain said, nothing new going on here. I know this material. It’s like eating- my brain has walked this walk thousands of times.

In April, I went to Pittsburgh to work with Dr. Greg Siegle and his lab of neuroscientists. Four people were measured using EEG in the lab, 10 people were measured at the Carnegie Museum of Art with EEG and then 4 people were measured using the same experiment in an fMRI. The experiment asked participants to randomly of hold hands with clay, with an inanimate object and then with clay and held hands, the touching of the hands became the most distinct correspondence of arousal in our brain.

Here are a few memorable moments from being on the road.



On 26 February 2013 tagged , , , , , , ,

Barrett and her sisters, the Fishbiens, Ben Peterson, Sin-ying Ho, Judith Schwartz and husband, Reena!, Paul Scarridz, Dylan Beck and wife, Adam Welch and Josh Green- i loved shaking your hands. Thanks you all so much.

Touch in Real Time On the Road in New Orleans and Houston

On 4 February 2013 tagged , , , , , , ,

I just completed the first of my winter events in New Orleans and Houston. The experiences were completely different but the same. I looked deeply into the eyes of those I held hands with and told them each a slightly different story depending on the person, age and level of engagement.

In New Orleans, amid the purple and gold of Mardi Gras ribbons and purple of fans from the ravens football team, I set-up my table and started shaking hands.
I was in the French Quarter between buskers on Royal Street the Friday before Super bowl. I cajoled a policeman into shaking hands, a few drunkards but mostly people who were genuinely happy post-handshake and I believe will remember the moment. I did take breaks and eat King Cake provided by my generous host Jan Gilbert.

Then, I packed it all up and drove onto to Houston! I arrived at the Houston Center for Contemporary Crafts to a bustling family day activity. In complete counterpoint to NOLA, I shook lots of little hands and parents. Not all though, several people from the larger community came specifically to see the project and hold hands including a neuroscientist and her husband.

Of course, the next day in Houston, a city of 2,145,146 million people (give or take a few tens of thousands), I sat down to the breakfast serendipitously with four men who teach at Arizona State University. Their eyes lifted when I told them I was coming to their community to shake hands. Arizona, here I come!

Next Up: ASU Museum, Tempe, AZ February 8, 2013

Open House / Open Studio with Touch in Real Time

On 21 December 2012

December 12, 2012
In early December I had an Open House / Open Studio and “Touch in Real Time” event at my home and studio. I shook hands with people I knew, but an interesting occurrence took place. Immediately I realized that the placement of my table had changed the experience. I had put it in a lovely little green garden lined space between my studio and kiln shed, which is only big enough for the table and few chairs. It was like the kitchen during a house party. Everyone gathered in this spot. It ended up feeling overly close and similar to a wedding ceremony instead of a one on one experience. The intimacy was there but was too inclusive. In the future I will rethink the idea of intimacy and space so it is unencumbered, yet giving enough personal space for both of us when I shake hands. Here are some images of this event. Have a warm and sweet moment with loved ones over the New Years holiday.

Touch in Real Tine

On 4 November 2012 tagged , , , , ,

As many of you know, I have been working on a project called “Touch in Real Time” exploring the power of touch through the act of shaking hands. This dovetails into my ongoing interest in art and science and now, specifically the intersection of art and behavioral neuroscience.

Participants will shake my hand after a wet piece of clay has been placed between their hand and mine. I will hold onto their hand and wait 10-15 seconds for the bonding hormone, oxytosin, to be released into our bodies. The clay will have an imprint of their hand and my own, which will become part of an installation exhibited in the fall of 2013 at the Society for Contemporary Craft downtown One Mellon Gallery space in Pittsburgh, PA.

I have been following up afterwards by talking to Dr.Greg Siegle, a cognitive affective neuroscientist that I am working with to understand some of the physical dynamics of this interactive experience. I am calmed down but also later enervated. It seems to be affective emotionally for both the participant and myself too.

January 2, 2012

On 2 January 2012 tagged , , ,

The word of the day is Uber and I hope you and yours have an uber happy 2012.
I am happy to remember this last year as a changeling time for my own work and for the FSU ceramics area. Last summer, the ceramics area found a home in ground floor of the Fine Art Building next sculpture and situated next to a lasercutter and a 3-D critique room.

In the realm of my studio art practice, I received a Visual Art Fellowship from the State of Florida and another award for the piece Blood and Taste. I am in full swing of working on my next project titled: Touch in Real Time. It will be the focus of my new work for the next couple of years. Stay tuned, as I will be presenting a paper on this at CAA in February in LA.

To begin again, to restart, rethink, bARTer, boot-up and blast-off.

On 8 September 2011

Life is full. Work is hard but great. This, my second generation website, has a variety of images, ideas-new work- older work, new thoughts, new curatorial ideas….

Enjoy-get in touch-tell me about overlap between your ideas and mine, things for me to look up, genetic behavioural traits perhaps?

PS. Bryan Czibesz and I are working on for a ceramics exhibition for 2013 for Houston and are looking for artists to include in “code”, which looks at work that re-interprets a system or program of information, which includes and expands beyond genetic coding and html code.


Spring 2011

On 5 April 2011




NCECA in Tampa began and ended with censorship on my several of my artworks in a two-person show with Janet Williams at the Tampa Airport. First, I was asked to remove my porcelain tests tubes, which looked too penile… true enough, but what about the rubber plugs at the ends of the test tubes?


Tampa Airpot cops destroy artwork, caught by artist with camera


Apr 19, 2011 – Link: http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC585622. Works of art by ceramic artist Holly Hanessian, on view at the Tampa Airport during NCECA