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.


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