wichita :: actually lawrence and heather smith jones [in the studio with her]

so. i had never really been to the midwest. i visited chicago twice when i was in high school because i had a friend that moved there, but chicago is a big city. and we didn't go outside of the city at all really. 

i was very interested in what a vast and open green/blue landscape would look like.
once my installation was done i was able to take a day and visit heather smith jones for a day. 

and the drive went thru the famous flint hills

the sky really is a different blue there. [i'd say leaning toward pinker tones than what i'm used to]. and the rolling green hills... it felt strange to be so far from an ocean. and NO MOUNTAINS. you can see for miles and miles. california tends to be super brown in the summer. it was amazing to see all the cows and the different tones of green. 

heather lives in lawrence, a college town. with a very very cute and charming main street. it felt VERY familiar actually. and any place that has a storefront full of aprons is fine by me. there's an old timey feel - which i loved. 

heather and i met for lunch and then she allowed me into her GORGEOUS space. her husband matt is a constructor extraordinaire and their home/studios reflect a beautiful aesthetic. old reclaimed salvaged stuff meets contemporary. swwoooonnn. 

it was a little slice of heaven to sit in heather's space with her. i wish i had even more time to just sit and talk about life. she graciously allowed me to photo her space and thus share it with you... and she answered my "in the studio with" questions... 

the last thing or two you read that had you marking or dog earring pages?!
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

your top 5 tools/supplies!My sketchbook, watercolor palette, pencil, light, and quiet.

a material or idea you most want to try but haven't yet!
Slipcasting clay. For a few years, an idea for an installation has been floating around in my head. I can envision what I want it to look like, but don’t have the know-how to make it. At some point, I will pair up with the right someone who can help. 

name a song or album you will grow old with
I don’t know if I’ll grow old with it or not, but when I think back to my childhood, I hear Neil Diamond. 

favorite beverage? 
This summer my favorite is ginger ale. I keep a mason jar of homemade ginger syrup in the fridge and each evening pour a little syrup into a glass, add a splash of fresh lemon juice, sparkling mineral water and ice cubes. Spicy and refreshing.

how many studio spaces have you had ? is this current one your fav ? why or why not ?
Other than studio spaces I had in school, there was my parents’ garage for a few months, and a great studio at Arrowmont while I was a resident artist for a year. It was quiet, nestled into a hill and surrounded by woods. It’s my number 2 fave. Studio spaces at other residencies were great too. Then before I moved into my current studio I rented a bedroom in the upper floor of an old house that was painted pink. It was small and cramped but had good light and tall ceilings, but I don’t miss it. My current studio is undoubtedly my favorite, because my husband built it from the ground up. It is home. I love the feeling when I open the door and step inside. It always welcomes me, and is always optimistic.

shall we drool over her letterpress?? yes. we shall.
what is crucial for you to have in order for your studio day to be productive?
The ability to put aside the mind’s distractions.

do you have a studio routine? if so will you share it with us?
Routines vary for me. But one constant is my apron, it’s my uniform. Without it I cannot stand at the easel. 

is there a place that you've been that really resonates with you?
We went to New Mexico early this summer. Something about that landscape is still caught in my throat.

where have you felt the most “at home”!Where I am now. From the first time I visited Lawrence before grad school I distinctly remember the feeling that this was home. Coming from the Southeast, this may have been a strange realization, but I could see myself here. That was sixteen years ago. 

heather also has the most beautiful garden. and adorable kitties.

on the way out of town i snapped a few photos... and then i caught a pretty spectacular sky while getting gas.

thanks heather. i'm so so glad we finally got to talk face to face and i'm SO grateful for your help with my installation, and so happy we got to spend some time together. 


i love thinking of the two of you together, talking and spending time. fun!
Anonymous said…
With such a bright and airy studio it is little wonder that Heather feels at home there. I checked out her website and loved some of the paintings. But the pin hole work is 'to die for!'

Thanks for introducing us to this lovely work. It is easy to see why you enjoyed your visit to Lawrence....

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