Spotlight: May 2016

Grover 1-crop

Ceramics Monthly: How has your career changed since you were featured as an emerging artist in Ceramics Monthly in 2010?

Martha Grover: My career has changed substantially since that time. I finished graduate school at UMass Dartmouth in 2007. My work had limited exposure through a few juried shows and I had been a resident at the Northern Clay Center (2007–08) and the Red Lodge Clay Center (2008–09). My big break came in 2010 when I was a long-term resident at the Archie Bray Foundation. I was selected as an emerging artist by the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA), and was simultaneously selected for the cover of the CM emerging artist issue. The combination of the two awards gave me national exposure. Since then I have consistently been invited to shows and have become established as a national and international workshop presenter. I knew things were changing when the following year at the 2011 NCECA conference in Tampa, Florida, I overheard some women in the ladies room excitedly talking about my pots. They didn’t recognize me, but they knew my work. Fittingly, I am currently working on a commission for a soup tureen like the one that was featured on the CM cover six years ago this month.

CM: How did you plan your recent move to Maine from Helena, Montana, so that it had minimal impact on your studio production, exhibition, and workshop schedule?

MG: Last June, my husband, Joshua, and I moved back to my hometown of Bethel, Maine. In preparation for the move, I made sure that I didn’t have any workshops or shows planned for May or June so that I could focus on packing and finalizing my position as education coordinator at the Bray. In the months leading up to the move, I made extra pots for all of my galleries so that they would be well stocked. I had one workshop in Sweden scheduled for the end of June and a solo show at Midwestern State University (MSU) in August. The move went well, and I was feeling pretty good about not having any other deadlines, until I received the gallery layout from MSU. The space was huge! I hadn’t anticipated such a large gallery, and I didn’t have any extra inventory to fill it. I ended up setting up my studio immediately, and by the end of July, I had 180 new pieces finished, photographed, and ready to ship to MSU. There were a lot of long days but with help from Joshua and my family, it all came together. Oddly, I think having a big push at the beginning actually made settling in easier.

CM: How have you adapted to the new space?

MG: The new space is great. Our dog, Maggie, is at the studio with us every day, my family is nearby, and my time is my own. The building is quite large, which has allowed me to spread out like I haven’t been able to do before. We have separate areas for making, glazing, firing, photographing, and packing work. This is my first studio that isn’t in some way part of a communal space, so we had to acquire many pieces of studio equipment, including kilns and wheels, and we had to build work tables, storage racks, a spray booth, not to mention a glaze lab. The list is almost endless, but ten months in, and we are making a lot of progress.

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