Posted on Aug 31, 2014

The original title for this post was “Readying for the next exhibit”. The draft, describing how I prepare for an exhibit, has sat in my unpublished folder long enough that the exhibit has been packed and delivered to the gallery. It has been that kind of summer. Blink, and it is gone.

Sarah Regan Snavely working on a bison sculpture

I did get loads of things accomplished this summer. It is just that the summer months – and North Dakota’s short growing season – are so precious. Selfishly, I’d like the long light to last a little longer. Working in the studio during our long summer nights is a delicious experience – with the studio door open and the greyhounds lounging on the beds in the yard and in the studio. My garden is looking good too.


A biggish Bison was built and a bunch of smaller works too. Most of these works will go to an exhibit with fellow North Dakota artist, Cris Fulton, at Dickinson State University Klinefelter Gallery in September.  The reception for this exhibit will be Thursday, September 14th – if you’re in area stop on by. I’ll be demoing too.


Originally the date of the exhibit was November 2014. What’s the difference between a September deadline and November? Lots of time for work to dry. At the point at which the new exhibit date was determined, I had made all of the maquettes for the November exhibit and begun on the smaller piece. The new deadline threw me a bit. There wasn’t going to be enough time to dry and fire the work I had in mind when I’d initially planned the exhibit. Darn it.


And so, one pivots. My ideas for life-sized badgers, pronghorn antelope and other North Dakota creatures became an exhibit based on a study of the Bison figure. Smaller works but a deeper study. Added to that was the process of working on several clay bodies, firing temperatures and surface treatments. Looking at the results, I’m pleased. I learned things about surface and glazes and have a better understanding of the anatomy of a bison. Good stuff. The work for this exhibit came together nicely.


Well… looking at the results in my studio I feel confident about the exhibit. Still I harbor the tiniest trepidation that things might NOT be okay when the work is properly displayed in the gallery. Nerves. What if people laugh? (And not good laugh). Vulnerability. These feelings get easier with experience. So what if people don’t like the work? The work is mark of where I am at with the ideas I’m exploring through the making of this work. And work that is never shown, never presented to the world, what’s the point in that? Still I’ve got a tiny teacup of apprehension. Maybe stage fright is healthy.


So where does one go from here? Install the last piece in the gallery. Then reception and demo. At the studio, clean up. Order more clay. Buy a new sketchbook. Then back to work with greyhounds. The waiting list for memory boxes and mugs is long again (Thank you!). They’ll be on the to-do list first. Then on to sculptural work. Must get to it.


  1. Louise Gagné
    August 31, 2014

    Good evening Sarah:

    I wish I were living in a town much closer to the place your exhibit will take place. I love your work and wish I could get to see it in person. Your animal figures are comforting to behold and I am glad that you are able to bring such beauty to life through your talent and hard work. Thank you very much.

    Louise Gagné


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