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The Kickstarter will help fund construction of the Cobb Mountain Art and Ecology Project. The facility will consist of a storage barn, large studio, covered kiln area, and a three-bedroom house that will accommodate both short and long term residents. The location is about 35 minutes north of Napa Valley, currently I own, live, and work on the 80 acre property. The studio has been fully permitted by the planning department, extensive site work, utilities, and the foundation have been completed. The log cabin that will house residents was completely remodeled last fall, and the first resident moved in last December. Construction of the 1800 square foot storage barn began in November and the building is nearly complete.
The property is being developed with self-sufficiency, sustainability, and symbiosis as guiding principles. I began planting trees, primarily conifers on the property in 2001 and the property now has over 70 species of conifer growing on it including about 90% of California’s native species. There is also an orchard with 22 varieties of fruit trees and two designated garden spaces. Much of the fuel for the woodkilns will come from necessary thinning of dense young trees on the property, this cycle will benefit the forest and property in many ways. I am working towards reintroducing a fire cycle, which will result in a safer healthier forest. I also plan to farm fish in a small reservoir near the studio.
I am very excited about the opportunities that will be offered to individuals seeking a secluded Northern California retreat where artists will be able to immerse themselves in their creative practice. I will be seeking dedicated artists with a strong work ethic to rigorously pursue the ceramic medium. Young artists may come to build portfolios, and will work alongside mature artists looking to create a new body of work. The residency will participate in the greater ceramic community hosting workshops, guests from abroad, and exhibiting the works created. Spun Smoke Gallery in Oakland is very interested in supporting the residency and has offered to show works created at the residency in the Gallery.
The barn will be for firewood storage and preparation, clay and equipment storage, as well as clay mixing. There is already wood stacked for the first firing.
Studio and covered kiln area
The 3000 square foot studio will have an additional 2000 Square foot kiln area with wood, salt, reduction, and electric kilns. The studio will include wash facilities, guest quarters, photo room, gallery, three private studios, and a large communal workspace. There are several reasons why I am building such a large studio. The woodfire process is an integral part of my own artwork and I will be able to host multiple artists for longer stays with the new studio and kilns. Often twenty or more artists, come together for woodfire events, which require ample room. I feel it is very important to foster a community of artists and the exchange of ideas and experience is sure to create an energetic working environment. The studio will also have several resident positions at the core of this community. The ability to have a large enough space to host a variety of events is necessary for the growth of the studio and supporting programs. My first funding goal is $30,000 for the studio and an additional $20,000 for the kiln building, a modest sum considering the scale of the project. These funds will go towards material costs only as I am heading up the construction and keeping labor costs to a minimum.
The first woodkiln will be constructed before the studio is complete; my goal is to fire the new kiln in May 2015. Much of the materials needed to build the kilns are on site however my third funding goal of $15,000 will go towards getting the gas kiln in place and the extensive retaining walls needed to contain the large anagama wood kiln.
The three bedroom resident house is on an adjoining property, and will comfortably house residents and guests at the project.
Risks and challenges
For over three years I faced considerable challenges with permitting and development of the project and I am excited to say that those hurdles are in the past. I have also worked through 55 inches of rain this winter and am in a great position to have this building standing by summer. Raising these funds is the biggest unknown at this point as well as the precise timeline for construction. I am an experienced builder however and have been through the building roller coaster before.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter