It is totally worth it.

A residency at the Bray is pretty special because priorities in “the real world” seem to temporarily disappear.  Every year I watch artists come and go from the Bray, taking their time here to focus.  Some focus on developing a new direction for their work, some are taking a reprieve from teaching, some want to take their current work and get into galleries.  Some artists are looking for a teaching job, the next best step for their careers, or simply the best strategy to staying an artist after their residency. Being at the Bray opens up opportunities to focus on whatever one needs to focus on.  Time is a bit more forgiving, space is abundant and other artists are here to talk to, to share struggles, concerns and ideas with.

My first summer at the Bray I had an internship at the Clay Business.  I got to know year round and summer residents.  A few days after arriving, I was at the farewell show for Chris Antemann in the Pottery Gallery.  A tent was set up over the brick walkway, horses came down the dirt drive with people wearing old fashioned gowns and hats, the work was incredible, red dots everywhere, great time chatting afterwards at the brewery and I had no idea that a show like this did not happen every day!  The Bray was magical right away.  And somehow continues to stay that way.

On each end of the Bray people were making sculptures, figures, pottery and installations.  Kristine Veith, a resident in 2001-2003 made a tile piece in her studio that now lives in the Great Northern Town Center in downtown Helena, across from Al Swanson’s gallery.  There was some talk that one of the leggy ballet artists in the mural was our then governor, but that rumor has never been confirmed.  Susannah Israel was here with Bill the summer of 2002 and created the Tea Party, one of the favorites here on the Bray grounds.  The figures have many clues to the happenings that summer like the kitten named “Ana” because she appeared one day and always hung out by the wood kiln.  And physical pieces were incorporated by other summer residents such as the cups by Kowkie Durst and Lesley Baker.   The place, the people, it was all very intoxicating.

Ten years later I still love being a part of this community.  I am excited for another full summer and a new group of artists who will each contribute to the Bray and its history in a new and unique way.   Sometimes it is hard to make the time and take a break from “the real world”.  I am guessing that if you are applying for a residency, you already know you are applying.  Hopefully you do not talk yourself out of trying, because if you are ready-so is the Bray.  And it is totally worth it.


Mural by Kristine Veith

Mural by Kristine Veith

Tea Party by Susannah Israel

Tea Party by Susannah Israel

    The Bray’s Top Ten Highlights of 2012


      The Bray Says Thank You!

        Steven Young Lee: Juggler of Fire

          New Anagama at the Bray

            Loading the beast

            Alanna is getting ready to load the elk into the big kiln. No sudden movements anyone…

            Sent from my iPhone.

              It’s summer time…

              Bob Shay, our visiting artist for the month of May firing off his soda kiln. Things are starting to get hopping around here. Pretty soon the summer residents will be showing up and we’ll be in full summer swing.

                NCECA Bound

                All of the residents have been busy getting work finished to send to NCECA. The Bray will have a show at Foster/White Gallery in Seattle from March 1-31. Included in the show are the current long term residents and a few selected past residents. Come see the exhibition if you are at the conference!

                Until then, here are some images of the residents during the frenzied packing and loading last night. Nick took off this morning and is driving all the work for the exhibition to the gallery. Word on the street is that the night ended up at the Sud’s Hut for some broasted chicken and cold beer. A perfect ending to a day of hard work.

                  How we get by…

                  Josh from the clay biz and Jon Read help Alanna Derocchi load a massive piece into the big car kiln. Eventually 6 of us were sliding this thing off the fork lift into the kiln.

                    Beyond the Brickyard is almost ready!

                    The North Gallery has been a buzz the last week getting ready for the fourth annual juried exhibition Beyond the Brickyard. Installation of the 32 chosen pieces is almost complete and ready for the opening this Saturday. Last Thursday and Friday we had a special visitor, Jennifer Holt, who flew in to install her wonderful piece. Check out a few images of her installation. Hope to see you on Saturday night (6-8 pm) when the Juror’s and Director’s Awards are announced.

                    P.S. If you are unable to make it to the opening night, images of the exhibition will be online starting Saturday at