People often claim that they would like to sit inside of Karen Krolak's mind to see how a piece develops. So as we launch into a year long process to create a new work, we asked her to interview herself about the project.
a Monkeyhouse experiment combining ceramics, choreography and community engagement
karen Krolak: So what is up with the cups?
kK For most of the last two decades I have harbored a minor obsession with handmade pottery.
kK: I have seen the inside of your cabinets and there is nothing minor about this addiction..
kK: At any rate, I was trolling the internet a few years ago, researching some of my favorite potters when I discovered the artstream nomadic gallery. As I flipped around the site ecstatically (think about all the portable joy of a food truck, the sassiness of an air stream trailer and some mouthwateringly outstanding ceramic wares), I happened upon the library link.
kK: You also have more than enough books. I have lugged those boxes up and down far too many sets of stairs.
kK: Nope, not that kind of library but I should let the website explain, "Cups are checked out for one week. During this time you may use the cup for whatever liquid or function you like, provided that you document its use with at least one image. You may also send in other forms of creative response, such as a painting, video, piece of writing or music – or ceramics! No limits. These images and creative works will become part of the Library and will be archived with the cup."
kK: Luckily, for us the artstream is rarely close enough for me to check out pieces. However, I began mulling over the idea of how one could document a person's interactions with a piece of pottery choreographically. In fact, I began bringing bowls into Musings in November of 2013 and loved some of the movement phrases that they provoked.
kK: November 2013...it is now March 2015. What delayed the project?
kK: Oh, that is a long story about a broken bowl, a kintsugi catastrophe, and a medical mess. Perhaps I can share that in another post. An exciting idea developed during the delay - what if we could include lots of people in the Monkeyhouse community?
kK: Oh sweet Sherlock, what do these people have to do? What if they don't want to dance for you?
kK: Never fear, all they have to do is host this darling little cup that we picked up at Fire Opal in Brookline. The owners of Fire Opal are wonderful and big dance supporters. They have been instrumental in feeding my pottery habit over the years. Both Nicole and I are huge fans of Lollipop pottery's Monster collection and thought this would be a fun piece to send out on an adventure for a year.
kK: Focus! What do you mean host the cup?
kK: Oh right. People can sign up to have the cup for as long as they would like. They can bring it to meals or out to museums or just use it drink their morning coffee. Show it a good time and all we ask it that you document your time with it somehow in the journal that travels with it.
kK: Document it how?
kK: However you want...haiku, list, poem, palindrome, story, photo, song, sonnet, drawing, or dance phrase. We will collect the journal in March of 2016 to use as the inspiration for a new piece.
kK: I am dubious about how all of this will work but how do people sign up to host?
kK: People can sign up by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will put them on the list. When the person before them is ready to transfer the cup, you will get an email and set up a time to meet. Hopefully, you can even share a few minutes to get to know the last host.
kK: What if someone breaks the cup?
kK: Don't worry, just let us know. We will get it repaired.
kK: Hmmm...I am not ready to commit to this kind of responsibility. Can I just follow along for a bit?
kK: Yes, of course. The project has its own Instagram page and we will keep our Facebook feed updated too.