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September 11, 2014 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-09-11

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, September 11, 2 414 -- 3B

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Thursday, September 11, 2014- 3B

No Wi-Fi?
Give, art a try

Appreciating the finer
things in (an Internet-
dominated) life
ByALEXBERNARD
DailyArts Writer
It didn't happen all at once.
It was a process. First, my
phone's reception dropped from
MWireless to "4G" and finally
to "E," whatever that means.
Texting slowed down, then
stopped altogether. Spotify
"couldn't be played without a
connection." The TV turned on,
but is it really TV when the only
channel is a little blue box that
says, "Signal Lost"?
What remained was
desolation. Nothing but our
poorly stocked fridge and five-
dollar fans to keep us company.
The humidity in the apartment
rose to an intolerable level. It
was as though the walls had
collapsed (which just made us
want to go on YouTube and look
up the trash compactor scene
from "Star Wars." We could not.).
We had no Internet. It was yet
to be installed. What could we
do?
We tried everything. We
purchased a football. My
roommate bought seven fish.
I hummed lightly to myself,
hugged my knees to my chest and
rocked from side to side. Nothing
worked. What had occurred was
the systematic dissolution of our
connection to the outside world
and, ultimately, to each other.
How were we to interact if not
by Snapchats sent from the other
side of the couch?
I found myself bereft of energy
just days before the beginning of
classes. Instinctively, I collapsed
onto my unmade bed and gazed
blankly out at-what some have
called - a "bookcase." My eyes
fell upon the spines. The letters
were there next to each other, but
they wouldn't form words.
What were these strange,
colorful packages and why were
they in my room? What did they
want?
I suddenly had a powerful urge
to look up these questions on
SparkNotes, was met again and
again with "NO CONNECTION
FOUND" until, out of furious
impulse, I hurled one of these
English language puzzles across
the room, nearly striking the
powerless TV.
The book fell on its back and
flipped open. There they were,
lines and lines of text, filling
each page from front to. back.
It's like SparkNotes, I thought,
only longer and more detailed!
My professors aren't going to
know what hit 'em!
I lifted the book to my eyes
and read "The Devil in the
White City" by Erik Larson, a
haunting piece of nonfiction
about the mystery, murder and
mania surrounding the Chicago
World's Fair. I laughed. I cried. I
hid under my ex-girlfriend's old
blanket.
The book ended. I sat. I
stared. I shouted, "What is life!"
I wanted more. Give me more,
Larson!
Or better yet, I'd do it myself.
I sat down to my disconnected
laptop and opened the only
program still accessible in

my Internet-less wasteland:
Microsoft Word. The letters that
had before seemed so disjointed
and isolated from one another
stuffed myvblank document with

blocky black text.
A boy named Willem leaped
over an old cart. A girl named
Arianna learned to paint. A
cat talked. A farmer flew. An
elephant read the morning
paper while riding a unicycle
made of anchovies.
The night wore on, squeezing
the words from my brain like
dirty water from a sponge. I
needed more than .my own
choppy stories though, but
where to find it?
My feet clamored up to me.
"Walk!" they demanded. "Stop
propping us up on your faux-
wooden desk and walk!" So I
did. The feet carried me into
downtown Ann Arbor where
a movie theater sign screamed
out in all capital letters:
"BOYHOOD."
For the next three hours, I
sat in The Michigan Theater's
screening room, crossed my
legs, drank a Coke and watched
an epic cinematic achievement
destined to influence
filmmakers, critics and biblical
interpretations for centuries to
come. It was all right.
Not once during the film's
duration did I realize I had
a Wi-Fi connection and,
consequently a Snapchat of
noodles.
When I left later that night,
that same unsatisfied feeling
returned to the pit of my
stomach, the same one you get
after eating dining hall tater
tots. But suddenly, there was
purpose. There was more to see,
more to do. There was more to
it than that little blinking circle
that tells you your Facebook is
loading. There was color.
I checked my phone, saw
the "4G" in the corner, and
promptly used up my parents'
data package looking up Ann
Arbor's art scene.
For once, I was blind, but now
I see!
The Kerrytown Bookfest
this Saturday: An entire day
celebrating the books with
speakers from all the way
across the country and even
from Ann Arbor itself. Authors,
storytellers, publishers,
bookbinders, book artists, book
illustrators, poets, letterpress
printers, wood engravers,
calligraphers, papermakers,
librarians, teachers, publishrs
and probably a fire breather or
two!
Mike Birbiglia on September
14th: The award-winning
comedian in our town,
performing new material at The
Michigan Theater. And - yes!
- tickets still available! Thank
you, pimply box office cashier!
A Michael Gould exhibit in
the RC on the 12th! Pussy Riot
and Zona Prava on the 18th! The
University Symphony Orchestra
on the 19th!
Space Jam on the 20th! Sweet
Mary Sue!
Was I living in an under-
crowded, over-confident
Michigan town or in obscure art
Heaven?
I smiled and strolled lazily
onward, now more certain than
ever that I was going to be just
fine on my own. There were
films and novels and recitals.
I'd attend plays, write fiction
and watch comedy. Sure, my
link to new pictures of my dog

was severed, but something
new remained. Something more
important.
Art, the cure for a broken
Wi-Fi connection.

CLAY
From Page 1B
The Yourist Studio Gallery is
outoftheway.Tuckedintoasmall
space on Broadway Street, on the
way to an alienated North
Campus, everything about the
location suggests seclusion.
The liquor store next door.
A small parking lot littered
with a few SUVs. A cracked
sidewalk, veined in weeds.
And a layer of dust, wafting
from the nearby construction
work, covering everything
else. Until one walks through
the front doors, nothing
about the facility suggests
it could be thriving creative
workspace in the middle of a
liberal college town.
But the studio-gallery
has been surviving for close
to 40 years - founded in
the late 1970s by owner and
resident artist Kay Yourist,
the facility was originally
established as a place where
Yourist could continue
developing her work. As
years passed, the small studio
grew with Yourist's brand,
eventually hosting classes
for developing professional
and student artists. Though
one fact remained constant:
Ever since its inception,
the studio has been solely
dedicated to ceramics. Every
piece displayed in the gallery,
situated toward the front
of the facility, is clay-based
and every one of the classes
Yourist or her employees offer,
from beginner to advanced,
is dedicated to perfecting
clayworking.
"I've just always been
drawn to clay," Yourist said.
"There's something really
special about being able to
hold a piece in your hands
after having molded it from
start to finish."
On her website, Yourist
further describes that
molding process.
"I begin my artistic
process by throwing the clay
into classic vessels that are
as recognizable today as a
thousand years ago," Yourist
wrote. "I then alter their form
by pushing and pulling and
stretching the walls of the
pot. When the clay dries to
a leather hard consistency, I
carve into the walls to give the
piece surface relief detail and
texture. The last step involves
coating the completed forms
with copper and iron rich
glazes, chosen to emphasize
the organic and timeless
nature of clay."
The entire methodology
culminates in a final product
that attempts to bridge a time
gap between past and present
- classic, traditional pottery-
making furnished with her
own uniquely contemporary
style, glazed in highly metallic
format. The art that Yourist
produces is often sold at the
Ann Arbor Art Fair but is also
showcased in her own gallery,
where she displays pieces
made by the other artists
working in her studio.
"I've been really fortunate
in having had the opportunity

to develop this passion for
ceramics," Yourist said. "But
I think what's even more
rewarding is that I was able to
learn how to run a business."
That business now allows
Yourist to host community
artists in her studio space,
where, for a fee, they can take
advantage of her equipment
to produce their own pieces.
Usually, the community
artists working with Yourist
are people who have taken
classes with her in the past,
and in many cases, for years or
even decades.
Marilyn Edington, one
of the community artists
who regularly works at the
Yourist Studio, first became
interested in pursuing
ceramics as a side career
after enrolling in a beginner
class under Yourist's tutelage.
After years working as a
statistician at the University
of Michigan Health System,
Edington decided she needed
to flex her creativity after
retiring. She described how,
in her first beginner class, she
was immediately given that
chance to use her hands as she
continued working with clay.
"Kay suggested I continue
taking classes because it was
clear I was getting a lot out
of them," Edington said. "So I
kept coming back and I fell in
love with clay."
"There are just so many
nuances with this medium,"
she said. "It's more than just

NICHOLAS WILLIAMS/Daily
Jerry Bricker works ona piece. He's been an artist at the studio for eight years.

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echnical aspects, which pinpoint a specific piece of art
Kay's help, I've spent she's made in the studio that
last 17 years honing. she finds the most meaningful.
g my hands to make art "The whole journey of
ed me find my voice and getting this place together has
rstand what it is I wanted been more meaningful than
y, which I think is the real anything else, I think," she
rd." said. "I've been able to grow
this business from the start,
and going through that has
urist Gallery been truly amazing."
Ascruffyblackdogmeanders
s close to 40 around. Wet morsels of clay
dry on large tables, becoming
years old. brittle plates. Two children
run through the commotion,
playing with handmade clay
toys. Darcy Bowden, another
e work Edington community artist at the studio,
uces at the studio runs through the basic steps to
larly sells out and has create apiece of ceramic art.
inspired her to branch Bowden worked as an art,
nd write about clay. teacher in the Ann Arbor
lington eyed the clay area before retiring and
her hand, toying with deciding to take classes with
putty-like grooves. She Yourist. As someone who had
oned toward Yourist been teaching hands-on art
re silently mouthing "You for a large part of her life,
ild be talking to her!" she understood the value of
alking through the front continuing that art education
s of the Yourist Studio herself. She cites the work
best be described as she has done with ceramics as
ring what one considers having helped her find a new
art studio is supposed niche as an artist.
ook like. The front of "I've learned a lot working
facility, just beyond the with clay," she said, holding a
s, is cordoned off and large clay boat in her hands -
i with display shelves. a piece she recently finished,
inal pieces, pots and now displayed near the front
ups crowd every corner, of the gallery. "Being able to
ng to larger compositions experiment with glazes and
ed near the entry to an" all of these other techniques
studio space. The only that you don't usually find in
g lacking are frenetic Art a lot of art forms really helped
esign students. Instead, me discover more about the
loor is occupied by soft- possibilities of art."
en adults, part of what's Yourist herself became
ously an extremely tight- interested in the artistic
community of artists. process at an early age.
urist struggled to "I was always encouraged

to pursue art," Bowden said.
"And I guess I always just
gravitated toward expressing
myself creatively. I studied art
in college and after moving to
Ann Arbor, I decided to create
a space for myself pretty
soon."
Over the decades, the
Yourist Studio Gallery has
oscillated between periods
of profit and success, but has
flourished in the last few
years. Yourist hopes to use the
developing business in order
to launch an online version of
the gallery that can reach new
customers.
In addition, she has been
trying to reach out to college
students who she feels can
benefit from the freedom
claywork offers.
"I've had students,
engineering majors come in
who absolutely blew me away
with the type of work they
were able to produce," she
said. "I think a lot of college-
age kids don't realize the ways
in which this art can help you
calin your nerves and be at
peace."
Through another recently
launched program, she
rents out her studio space
to small parties who, under
supervision, can work with
ceramics while celebrating
a special occasion. Which
means, yes, alcohol-infused
nights around a pottery wheel.
"We haven't had anything
inappropriate happen," she
said, laughing. "We're just
hoping to find a place for
ceramics in the future. Because
it really is something that we
all should experience at least
once in our lives."

GE is in the business of moving big things...
your career could be one of them.
" Ross BBA Games: Friday, September 12, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Ebel Field. BBA Juniors, swing by
our table and join for lunch and some friendly competition!
" GE Day: Look for GE around North Campus in the FXB, EECS, Beyster, ICE 1602
and Duderstadt buildings, Monday, September 15, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
" Ask GE Interns: Come hang out with the GE Interns and participate in a quick and fun game for a
chance to win a prize! Monday, September 15 from 11a.m. to 1 p.m.
" GE Info Session: Monday, September 15,6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in 1504 GGBL
" SWE Professional Development Day: Sunday, September 21,9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on North Campus
" Career Fair Reception: Sunday, September 21,6:00to8:00 p.m. in Tishman Hall (Beyster)
" Engineering Career Fair. Monday, September 22, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Duderstadt
" Networking Event: Monday, September 22, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Cottage Inn Restaurant
on Central Campus
'~4 TOP 50

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