While an undergrad ceramics major at Hunter College in NYC, I spent the summer of 1988 in an artist apprenticeship/residency program at the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia not far from where Jessica Savitch drowned in a canal. I sublet my bedroom in an apartment I shared with Phideaux Xavier on Rivington Street on the Lower East Side of NYC to our friend John Kenny, whom I was told, was quite fond of sitting naked on the living room couch. At the tile works in the day I was required to perform the various tasks of a historic tile-maker and explain the tile-making process to the tourists as they walked through the facility. The job was stupid and the pay was shit but I learned about ceramic tiles, mold-making and cement. I liked my co-workers and housemates and met Carol Stakenas and Andrea Whitfield, who became my life-long friends. The best part about being an artist in residence/apprentice at the tile works was that after work and on days off, we could work in the studio and had free access to the materials and the kilns. I have fond memories of Carol and I smoking unfiltered cigarettes in a sweltering hot studio above the kiln room while working late into the night.
I found these exhibition images when I was preparing a grant application that required a 20+ year commitment to art making. This was my first real exhibition: a 3 person show. I recall that a husband of one of my co-workers was a photographer and generously shot these slides for me. I am grateful to have these images from so many years ago.
The pieces are constructed of cement and grog with imbedded (low-fire) tiles. After the exhibition the fountain was donated to the community garden at Ave B & 6th Street in the East Village but eventually disintegrated in the winter. The vessels and cement plinths still survive today.
Margie Schnibbe . Fountain. 1988. glazed ceramic, cement, grout, 48” x 36” x 36”
Margie Schnibbe. Three Vessels and Three Plinths. 1988. glazed ceramic, cement, grout, 40” x 14” x 14”, 39” x 14” x 14”, 53” x 14” x 14”