Melissa Weiss | Ryan McKerley's Studio

I spent all my summers in Queens, NY. My mother's whole family lived in one row house. My mother's middle sister and her husband and my three cousins lived in the basement apartment. My grandparents and my mother's youngest sister and my other cousin lived in the middle floor and my grandmother's sister lived on the top floor. My brother and I lived in this house for three months every year our entire childhood. My summers in this house were rich with family and tradition and that is what inspires me to make beautiful, useful objects for everyday life. My memories are the most colorful and profound of those times. My family is Sicilian. My grandmother made a traditional Italian feast every Sunday for the whole family who would travel from Brooklyn and New Jersey bearing cardboard boxes tied in twine full of Italian cookies, loaves of semolina bread, Italian ices, and bottles of seltzer water. My grandmother would be in the kitchen before sunrise cooking a giant pot of spaghetti sauce, meatballs, veal cutlets and eggplant. My grandfather would sit in a vinyl chair in the tiny kitchen grating pecorino by hand, for what seemed like hours, next to the window where the clothes hung out on the line in the sticky heat of a NYC summer. The house was filled with smells, sounds and colors I can recall to this day for the life they possessed. I make pots to belong in these memories. Dishes to celebrate family and tradition. Utilitarian objects rustic, useful, simple and beautiful to be granted a place at my grandmother's table for Sunday dinner.

Jennifer Datchuk _ Justin Donofrio _ Kirk Jackson _ Ben Jordan _ Beth Lo _ Renee LoPresti _ Ryan McKerley _ Melissa Mencini _ Lisa Orr _ Scott Proctor _ Claudia Reese _ Matthew Schiemann _ Keith Simpson _ James Tingey

funded and supported in part by the City of Austin through the Cultural Arts Division and by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts