JENI HANSEN GARD – MEAL 2 – Mary Clare Rietz

Meal 2
Mary Clare Rietz
I met Mary Clare a few weeks ago at the EASE Gallery. I stopped by to make sure the dish sets were ready for the participants of Project Share. When I arrived I talked with a group of students from the University of Cincinnati who were planning for an exhibition in the space next month. Although I was unaware at the time Mary Clare was one of them. She called me a few days later and asked if I would be interested in collaborating on a project that she was planning for the space. I was curious but thought it would be best to meet in person. We planned a meeting in Cincinnati so my husband Forrest and I decide to make a day trip out of it to visit a few artist residencies and art museums. I brought the dish set with me so that I could share a meal with Mary Clare but also so that she could experience eating from a handmade vessel. It gave us the opportunity to talk about what dishware I should create for our collaborative project. The meeting was inspiring. Mary Clare came to art a little later in life after years of community-based work. Although she is passionate about drawing her art, very similar to mine, made a turn in focus to ‘connect people’. The move from the art object to an experience is not easy and it was a relief to talk with someone who had such a similar experience. Her ideas about bringing people together across difference align with where I think my work is going. We talked about the meaning of the family meal and the invisible strands that connect us all together. We are planning a visible interconnected web that builds up through the sharing of a meal together.I am thankful for the friendship that came from sharing this meal and looking forward to future collaborations.

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