Connie Norman
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Connie Norman

Donna Causland

Artist Interview and Studio Inspiration

February 2009 my husband and I adopted an eighteen month old littletodd's camera 478 boy from Ethiopia.  He is the center of our universe and we are sooo lucky to have him in our lives.  Since then, I had to change the way  I learn from other artists, instead of running over to the next city or state to take a workshop, I’ve decided to start to interviewing artists to learn from and gain inspiration.  

My first interview is with the very talented Donna Causland.    Donna runs a very successful ceramic business, and she has just recently opened a gallery in Keystone, Colorado, called The Art Gallery in Keystone.

Donna’s website: www.pineconelodgepottery.com                   

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Tell us a little about yourself!

I grew up in the Midwest and traveled around the country a lot, finally settling in Colorado. I fell in love with ceramics when I was in college and earned a BFA in Fine Art at the University of Cincinnati in 1977.

When I found myself a single mother, I decided that I’d better figure out a way to support us using what I already had, ceramic skills. I created my own jobs, which evolved through tile making, sculpture in brick, wholesaling, porcelain bowls at outdoor markets, and now running an Art Gallery.

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What is your inspiration for your pieces?

Mainly, it’s flowers.

What do you create?

Right now I mostly make bowls based on flower forms and teapots that are adorned in floral shapes.

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Where do you get your inspiration for your ceramics?

I am inspired by living in the mountains, hiking in the summer and cross country skiing in the winter. I love the tiny alpine species up above 11,000 feet. I hike bent over at the waist (which makes for slow going!) In the winter I look for the natural ice and snow sculptures along streams and in the woods. I also look at a lot of books on various arts, antiques, and history.

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What is the most important thing you’d like people to know/understand about
your work?

The glazing is a very complex, labor- intensive process, requiring multiple firings. I use commercially manufactured glazes because I like to use so many colors. Since there is not one glaze that suits me right out of the jar with one firing, I re-fire and layer with other glazes to achieve the effects that I desire.

Flowers fascinate me and their beauty is so short lived. I try to capture a beautiful moment by making a likeness in clay. I hope people take the time to enjoy the moment in their lives when they use or look at my work. I received a Thank You Note from a woman who bought a set of nesting poppy bowls from me. She said she walked into her dining room on a dreary; gray, winter day in Cincinnati and was so cheered by the brilliance and beauty of her bowls that it made her day and she had to write to me. It made my day too.

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What keeps you motivated?

Experimenting and coming up with new things. The variety that I can create within a single form amazes me. There is so much I want to try. Opening the kiln is like Christmas.

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Are you a full-time artist?

Yes, and a full time gallery. My studio is at the gallery so I can go back and forth between making and gallery duties.

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Tell us about your Gallery?

There are 21 artists represented. Most are local. Some ceramic friends from farther away are represented as well because I love their work. So there are 7 ceramic artists, in addition to photographers, painters, jewelers, sculptors, and a weaver. Keystone is a ski resort and attracts visitors from around the country. It is also known for it’s Conference Center. The Gallery is located at the main entrance to the Gateway Building right on Highway 6, so it is easy to find and park.

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When and why did you decide to start your business?

I opened this gallery in September, 2009. I was looking for a nicer studio space that would provide an attractive display area for my clients to visit. This space opened up and has a “natural gallery” storefront. Most of my friends are talented artists and they asked to show with me. The Gallery evolved quickly and is now a nice variety of locally inspired work.

DSC01011What advice would you give to someone starting a creative business?

Follow your passion. Jump right in. Getting started is the hard part. You’ll either figure out how to swim or not. I always tell aspiring artists to just set up a place to work with all the tools out. When you go there and everything is ready it’s easier to get going. I have my studio set up with work stations for each part of the process. I’ve heard too many people say that they get their supplies out and set up, then they are either out of time or loose the inspiration. In my opinion, you haven’t failed until you quit. That keeps me going.

Thanks so much Donna!!

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2 Responses to “Donna Causland”

  1. aimee Says:

    great interview, connie! donna’s ceramics are beautiful, colorful and so imaginative. i love her line about how you haven’t failed until you’ve quit – it’s a super uplifting and inviting approach to creating.

    aimee

  2. Connie Says:

    Hey, I love Donna and pottery. She is so insightful. I’m really lucky to be in her gallery.
    Connie