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Connie Norman

Archive for the ‘My workshops and Lectures’ Category

Clay Arts Vegas – Words and Patterns

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Last month my family and I went to Las Vegas Nevada, for a short family vacation and so I could teach a workshop at Clay Arts Vegas right before my show went up.  Since my son is five we had to stay at Excalibur, it wasn’t my first choice, but when you have a son that dresses up as a knight several times a week you have to stay in a castle if you have the opportunity.  Well, it was a bigger hit than we ever thought my Van never wanted to leave, and when we did he was always begging to go back to the castle.  We also took him to see the Tournament of Kings, Van had a great time, not even eating one bite of his Cornish hen, and he was so engrossed watching the knights battle each other.

I really enjoyed my workshop at Clay Arts Vegas!  Thom Bumblauskas one of the founders of CAV was a spectacular host.  I see great things in the future for Clay Arts Vegas!

One of the things CAV did that was different than any show I’ve ever been in.  They had Checko Salgado come and take black and white images of my work blow them up to 24” x 36” photographs to hang during the show.   Because of the cost of shipping, I only sent smaller pieces to Clay Art Vegas, so it was especially fun to see these giant images of my small vases and salt and pepper shakers blown up to such big proportions.

 

 

 

 

Checko also took great pictures during the workshop.  Usually my workshop pics are just quick shots from my phone and are nothing special.  These photographs are amazing.  I love how he captured everyone working so hard.

Thank you Clay Arts Vegas especially Thom Bumblauskas  and Peter Jakubowski and Thank you Checko Salgado!  I had an amazing time.  If you are ever in Vegas make sure you stop at Clay Arts Vegas.

As usual I am about a month late in my blog posting.  The show is down and CAV has moved on to their next show.  It was a grand time!  I hope everyone in the workshop enjoyed it as much as I did.

Thanks for stopping by my blog, comments are continually appreciated, and it is always great to hear from everyone.

Colorado Art Educators Conference – Master Teacher’s Workshop

Saturday, March 16th, 2013

In October I taught a Master Teacher’s workshop at the Colorado Art Educator’s Conference in Breckenridge, Colorado.   The one thing that made this workshop different from all the workshops I’ve taught is I tried to cut off the top of my thumb right before the workshop started.  As usual, I was a little nervous before the workshop started, running around the last 30 minutes before the workshop trying to get all the odds and ends done before the class started, as I was cutting contact paper for everyone to use to ran the Xacto knife over my thumb and it cut right through my nail and down the corner of my thumb, not a pretty site.  Blood was gushing from my thumb and I was terrified to look at it.  I had a trail of blood from the classroom to the bathroom.  Luckily my teacher friends from Denver and Loveland were there to help me out and clean up the room and finish cutting the contact paper.  The security guard was called, I don’t know why!  And he was very freaked out about the whole ordeal, and saying I needed to go to the hospital, but he would not take me, which was fine, I had friends there, but I kept repeating how he would not take me.  I think he was more freaked out about it than I was.

My friends got some gauze bandages, and wrapped my thumb, by this time everyone taking the workshop was there.  I felt like I shouldn’t leave so I taught the workshop.  Let me tell you, my thumb was killing me.  I got through the three hour workshop and my friends insisted I go to the emergency room.  I agreed, but that was a challeng, Breckenridge in October is the off season, nothing was open, and not even the hospital.  Everyone told us everything shuts down until ski season.  Finally we found an emergency room in Frisco, about 15 miles away.  And the doctor was kind enough to give me five stitches, and tell me that my injury was considered an amputation!!!  

That night was the big Saturday Night Bash and the theme was The Rocky Horror Show, but I didn’t bring anything to dress up, so my friends wouldn’t let me go without a costume, so my thumb became Senor Amputee!

Well, this was my last workshop that I taught; I’m starting to get ready for the next workshop that I’m teaching in Las Vegas at Clay Arts Vegas.  And this nightmare has been on my mind, because in two weeks I will be teaching another workshop.  Hopefully I will not repeat the same show as in Breckenridge!

Clay Arts Vegas Workshop – Ceramic Arts Daily & Click!

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

 

I’m frantically getting ready for my solo show at Clay Arts Vegas.  My production of pots has really slowed down now that Vander is getting older, and that he is more involved with activities.  And I’m getting older it’s getting harder to burn the midnight oil and get up early to go to work.  I hope with this kiln load everything turns out.  Keep your fingers crossed!

My show opens with a 2 day workshop.  I’ll be showing my approach to surface design.  It’s March 29 and 30 at Clay Arts Vegas.  Make the jump their website for more information.

Daily Clay App

Last night I got a sweet surprise when I opened my favorite Smartphone App Daily Clay and saw my vessel!  I love The Daily Clay App!  Well, let’s face it I’m a clay Geek!  I check my Clay App almost everyday!  But today it was all worthwhile!  If you have a smartphone and you’re a clay geek here is the link.  I know it’s an Apple App for sure, I don’t know about Droid.  Here’s the link about the App from Ceramic Arts Daily.

Lastly, this weekend I’m going to Laramie for Click: A Weekend For Wyoming Artists.  It’s a conference to help build the Wyoming Artist community and careers.  Our state is so big and everyone is so far apart that it’s great we have these conferences.  I’m sitting a panel called Pathways to Professionalism as Mary Jane Edwards as the moderator.  Mary Jane is the Executive Director of Jentel.  It’s an artist’s residency program in Banner Wyoming.  When I met Mary Jane years ago she was the president of NCECA.  Hopefully I will have some decent information to contribute to the panel discussions, my panel discussion partners are Elaine O. Henry and Marjorie Vecchio.  Elaine is the editor of Ceramics: Art and Perception and Ceramics TECHNICAL., and Marjorie is a photographer and independent curator. 

Thank you for stopping by the blog and taking time out or your day to read.  We love comments!

The Boneyard

Saturday, October 6th, 2012

The Boneyard @ Casper College

The Boneyard is a very intimidating place to be, especially if you’re me.  Casper College has this amazing, overwhelming, awe inspiring collection of bisque ware; the mark of 40 plus years of visiting artists.  Representing such artists as Val Cushing, Joe Bennion, Chuck Hindes, Clary Illian, Kathy Kerns, Jenny Lind, Kurt Weiser, Alleghany Meadows, and list goes on with many more well-respected incredible artists.  Lynn Munns for 35 years had two visiting artists a year come in give workshops, now Mike Olson has continued that tradition.  When I accepted the offer to be a visiting artist, I blanked out about the Boneyard.  I’ve even been to the Casper College’s Pot shop many times.  I was super nervous about teaching a workshop, and completely spaced the boenyard.  When I got to  Casper and started setting up for the workshop, I was totally focused on getting pots made so they would be leather hard for the workshop, that it didn’t sink in.  The second day of the workshop Mike says to me, “That one is going in the Boneyard right?”  Then tunnel vision happens to me, you know kind of like when in the movies everything fades away, and goes really far away with blurry stuff in the middle.  That’s what happened to me, and looked down and I had totally screwed up on my lettering, it was going at a colossal slant and I thought I could line it up, but the more lines I did the worse it got, then I was out of time and I had to pack up and go home.  More so Mike had to go home, I think I would have made a whole new one and stayed at Mike and Amber’s house for a few more nights before giving him the piece of dog doo that I gave him.  Actually I really needed to go home my husband was and still recovering from phenomena, and watching an extremely energetic five year old does not work well when you are trying to rest.   BUT, I am planning my bait and switch, I’ll have to figure out how to distract Mike, clay trap overflow, low fire clay in a high fire, raku fire accident, or maybe a kiln explosion.  What should my tactic be?  Any suggestions?

The Boneyard close up @ Capser College

Well, anyway here’s my very unsatisfactory vessel in the Boneyard next to Frank Saliani on the left and Jim Brashear on the right.

 

My vessel and bowl!

 

 Thanks to Mike Olson for the great pictures of the Boneyard!

Casper College Workshop

Thursday, September 27th, 2012
  • Casper College - Adding Text Casper College - Adding Text
  • Casper College - Adding text Casper College - Adding text
  • Casper College -adding text Casper College -adding text
  • Casper College - Cutting a tape stencil. Casper College - Cutting a tape stencil.
  • Casper College- Adding Text Casper College- Adding Text
  • Casper College - Cutting a tape stencil Casper College - Cutting a tape stencil
  • Casper College - Cutting a stencil. Casper College - Cutting a stencil.
  • Casper Collage - Adding Text Casper Collage - Adding Text
  • Casper Collage - Adding Text Casper Collage - Adding Text
  • Casper, Wyoming Casper, Wyoming
  • Casper College Casper College
  • Casper College Workshop Casper College Workshop

 

I’m back from Casper College!  My workshop went well.  I am pleased how things turned out anyway!  The students of Mike Olson’s ceramic classes made me feel very welcomed.  They seemed to be interested in my techniques.  I have one college kid come up to me and say, “I have to leave to study for a math test.”  Then he didn’t leave and he came back to me and said, “Connie Norman only will be here once I’d better stay.”  That statement made me feel pretty good.  I do enjoy teaching workshops.  I always learn tons from the students in the workshop; I feel they are always a great exchange of ideas.  I always come back with great ideas and really feeling recharged.

Words at Your Disposal- Casper College

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

 

Here are some pictures from my show “Words at Your Disposal” at Casper College.  I haven’t seen the show yet, but I was sent these pictures.  I’ll travel up to Casper on September 20 to give an artist’s talk @ noon, and a closing
of the show.  Then on September 21 & 22 I will give a two day workshop, that is free and open to the public.  This is my second show at Casper College the last one was in 2006.  I am much honored to be asked back!  Thank you so much Mike
Olson the ceramics instructor and Valerie Innella the gallery director.  I am flattered that you trust me again with the gallery and your students!

This show has work I mostly made over the summer, but I threw in a few older pieces for a varitey of sizes.

September 20 Artist Talk and closing reception @noon.

September 21 & 22 Workshop

My Season of Lectures!!!

Friday, April 20th, 2012

In the last 30 days I have given three talks, one for the Delta Kappa Gamma Society on my trip to Ethiopia last summer, one for the Cheyenne Artists Guild on my work, and the last one on Wednesday for The Nicolaysen Art Museum in Casper on my work and Contemporary Ceramics.

Delta Kappa Gamma

The talk for Delta Kappa Gamma was on Women, and Children in Ethiopia.  Although I always get nervous talking in front of people, this talk felt good, because I am raising awareness  on the difficulties of orphaned children in Ethiopia.  And since we are half a world away from their reality it is a worthy thing to bring cognizance to people how life is in Africa and mostly Ethiopia.

The Cheyenne Artist Guild

My next talk was at the Cheyenne Artists Guild asked me to talk about my work.  I brought in pieces and talked about my process and why and how I became an artist.  Although I was nervous for this talk it seemed very casual and my jitters soon subsided.  Here is a link to their blog to see what they said.

At the Cheyenne Artists Guild.

Beyond The Pot: Contemporary Ceramic Trends @ The Nic

My last talk at the Nicolaysen Museum sent me into cold sweats and hives.  I was stressed out for this talk.  And as I prepared for the talk I kept telling myself, “This is good practice.”  And this was my mantra for a few days, until I started answering back, “What the HELL am I practicing for?”  “What do I think I’m practicing for?”  “I’m not going to be giving any great speeches at the Oscars or anything.”  My inner turmoil was at an all-time high.  Casper is about 2 ½ hours from Cheyenne and spring in Wyoming is usually a very tricky time for travel, one hour it can be 70 degrees and the next hour we can be in a blizzard.  I started praying for snow, a blizzard, a tornado, a tsunami anything that would close the roads to Casper.

Well, I made it to Casper, unfortunately for me no natural disasters came up and the day was beautiful to drive to center of our state.  I gave my talk to an intimate group of people and Lisa Hatchadoorian the Nic’s Curator gave her talk right after me on Ceramics Beyond the Pot.   I survived!  And now I’m all practiced up for my Academy Award acceptance speech.  Ha!

Before the talk at the Nicolaysin.

Please notice that when my pots were projected that they were taller than I am.  Now if that isn’t intimidating I don’t know what is.

Ceramics Now

In other news, the Ceramics Now Exhibition I was in Cluj-Napoca, Romania has now re-opened in the Galateea Gallery in Bucharest, Romania.  So if you are in Romania from Apri 19 to May 7  head on over to the show.

Casper College

Also, I went to Casper College and saw the show, The Fishman by ceramic artist David Bogus.  He will be conducting a workshop on April 28 – 29.  I wish I could go.

The Fisherman by David Bogus

Connie Norman – Plinth Gallery Artist Interview – Me!

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

 

I am really Talking to Myself! This week’s interview is mine!  I’ve had several people ask me to post my own interview.  Now I have FINALLY posted mine as part of the Plinth Gallery Series of interviews.  My show starts this First Friday, May 6, 6-9pm. Reception with Me!  Please come by and say, “Hello” if you’re in the area, it would be terrific to meet some of the people who read my blog!  I’m also teaching a workshop at Plinth on Saturday, May 7 from 9am to 5pm.  The cost is $85 which includes lunch from Fuel Café, which is unbelievably delicious.   If you are interested there is still room please contact Plinth Gallery by email or call 303-295-0717 for more information.

I’m posting my interview a little differently, Jonathan Kaplan was so kind to play guest interviewer and gave me some questions to answer.  His questions will be designated by –JK at the end of the question.  And just to be fair I answered my own questions that I have been asking artists for a year.  They are the second part of the interview.  I tried not to overlap answers, so if you read the entire interview you will have learned more than you would EVER want to know about me.

Here is what Jonathan wrote on Plinth’s website about my work.

“Connie Norman’s current work deals with inner dialogue, words, phrases, and “snippets of conversation” often inspired by stories from her life, memories, or things overheard, that are repeated again and again. She is fascinated by the rhythmic qualities created by color, texture, and patterns, and her application of text to her pieces enhance both the surface texture and the message itself.”

Plinth Gallery Curator Jonathan Kaplan describes Connie Norman’s ceramic work as, “Graphically bold in color and surface decoration. Her unique use of impressed words and phrases evokes our emotions as we ponder a connection to our individual experience. While her ceramics are a conversation with herself, we are invited into a dialog with the work and then really, with ourselves. Connie’s work has a message for many of us.” – Jonathan Kaplan

You have achieved quite a remarkable synthesis of form and surface. How do you decide which form merits which words? -JK

I think of my forms as a canvas to decorate.  But, as I’ve been making work for specific functions I try to think of words for specific forms.

Where do the words come from? Are they narratives in your head that result in being used on your work? What is the source of this dialog? – JK

The words on my pots are snippets of conversation.  Sometimes with myself, sometimes overheard, sometimes mantras I say to myself, they are all part of my life somehow.  In one of my pieces, I was thinking about my Father.  He was in the early stages of Alzheimer, as time went on I started to see how he was forgetting so much of his life.  I made a piece that said, “This is How Much I Remember.  This is How Much I Forgot.”  Since my Dad was just at the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s I put the line just off center.

Tell us something about your creative process. How did it evolve to its present structure? -JK

I also make mixed media sculptures.  The components of my sculptures are based on a fascination with the form and function of a common everyday object, the iron. I see my irons as shrines.  I use them as a vehicle to tell my stories, experiences and dreams.  Eventually these irons were covered in text.  Then one day my husband challenged me to make something beautiful.  I started a series of pots; I hadn’t made pots in years.  After making several pots, I noticed text jumped on to the surface.  It was a funny transition, at this point my clay irons were the size of true irons.   Then I started making very large vessels (21” to 23” inches tall) covered in text.

What is your cycle of work in your studio? I know you have a family and are a committed teacher. How do you balance your family obligations with your ceramic needs? -JK

I go full blast for months then I stop.  Then go back to full blast again.  But definitely I would not be able to what I do without my wonderful husband, Todd.  He supports me totally and completely.  Right now my schedule is I come home from work, spend time with my family and then I go to my studio around 8:30 PM and work until 1 or 2:00 AM, and then I get up at 6:00 AM for work.  I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without the help of my husband.  I know when I have a deadline this schedule is not the healthiest for me or anyone who comes within my a hundred yards of me.  When I don’t have a deadline looming, I try to go to bed earlier.  But I am a natural night owl.  And when I’m in my studio I’m always wide awake.  Sometimes I am thankful that I have regular job to keep me in the daylight or I might totally start living the graveyard shift.

For this show I started working months ago, and only made things dedicated for Plinth, to keep my cantankerous side at bay, by going to bed a little earlier.

Can you briefly describe how you lay out each piece and the process you work with? Your pieces have impressed lettering combined with graphic patterns. How do you begin your decoration process?-JK

My greatest satisfaction comes from thoroughly filling surfaces with color and finely detailed decoration.  My decorations start with the lettering since it is done while the piece is leather hard and the rest of the decoration is finished during glazing.  Decoration and the act of decorating are essential because it celebrates and enhances form and speaks purely of aesthetics.  I use pottery as a vehicle to explore decoration and other formal questions.  It allows me to investigate form, space and image.

I know you work with “hormonally challenged” kids, so to speak. How do you communicate the importance of a visual education when there are so many outside influences that perhaps seem to be more important in their minds? -JK

My role as an educator is to be an art cheerleader, I cheer to my students, adults, and colleagues alike. I teach as if this will be my student’s last and only year of art. I have to cover it all in such a short time. In this year, they will make art, write art, talk art; dream art and most of all appreciate art. Of course, I want my students to grow up and become rich and famous artists, but if they survive my “art boot camp” I know they will be lovers and appreciators of the arts.

What do you do to re-charge and re-in vigor your own creative energies? -JK

I love going to workshops!  When it was just the two of us, I would go to two week long workshops all over.  But now with a family I find it harder to get away for long period of time.  (Should say, I don’t want to go for as long.)  Now I look for shorter workshops.

The big thing I do now to re-charge my creative energies is write my blog.  I started the artist interviews, instead of running around the country taking workshops.  I still get to interact and learn from other artists.

You have been very successful in your ceramic career with exhibitions, publications, sales and commissions. What advice would you give upcoming ceramic artists to enhance their own careers in this highly competitive environment? -JK

I still feel like I have a lot to learn.  So I feel a little awkward giving advice, because I still go to workshops, and find artists to help me with my career.  I started out applying for national juried shows.  I would apply to ten and hope I got accepted to one.  At first it was really hard to read the rejection letters, they crushed me.  But eventually I was getting accepted into shows, and the rejection letters weren’t so devastating.  I apply for as much I can.  It is hard to balance making work and applying for opportunities.  I find I can’t do both at the same time.  I will do my administrative type work all at once, so I send out ten to twelve, and then go back to the studio.  And forget about them.

Now I am Talking to Myself, as usual!

Tell us a little about yourself!

I was born in Japan, and have been lucky enough study pottery in Tokoname for a summer.  My Mom is Japanese and has nine brothers and sisters.  I have a bigger family in Japan than I do here in the US!    Two and half years ago my husband and I adopted our son from Ethiopia.  Now I am so lucky to have two amazing kings of my heart.  I have a very international family.  My husband’s sisters are married to Brit and Australian. I teach junior high school students in a very large school, I am one of 5 art teachers.

How did you become an artist?

When I was in high school, my love with clay started.  It was my senior of high school and I was happy in my Home Ec. class, I asked the ceramics teacher if I could switch into her class.  From that point I have been on the same path, ceramics, art, clay.  My parents wanted me to go to college but they told me that I wouldn’t be one of those kids that switched majors every semester.  So I had to declare a major and stick to it.  I told them I wanted to be an art major and 20 plus years later, I still am.

Both my parents have always worked with their hands; my Dad was a gun smith always maintained a shop in very house we lived in.  My Mom always sewed our clothes, knitted, crocheted, made bread, and she was an avid Tole painter.  Although my parents weren’t what you would call artists, making things was a way of life for us.  I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t making something.

How would you describe your style? One of the hardest things for artists to do is to stand apart from everyone else. How long did it take you to come up with your own style and signature look?

It took me a long time to find a “style” and I feel like I am still learning and figuring out what is my artist voice.  But I guess I would describe my style as decorative.  When text first jumped onto my work, I was only making very large vessels.  (I still like to make them; I make a lot work now that masquerades as functional.)  As I made these vessels I thought about aesthetics and the act of decorating. As I moved into making objects that seem to have a function the idea of decorating was still the main focus of my work.  When I was in college I was a mixed media sculptor, and narrative was very important to me.  One as I was thinking of making some pots, the idea of narrative came to mind.  I have always love texture; the narrative became texture, with a glimpse of my private thoughts.

What keeps you motivated?

I’ve always love the quote from Tim Rollins, “It’s not passion, it’s a deadline.” I definitely work well under pressure.  Although I love my time in the studio, I have so many distractions that I can easily be pulled away.  So I make sure I always have something to work towards, to make sure I am in the studio at all hours of the night.  I try to make sure I am in my studio every day, some days I work for hours without even noticing how much time has passed, and sometimes I just go to my studio to look around, clean up, and gather my thoughts.

Are you a full-time artist? How do you come up with your creations? Can you walk us through your creative process when dreaming up new pieces?

No I am not a full-time studio artist to make my living.  But I do consider myself a full time artist, since I teach, breathe, dream, art.

All my work is slab construction.  Often times my process starts with an idea, but I have to dream up a way to make it.  So I will sketch out my idea, and then make patterns in paper to see how the form works.  Sometimes I think, I have this down, and I go to make a new shape without all the preplanning, then I usually have a really bad night in my studio.

What or who inspires you?

Thomas Hart Benton and Gustav Klimt.

How do you maintain a healthy work and life balance?

I definitely don’t have a balance. I am a full time art teacher at a public school, a three year old, and I’m trying to be a professional artist, I am definitely pulled from all directions.

I go full blast for months then I stop.  Then go back to full blast again.  But definitely I would not be able to what I do without my wonderful husband, Todd.  He supports me totally and completely.

You, like most people enjoy the process of making and didn’t get into it for the sake of “business”. But eventually you found yourself having to make the transition from artist to a businessperson. What have you learned so far and what advice can you give others in the same situation?

I have learned the business of art through trial and error.  And I still don’t really do the” business” part yet.  But I do keep my resume and portfolios updated and have a website, blog and Facebook page.  I’m not fond of doing the business end of being an artist.  I generally take time off from the studio, when I apply for solo shows, juried shows and fellowships; I try to get a bunch of applications and then do them all at once.

What advice can you give aspiring artists struggling to find their own voice and look?

Go to you studio and work and work and work!  Try 10 or 20 variations to an idea, keep pushing an idea.  Don’t just stop at making one, work in a series.  So often I hear people say, “This summer I’ll make art.”  When I retire, I’m make art.”  When my kids get older I’ll make art.”  If you want to make art, just do it.  I do miss TV, socializing, and shopping.  (and many other activities)  I have whittled down my life to what is important to me, (family, art, work.)  But unfortunately I still don’t have it down or balanced.  And I feel like I miss out on a lot, but I am doing what I love.  Thank you Todd for all that you do for me! You are the love of my life!  We have the most incredible family.

Snippets of Conversation: My solo show at Plinth Gallery

Monday, April 25th, 2011

My show at Plinth Gallery starts May 6.  If anyone is in the Denver area, stop on by.  This is my first show solo show since we’ve had our son.  I was worried how things would go with my artwork after the addition of children, so I applied for shows 2 years away.  Well the two years have flown by and my show is two short weeks away!  I’m really excited and nervous.  In addition to the show I am also teaching a workshop, May 7.  If you are interested, please call Plinth Gallery.  It would be great to meet some clay people who read my blog!

Plinth Gallery … 3520 Brighton Blvd, Denver, CO 80216 … 303-295-0717      gallery@plinthgallery.com

Here is what Plinth Gallery sent out!

On Saturday, May 7, Plinth Gallery will host the third and final workshop in our “Surface Decoration” series.  Ceramic Artist Connie Norman from Cheyenne, WY will instruct this one-day class, demonstrating glaze techniques for terra cotta and white earthenware pottery, using a variety of common office supplies to cut resist-style designs.  For more information about Connie, check here:  www.connienorman.com, and her newest work in a solo show, “Snippets of Conversation” will be the Plinth Gallery exhibition for May.

Cost for the workshop is $85, which includes lunch catered by Fuel Café, Denver.  Additional information is in the attached flyer or you can contact the Gallery at 303-295-0717 for details and to register.  Workshop hours are 9am until about 5pm, and space is limited to 20 students, so advance registration is strongly encouraged..

Please feel free to forward to anyone you feel may be interested in attending this workshop.  Thanks for your interest,

Spring Workshops at Plinth Gallery

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Beginning in February 2011, Plinth Gallery will host a series of ceramic workshops in the Gallery’s recently remodeled studio space. Three workshops will each emphasize surface decoration and finishing techniques, and will be instructed by the Gallery guest artist for the month.

The series opens on February 5th for a one-day seminar with Shalene Valenzuela. Shalene, whose show, “Recipe for Disaster” is the gallery exhibit for February, will demonstrate a variety of surface-embellishment techniques and application of images. Through slide presentation, lecture and hands-on demonstration, she will share her unique process of illustrating on bisque surfaces and incorporating print aspects with her drawn images.

Shalene earned her MFA in ceramics from the California College of Arts and Crafts, and has recently taught at the Oregon College of Arts and Crafts. A former resident at the Archie Bray Foundation, she currently works at The Clay Studio of Missoula, Montana. Her quirky, humorous narrative vessels have been exhibited nationally.

On April 2, Yoko Sekino-Bove will demonstrate combinations of decoration techniques including sgraffito, carving, stamping, and a variety of glaze painting. Other wet clay surface techniques will include mishima and slip painting. Students will actively participate in this workshop and make a variety of clay stamps to use on their own work. A supply list will be emailed to participants in advance of the workshop. Yoko’s show, “Fragile Immortalitiy” will be the featured exhibit at Plinth for April.

Yoko Sekino-Bove is a 2011 Niche Finalist. She earned her BFA in graphic design from Musashino Art University in Tokyo, Japan, and worked as a commercial graphic designer in Los Angeles before her passion took her to study ceramics at the University of Oklahoma where she earned her MFA. After serving as an apprentice at Rowantrees Pottery in Maine, then artist-in-residence at the Armory Art Center in Florida, Yoko settled as a studio artist in Washington, PA. Her work has been exhibited at both commercial and educational galleries nationally and internationally and is included in museums and private collections. Her ceramic works are featured in the Lark Books, “500 Cups”, “500 Platters and Chargers”, and a wide variety of periodicals including “American Crafts”, “Ceramics Monthly” and “The Clay Times” magazines.


Connie Norman (that’s me) will conduct the final segment of the series on May 7, 2011. Connie will focus on glazing techniques for terra cotta and white earthenware pottery, using masking tape and other office supplies to cut resist-style designs. Students should bring several pieces of bisque-fired work to experiment with glazing techniques demonstrated in this workshop. Connie’s show, “Snippets of Conversation” will be the May exhibition at Plinth.

Connie, who was born in Japan and raised all over the world, is a graduate of the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. She studied ceramics in Tokoname, Japan, and her work has been juried into many national shows, including Strictly Functional, Ceramics USA, Origins in Clay, and a solo exhibition at NCECA, 2006. Connie has received numerous fellowships for her work, which has also been published in “Ceramics Monthly” magazine. Most recently, her signature work has been included in Lark Books, “500 Vases”.

Each day-long workshop begins at 9am, ends by 5pm, and includes lunch. Cost is $85 for each seminar, or register for all three sessions for $230. Space is limited to 20 students, so registration will be on a first-come, first served basis and advance payment will guarantee a space. Specific information for each workshop, including any necessary supplies, will be emailed to each student when payment is received. Cancellations will be fully refunded if made by 5pm on the Monday before the workshop. Students will also receive a 10% discount on any Gallery purchases the day of the workshop only. For additional information or to register, contact Plinth Gallery at 303-295-0717, or email gallery@plinthgallery.com.