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Connie Norman

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Giving Thanks

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

I have been off the radar for a few months now.  I haven’t been blogging, Facebooking or Instagraming.  A number of things have happened over the last few months that have caused me to drop off the face of the Electronic world.  And I’ve only been checking my email just enough to keep afloat, which really means I’ve been sinking then scrambling to get back on the life boat. My family and I have been going through a really rough patch lately.  I’m not really ready to talk about what is going on, (on the internet anyway) but my family has been going through enormous amount of stress.  Things have been a little bit better and I think we actually have the map back to normalcy, but we now have to follow it.  I wish I could say that it is all in the past unfortunately we are still in the middle of it.  I just came up for a quick breath! For right now I am THANKFUL of many things. Today I am THANKFUL for my family.  My son and my husband have been keeping me sane, during a very stressful time.  My husband is so supportive of me and everything I do.  My son is just the light of my life and keeps us smiling with the way he interprets the world.  I am THANKFUL for our new house, which is one of the MANY reasons we have been yo-yoing towards the breaking point.  We had a beautiful house built over the summer and moved in around a month ago.  Our new house is gorgeous, it is not our “DREAM” home, but it is as close as we will ever get.   We have a lovely view, plenty of room, space for an amazing studio.  But it’s not built yet.  I am really looking forward to a brand new studio. I am THANKFUL for Claire Reishman who has been saving me.  Claire  from Shakerag Workshops in Tennessee has been so patient with me.  It has been Beyond Reason.   She asked me to teach a workshop at Shakerag this coming summer and I have been so delinquent in getting everything she needs.  She stuck with me and helped me so much.  Thank you Claire for believing in me! I am teaching a week long workshop at Shakerag Workshops @ St. Andrew’s Sewanee School in Sewanee, Tennessee, June 8 -16.  Follow the link to get more information.

 I am Thankful for Jennifer Lawrence who is a paraprofessional in my classroom; she tirelessly helps with the students.  I don’t know if I could do my job this year without her.  Also, she has been covering my classes once a month so I can watch my son’s performances.  Thus I THANK her as a Mom and a teacher.

I am THANKFUL to Clay Arts Vegas inviting me to be in the show Creativity Creates Community.  If you are in the area go see it.  I wish I could.  Thom and Peter work so hard bringing quality clay to Las Vegas!  I’m proud to have been a part of their of their program.    I am THANKFUL to Kevin HLuch for including me in his new ibook, American iPottery, and that one of my salt and pepper shakers will be one of the two images that begin the “N” chapter!  I think the book will be out in the next few months.  The Art of Contemporary American Pottery was Kevin’s last book, check it out it is awesome. I am THANKFUL for Maggie Weydeveld who started the Duck Barn Artisans 30 plus years ago, and has never had another potter in the Holiday Sale.  She invited me to show with her, last year, and I hope it will be many years to come.  It is quite an honor!  Maggie is a local legend.  She makes beautiful high fired tenmoku glazed pots.  And I met her I was in high school and she has been such an inspiration to me ever since.  If you live in Cheyenne or happen to be in the area, stop by the Duck Barn Holiday Sale, 215 West 17th Street, Cheyenne, Wyoming.  They will be open from 10 – 5PM, November 22 – December 14. I am THANKFUL for the Artful Home; promoting my work.  In July I was in their Flash Gallery Secret Languages.  I was in great company.  July was when the proverbial poo hit fan, so I wasn’t able to blog about it.

I am THANKFUL for DR. Troy Thompson our Veterinarian.  Our cat has been super sick, and Dr. Thompson is only working half days because he is also a County Commissioner.  But when I called his office, his staff told me if I dropped Vinnie off they would fit him in between all his appointments.  But this didn’t give me the chance to tell him what has been going on.  But I was THANKFUL regardless because Vinnie was going to be seen.  I take my son to hockey and see Dr. Thompson’s wife and she goes home tells him needs to be at hockey to talk to me about my cat.  Dr. Thompson gets to hockey practice and takes the entire practice to hear about Vinnie.  Thank you Troy!

 Here is a picture of Vinnie as I was packing up my studio, during the big move.

As I write this I realize how lucky and THANKFUL I am for having the people I do in my life.

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.

NCECA Houston 2013

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Thanks for stopping by the ol’ blog!  I always appreciate it when people tell me that they have read or seen something interesting on my blog.  This time I really feel like I’m sharing two really captivating pieces.   When you get to the end tell me what you think of the Michael’s and Janice’s work and our show if you’re so incline.

Constructing Solitude by Janice Jakielski

These two images of Janice Jakielski’s  work were the pieces that I was most intrigued with, I love interacting with the binoculars, and the feeling of spying I had when looking at the fields of growing plants, wondering what I would see if I stayed there long enough.

I played with these pieces for a long time; I took tons of pictures through the eye holes of each of the ceramic vegetation.  I went from side to side, looking at every angle, I was the person who really was lingering too long. 

Misfit Cup Liberation Project by Michael Strand

The other piece that fascinated me was the Misfit Cup Liberation Project by Michael Strand. Michael asks people to bring in their cups that have been pushed to the back of the cabinet and has not been used for years in exchange for his beautiful handmade cup.  In exchange you are asked to write how you acquired it and why you are giving up your neglected cup.  I read many of the stories and I kept wondering what is Michael Strand going to do with all these cups?  Why would a maker of handmade cups be willing to trade them for these unwanted cups?  As fate would have it, I got to dine with Michael Strand and asking all my burning questions.  He said his Misfit Cup project will exchange with 10 cities and several countries, India being one and in the end he will have collected 1000 cups.  Michael said, “It will be a cultural anthropological study of what is at the back our collective closet.”

If you take the time to watch the video you will learn more about the “EX-Con” cup and about the project in Michael’s own words.

Here are images of our show Western Table Manners at NCECA in Houston.  Mike Olson, Ryan Olsen and Yourell drove our show from Wyoming to Houston!  It sounds like they had a great road trip.  They arrived a few days early and installed the show at Houston Community College SE and enjoyed Texas in the spring time.  I flew in at the start of NCECA all ready to take in a ton of clay!!!

Our show was behind glass making it difficult to photograph it, but here it is!

Top left: Danny Brown, Lynn Munns, my work, and Ted Vogel.

Top left: Mike Olson, Lisa Pedolsky, Yoko Sekino-Bove, Elaine DeBehr, and Kurt Anderson.

Top: Rod Dugal, Ryan Olsen.

Everything packed up and ready to go home!

 

 

Western Table Manners – NCECA Houston

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

NCECA is coming up FAST!  I’m having a really hard time keeping up!  Mike Olson and I coordinated a group show for NCECA of mostly western ceramic artists.  Our show is called Western Table Manners, and it’s all over the table in what will be in the show.

Houston Community College – South East

6815 Rustic

Houston, Texas

 I will post pictures when I get to NCECA, but for now, here is the PR that the HCC put out for all the shows that are going on at the college.

Here is a list of who’s in our show. 

Kurt Anderson

Elaine DeBuhr

Danny Brown

Rod Dugal

Lynn Munns

Connie Norman

Ryan Olsen

Mike Olson

Lisa Pedolsky

Yoko Sekino-Bove

Ted Vogel

Below you can see a list of all the shows at Houston Community College – Southeast

Encore!!

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

In Cheyenne we have a monthly art tour called Art Design and Dine, it runs for nine months of the year.  The tour is on its respite now; the Nagel Warren Mansion is hosting the show Encore, with the some of the artists that have had work this past year on the Art Tour.  Encore opens January 1 and will run through March!  Thirteen regional artists are represented Mack Brislawn, Jeanie Schlump, Gail Watford, Jennifer Rife, Do Palma, Dave Roswell, Georgia Roswell, Vanda Edington, Don Edington, Christi Beckmann, Win Ratz, Julie Nighswonger and me.

Pots at Rest @ The Clay Studio

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

 At the end of the summer I got a pretty exciting email from The Clay Studio in Philadelphia. I was invited to be in the Pots at Rest show by Elizabeth Robinson, which is in the gallery now. (side note I got to interview Beth on my blog a few months ago, if you’re  not familiar with her work please make the jump the to her incredible interview.) I have to tell you the thoughts that were going through my head when I opened the email. First of all I do subscribe to The Clay Studio’s newsletters, so I assumed this email was a newsletter. The title of email was “Show Invite”, but somehow my brain did not register this. I begin to read the contents of the email, it started with:

“Dear Connie

In the fall of 2012 The Clay Studio will undertake an exciting project that explores the relevance of handmade dinnerware in the 21st century. The project includes two exhibitions, one focused on the tableware of Derek Au, and the other a group exhibition, which I am hopeful you will be a part of, (this sentence didn’t even register again) titled Pots at Rest. Lectures, and a public project titled the Guerilla Mug Assault (The Clay Studio was honored to be a 2012 Knight Foundation Arts Challenge recipient for this project, one of thirty-five to receive funding selected from the 1,260 plus applicants submitted) are also programmed during these exhibits running August 17th  September 30th, 2012…….”

At this point I started thinking, “Oh sounds like a nice show, but I won’t be in Philadelphia anytime soon, can’t see the show, I think I’m done with this email and I’m going to hit the delete button. But somehow I keep reading… Three more paragraphs about the show Pots at Rest, yada, yada, yada, then suddenly I see, “I hope that you will agree to participate in this really exciting exhibition!” What! What exhibition! What are they talking about! What! I’m so glad that somehow the baseball bat finally made contact with my head and I realized that I was being asked to be in a show!!!!  Woot! Woot!

This is a dream come true!!! On the rare occasions that I have the opportunity to visit Philadelphia I’ve always gone to the Clay Studio and dreamed of having studio space, dreamed of being included into a show, now I’m delighted to say that I am in Pots at Rest at the Clay Studio.

Scroll down to read The Clay Studio’s description of Pots at Rest. 

Here is one of Elizabeth Robinson’s timeless plates. Then on to the show!

Here are some pictures of Pots at Rest @ The Clay Studio.

Here is the part of the show that Elizabeth Robinson curated. She I love the collection of pots she put together.

The Clay Studio’s description of Pots at Rest. 

Pots at Rest engages eight ceramicists as curators and exhibiting artists: Kari Radasch, Elizabeth Robinson, Lorna Meaden, Ingrid Bathe, Brian Jones, Munemitsu Taguchi, Matthew Hyleck, and Joseph Pintz. All are nationally recognized mid-career makers of tableware selected for the strength of his/her work: the conceptual content, formal qualities and his/her personal aesthetic. As a group they represent a broad range of material use, varied form and the primary processes of making and surfacing. All bring with them an extensive knowledge of the field, professional contacts, and buyers for their work. Each Artist/Curator was assigned a piece of equipment or furniture, typical to most kitchens, where pots when not in use, live or rest. Each selected functional wares for these spaces made by ceramicists from across North America whose work they admire and respect and share their reasons why they believe handmade tableware remains relevant in the 21st century.

 

Extra! Extra! Read all about it, in the Casper Star Tribune!

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

On Friday The Casper Star Tribune featured a story on my show at Casper College. Margaret Matray called me to write the story and we had a lovely conversation. I had no idea that, that conversation was going to lead to a two page spread in the Casper Star. Holy Cow! I was blown away when I saw a copy of the paper. Living two and half hours from Casper it took several stops in Cheyenne before I could a copy. It was very exciting to open the paper in the store to see the gigantic story! Thank Margaret Matray for such an amazing article!

Here’s the story if you want to read it. And if you want to see the scoop on the Casper Star’s website make the jump here.

The Story Of Ceramics, Cheyenne Artists shares memories and secrets through clay.  by Margaret Matray

The phrases stamped into the cups, plates and vessels offer a glimpse into the mind of Connie Norman.The words read like whispers, as if she’s standing there sharing her secrets.

“PROMISE ME.”

“KISS SLOWLY.”

“FIND YOUR VOICE.”

The phrases repeat, stamped over and over again until they’re a block of text on the artwork. They read like a mantra.

“DON’T TAKE YOUR SECRETS TO YOUR GRAVE.”

And like fleeting thoughts.

“DOGS SHOULD BE ALLOWED IN RESTAURANTS AND STORES.”

A 48-piece exhibition of Norman’s work, now open through Sept. 20 at the Casper College Goodstein Art Gallery, showcases the Cheyenne artist’s ceramic cups, plates, bowls and vessels.  Although the pieces featured in “Words at Your Disposal” are functional, they all tell stories and draw on Norman’s personal experiences.

Norman’s exhibition is the first of seven shows to be displayed at the Goodstein Gallery this school year. Artists must submit proposals for consideration, and exhibitions can be booked as many as two years in advance, said gallery director. Norman previously exhibited at the Goodstein Gallery in 2006.

“Connie is consistently exploring new ideas in clay,” said Innella, art history and museum studies professor for Casper College’s Visual Arts Department. “… I think it’s really exciting when an artist is thinking about text as a form of communication through visual art, which is already a very potent form of communication.”

Norman’s work has been featured in exhibits nationally, including Strictly Functional Pottery National, Ceramics USA and the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts. She has been featured on the cover of “Ceramics Monthly” and currently teaches sixth- and seventh-grade art at Carey Junior High School in Cheyenne.

Her interest in pottery came in high school. Six weeks before the end of senior year, Norman wanted out of her home economics class. Her friends were taking pottery, so she started hanging out in their class. Before school, after school and at lunch, Norman made pottery. She had made so many pieces by the end of the year, in fact, the teacher went to the principal to ask if Norman could get a full year’s credit.

She graduated from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, where her work took a turn. Norman intended to perfect her functional pottery but instead shifted to mixed-media sculpture. She used hay and found objects to build her work, which focused on women’s issues.

Married, out of college and with little money, Norman’s husband asked her one Christmas if she could make gifts that year.  “But we can’t give away that weird stuff that you make,” Norman remembered her husband saying.

She returned to functional pottery. At first, she experimented with words as texture and pattern. Norman said she’s always struggled with writing, but as her artwork evolved, she began infusing her ceramics with meaningful phrases. She’s worked in this style for nearly a decade.  “I wanted to make something beautiful that told stories,” Norman said.  Norman’s ceramics reflect her private thoughts and inner dialogue. The words she uses draw on memories, conversations she’s had and phrases she repeats to herself in times of joy or worry.

A large vessel in Norman’s show is split down the middle with a blue line. On the left the words “This is how much I remember” repeat over and over. On the right: “THIS IS HOW MUCH I FORGOT.”  The piece reflects on a time when Norman’s father was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.  “I was really kind of watching him lose what was going on in his world,” Norman said.  When her father died, the chaplain at the funeral asked Norman about her father’s military career. He had been retired for about 15 years at the time.  “I realized I had kind of forgotten his stories,” Norman said.  She made this piece: “IF WE DON’T TELL OUR STORIES NO ONE WILL KNOW.”

The vessel “Invisible strength” was inspired by Norman’s friend who had cancer. And the pieces that say “I’m so lucky” are about her 5-year-old son. Norman and her husband adopted him from Ethiopia. People tell them their son is lucky. Norman replies that she and her husband are the lucky ones; he makes the family complete.  “I try to pick phrases that are universal, that people can kind of bring their own meanings to,” Norman said.

Norman builds all of her pieces instead of throwing them, which means she doesn’t use a pottery wheel. She uses old letterpress type to stamp in her phrases, and the rest of Norman’s work is covered in color, shapes and lines.

A few vessels featured in the Casper show come from earlier years, but Norman made most of the pieces over the summer.  Although the school year has started, Norman finds time at night to work in her studio.

“I didn’t become a professional artist until I became a teacher,” Norman said. “It really inspired me to go home and do what I was preaching all day. There’s something about the energy of school that makes me go home and create.”

 

 

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

New Work – For Casper College, 17th Street Art Festival & Pots at Rest!

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

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My Show At Casper College opens August 20.  And I will be giving an artist talk at noon.  If you live in Casper, please come by to say hi!

17th-st-art-festival

17th Street Art Festival is this Friday and Saturday!

Friday August 17, 5 – 9PM
Saturday 18th 10AM – 8PM
The inaugural 17th Street Arts Festival, located at the new Dinneen Downtown Plaza in Cheyenne, will feature dozens of visual and performance artists, children’s activities, food and fun. The festival begins Friday night, August 17, 5 -9PM with an Artist Preview Reception, including performances by local artists and a wine tasting bar, everyone is welcome. Then all day Saturday, August 18, from 10 a.m.–8 p.m., enjoy visual and performance art, a children’s area complete with bounce house, all day family arts and crafts, and local art exhibits.

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Pots at Rest @ The Clay Studio

August 17 through September 30, 2012
A dream come true, one of my plates will be part of a group show at The Clay Studio in Philadelphia. It will be a part of Pots at Rest, a multi part project titled MADE BY HAND, exploring the relevance of handmade tableware in the 21st century. The Clay Studio invited eight mid-career ceramicists to curate the exhibition. Each artist was assigned a piece of furniture where their pots would rest. At Elizabeth Robinson’s invitation my plate will rest on a dish rack with several other ceramic artists! Thank you Beth for this amazing invitation!

Here is mine!

CNorman

When it rains it pours.  All these shows are just days within each other.  Whew!

Governor’s Capitol Art Exhibition 2012

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

 

This year the Governor’s Capitol Art Exhibit new home was in the Hynds Building, instead of the Wyoming State Museum. The GCAE (Governor’s Capitol Art Exhibit) is a way for our state officials to pick out art work for their offices and to grow the art collections of our state buildings. All the artists in the show are from Wyoming, with Cheyenne having the most artists represented in this year’s show. The juror for this year’s show was Carl McQueary. I had two of my three pieces juried in!

An Instagram shot of my work at the Hynds.

During the reception I talked to David Newell, the curator for the State Museum and the organizer of the show, about why he choose to move the GCAE to the Hynds, he said that the show had out grown the Wyoming State Museum, and he couldn’t display oversized work at the museum. This year’s show represented 70 works of art and in the past the show has hosted around 50 pieces. But because of having to rent the Hynds this year’s show was only two days long rather most of the summer like it usually has been. For Cheyenne the reception is a big night, the Governor and First Lady make speeches, the purchase awards are announced, lots of elected officials are milling around. And the last big change they made was; if you were accepted to the GCAE then you were able to set up a booth in the next room with your artwork, called Artist Alley.

Reception @ The GCAE!

Now for my opinion, I have been in the GCAE many times. I have mixed feelings about all the changes this year. I don’t mind that David wants to mix things up, and this was great for the Hynds Building. Since the show helped to get more revenue and exposure for the Hynds, and maybe one step closer to achieve their goal of becoming an art center.  (Here is an earlier post about the Hynd’s Builiding.)

But,………………….. I was sad to see the show up for only two days, and the Hynds still needs lots of work, the walls are still in disrepair and the vent system is hanging down. David called the Hynds SoHo-esque, I think it is more like the movie Brazil. (Check out the post about here.) I went down the second day of the show to really see it since it is almost impossible to see art during a reception, there were lots of people there looking at art. So the two day event made people go down to see the show, instead of procrastinating all summer, then missing it all together.

GCAE reception

Here  are a few of my favorites from The Governor’s Capitol Art Exhibit.  If you are interested in seeing the whole show make the jump to this link.

Georgia Rowswell, Cheyenne, Wyoming

Tony James, Cheyenne, Wyoming

Michele Farrier, Alta, Wyoming

Ginnie Madsen, Laramie, Wyoming

Lynn Newman in Artist Alley.