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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

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.

 

 

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.

I’m so Lucky!!!

Monday, July 19th, 2010

This is one of my favorite sayings for my bowls.  I truly feel that I am so lucky and so thankful for all the amazing family that I am a part of.  I thought it would be nice to share some “Luck”.    All you have to do to win this Lucky bowl is, write a comment on my blog about how lucky or thankful you are.  I’m a little nervous, I hope someone out there wants a gift from me.  I will pick Monday the 26th.  Don’t forget to include your email. 

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Also, go to Facebook and “like” my page, (Connie Norman Ceramics) it would be great to get up to 900 followers.  I’m at 828 now.  I never believed that I could have that many followers.  When I started FB ceramics page I thought I would only have my friends and family “like” my page.

Round Two – The DIA Bowls

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

A Visit To Plinth Gallery

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Last Monday, Memorial Day I drove down to Denver to deliver some work to Plinth Gallery.  This Friday (June 4) is the opening of Jen Allen’s show (see her interview below) and the third anniversary of the gallery.  For the festivities Jonathan Kaplan, Plinth’s owner asked if I would bring a few pieces down for the celebration.  I’m delighted to have work as part of the birthday, and thrilled to be having a show at Plinth in the fall of 2011!!!

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Here is Jonathan in the back room of the gallery with my work.  If you’re following the interviews Jonathan was interviewed on my blog in February.  If you missed his interview click here.

Saturday was a big delivery day, Laura from DIA (Denver International Airport) met me at Plinth to pick up the rest of the commission.  It felt really good to get it finished and delivered.  It was a lot of late nights making pots for them.  (I will post images of the pots in the next post.)  They will be on display in the offices of DIA, until they are given to Mayor Hickenlooper and the Denver City Council in July.  I’ve been told that they will send pictures of the event.  I’ll post them on the blog when I get them.

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Another view of the back room of the gallery and Jonathan.  I love the built in shelving for the mugs and cups, a potter’s dream.  Plinth is the only gallery dedicated solely to ceramics in the Denver and Front Range region of Colorado.  It is  located in the River North Art District (Rino), which is Denver’s new and fast growing art area.

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A view of a very small part of Hayne Bayless’  show and work, and the front of gallery.  Also a few pots made by Lisa Pedolsky, who is going to have an interview on the blog soon.

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I wanted to get more pictures of the gallery, but these guys were waiting soooooo patiently to go to the Denver Zoo.  I was rushed with the pictures.   We had a great day at the zoo, with my friend Sherry and her kids.  It was so fun to watch the kids discover the animals.  And I got to use my new found knowledge of exotic animals, from my extensive studies of  Go Diego Go, The Wonder Pets, and Dora the Explorer.

Emergency Solo Show!! Letters in Clay

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

Art Design and Dine058

Yesterday was the premier of Art, Design and Dine, in Cheyenne.  My friend Architect Glen Garrett, (a huge art supporter), became a sponsor of the new event.   Glen has made his architect studio-office into a gallery for local artists.  But he didn’t realize Art, Design and Dine was a gallery walk until the two days before the event.  He emailed Wednesday me asking if I could bring 11 to 12 pieces to the gallery on Thursday, for the gallery walk on Friday.  I ran down dropped off a bunch of artwork.  Glen works really fast here called Sign Pro had them throw up vinyl lettering and set up the show.  I wondered how things were going to look because he didn’t have enough pedestals.  He made great hangers for the bowls hung them on the wall.  For such a quick show it really looked nice.  Here are some pictures.  Thanks Glen for all your hard work!!

Vander pointing at vessel.

Vander and his Daddy!!

Glen Garrett The Architect

 Letters in Clay

The Artful Home Holiday Preview Catalog – 2009

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

artful home holiday 2009r

 

The 2009 Artful Home Holiday Preview Catalog is out and oartful home holiday coverne of my bowls is displayed on page 53.  I have some pretty hard competition on that page, there are so many beautiful pots presented, I think my bowl is the Plain Jane in the corner.   But I am still thrilled to be included in the catalog with so many excellent artists.  If you’re interested I have more examples of work for sale on The Artful Home website, just type in my name as the keyword search.

Mugs, Bowls and Casseroles Ceramic Show & Sale

Friday, October 9th, 2009

Lincoln Center Fort Collins, Colorado

October 29, 30, 31

mugs, bowls and casseroles

I pleased to be included with these 14 other fine potters.  Please stop by and say, “Hello”.  I’ve been hard at work making brand new pieces.

A little Late: Pictures From The District Gallery Reception

Friday, October 9th, 2009

The reception was amazing. It was very well attended, standing room only. This was Vander’s first really art reception, he did a great job, but Todd had to carry him on his shoulders to look at all the fantastic artwork, because it was so crowded.

The District Gallery is located in Park City, Utah, it is a little off the beaten path, but it is a beautiful spacious gallery. I am so lucky to be able to work with impressive galleries ran by people who are dedicated to their artists, and the arts.

www.districtartgallery.com