Connie Norman
Connie Norman

Archive for the ‘ABC’S of Ceramics’ Category

Brought to you by the Letter G – Julia Galloway, Jason Greene, and Mel Gould

Friday, May 24th, 2013

Brought to you by the letter G!  Julia Galloway, Jason Greene, and Mel Gould

In this post I am featuring two friends of my mine from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University!  Julia Galloway and Jason Greene, we went through undergrad together, and became great friends.  Unfortunately Jason passed away little over a year ago, he was a good friend and although I had not seen him in years, I miss him.   He made truly wonderful pots!  I only have one left and it’s at the bottom of the post.  Jason made this upside down pitcher while we were in school together.

I’m guessing most the readers who stop by my blog will have heard of Julia Galloway, I am featuring her work from undergrad to grad school to current body of work. The pictures of Julia’s work go in chronological order from most recent to undergrad.

G is for Julia Galloway.

Julia’s cloud teapot I took out on a lonely road in the middle of a prairie.

G is for Julia Galloway.

G is for Julia Galloway.

G is for Julia Galloway.

 G is for Julia Galloway.

 This pitcher of Julia’s I got when we were in school together.  She gave me many pots, but unfortunately my drive back to Wyoming from New York, I totaled my car when I got into an accident in Chicago.  I didn’t pack my pots from all my friends very well and many of them got broken.  And I had to travel home on a Greyhound Bus.  It was a sad day.

 G is for Jason Greene.

The last pitcher is Jason Greene’s!  While we were at Alfred he was making what he called his upside down pots.  I had a few more of his pots but over the years they have gotten broken.

G is for Mel Gould.

The last two photographs were taken out at Mel Gould’s house, Buryville.  He is a master tinker, inventor, engineer and artist.  Buryville is on I-80 east of Cheyenne, about 10 miles.  And Mel loves visitors; he welcomes people to stop by at any time.  It’s an amazing place and Mel is an amazing man.  Mel has had his artwork and invention at the Denver Art Museum and he has worked with Chisto and Jeanne-Claude !!! Mel designed equipment that Christo used in The Running Fence and The Umbrellas.  I’ll have to do a blog post only on Mel Gould one day!  Here is another site with information on Mel Gould.

If you’re interested here are the other posts from The ABC’s of Ceramics.  A BC DEEF - G!  Or just click on the link on the right hand side under categories.

Brought to you by the letter G – ABC’s of Ceramics

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

 The Letter of The Day: G

Back with the ABC’s of Ceramics.  Today we have the letter G, with Gillian Parke, Gail Kendall

and Jim Gottuso. 

(This is my one of my New Year’s resolutions; to finish this series – The ABC’s of ceramics!)

G is for Gillian Parke!

My husband bought me Gillian Parke’s vessel for Christmas few years ago and then her work landed on the cover of Ceramics Monthly.  When he saw her pot on the cover he was so proud of himself!  Todd gets me nice pots for gifts, but he was vey happy with this one.   I do I love her work.  Her pots remind me of lot of the pots I saw in Japan, with the feldspar inclusions.

My son and I went out on a cold and windy day to find a place to photograph the G entry, Vander has gone with me on most of these adventures.  We tried several spots before we found the right photograph that was going to work for her beautiful pot.

G is for Gail Kendall.

I got these  two of Gail Kendall’s pieces when years ago, I took a workshop with her at Anderson Ranch Arts Center.  I love the fact that she is a complete hand builder!

I was trying to figure out what would be a great shot for Gail’s olive dish and it dawned on me it looked like a submarine,  then I had to convince Vander to stay still for the shot, always a hard feat.

G is for Jim Gottuso.

Jim Gottuso’s tumbler I bought for my husband because he always complains that cups and mugs are not made for his hands.  He always looks for the biggest handle, even if it out of proportion and looks a bit odd.  When I saw this tumbler I thought finally a cup that Todd can use that will fit his hand!

Check out Jim’s interview, he was one of the first artist’s interviews on my blog.

Check out his interview here!

If you’re interested here are the other posts from The ABC’s of Ceramics. 


Or just click on the link on the right hand side under categories.

Back By Popular Demand – The ABC’s of Ceramics!

Friday, March 9th, 2012

The Letter of The Day: F

F is for Kathryn Finnerty.

F is for my Fish Pot.

I really meant to keep on my ABC’s of pottery, but I got really busy last year, and drop the ball on it.  Plus my fish pot is really very large and thin, and I just didn’t want to take it anywhere to photograph it.  So it really hung me up, on my very silly project.  So I finally decided to just take a lame picture of it on our deck, so I could move on. 

But I really tried to make up for it, with the way I photographed my Kathryn Finnerty’s flower vessel.  Running around with the flower vase also gave me pause, but I really wanted to get a cool photograph after my lame deck fish pot picture.  My son and I went to the park with bread and he was throwing bread to the ducks while I was lying on ground trying to take this picture, with ducks all around us.  There were times when the ducks were trying to get in between me and the vase.  I’m trying to shoo them away to take a picture.  I’m sure if anyone saw us, that many questions were raised over my sanity.  In fact I wouldn’t be surprised how many of my readers will question if I am lucid or not as well.  My husband really thinks I’m crazy looking for “creative” ways to take pictures of my pottery.   I may be a little touched, and I’m just in denial. 

 I don’t know anything about my big fish pot.  Except it is pit fired with terra sigillata.  It was given to us for a wedding gift, 15 years ago.  It is beautiful pot; it’s one of the bigger pots I own other than the ones I make. 


E is for Ethiopia (The ABC’s of ceramics again and more!)

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

E is for Ethiopian Coffee Pot

Holy cow!  I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve posted an ABC’s of Ceramics entry.  I looked at my past posts and it will be a year this month.  I got hung up my pots that start with F, but I will tell that lame story when I do my F is for…post.  In the past year I’ve added five pots to my collection. But the five I added, did not help me out with the letters that I’m missing, Q, X, Z.   I thought was going to start with F, but then I realized I have this beautiful Ethiopian coffee pot now, given to me by Tigist, she is the master potter of Vision of Africa, one of the organizations that I worked with while I was in Ethiopia this summer. 

Tigist burnishing a vase while pots are heating up to be pit fired.


One of the reasons I decided to revisit E because this post is all points Ethiopia!  And if you frequent my blog you will know that Ethiopia is near and dear to my heart.  (I still have to do a blog post about my trip to Ethiopia.)

While I was in Ethiopia this summer I met the most amazing couple Jeff and Holly.  We immediately connected and became fast friends, although we are separated by 6 states and 1,251 miles, but our friendship will endure, and I long to see them again.  Jeff and Holly adopted an Ethiopian girl Elle, and because of contaminated water Elle was ill for months after coming to the U.S.  The reason they went to Ethiopia last summer was to install a water purification system.  And I was lucky enough to be able to help them. 

Jeff and Holly are going back to Ethiopia in May to install two more clean water systems, with One Child Campaign.  As you can image it is very expensive just getting to Ethiopia, but they are also fund raising for the purification systems.  Please help them by purchasing one of these T-shirts.  For more information on their next trip and a link to purchase the T-shirts go Holly’s blog, Bird’s Words

Also, I am donating one of my old kilns to Mission Ethiopia.  The women of Mission Ethiopia are HIV positive and suffer from leprosy; these women are considered outcasts and unemployable.  They are currently pit firing beads, and want to expand to glazed beads.  My little Skutt 714 will be the perfect kiln for them, it’s a very small test kiln.  Perfect for beads.  My question to my dear readers; how do I get it to Ethiopia?  I have been slowly researching that question, but if any of you have ideas please post a comment.

Here are the women of Mission Ethiopia stringing beads together, after they have been pit fired.

E is for Elizabeth, Ellen and Ethiopia!

Monday, February 21st, 2011

E is for Elizabeth Robinson.

E is for Ellen Shankin.

 E is for Ethiopian bowls.

I love my Elizabeth Robinson plates!  We use them every day; they are some of my favorites.  Beth is currently working new cards for me.  I will show them off as soon as they are done.  Just in case you are in the market for postcards or business cards, go directly to Postcards for Artists.   Beth does a great job and is really easy to work with!!

My Ellen Shankin vase is so light, it’s incredible.  Every time I go to pick it up it almost flies across the room.  I’m always expecting something heavier. 

The bowls from Ethiopia are not clay, as I’m sure you can tell.  They are beautifully carved wood.  The bigger one is for Injeria, Ethiopian bread, which looks like a giant spongy tortilla.  We have them hanging in our house, but for the photograph I had to set them up in my son’s room with his toys in the back ground.  Old world Ethiopia meets Tonka truck!


D is for Delight and Despair. (More ABC’s of Ceramics)

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

The emotions I have for my pieces for the letter D runs the gamut, from crying for joy and crying from shame and humiliation.  

D is for Bill Daley.

The other side.

 D is for Deborah Groover.

D is for Doug Casebeer.

I was delighted when I won the Bill Daley drawing, when I was taking a teacher’s workshop from at Anderson Ranch Art Center.  He is such an endearing man.  I have had two wonderful opportunities to take workshops from him at the Ranch.  From my understanding he doesn’t teach regular workshops anymore, just to children and teachers of children.  I think it is his way of paying it forward and back.  During both of his workshops he worked on a drawing all week and at the end of the week he asked the class to buy raffle tickets, to win his drawing and then he donated the money to the kid’s program at Anderson Ranch.  Well, Bill pulled the slip of paper with my name on it… and I cried.  I couldn’t believe I won.  Of course I was really hoping to win, but never thought it would happen.  I generally never win anything.

The class started writing down Bill Daley quotes and I’ve had that paper hanging by my desk ever since.  It’s been there for ten years now.  Here are some of my favorite quotes, “Don’t close the art gap unless you are serving.”  “That’s like picking your nose with boxing gloves on.”   “Don’t worry about it if you don’t know what you’re doing when you start.  The outcome is always up for grabs.”

The Deborah Groover Vessel was a gift to from Deborah because I had hit rock bottom at Penland School of Crafts.  I was an assistant to a ceramic artist, “The Wicked Step Mother”, or “She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”.  She treated me so badly the class started calling me Cinderella. (Really, I’m not joking.) She would eat a candy bar and make me throw the wrapper away for her, even though she was closer to the trash can than I was.  She wouldn’t let me eat with the class and I had to stay back and clean up after her.  (I could go on…But I will spare you, dear reader, you get the idea.) The final blow was she decided to adjust the kiln sitter, with a pocket knife.  I was just a student then, so I watched her adjust the kiln sitter and I thought to myself, I would never do that, but I’m only the lowly assistant, and not the internationally known artist.  Well the kiln horribly over fired, the kiln was ruined.  “You-Know-Who” told the Penland director it was completely my fault, I messed with the kiln sitter and she wasn’t even there.  I just wanted to leave Penland and run away and hide.  (It is even hard to write this right now, and it has been since the early 90’s.)  Needless to say, there were a lot of tears.  Deborah was so kind to me.  She was a resident at Penland, and took me in.  Told me not to run away, but to stay and hang out with her.  When I did leave she gave me this piece.  She said, “She wanted me to have at least one fond memory of my time at Penland”.

No stories for the Doug Casebeer  pieces, I can’t remember where I got the sweet little cup, and Doug donated the bowl for a fundraiser for Carbondale Clay Center, and you got to pick up a bowl for your entry fee, and fill it with delicious soup.  I’ve known Doug for years since I’ve been going to Anderson Ranch since 1997.  I would love to get one of his houses, well maybe some day.

Brought to you by the letter C!

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011


C is for Jeff Campana.

C is for Sam Chung.

C is for Merry Cox.

C is for Claireware. (Claire Weissberg)

My husband got me the Jeff Campana cup for Christmas this year.  What a nice surpise.  He always says, “You’re so hard to get presents for.”  Well, pottery is always a great present for me.  I think he did really well.  Thanks Todd.  Jeff did an interview on the blog, last March.  Read it here.  Here is the image Jeff had on his Etsy shop for the cup.  His work is so delicate, that you want to see it up close.  And since I happen to have a nice image I’ll throw it up here.  so everyone can see it.

 I got the Sam Chung tumbler, when I took a workshop from him at Carbondale Clay Center.  The Merry Cox teapot is another gift from my husband from a few years ago.  I love her work.  I had admired her work for years.  And one of my birthdays it moved to Wyoming.  The Claireware mug, I’ve ahd forever.  I don’t remember how it to me.  But it is one of my favorites to use. 


The letter of the Day is B!

Friday, January 21st, 2011

B is for Bernadette Curran.

B is for Joe Bennion.

B is for Clive Bowen.

B is for Blair Meerfeld. 

I got Bernadette’s sweet little cup, in Philadelphia at The Works Gallery, now it’s called Synderman-Works Gallery.  I just love that little guy it just had to come home with me.  The plate just followed me home, from the Alleghany’s Art Stream.

Years ago a friend of mine Jack McClellan started a little pottery in Laramie, Wyoming.  He had Joe Bennion and Lynn Munns co-teach a week long workshop.   I didn’t really want to pay for the class since I don’t throw.  Eventually I became the cook for the week, for the workshop participants, I got paid to be up there and cook and even had time to make stuff.  It was good deal.  Joe gave me his video The Potter’s Meal and I bought cup and saucer.  I haven’t kept in touch with Joe, but Lynn Munns and I became fast friends.  His pots are coming later. 

I met Clive Bowen at Anderson Ranch.  I think I was teaching a kids class at the ranch.  I don’t remember.  All I can remember is that I was always wandering in and out of his workshop. 

Isn’t Blair Meerfeld’s teapot just beautifully simple?  I use to have two cups, but over the years one got broken.  They are so thin.  I love the wire handles and gorgeous salt glaze too.

The ABC’s of Ceramics

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

I’ve always wanted to do a couple of blog posts about the pots I own, but didn’t know quite how to go about doing this…  Well, I’ve come up with an idea; a few weeks ago I was catching up on (Mud)Bucket and was enjoying looking at all the mugs Jesse Lu has collected over last year.  I was thinking what a great idea I want to buy a mug every month and share them on my blog.  Then I looked at how many I already have, I can’t neglect them.  Well, I forgot about the idea for a couple of days, then I was playing with my son and we were putting together an alphabet puzzle, and I was helping him by saying, A is for alligator, B is for bear, …. I is for igloo, J is for Juggler, I looked up and saw my Christa Assad cream and sugar set, and I thought A is for Assad.   I grabbed a sheet of paper and started writing down the names of all the potters in my house.  And I thought I can do this, I can do the ABC’s of Ceramics according to me.  I initially thought I’ll set up my photo tent and start taking pictures of my pots.  Well, I wasn’t really excited about this idea, when I take photos of my stuff, I clean my studio so clay doesn’t get all over my tent, I’m not very good with taking images, and I thought taking those types of images might come across the wrong way.  I thought the pictures I take for my new ABC’s of ceramics blog series has to be fun for me and hopefully for anyone who chooses to read my blog. 

I started this idea about three weeks ago, taking pictures, but still I wasn’t getting the right feel for what I had in mind.  I kept thinking I want to make this fun, I’m only on A and this isn’t fun for me. 

I set up a couple of rules for myself; 

1.       I can’t stress about the photos.

2.       I have to have fun.

3.       The photos shouldn’t take themselves too seriously.

Yesterday, I was playing with some of the apps on my phone, and BANG, the idea for my alphabet post was finished mulling around in my head.  I would take all the images for my new series, with my phone using some of the funky apps I have. 

So without further adieu… Here is my first of twenty six posts…..

A is for Christa Assad.

A is for Annie Chrietzberg.

A is for Albion Stafford.

A is for Jesse Armstrong.

Some of these guys I met a while ago and they are changed their style a lot since I have acquired these pots.  Christa Assad I met at Anderson ranch, and she bought a handmade book I made while I was there about ironing.   Albion was the one of the residents at Carbondale Clay Center.  I was taking classes  so I could have studio space, he was really great to get to know.  Annie Chrietzberg did an interview on my blog.  My husband bought the pots from Jesse Armstrong while he was a resident at Anderson Ranch. 

I have no idea how long this will take me to get through the entire alphabet, but I’m looking forward to doing it.