Connie Norman
Connie Norman

Archive for the ‘Ceramics’ Category

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.

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!



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!

New York, New York

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Last month I went to New York City to help jury the Scholastic Art Award in ceramics and sculpture.  It was a great trip.  We had lively discussions judging the artwork.  I was on a jury with two other judges, one was an artist, she made sculptures, and the other was a writer/art critic.  In the past when I juried the Scholastic Art Award for Minnesota, I did it at home on-line.   All three of us came from such diverse backgrounds and different aesthetics.  I was the only one who was a teacher.  Jurying artwork for me is never easy.  I know, the hope that each student has as they are entering their work.  I wish we could have given feedback to students and teachers as their work was eliminated.  But alas that is not how the art world works.  Welcome to the Art World kids, you have to become your own critic.

I’m sorry I don’t have images to show you of the work we selected.

Kris, Me, Hilarie, Deb

This was the best art trip, I got to see old friends Hilarie Goodenough and Kris Musto, and travel with my good friend and pottery buddy Deborah Britt.   Hilarie and I went to Alfred together, it was so good to see her and catch up.  She is now an art teacher at a private school called, The Town School in Manhattan.  I took one morning to visit her school.  It was amazing to visit such a posh and amazing school. Hilarie has a great art program and the kids and the school are lucky to have her!!  I got tons of lesson ideas from talking to her!  Kris is a college recruiter for MCAD, and she used to run the Scholastic Art Award for Minnesota.  Deb has been my traveling partner for several trips now.  I’m so lucky to have great friends with similar interests.

Please enjoy the slide show of the Town School.

  • A student work area.
  • Student work area.
  • Look wooden lockers, kids putting on ties!
  • The play ground on top of the building.

The Brooklyn Bridge

The first trip to NYC, my American studies Professor Eric Sandeen told me to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.  I took him up on that suggestion, and have done it several times since then.  It is a beautiful walk.  I recommend that you walk from the Brooklyn side to the Manhattan side.  As you walk to Manhattan you can see the Statue of Liberty and picturesque skyline.   It is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States, and I really get a sense of history walking across it.

Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party

This time we went to the Brooklyn Museum to see Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party.  It was amazing!  I’ve always heard so much about it, but to see it in person was incredible.  I always thought Judy Chicago had made it all herself.  After looking at it for only a few minutes you realizes there is NO way she could have made this alone.  I really enjoyed learning how she brought all these women together to complete this vision of The Dinner Party.  This was my first trip to the Brooklyn Museum and it was well worth the trip.

The Guggenheim

Of course here is my gratuitous shot of the Guggenheim.  Deb and I went to see the Picasso Black and White exhibition. The show explored Picasso’s use of black, white and grey values, in his artwork.  I’ve never seen so many Picasso’s in one place before.

I’ve been to NYC several times since 9-11 but have never visited Ground Zero.  On this trip Deb and I went to the site.  Recently I read Breaking Ground: An Immigrant’s Journey from Poland to Ground Zero by Daniel Lebeskind.  I’m not generally an architecture fan, but I read the book in two days.  I love how Libeskind thinks of architecture as sculpture.  This trip I had to go see it for myself.  Freedom Towers are beautiful.  The 9-11 Memorial is moving to say the least.  Here is a short slide show of the memorial. 

  • The Pod Hotel at night.
  • The mod hallway at the Pod.
  • My room.
  • The Salvation Taco the restaurant at the Pod.
  • Ping Pong anyone? While your having your tacos you can work it off with a little ping pong.

We stayed at The Pod Hotel.  I was worried about finding an affordable place to stay in New York, and Kris told me about the Pod Hotel.  It is really reasonable.  It doesn’t have all the frills of a five star hotel, but it is super hip, very contemporary, and in a great location.  Our Pod was right by the Chrysler Building.  BTW, I tried to sweet talk the guy at the Chrysler Building to let us go up to the top, and I thought he was going to say yes, because we were from Wyoming, but no deal. 

Josh DeWeese’s jar.

Naturally, we had to see some pots!  Deb and I went to Greenwich House Pottery for Josh Deweese’s reception with Peter Callas.  Deb is good friends with Peter so he drove in from New Jersey to see her, Josh’s reception and dinner.  BUT…, the surprise of the night was I ran into Kurt Anderson at Greenwich House.  He was featured on my blog awhile back, check out his interview here.  We really had a western contingent at the Pottery that night, Deb and I from Wyoming, Josh from Montana, and Kurt who I know from Laramie, Wyoming many years ago.  Kurt now lives just out of  NYC now.  But I still consider him a western boy.             (You can see Peter behind Josh’s jar checking his phone.)

Mud, Sweat and Tears

One night we were trying to see the High Line, but it was closed, as we were walking looking for the entrance, we walked by Mud, Sweat and Tears Pottery.  What a great name!  So, we stopped in to check it out.  People were happily making pots!  My next trip I will get to see the High Line! 

Parting shot from Evolution.  Raccoon penis bones anyone?  Only $8 dollars! 

A New Home for Envy!

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

The other day I got a two great Christmas gifts from two customers from The Holiday Studio Sale at Bonnie Lebesch in Fort Collins, Colorado!  I received an email from Colleen showing where she has my vessel Envy in her house!  It looks like I have prime real estate in her house.  What a treat to see the new home for my work.

Later that day this card from Mickey Bookstaber was in my mail box. I met her during the Bonnie’s Holiday Studio Sale also .  She came up to me and said she recognized my work from the NCECA show; Uncommon Ground: Impact and Influence in Arvada, the show was back in 2011.  That in itself is the greatest gift to have someone remember your work from over a year ago.  She said she had taken a close up of my vessel and was using that image for cards, and she sent me one.  This absolutely made my day.


Here are some pictures of the show @ Bonnie’s right before things really got going!  It was really a great set up.  Bonnie lives just a block off of Old Town in Ft. Collins, Colorado, which has great shopping.  So lots of people were out Christmas shopping.  The show was fast and furious, and we always had a big crowd.  I hope we can make it an annual show and sale.


 Here we all are… starting from the left…     Laurie Beth Zuckerman, Lili Francuz, Jacque Ristau, Shana Salaff and me, seated in the middle is Bonnie Lebesch.

Jonathan Kaplan @ Laramie County Community College

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

My dear friend Jonathan Kaplan had a show at Laramie County Community College last month.  If you are a regular reader of this blog you will know that Jonathan is the owner of Plinth Gallery in Denver, Colorado.  (It is also one of the galleries that I have my work.)  Jonathan’s solo show named Ceramic Forms was up for the month of November, and it was a fantastic show.  Jonathan explored three forms for his show, the double walled basin, the teapot and the tray, and many of his pieces were standing on his trademark plinth.  I am proud that world class ceramics graces our town upon occasion.  Jonathan also gave the students of LCCC a workshop.  I really enjoyed his workshop, it was funny and extremely informative.

I’ve taken many workshops at Plinth Gallery and also taught one, and Jonathan is clearly in charge there but after introductions he becomes a part of the audience. But the biggest reason I loved Jonathan’s workshop was got to see him front and center teaching and explaining his work.  It was great to see Jonathan as workshop guru!




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!

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 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.



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!


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

Sandi Pierantozzi Workshop

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012


Last month I took Sandi Pierantozzi’s workshop at Plinth Gallery, while she was out in the Wild West. I loved Sandi’s work for years, and I’m so pleased that I actually got to meet her in person, feature her on my blog and take a workshop from her. Life is pretty good! This images doesn’t do her workshop justice, what you don’t get in these pictures are her warm and funny personality. She is so generous with her time and expertise! I wish the workshop was longer than two days.

She also showed how to use CircleMatic Form Finder Templates, they are an amazing tool. I’ve been having fun making things from the set I picked up!

This little guy gets to come home with me after the show!