Connie Norman
Connie Norman

Archive for the ‘The Collection’ Category

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.


Wednesday, May 12th, 2010


Here is the family with our new drinking ware .  (Vander had to have a little help with his cheers.)  We are  taking them out for our first drive.  The tumbler in my hand is made by Brooke Noble.  It is sporting a beautiful woodpecker.  On the other side, it says “PECKER”, which just cracks me up.  The pottery pilsner is made by Jim Gottuso of Sofia’s Dad’s Pots.  The other side of it has a hand imprinted on to it, for better gripping power, after a few.  And last cup is a Diego cup of Go Diego Go fame.  Brooke’s tumbler followed me home from NCECA, Jim’s pilsner came to us via the mail from Jim’s Esty shop, and Van picked out his Diego cup from the Tar – zhary boutique.  As I opened the box that had Jim’s cup, I found a cute little surprise from Jim’s assistant, the amazing Sofia (aka “the bug”), she slipped in a little tile that she made.

I wish I could make these…

Monday, December 28th, 2009


What a lucky girl I am!!! I want to share my beautiful Christmas presents from my incredible husband. He gave me wonderful ceramics, from amazing artists.keiffer

The first is the Lil’ House Vase form made by Kristen Kieffer.  I’ve loved Kristen’s work for a long time.  I love the layering of detail on her ceramics, it is extravagant, but not overdone.  It’s been really nice to hold and touch her work, because so often when I’ve seen Kieffer’s work in shows, it’s look but not touch.  The satin glaze breaks so beautifully over the slip trailing, I love when one color of glaze works so well on a piece. 

To see more of Kristen’s work go to her website it’s worth the trip.  I am very happy to give this lil’ house a new home.

The next two pieces are made by Kari Radaschthe collection 001I had the chance to meet her in Cheyenne a few years ago, when she gave a workshop at Laramie County Community College and I bought one of her butter  dishes (in her old style). 

Again these pieces are much more appreciated in person, rather from a photo.  I love the playfulness of her new work.  They are sophisticated pieces of pottery in technique and skill, but when you look at them, they have the innocents of children’s drawings.  Take a tour of Kari’s website

kari radsch kari radsch2

Then  I received from my husband a plate made by Ginny Sims.  I was in Minneapolis, Minnesota last July and saw her work at the Northern Clay Center, then I went to teach my class at The Carbondale Clay Center and she was having a solo show there.  I got to spend five days with her work, every  morning before my class started, I was alone in the gallery so I got to fondle her ceramics, with just a little bit of guilt, good thing I didn’t drop anything while I was sneaking peaks.  Here I am again attracted to pottery with decals.  What made me want this piece was the text (of course) the surprise when you turn it over.    Take a peak at Ginny’s website

the collection 003 the collection 004

Kristen, Kari and Ginny welcome to my home.  You will be well cared for here!!!

Todd, thank you so much for my amazing gifts.  I had a very Merry Merry Christmas!

Gillian Parke – I wish I made it…

Monday, December 7th, 2009

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Last Christmas my husband surprised me with these.   I do wish I could make something this fantastic.  What I love about this piece is how she combines Shigaraki stoneware and the look of fine porcelain.  I really respect the way she works the contrast in her work.  When I was studying pottery in Tokoname, Japan, I loved using the Shigaraki-aki (stoneware).  Gillian’s piece reminds me of my time in Japan, and my current life now.

I wish I made it…

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

I absolutely love Gena Fowler’s artwork. I became acquainted with her ceramics when I took a class from Santa Fe Clay. Her work is almost always whimsical with a political bent. I find her work irresistible because of sense of humor. I was really glad when I found one of her pieces for my very own. Now her salt and pepper shakers spice up our lives on a daily basis.

I wish I made it…

Monday, November 16th, 2009


I wish I made it…

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After seeing Steven Colby’s blog and his, “I wish I made it…” posts, I started thinking I want to do that.  So here is my first post. 

At the Pittsburg NCECA I ran across this little Kathy King mug at  the Santa Fe Clay’s La Mesa Show.  I fell in love with it, and had to have it.  I love sgraffito and have always wished my drawing skills were better so I could do it.  I have always loved the look of woodcuts and Kathy King’s work is the best of both worlds for me.  I really appreciate Kathy use of color with her sgraffito.  When I teach sgraffito to my 8th and 9th graders I always bring in my mug to show them. 

Just in case you don’t know sgraffito (pronounced scra-fee-toe) ), an Italian word meaning, “to scratch”, is a technique developed in the eastern Mediterranean in the 1st century B.C. and its development spread with the Roman Empire. A stain is added to the clay slip and brushed onto the pot; it is absorbed into the clay forming a thin skin.   Then you carve through the colored slip with an assortment of craving tools.  And if you are Kathy king you will have a beautiful pot afterwards.