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Nancy Utterback – Plinth Gallery Artist Interview

October 2nd, 2012

Today’s interview is with Nancy Utterback, she is the director of the Boulder Pottery and is instrumental in bringing Flashpoint – An International Wood fire Exhibition to Plinth Gallery.  It’s been a pleasure getting to know Nancy via electronic communication.  She seems to be the “Flashpoint” for ceramic community in Boulder, Colorado.  I know in the very near future I will be taking a road trip to the Boulder Pottery Lab.  Enjoy the interview!

To learn more about Nancy visit her website and the Boulder Pottery Lab click here.

To learn more about Plinth Gallery click here.

“Plinth Gallery and The Boulder Pottery Lab present, Flashpoint-An International Wood Fire Exhibition”, a two-month juried show of wood-fired ceramics. Juror John Balistreri, Professor of Ceramics at Bowling Green University in Bowling Green, OH, has selected an exemplary collection of 50 pieces for this exhibition. The works for this show demonstrate a diversity of style by contemporary ceramic artists who continue to use this ancient tradition of firing with wood.” – Jonathan Kaplan – Plinth Gallery

Flashpoint opens First Friday, October 5th 2012, from 5pm-10pm with an artist reception and awards ceremony. A special wood kiln demonstration, construction, and firing, is scheduled for November 2nd and 3rd at Plinth Gallery, to coincide with Denver Arts Week.

Plinth Gallery 3520 Brighton Blvd Denver CO

Tell us a little about yourself!

I am a Colorado native. I grew up in and around Boulder, I went to school in Boulder and I have worked at the Boulder Pottery Lab since 1991. I always knew I was an artist. I started out studying painting and printmaking, first at DU and then at CU, but it was love at first touch with clay. I have never looked back. Today, after more than 30 years in clay I still can’t wait to get to the studio. I have a full time job running a teaching facility and teaching classes and I work 20 or 30 hours a week in my own studio.

It may sound like I don’t have a life beyond working in clay, but I do. I am married and have a wonderful dog name Word who is a year and a half old. My days are filled with hikes in the mountains, walking with Word in the park, drawing, making pots, firing and spending time with great friends.

I’m active in my community. I sit on the board of Studio Arts Boulder, run the Boulder Wood Fire group and wood fire research project and I teach pottery to people with mild traumatic brain injuries.   

How were you instrumental in bringing Flash Point: An International Wood Fire Exhibition to Plinth Gallery?

I started the Boulder Wood Fire Group in 2006 to help me conduct the Wood Fire emissions research project. Last year I was contacted about a wood firer, Hiroshi Ogawa in Oregon. He was celebrating his 50th year in clay and was thinking about an exhibition that would tour the country. I contacted Jonathan at Plinth and asked about doing a show. Hiroshi didn’t end up having a touring exhibition but that idea planted the seed for the show and Jonathan was generous enough to let me be involved in the Flash Point exhibition.

I love the communal sharing of the wood firing, and it sounds like you have created quite the community of wood fire potters in Boulder, will you tell us the story how all this came about.

I was doing a lot of the American Craft shows around the country including Baltimore and San Francisco. I found myself interested in all the wood fired work I was seeing. After attending a NCECA conference I became determined to learn more about wood firing.

Hiroshi Ogawa was having community firings at his studio in Elkton Oregon. He watched me as I circled his booth at every show and eventually we started talking. He invited me to come to Oregon to fire. I set out with the idea of changing the surface of my work, working on larger forms and learning more about the firing process. I packed up the van and headed to Oregon in March of 1996.

It took us 3 days to load the kiln. Working side by side with potters from all over the country I began to realize how little I knew. We were looking at the work in a new way, but we were really beginning to give ourselves up to the idea of collaborating with fire in a process that had consumed most of us for decades.

I started out thinking I would learn a new way to reach for personal expression. I fantasized I would add another tool to my tool belt. While I always realized that working in clay is a kind of meditation, a prayer of sorts, I never really understood the Zen of clay until that very first wood firing. By the time we had loaded the kiln, my world had expanded and I was no longer just interested in my work, I was obsessed with the entire 400 cubic feet of work. Every pot in the kiln was important to me and I knew that I would be connected to each potter in the firing crew for the rest of my life.

A wood fired kiln is quiet. You may have a crew of 8, 10 or 12 potters working at once. Each potter stoking in a rhythm, working as one for the crew leader. I had to dig down deep to keep up my energy and to understand the kiln, every move we made seemed counter intuitive. I began to understand that clay had always been my teacher and now the wood kiln was taking my education to a new and profound level.

I fired in Oregon for about 6 years, each year learning more. I began to think about building a kiln in Boulder where my students and colleagues could share a similar experience. I finally decided to propose building a wood fire kiln to the City of Boulder. I was required to get a permit and when I went into apply for the permit I was told that they would not allow a wood kiln in Boulder. I started to leave but I turned around and asked “why”? The guy behind the desk stood still for a moment and then said he didn’t know.

After returning to the lab I decided to try and find out why the planning department didn’t want us to fire with wood. I sent out a request for help to the combustion-engineering department at CU and immediately heard back from Michael Hannigan. He was a combustion engineer and he was willing to help me. We decided to do a wood kiln emissions research project.

We got permission to build two kilns and do the research project for the next 3 years.  I worked with Michael Hannigan and John Zhai from CU and we teamed up with Jeff Sorkin from the US Forestry department. You can read all about the research in Studio Potter Magazine.

What other clay artist influenced you if any and why?

As a self-taught potter it is difficult to identify influence. I think that everything we see, hear, feel influences the work we make. Every potter I have had the opportunity to watch work has left a mark on me. From Hamada to Cardew,  Picasso to Ruth Duckworth , Lucy Rie and Hans Coper to contemporary potters like Michael Simon, Jeff Oestreich, Ron Myers, David Shaner, Don Reitz, Betty Woodman—the list goes on.

Tell us about the history of the Boulder Pottery Lab.

The Pottery Lab was started in 1954 and in 1956 Betty Woodman convinced the City of Boulder to move it into the old fire station #2 at 1010 Aurora. Betty set up an educational program for students as young as 4 and as old as 94.

Betty had come to Boulder with her husband George who was teaching art at CU. Betty decided to offer classes for spouses of professors and other individuals looking for a challenge. Her program was so well thought out that we continue to run the program in almost the same way. Over the years the program has been run by other well-known potters such as Steve Briggs, Kate Inskeep, David Clinkenbeard and currently myself.

The Lab has a great reputation as a teaching facility; we have 20 wheels, 5 electric kilns, 3 gas kilns and a Raku kiln. We have 2 extruders, slab roller and a pug mill. In 2006 we built an Anagama wood kiln and in 2009 we built a Bourry box kiln. The program continues to thrive. There are 140 adults and 110 children that go through the program every 9 weeks. Many potters in the area took classes at the lab and many have returned to teach at the lab.

What is most inspirational to you?

Clay. When I see, smell or touch clay, my heart opens. Music, nature, color and laughter all enter the studio and keep me going, but it is truly clay itself, the way it moves, breaths, changes and teaches that inspires me.


Has a significant personal experience shaped your work?

I come from a fairly large family. Privacy was non-existent. I began keeping a journal when I was very young. Writing helped me find out who I was and helped me get away from the chaos. My work still integrates my journal entries with my clay forms and I experience the same kind of relief from the pressures of the world. Love, loss, happiness and despair all find their way onto my pieces sometimes through a drawing and sometimes just written between the lines.

What techniques do you usually work with and what is your favorite tool?

I am a thrower and a hand-builder. I throw and alter my forms and for more extreme or precise forms I turn to hand building. I build surfaces with slips, glazes, washes, and stains. My pieces are fired in atmospheric kilns using salt, soda and/or wood ash.

My favorite tool in my first treadle wheel. It came to me magically and changed the way I work.

You are mostly creating pottery pieces. How would you explain your attraction for functional ceramics?

We sometimes think that our lives are made up of extraordinary experiences. Our visit to the art museum or a once in a life time trip to Paris. But for me, the most sacred moments are ordinary. The sharing of a good meal with someone you love, an intimate conversation over a cup of tea, the washing of dishes at the end of the party standing side by side with your best friend. These are the moments I treasure and these are the moments I celebrate with functional pots.

What do you love most about your studio?

Privacy. I am by nature an introvert. I love walking those 10 feet from my back door to my studio and sinking into that sacred creative space that brings out the best in me.

 

What advice can you give aspiring artists struggling to find their own voice and look?

Make pots. Make lots of pots. Our voice comes with experience and confidence. Be honest, tell the truth, the whole truth in your work.

Casper College Workshop

September 27th, 2012
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I’m back from Casper College!  My workshop went well.  I am pleased how things turned out anyway!  The students of Mike Olson’s ceramic classes made me feel very welcomed.  They seemed to be interested in my techniques.  I have one college kid come up to me and say, “I have to leave to study for a math test.”  Then he didn’t leave and he came back to me and said, “Connie Norman only will be here once I’d better stay.”  That statement made me feel pretty good.  I do enjoy teaching workshops.  I always learn tons from the students in the workshop; I feel they are always a great exchange of ideas.  I always come back with great ideas and really feeling recharged.

Georgia Rowswell – Artist Interview

September 12th, 2012

Today’s interview is with Georgia Rowswell.  Georgia is a force of nature in the art world.  She moved in with gale force winds and conquered Cheyenne’s bleak art scene.  She has worked tirelessly to help rejuvenate our town, by opening The Artful Hand Gallery, starting the Art, Design and Dine: Art Tour, serving on the board of the Hynds Building & Lights On project to bring an art center to our downtown.  On top of all that she works with the artists in the area, by freely giving advice, representing their work, and most importantly bringing us all together.  Georgia is completely inspirational in all that she does for the arts.  She recently has been featured in The Great Lakes Airlines in flight magazine Peaks and Plains, and she landed the cover! (To read her interview in Peaks and Plains click here.)  Such a well deserved honor for her!  Congratulations Georgia, I wish you continued success!

For more information on Georgia please visit her website.  http://www.artfulhand.org/

And to learn more about Art, Design and Dine, make the jump to http://artdesigndine.org/

 Did you grow up with an awareness of art?  Let’s go back to the very beginning—how did you become an artist?

I give my parents and especially my mother, Dot Stiefler, a lot of credit in nurturing my life as an artist.  Handwork was her constant quest from my earliest memories to the end of her life. Through my mother, I gained a rich understanding of textiles and the traditional “woman’s arts”. My parents never discouraged my pursuit of a career in the arts, an attitude I tried to practice with my own children. Its not about the money you can make in a job, its about doing what you love.

 Has a significant personal experience shaped your work?

Moving from Atlanta to Wyoming in 2008 caused a seismic shift in my work. In Atlanta I was harvesting and working in bamboo,which of course is nothing that will ever grow in Wyoming! I had to reinvent myself and find a new way to express the West in my voice. The one constant in my work has been subject matter, the land. Wyoming presented totally new vistas for this East Coast born and bred girl.

A year after arriving in Cheyenne, I was given the opportunity do a residency at Jentel in Banner Wyoming. It offered me the time and space to explore my Western voice and set me on the right artistic track. This October, I will be starting my second Wyoming residency at Brush Creek in Saratoga. I am really excited to see what comes out of it!

 

 I love that your blog has the tagline Two Artists-One Life, please tell us about your husband, his artistic skills and how he inspires you. 

My husband Dave, is a high school art teacher at East High in Cheyenne. He is a talented and patient teacher with the gift of encouragement. He has always been my cheerleader, encouraging and enabling me in my career. Dave’s art takes him in totally different directions than mine. He is a sculptor and loves to draw the figure (two areas I have little talent in ). Sometimes we are dangerous together when we start with,”what if you did this…” or “ we should make this…” The idea well never runs dry at our house. When our two kids Ian and Abby are home it gets worse! Add to that a new daughter-in-law that’s an artist and the Rowswell house explodes with creative and sometimes crazy ideas!

Your devotion to art is inspirational; your gallery is also your house, can you explain how this idea came about? 

When I came back from my Jentel residency I decided I needed to get busy and add to the artistic life of Cheyenne. I sold the sofa set and proceeded to turn our living room into a gallery. I said, “who needs a living room? Doesn’t everyone  hang out in the kitchen anyways”! With the expense of renting commercial space and the uncertainty of the economy, an in-home gallery seemed like a smart move. Right after we started the gallery my sister Nancy, sent me a  NY Times article about NYC artists doing exactly the same thing! Who knew Cheyenne was so hip!

Next I decided that the city needed a monthly art tour that would include our gallery, Artful Hand. My goal was to raise the profile of the arts and artists in the city and region. Currently in its third year,  Art Design & Dine has seen steady growth and has been very well received by the community and city officials.

What other artists influenced you and why?

I am attracted to unusual materials and artists that focus on texture, pattern and color. I really connect with El Anatsui’s large scale liquor bottle, metal cap art. I love the, something from nothing approach to art. Using something small and insignificant and giving it new meaning. El Anatsui says of his work,

“ I saw that if you have a scale that is petty, using discarded media, than the work is going to be petty- in fact too petty for anybody to bother about trying to listen too. On a larger scale it becomes more effective. Its like the saying, ‘If you meet one ant, you’re not going to notice but if you meet an army of them…’ So, the kinds of media that I use are like ants. One is not effective, but many are”

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?  Where do you find inspiration for your work?

I am a full-time artist working in the studio and presenting workshops around the state. Coming up with ideas has always been the easy part for me. Winnowing them down and extracting and executing the best ones is the challenge. When I talk to students and groups about creativity, I always say, “keep your eyes and mind open. Inspiration can come from anywhere. From fascinating museum exhibits to the composition form by cracks in the sidewalk. When an idea emerges, I make a few notes and thumbnail drawings in my sketchbook. Sometimes I work on an idea right away and sometimes it needs to wait for the concept to fully develop. 

What do you love most about your studio?

Getting to it! I spend the morning answering emails, working on art tour business and generally checking off my to do list. Then I allow myself to enter, “art La La land” That timeless state an artist goes into when working on a piece. If I have an appointment later in the day, I literally set an alarm to pull me out of La La Land and back into reality. 

What advice can you give aspiring artists struggling to find their own voice and look?

Keep working, struggling and searching. Find one or two like-minded people you can bounce ideas off of and count on for constructive criticism. Make work that is true to your heart and vision and not what the market demands. “In large measure becoming an artist consists of learning to accept yourself, which makes your work personal, and in following your own voice, which makes your work distinctive.” Art and Fear Observations on the Peril (and Rewards) of Artmaking

 

 

Pots at Rest @ The Clay Studio

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!

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

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!

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!

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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!

Wordless Wednesday

August 8th, 2012

Don Davis – Plinth Gallery Artist Interview

July 20th, 2012
This month’s Plinth Gallery Artist interview is with Don Davis.
Exhibition Dates:
August 3 – September 29
First Friday August 3
Second Saturday August 11
For more information please visit Plinth Gallery’s website.  Or if your int the area please visit the beautifully designed Plinth Gallery @ 3520 Brighton Blvd, Denver Colorado.
Don Davis’s dedication to clay work is due to an enduring love for the material and the processes of forming and firing it. Most of his work has been wheel thrown porcelain forms although he has pursued many other ceramic techniques. Davis’ early work focused on form, surface treatment and the concepts of duality, indicated by the play between interior and exterior which provided sufficient content. His latest work with terra cotta has become more sculptural and involves content of a more specific yet complex nature. While the natural world and ancient traditions provide the greatest inspiration for him, he allows his work to take its own unique contemporary direction. At its best, that direction is a cooperative effort between the clay, the fire and myself. – Jonathan Kaplan Plinth Gallery
Don sent this interview from Italy!  Grazie e buon divertimento!

For more informatin on Don and his artwork please make the jump to his website.

Don Davis will conduct a 2 day participatory workshop at the Gallery August 4-5.The workshop will demonstrate both wheel thrown and hand built forming methods. Starting with bowl forms and moving on to composite pieces constructed from components formed by various methods. Discussion will focus on clay choices related to form, using wild materials, the importance of improvising, the challenge of throwing thick or thin, relating surface treatments & firing methods to our particular forms, and staying open to new possibilities while exercising personal choices toward your desired results. Ceramic history and cultural influences will be discussed as fundamental inspiration for our own contemporary philosophy and work.  Please call the gallery for more information and to register for this highly instructive workshop. Graduate college credit is available through Adams State College.  303 295-0717
For more informatin please visit the website of Plinth Gallery.

Let’s go back to the very beginning—how did you become a ceramicist?

Fell into it along the way.

Has a significant personal experience shaped your work?
Many
What other clay artist influenced you if any and why?
Chuck Hindes, Norm Schulman, & Jun Kaneko – significant input as teachers.
Where do you find inspiration for your work?
Ancient things.
What are you showing at Plinth Gallery this month? How did you come up with the title for the show?
Showing the tower forms influenced by ancient architecture, omphalos bowl forms, & muse baskets.
If they stuck with the title “transitions”, it references my transition from high temp, Asian influenced ware to my recent work in terra cotta.
Can you tell us a little bit about your book, “Wheel Thrown Ceramics”?
It was a great experience for me.
How do you maintain a healthy work and life balance?
Good food, wine, and keep a garden.
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 crafter to a businessperson. What have you learned so far and what advice can you give others in the same situation?
I was a full time studio artist for 22 years; now a university professor. Business (making a living) and the transfer of information (which can also be part of making a living) are both part of the profession.
Tell us about your studio. What do you love most about your studio?
It is comfy and right across the yard from my house.
What advice can you give aspiring artists struggling to find their own voice and look?
Keep an open mind and don’t be in too big of a hurry to “arrive”. Don’t follow trends; pay attention to the ancients!

Miss July!

July 16th, 2012

I am the Miss July! July artist of the month that is, here in little ol’ Cheyenne, Wyoming. The organization Arts Cheyenne and our local paper the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle have been featuring the arts once a month. They have been featuring the visual arts, literary and the performing arts. It’s been nice to read about all the different artists we have in town. I’ve known most of the visual artists but not in performing or literary! If you want to see some of the other artists make the jump here. I really appreciate Arts Cheyenne recognizing the arts; it’s nice to know that we have art advocates here in Wyoming. If you know some great artists from our area that you think should be featured please go to this link to nominate them!