Connie Norman
Connie Norman

Posts Tagged ‘ceramics with text’

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

080812-43 080812-38 080812-45 080812-53


080812-28 080812-27

080812-10 080812-17 080812-14

080812-24 080812-20 080812-23



ConnieNorman-Exhibit_poster12 copy

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!

Governor’s Capitol Art Exhibition 2012

Thursday, July 5th, 2012


This year the Governor’s Capitol Art Exhibit new home was in the Hynds Building, instead of the Wyoming State Museum. The GCAE (Governor’s Capitol Art Exhibit) is a way for our state officials to pick out art work for their offices and to grow the art collections of our state buildings. All the artists in the show are from Wyoming, with Cheyenne having the most artists represented in this year’s show. The juror for this year’s show was Carl McQueary. I had two of my three pieces juried in!

An Instagram shot of my work at the Hynds.

During the reception I talked to David Newell, the curator for the State Museum and the organizer of the show, about why he choose to move the GCAE to the Hynds, he said that the show had out grown the Wyoming State Museum, and he couldn’t display oversized work at the museum. This year’s show represented 70 works of art and in the past the show has hosted around 50 pieces. But because of having to rent the Hynds this year’s show was only two days long rather most of the summer like it usually has been. For Cheyenne the reception is a big night, the Governor and First Lady make speeches, the purchase awards are announced, lots of elected officials are milling around. And the last big change they made was; if you were accepted to the GCAE then you were able to set up a booth in the next room with your artwork, called Artist Alley.

Reception @ The GCAE!

Now for my opinion, I have been in the GCAE many times. I have mixed feelings about all the changes this year. I don’t mind that David wants to mix things up, and this was great for the Hynds Building. Since the show helped to get more revenue and exposure for the Hynds, and maybe one step closer to achieve their goal of becoming an art center.  (Here is an earlier post about the Hynd’s Builiding.)

But,………………….. I was sad to see the show up for only two days, and the Hynds still needs lots of work, the walls are still in disrepair and the vent system is hanging down. David called the Hynds SoHo-esque, I think it is more like the movie Brazil. (Check out the post about here.) I went down the second day of the show to really see it since it is almost impossible to see art during a reception, there were lots of people there looking at art. So the two day event made people go down to see the show, instead of procrastinating all summer, then missing it all together.

GCAE reception

Here  are a few of my favorites from The Governor’s Capitol Art Exhibit.  If you are interested in seeing the whole show make the jump to this link.

Georgia Rowswell, Cheyenne, Wyoming

Tony James, Cheyenne, Wyoming

Michele Farrier, Alta, Wyoming

Ginnie Madsen, Laramie, Wyoming

Lynn Newman in Artist Alley.



The Winner is…..

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

The Winning Ticket

Van showing off one of the winning tickets!

  Our son Vander drew the winning tickets for my raffle at Plinth Gallery Sunday morning! 

I want to thank everyone that bought a raffle ticket; it was so generous of you.  Your support will go a long way for the needy.  A little over $1,300 dollars was raised, which will go for much needed supplies.  This was more than I ever expected!!  I would like to especially thank Jonathan and Dorothy at Plinth Gallery; they were especially instrumental in this endeavor. 

Since everyone was extremely generous, I decided to add two more pots into the drawing.  So, there was a first, second and third place winner.  Again, many thanks to those that want to make a difference in the world, I can’t express my gratitude. 

And the winners are…. 

1st place for the vessel Anya Peterson-Fray, 2nd second place Jennifer & Fred Rife, 3rd place Roberta Hawks!! 


In other but related news….
I am very honored that Ethiopian Orphan Relief, Inc. asked me to make a bowl, for the inaugural Lights of Hope Ambassador Award. Here is John and Anne Ferguson receiving their award.  Congratulations!

Ethiopian Orphan Relief, Inc. has long recognized the importance of the commitment to their donors and the orphaned and vulnerable children in Ethiopia. The Lights of Hope Ambassador Award recognizes a donor for their extraordinary commitment to supporting children in Ethiopia.

This year at Lights of Hope in Portland, Oregon they celebrated the inauguration of this award.

This award also reflects all that is great in people and how with their support of Ethiopian Orphan Relief we have been able to help so many of the orphan and vulnerable children in Ethiopia.

For more information: please visit their blog.
Lights of Hope Ambassadors

Lights of Hope Ambassadors Award for Ethiopian Orphan Relief


And my friend Abi Aldrich Paytoe Gbayee, saving the world one Band aide at a time!  She collection band aides for me to take to Ethiopia!  Thanks Abi for all your hard work! 

Connie Norman – Plinth Gallery Artist Interview – Me!

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011


I am really Talking to Myself! This week’s interview is mine!  I’ve had several people ask me to post my own interview.  Now I have FINALLY posted mine as part of the Plinth Gallery Series of interviews.  My show starts this First Friday, May 6, 6-9pm. Reception with Me!  Please come by and say, “Hello” if you’re in the area, it would be terrific to meet some of the people who read my blog!  I’m also teaching a workshop at Plinth on Saturday, May 7 from 9am to 5pm.  The cost is $85 which includes lunch from Fuel Café, which is unbelievably delicious.   If you are interested there is still room please contact Plinth Gallery by email or call 303-295-0717 for more information.

I’m posting my interview a little differently, Jonathan Kaplan was so kind to play guest interviewer and gave me some questions to answer.  His questions will be designated by –JK at the end of the question.  And just to be fair I answered my own questions that I have been asking artists for a year.  They are the second part of the interview.  I tried not to overlap answers, so if you read the entire interview you will have learned more than you would EVER want to know about me.

Here is what Jonathan wrote on Plinth’s website about my work.

“Connie Norman’s current work deals with inner dialogue, words, phrases, and “snippets of conversation” often inspired by stories from her life, memories, or things overheard, that are repeated again and again. She is fascinated by the rhythmic qualities created by color, texture, and patterns, and her application of text to her pieces enhance both the surface texture and the message itself.”

Plinth Gallery Curator Jonathan Kaplan describes Connie Norman’s ceramic work as, “Graphically bold in color and surface decoration. Her unique use of impressed words and phrases evokes our emotions as we ponder a connection to our individual experience. While her ceramics are a conversation with herself, we are invited into a dialog with the work and then really, with ourselves. Connie’s work has a message for many of us.” – Jonathan Kaplan

You have achieved quite a remarkable synthesis of form and surface. How do you decide which form merits which words? -JK

I think of my forms as a canvas to decorate.  But, as I’ve been making work for specific functions I try to think of words for specific forms.

Where do the words come from? Are they narratives in your head that result in being used on your work? What is the source of this dialog? – JK

The words on my pots are snippets of conversation.  Sometimes with myself, sometimes overheard, sometimes mantras I say to myself, they are all part of my life somehow.  In one of my pieces, I was thinking about my Father.  He was in the early stages of Alzheimer, as time went on I started to see how he was forgetting so much of his life.  I made a piece that said, “This is How Much I Remember.  This is How Much I Forgot.”  Since my Dad was just at the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s I put the line just off center.

Tell us something about your creative process. How did it evolve to its present structure? -JK

I also make mixed media sculptures.  The components of my sculptures are based on a fascination with the form and function of a common everyday object, the iron. I see my irons as shrines.  I use them as a vehicle to tell my stories, experiences and dreams.  Eventually these irons were covered in text.  Then one day my husband challenged me to make something beautiful.  I started a series of pots; I hadn’t made pots in years.  After making several pots, I noticed text jumped on to the surface.  It was a funny transition, at this point my clay irons were the size of true irons.   Then I started making very large vessels (21” to 23” inches tall) covered in text.

What is your cycle of work in your studio? I know you have a family and are a committed teacher. How do you balance your family obligations with your ceramic needs? -JK

I go full blast for months then I stop.  Then go back to full blast again.  But definitely I would not be able to what I do without my wonderful husband, Todd.  He supports me totally and completely.  Right now my schedule is I come home from work, spend time with my family and then I go to my studio around 8:30 PM and work until 1 or 2:00 AM, and then I get up at 6:00 AM for work.  I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without the help of my husband.  I know when I have a deadline this schedule is not the healthiest for me or anyone who comes within my a hundred yards of me.  When I don’t have a deadline looming, I try to go to bed earlier.  But I am a natural night owl.  And when I’m in my studio I’m always wide awake.  Sometimes I am thankful that I have regular job to keep me in the daylight or I might totally start living the graveyard shift.

For this show I started working months ago, and only made things dedicated for Plinth, to keep my cantankerous side at bay, by going to bed a little earlier.

Can you briefly describe how you lay out each piece and the process you work with? Your pieces have impressed lettering combined with graphic patterns. How do you begin your decoration process?-JK

My greatest satisfaction comes from thoroughly filling surfaces with color and finely detailed decoration.  My decorations start with the lettering since it is done while the piece is leather hard and the rest of the decoration is finished during glazing.  Decoration and the act of decorating are essential because it celebrates and enhances form and speaks purely of aesthetics.  I use pottery as a vehicle to explore decoration and other formal questions.  It allows me to investigate form, space and image.

I know you work with “hormonally challenged” kids, so to speak. How do you communicate the importance of a visual education when there are so many outside influences that perhaps seem to be more important in their minds? -JK

My role as an educator is to be an art cheerleader, I cheer to my students, adults, and colleagues alike. I teach as if this will be my student’s last and only year of art. I have to cover it all in such a short time. In this year, they will make art, write art, talk art; dream art and most of all appreciate art. Of course, I want my students to grow up and become rich and famous artists, but if they survive my “art boot camp” I know they will be lovers and appreciators of the arts.

What do you do to re-charge and re-in vigor your own creative energies? -JK

I love going to workshops!  When it was just the two of us, I would go to two week long workshops all over.  But now with a family I find it harder to get away for long period of time.  (Should say, I don’t want to go for as long.)  Now I look for shorter workshops.

The big thing I do now to re-charge my creative energies is write my blog.  I started the artist interviews, instead of running around the country taking workshops.  I still get to interact and learn from other artists.

You have been very successful in your ceramic career with exhibitions, publications, sales and commissions. What advice would you give upcoming ceramic artists to enhance their own careers in this highly competitive environment? -JK

I still feel like I have a lot to learn.  So I feel a little awkward giving advice, because I still go to workshops, and find artists to help me with my career.  I started out applying for national juried shows.  I would apply to ten and hope I got accepted to one.  At first it was really hard to read the rejection letters, they crushed me.  But eventually I was getting accepted into shows, and the rejection letters weren’t so devastating.  I apply for as much I can.  It is hard to balance making work and applying for opportunities.  I find I can’t do both at the same time.  I will do my administrative type work all at once, so I send out ten to twelve, and then go back to the studio.  And forget about them.

Now I am Talking to Myself, as usual!

Tell us a little about yourself!

I was born in Japan, and have been lucky enough study pottery in Tokoname for a summer.  My Mom is Japanese and has nine brothers and sisters.  I have a bigger family in Japan than I do here in the US!    Two and half years ago my husband and I adopted our son from Ethiopia.  Now I am so lucky to have two amazing kings of my heart.  I have a very international family.  My husband’s sisters are married to Brit and Australian. I teach junior high school students in a very large school, I am one of 5 art teachers.

How did you become an artist?

When I was in high school, my love with clay started.  It was my senior of high school and I was happy in my Home Ec. class, I asked the ceramics teacher if I could switch into her class.  From that point I have been on the same path, ceramics, art, clay.  My parents wanted me to go to college but they told me that I wouldn’t be one of those kids that switched majors every semester.  So I had to declare a major and stick to it.  I told them I wanted to be an art major and 20 plus years later, I still am.

Both my parents have always worked with their hands; my Dad was a gun smith always maintained a shop in very house we lived in.  My Mom always sewed our clothes, knitted, crocheted, made bread, and she was an avid Tole painter.  Although my parents weren’t what you would call artists, making things was a way of life for us.  I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t making something.

How would you describe your style? One of the hardest things for artists to do is to stand apart from everyone else. How long did it take you to come up with your own style and signature look?

It took me a long time to find a “style” and I feel like I am still learning and figuring out what is my artist voice.  But I guess I would describe my style as decorative.  When text first jumped onto my work, I was only making very large vessels.  (I still like to make them; I make a lot work now that masquerades as functional.)  As I made these vessels I thought about aesthetics and the act of decorating. As I moved into making objects that seem to have a function the idea of decorating was still the main focus of my work.  When I was in college I was a mixed media sculptor, and narrative was very important to me.  One as I was thinking of making some pots, the idea of narrative came to mind.  I have always love texture; the narrative became texture, with a glimpse of my private thoughts.

What keeps you motivated?

I’ve always love the quote from Tim Rollins, “It’s not passion, it’s a deadline.” I definitely work well under pressure.  Although I love my time in the studio, I have so many distractions that I can easily be pulled away.  So I make sure I always have something to work towards, to make sure I am in the studio at all hours of the night.  I try to make sure I am in my studio every day, some days I work for hours without even noticing how much time has passed, and sometimes I just go to my studio to look around, clean up, and gather my thoughts.

Are you a full-time artist? How do you come up with your creations? Can you walk us through your creative process when dreaming up new pieces?

No I am not a full-time studio artist to make my living.  But I do consider myself a full time artist, since I teach, breathe, dream, art.

All my work is slab construction.  Often times my process starts with an idea, but I have to dream up a way to make it.  So I will sketch out my idea, and then make patterns in paper to see how the form works.  Sometimes I think, I have this down, and I go to make a new shape without all the preplanning, then I usually have a really bad night in my studio.

What or who inspires you?

Thomas Hart Benton and Gustav Klimt.

How do you maintain a healthy work and life balance?

I definitely don’t have a balance. I am a full time art teacher at a public school, a three year old, and I’m trying to be a professional artist, I am definitely pulled from all directions.

I go full blast for months then I stop.  Then go back to full blast again.  But definitely I would not be able to what I do without my wonderful husband, Todd.  He supports me totally and completely.

You, like most people enjoy the process of making and didn’t get into it for the sake of “business”. But eventually you found yourself having to make the transition from artist to a businessperson. What have you learned so far and what advice can you give others in the same situation?

I have learned the business of art through trial and error.  And I still don’t really do the” business” part yet.  But I do keep my resume and portfolios updated and have a website, blog and Facebook page.  I’m not fond of doing the business end of being an artist.  I generally take time off from the studio, when I apply for solo shows, juried shows and fellowships; I try to get a bunch of applications and then do them all at once.

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

Go to you studio and work and work and work!  Try 10 or 20 variations to an idea, keep pushing an idea.  Don’t just stop at making one, work in a series.  So often I hear people say, “This summer I’ll make art.”  When I retire, I’m make art.”  When my kids get older I’ll make art.”  If you want to make art, just do it.  I do miss TV, socializing, and shopping.  (and many other activities)  I have whittled down my life to what is important to me, (family, art, work.)  But unfortunately I still don’t have it down or balanced.  And I feel like I miss out on a lot, but I am doing what I love.  Thank you Todd for all that you do for me! You are the love of my life!  We have the most incredible family.

New work for Among Friends Art Show And Clay for the Fight Against Cancer

Saturday, November 27th, 2010


CLAY FOR THE FIGHT AGAINST CANCERI am selling raffle tickets for a pair of my black and white salt and pepper shakers ($150) with the quote, “Add Spice to Your Conversation.”  Proceeds will go to my friend Heather Blakely Voyles who is battling breast cancer.  Heather is only 32 and just had a double mastectomy, hysterectomy, and her biopsy came back positive for malignant lymph nodes. Heather is a second grade teacher and will be missing the rest of the school year.

$1.33 for one ticket and $5.45 for six tickets.  

The weird prices for the raffle tickets are to offset the Paypal charges, so when I give Heather the proceeds of the raffle she will won’t have to share with Paypal. The drawing will Dec. 11 at the end of our Among Friend’s Art Show and Sale.  If you are buying a Paypal ticket I will fill out a raffle ticket for you for the physical drawing.  I will email the winner on December 12. 

Please pass this on to your friends.  


 Please excuse the horrible photos.  I’m still trying.  But any hoo, here some of the work that just came out of the kiln.

Small ice cream – cereal Bowls

artwork winter2010 089 artwork winter2010 087 artwork winter2010 090

artwork winter2010 085 artwork winter2010 082 artwork winter2010 081

artwork winter2010 077 artwork winter2010 075 artwork winter2010 073

Large Serving Style Bowls

Shallow Serving Style Platters

Small Oval Bowls

artwork winter2010 035 artwork winter2010 038

artwork winter2010 007

Small Vessels

artwork winter2010 115 artwork winter2010 110 artwork winter2010 107

Salt and Pepper Shakers

artwork winter2010 119 artwork winter2010 120

artwork winter2010 013 artwork winter2010 017

artwork winter2010 010 artwork winter2010 014

If by chance you see any work you interested in and do not live in the Cheyenne area, please feel free to email me at

Thanks Connie

If you live near me, please come to our show.


Among Friends Art Show and Sale
December 9, 10, 11
Artful Hand Gallery
302 East 1st Ave.
Dec. 9 Thursday 5-8 PM
Dec. 10 Friday 5-8PM
Dec. 11 Saturday 10 AM-5PM

My 100th post!!! And the Nicolaysen Art Museum’s 25th Annual Dinner and Auction!!

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

The Nicolaysen Art Museum presents the 25th Annual Dinner and Auction Gala

Here is my donated artwork for their auction.


Friday, September 10, 2010 at 6 p.m.
at the Nicolaysen Art Museum

Tickets: $150 Members or $175 Non Members

Master of Ceremonies: Brian Scott

Black Tie Optional

Cuisine by Chef Bernard of Armor’s


Hors D’oeuvres
Savory cheesecakes baked in delicate, flaky phyllo cups
Fresh mozzarella balls, basil and roasted red pepper skewers
Salty and sweet bacon knots
Assorted fresh cheese and relish display

Tuscan cranberry almond salad

Main Course
Succulent filet mignon with a balsamic & red onion
reduction sauce
Crisp haricots verts with jicama and peppers
Roasted baby fingerling potatoes

Creamy layered chocolate trifle


If your in the area The Nic is a great museum.  Please come to support them!!

And the winner is…..

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

Congratulations to Laurie Erdman.  

It was a really hard decision!!!

 I read all of them.  And I knew so many people on the comments personally.  I didn’t know if I would be able to choose objectively.  So I had a friend choose a winner for me.  She really struggled with it as well. 

Thank you to everyone who wrote in.  It was really nice to read everyone’s story.  All of them were touching in so many different ways.  It was so nice to get know people this way.  And also it was nice to see who is reading my blog.

I’m so Lucky!!!

Monday, July 19th, 2010

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


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

Lander Art Center –Potters of the Wind Rivers (POWR) Workshop!!

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

IMG_0862 I had a wonderful time in Lander giving the Potter’s of the Wind River (POWR)  a workshop.  It was a two day workshop last weekend.  Lander is about four hours from Cheyenne.  And it is the home of NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School).  When you arrive in Lander you notice something is a little different there, for a Wyoming town of almost 7,000 people.  It’s not your average conservative Wyoming town.  Because of NOLS Lander looks like and acts like it is a small Boulder, Colorado.  The people either are super athletic outdoorsy type or ranchers.  It is a very interesting mix.

I really love Lander, especially after this last visit.  All 15 spots filled in the workshop, and most of the people were experienced potters.  The pressure was on I had show them something new.  Thank Goodness I had a few tricks that no one had seen, such as my love of decorating with office supplies.

I started off showing everyone my glazing techniques, and my love of office supplies.  We spent the day glazing and did a quick fire that night, so everyone could see the results the next morning.  I did everything backwards for this workshop.  We glazed the first day and then made things the second day, I figured I do everything backwards this just made sense to me.


Here I’m showing everyone my deep dark secret.  Garage sale dots and a paper punch.

summer 2010 052summer 2010 048

Here are pictures of everyone working away.

summer 2010 057

Some of the stuff that came out of the kiln.

summer 2010 065

summer 2010 067

The second day of the workshop building stuff with slabs, and getting your aggressions out.

IMG_0842 IMG_0846

Thanks to Deborah Britt and all her hard work getting me to Lander, I got to have a great time meeting new people, hang out and talk a ton about ceramics.

I have a few interviews that are waiting to be published.  Because of our recent computer problems I wasn’t able to get them out.  I even lost one when my hard drive crashed.  (Sorry Paul!)  But I think everything is resolved now!!  I hope.  Look for interviews from Paul Barchilon, Shelia Hrasky, Melody Ellis, Bebe Alexander, and Lisa Pedolsky.