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Journal

News from Dowd House Studios: places to find our pottery, exhibitions, classes & workshops, new forms and exciting projects.

Winter Classes

Jenny Dowd

A new year is here, with unforeseen ideas, projects, and challenges. One of the ways I challenge myself is by teaching. I find these moments a good opportunity to stretch and share my ideas while pushing myself and others.

Sam and I are both teaching a lot of classes in the upcoming winter session at the Art Association, here are some that are starting in the next few weeks. (Check out the full listing here!)

Beginning Drawing Topics, Tuesdays 1 - 4pm

An introduction and refresher to drawing skills for the artist who wishes to improve this basic skill set required to become an artist. Four weeks of innovative classical drawing instruction emphasizing observation and eye-hand coordination. Weekly topics are as follows:

Jan 9 - Line & Shape
Jan 16 - Perspective & Space
Jan 23 - Value & Depth
Jan 30 - Composition + Putting it All Together

Ceramic Sculpture, Wednesdays 6 - 9pm, January 10 - February 14

Using slab and coil techniques, build a large scale ceramic sculpture or 2, be it abstract, animal or human in nature. Sectional sculpture making will also be covered. This technique is used to make sculptural works easier to move and fire. Artwork made in this class will be allowed to slow dry and be fired sometime in March.

Beginning Wheel Throwing, Thursdays 12:30 - 2:30pm, February 8 - March 15

During this class, students will learn techniques that emphasize the creation of forms on the potter’s wheel; cups, mugs, bowls and plates by learning to throw, trim, alter, pull handles, and slip decoration. Students are encouraged to take additional classes to learn the art of glazing as this is primarily a throwing class. 

Welding Sampler, Feb 9: 5-8pm & Feb 10: 9:30-4:30

Learn different welding techniques by sampling many different welding processes by creating small projects out of mild steel such as a plant holder, fireplace pokers or small sculptures. Discussions will include welding safety, settings, the positives and negatives of different welding techniques, and how to get started with your own machine or tanks.

Drawing & Monotype Printmaking, Tuesdays 1-4pm, February 6-27

Enrich your drawing skill set and learn how to yield the power of the press. Take your marks on paper to a plexi with printing ink and move your practiced 2D skills into the next realm: monotype.

Business Skills for Artists, Drop-in Series, Saturdays 1 - 4pm

Artist Statement & Bio: January 27 & February 3

Resume & CV: February 24

Photographing your artwork: March 24

Application Opportunities: April 28

Creating your Web Presence: May 26

Marketing your Artwork: June 30

Custom Mugs: JH Book Trader

Jenny Dowd

Earlier this year I was commissioned to create mugs to compliment the upcoming redesign of the Jackson Hole Book Trader. A few prototypes resulted in my most custom created mug yet, and it's a good fit- a mug for tea or coffee plus great books- the recipe for a perfect morning (or afternoon or evening)!

The mugs are first wheel-thrown, then I used multiple techniques to create the surface design, each happening at just the right moment in the span of clay dryness... 

The letters were individually stamped into the damp porcelain. Much as I tried for even rows, the letters are a little wobbly and some impressions are deeper than others- similar to my old typewriter. 

After brushing black underglaze onto the letters and letting it dry a little, I wiped a sponge over the letters to leave each inlaid with black. For the logo I made a simple stencil out of contact paper. This helped quickly transfer most of the open book logo onto the cup. I went back with a small brush to fill in the details and clean up the edges.

The logo and text is the same on each mug, yet the black and white surrounding is opposite, resulting in two complimentary designs.

It's complicated, but I simplified and streamlined the process as much as possible so I can easily recreate the mugs for future orders.

Be sure to stop by the Book Trader to see the whole remodel, it is bright and open and beautiful. My favorite is the fireplace and comfy chairs, and now you can take home a handmade mug as a reminder of this beautiful bookstore!

Pottery in Action: Part 3

Jenny Dowd

For the past year I have been making pottery for Healthy Being Juicery in Jackson. The shop features my handmade mugs, bowls, teapots and cups with saucers along with cookbooks, teas, and snacks. My large salad bowls are also used in the cafe for serving beautiful, tasty, and nutritious salads.

I love seeing my pottery in action and I also enjoy the opportunity to create something specific to embrace the spirit of a store or restaurant. In each location the process and outcome is different, but each starts with a conversation. I love making items to compliment the healthy and delicious lifestyle the juicery promotes.

This Friday in celebration of Healthy Being Juicery's 5 Year Anniversary, they are throwing a party! Be sure to stop by for yummy treats, shopping deals, and say hi to their potter... me!

For more details, check out the Facebook invite!

There's still time, right?

Jenny Dowd

Every year I think I have tons of time to make pottery for all the December holiday sales... and every year I have lots of unfinished work greeting me in the studio in January. I'm still in denial, it's only December 3rd, I still have tons of time, right?

The studio had a little set back- one kiln needed new elements. Terrible timing, but luckily Sam had Merlin to oversee the repair job.

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I still have a platter to trim, lots of mugs and bowls to decorate, stuff holders to glaze... some of these items might be seen at the 2 upcoming sales I'll be part of in Wilson and Jackson:

And in celebration of the last minute, though really, we do still have lots of time, I'm offering free shipping on Etsy purchases from Dec 4 - 18. I'll be adding a few new things to the shop inventory this week as well. This window will allow orders to arrive in time for Christmas! At checkout use the offer code PLENTYOFTIME for free domestic US shipping.

So to all of us procrastinators out there, happy December!

New Locations & Pottery Sales

Jenny Dowd

Ready or not, the holiday shopping season is here! 

Pottery by me (and Sam!) can now be found in MADE in Gaslight Alley. Check out the complete list of shops where you can find my pottery in Jackson on the locations page of our website.

I will be adding some new work to my space at Penny Lane Cooperative later this week and next week... this is a great place for gifts: cute clothes as well as art by several local artists.

Pottery & Art Fairs are starting later this week too... this is a list of the sales I will be participating in, come by and visit!

Teton MudPots Holiday Studio Sale

November 30, 10am - 7pm & December 1, 9am - 3pm

In the gallery at the Art Association, find pottery by several local potters as well as prints, paintings and jewelry by artists who work in the studios at the Art Association.

Old Wilson Schoolhouse Holiday Sale

December 9, 10am - 3pm

Artwork by over 15 local artists, located in Wilson at the Old Schoolhouse

Cocktails & Creatives

December 20, 6 - 10pm

At The Rose in Jackson, enjoy a specialty cocktail and artwork by local artists.

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Happy shopping season, I hope you also find something special just for you!

Utopia/Dystopia

Jenny Dowd

Yesterday I visited Mystery Print Gallery and Frame in Pinedale, WY to check out the exhibition Utopia/Dystopia: Inspiration and the Artist Book.

This exhibition started out at the Laramie County Library earlier this year and now a smaller section of the work is on display at Mystery Print.

The invitational bookarts show was curated by Sue Sommers, with the theme of Utopia/Dystopia. 

Here's a peek...

Camellia El-Antably: Experiments in Utopia

"Experiments in Utopia" reviews the American experience with communities dedicated to a utopian vision.

Mark Ritchie: Imperfect Circle

The practice of group equine groundwork is as close to utopia as may be possible.

Cristy Anspach: Highway Reliquary - Mule Deer

This work is inspired by a desire to address the human/animal struggle that plays out daily on our roadways.

Conor Mullen: Facts About Fallout

A hand-made PSA that compares ideas of utopia/dystopia through a repurposing of words/images once published by the U.S. FCDA and the DoD.

Holland Morelli: Dystopian Flora

A study of plants as sentient beings, leaves as fresh and plant forms/structures as art.

Tawni Shuler: Warrior Rabbits

After recently moving to the southwest desert, my attention has turned to the jackrabbit and the folklore of the Jackalope, a mythical creature with the body of a rabbit and sprouting the horns of a deer. Jackrabbits can live in the extreme heat of a desert environment due to design of their feet, fur, ears and most importantly behavior adaptation.

Susan Durfee: Mystery

Sue Sommers: Liberty Walking Part 1 & Part 2

Liberty Walking: coin albums full of drawn feet. Honoring the Statue of Liberty, Emma Lazarus, immigrants, and walking women everywhere.

Nyla Hurley: The Railroaders

Patterns of consumption, dominance and production over people, wildlife, resources and the land.

Nyla Hurley: Nativist Nostalgia

My way of thinking is an addiction or even a disease: a disease of nostalgia.

Nathan Abel: Excavation: Found Scroll

Created from scraps of old work, this book illustrated the tenuous nature of the relationship between utopian and dystopian ideals.

Jenny Dowd: Flowers still grow

This altered book represents a dystopian world of redacted and heavily censored information. Growth is still possible.

(Check out my earlier post here for a little behind the scene peek into my concept and process.)

If you find yourself in the Pinedale area in the next month, be sure to stop by and see the show in person!

The Studios

Jenny Dowd

It seems I've got a lot of projects going on.

To keep things somewhat orderly, I have been spliting my time between two studios. I work in the ceramics studio at the Art Association in Jackson to produce stoneware projects, and my home studio in Alpine for porcelain. (That way I don't have to worry about splattering the porcelain with brown stoneware... and I don't have to clean my home wheel as much.)

The studio at the Art Association is public, so I spread out when I can and condense when there are more people using the space.

The stoneware plates and bowls here are part of the dishes I have been producing for the White Buffalo Club in Jackson (more on that soon!) I use the wheels at the Art Association for these stoneware dishes and also fire the work in the gas kiln. Some of my porcelain work is also glazed and fired in Jackson. These black and white teapots & cups are available for sale at Healthy Being Juicery and the large salad bowls are used in their cafe.

On the days I'm not in Jackson, I'm in my home studio. Most of this work is fired in my electric kiln, and decorated with sgraffito or inlay techniques. (Home is also where I work on non-pottery projects: sculpture, drawing, and soon... a printmaking studio!)

At home I'm shadowed by Merlin, the studio cat / Dowd House Studios Quality Control Overseer. Merlin is not very helpful, but he does let me know when I've been working for too long / ignoring him. So when he starts staring at me or attacking my work I know it's time to take a break.

I feel a bit spread out, but this seems to work!Mid-week I get to switch gears and work on different projects while I consider problems I've left behind in the other studio. 

Penny Lane Cooperative: Update

Jenny Dowd

There is always something new at Penny Lane Cooperative

I have had a space in PLC since the shop opened, nearly 1 1/2 years ago. I change out my pottery inventory often, sometimes including sculpture or drawings, as well as new pottery designs. Some of the items you can find exclusively in this spot are: tooth fairy bowls, pottery sets for kids, lunch plates, and potted succulents.

A lot of new things happened at the start of this month, here's a peek into the spaces:

I am now sharing a space with Jina Kim, aka ColorFreak Jina! Her bright colors and patterns liven up my black & white and sometimes starry patterns.

Carlyn Hunter, Page & Co. Collection, Western Range Clothing Co.

And of course, the shop... cute clothes and accessories thanks to Andi's stylish eye! So, whether you are a regular or haven't visited yet- there is always something new to check out, including fun events!

For more info on the evolution of this shop and the new artists, check out this article from the JH News & Guide

The Art of Love 2017

Jenny Dowd

The 2nd Annual Plate Auction, The Art of Love, was held this past Thursday evening. Art and community came together in a beautiful event and fundraiser for Jackson's Community Entry Services

Sam made all of the ceramic plates and in all the time it took, I never managed to get a photo of him working!

The plates were distributed to 45 local artists who each donated their time and talent to decorate a plate.

Sam not only made all the plates, he also decorated one, his "Fish Bowl" is on the left, and my "Spiral" is on the right.

Throughout the evening plates were available by silent auction, while a select few were part of the live auction.

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I enjoy the spirit of this event, and am happy to know that by doing what I do- I can help support this important community service!

Archive Part 1: Blast from the past

Jenny Dowd

I finally (partially) completed a task I have been putting off for years. It resulted in an empty shelf in a closet. 

All of the artwork I produced and documented during my undergraduate years and first year of graduate school were captured on slides. The digital transition was slowly taking place and by the time I finished college I finally had a good enough / affordable digital camera. I happily said goodbye to the ordeal of slides!

I'm lucky that I only had 4 or so years of my artwork locked up in slide format, still I managed to lug an old slide projector, books and boxes of slides, plus their many many duplicates around the country while putting off sorting and digitizing them.

After dusting off the slide projector and mis-orienting some slides, I spent a few nostalgic afternoons remembering where I started in my ceramic and sculpture career.

This little slab box was the first time I fired clay pierced with metal, and it was my very first piece ever to be accepted into a juried exhibition, I think it was even purchased. Mostly I remember how nervous I was packing the box for shipping. 

There was a lot to relive in this trip down memory lane, including the time, energy, and money spent on this documentation: matching the lightbulbs with the correct tungsten film (film that lived in the produce drawer in my refrigerator) taking rolls of photos, waiting to have them developed, viewing the slides, throwing half of them away, returning to have duplicates made of the good images...

It was really fun to revisit all of this old work, though a little scary and sad when in the end I threw away heaps of slides. So much time and money. 

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I kept 2 small boxes that will be sent off this week to be digitized. The next part of this project will be to organize the images I'm keeping. Soon they will be included in an archive section of my website... stay tuned!

Time for Tea(pots)

Jenny Dowd

I can no longer deny that the weather in Western Wyoming has turned. While I'm sure there will still be plenty of warmish fall days, these cool cloudy mornings have found me and Merlin hanging out close to the fireplace.

Last year when a friend asked me to make her a teapot I started by asking myself why I hadn't been making teapots.

Teapots are complicated and highly specific forms. The tradition is strong, with a million beautiful little details. I enjoy these details yet felt that I should make the teapot that I would use.

I also felt a little ashamed that my favorite teapot is this cute little red commercial teapot. I love this teapot, it reminds me of my first apartment. I'm pretty sure that's when my mom let me pick it out at my favorite tea shop.

This little teapot is just that, simple and highly functional with a removable tea strainer perfect for loose teas. 

With all this in mind, I started making teapots with these characteristics; round and simple, easy to clean, cute. They do not have a strainer inside the spout or a mesh strainer that sits down inside of the lid, instead I use a tea ball infuser. 

I was really excited about designing the cups & saucers. Some inspiration came from using a teacup in a cafe that I felt was too big to hold with one hand.

These cups are small and fit easily in my hand. The saucers provide an interesting canvas for design, I have a lot of fun mixing and matching saucers with cups.

The cup and saucer patterns inspire decoration for the teapots. 

Mmmm... I feel warmer already!

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Fall Classes

Jenny Dowd

Fall is approaching and I'm changing my studio focus slightly. This always seems like a good time of year to revisit ideas from before the busy summer while digging into the studio before winter. I'll be teaching 3 classes this fall at the Art Association that cover the basics plus a bit more in drawing and ceramics:

Drawing Essentials

This is a 4-week class and is designed to cover a topic each week, participants can choose to take multiple weeks or drop in for a specific topic. While my drawing is very line based and focuses on telling simple and sometimes funny stories, I truly enjoy the challenges of teaching each of these topics. I also find them helpful for my drawing practice, and am often inspired to incorporate them into sketches and projects.

Oct 10: Line & Shape

Oct 17: Perspective & Space

Oct 24: Value & Depth

Oct 31: Composition

Drawing & Monotype Printmaking

This 4-week drawing class can be approached as an extension of basic drawing, although all levels are welcome. I have been working to incorporate printmaking into some of my work, especially the immediate form of monotype. Slicing up a roasted beet made a neat (although temporary) print on my cutting board. This quick technique can also be a springboard for mixed media drawings- start with a quick print, then work back into it with drawing. This is a truly tactile process, we will work with a variety of materials and will use a press as well as more basic techniques.

4 weeks, Tuesdays, 1 - 4 pm, November 7 - 28

Glaze Chemistry 101

6 weeks, Oct 17 - Nov 21, Tuesdays 6 - 9pm

So, you are looking for a little more in the clay studio? Not super happy with your glaze options or applications? Wondering about the firing process? This is the class for you, a technical course designed to give a peek into the mystery of glazing and kiln firing. We will discuss and explore a variety of firing techniques, learn the basics of glaze materials, and create our own glazes and color variations.

Product Testing

Jenny Dowd

I take my job seriously.

As a potter I make dishes that are meant to be used daily. These items add something special to our daily rituals. And it's a tough job but someone has to make sure that everything works.

So have no doubt, I test my pottery thoroughly.

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Will this little plate hold cookies? How many? Even if they are warm from the oven?

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Wine cups. Yes, but do they work? 

Busy studio day? No matter, it's still important to test that coffee mug to make sure it can do it's job. The coffee pour overs always get tested, this is a form I'm still tweaking, I don't want that tricky design to get the best of me! (And nearly every day I use my favorite mug- a puff fish made just for me by Sam.)

I lost some sleep worrying over this one, but rest assured, when I finally settled on a vanilla lavender cupcake- I meticulously tested the cupcake stand. In fact, it worked so well the poor little cupcake didn't even make it off the stand.

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I even had lunch this week at Healthy Being Juicery to make sure my big salad bowls were doing their job. (This tasty Baja Salad totally made my day!)

I work hard to make the pots and will continue to make sure they work, it's a difficult job, but I'm up for the challenge! 

Takin' it to the Streets

Jenny Dowd

Here it is, the last minute... I've been working on some new forms to replenish my pottery inventory and get ready for the fair on Sunday! Tomorrow is Takin' it to the Streets, a local's art fair on the Jackson town square and Sam and I will be there with lots of pottery. And teapots fresh from the kiln... 

This fair is part of Jackson's Fall Arts Festival, so there's lots going on. The fair is made up of over 40 local artists and will be on the street around the town square. Meanwhile there are a few yummy options also happening in the square. Taste of the Tetons is one of my favorite events of the year- local chefs create awesome culinary treats, it's always fun to try their new and favorite items! Plus, the Rotary Supper Club hosts "Sips on the Square," wine tasting and silent auction. 

It's a great day, if you are in Jackson, we hope to see you there. Grab a little food, a little wine and a little art!

Jackson Town Square, 10 - 4, Sunday September 10th

A few new locations

Jenny Dowd

It's been a busy whirl of a summer... and it's not over yet! I've been catching up on orders, organizing the studio (and house), trying to catch my breath, and thinking about new projects.

All this hard work has been paying off... my pottery can now be found in two new locations!

A variety of my pottery is now at the gallery shop in the Cabarrus Arts Council in Concord, NC.

My black & white sgraffito work can be found at the 4 Ravens Gallery in Missoula, MT.

For a complete list of the places my pottery can be purchased (or experienced) visit the Locations tab!

Art Fair Jackson Hole!

Jenny Dowd

It's almost here, and I've been working super hard to get ready for the August Art Fair! Hosted by the Art Association the fair will take over Miller Park with 160+ artists from all over the country.

Stop by and say hi, we are in booth #156

Friday Aug 11: 10 - 6

Saturday Aug 12: 10 - 6

Sunday Aug 13: 10 - 4

Sam and I both have lots of our favorite forms and designs, plus some new ideas... read on for a sneak peek...

I just loaded a kiln with a big batch of soup bowls, teacups and saucers... no matter how much time I have before an event, I'll always be working up till the last minute.

Sam made a fleet of funny new animal mugs, they have some great personalities! And I've been working on some new design ideas: octopus + clouds + UFO = succulent planters. I just potted a few to get them ready for the fair.

Plus... sneak peek! I've been making Jackson Hole ornaments exclusively for Workshop, and I'm making a limited edition run of ornaments commemorating the upcoming eclipse. I'll have some of these at the fair, then they will head back to Workshop.

3D Drawing

Jenny Dowd

For some time I have been thinking about the relationship between drawing and sculpture. 

Drawing was my first love in art, and although I work mostly as a potter and sculptor, drawing has continued to drive the spirit behind my work. 

When I learned how to weld with an oxy-acetylene torch I have a vivid memory of my teacher comparing bending the welding rod to contour drawing. This image stuck and resurfaced years later when I was frustrated by an idea that I felt would not work on paper.

A series of small furniture in human settings emerged from that frustration. I like the feeling of actually drawing in space, as well as the ability to move the figures around to create different scenarios. Plus, there is a bonus drawing in shadow.

These sculptures are small, each piece no taller than 10 inches. Check out more from this series here.

This is a detail from Passages, a sculpture I have installed several times in different locations. Once again I'm playing with shadow and using the wire to draw lines.

Most recently I have been employing multiple objects to create environments, using thread, wire, fabric, and porcelain to build something that just barely pops off the wall.

These experiments have led me to think about a class that exists both on and off the page- 3D Drawing. Usually when I propose a class I have a pretty good sense of where it will go and what the outcome will be. This time I have lots of ideas but am excited that the class will be an experiment. It may go in directions that will offer new ideas and solutions.

The class starts in a few weeks. 3D Drawing will be held at the Art Association in Jackson, WY. Each week focuses on a topic that we will explore on paper and also in 3D space.

This class is set up as a drop-in, you can choose the topics/weeks you like or you can sign up for all 4 weeks:

August 9 - Line: contour drawing & wire objects
August 16 - Value & Texture: piercing, folding and manipulating paper
August 23 - Shape & Space: mobiles
August 30 - Composition: drawing with found objects

For more information, check out the class description here.

Stay tuned, there is much to say on this topic and I will post updates from the class in a few weeks! 

Details

Jenny Dowd

I spend a lot of time on details. 

When I started this series of black & white sgraffito ware, I found my tight forms with their even rims to be in conflict with my hand-drawn designs. Expression and imperfection are inherent to hand-drawn lines, I felt that this needed to be reflected in the pottery- even if I had to force it.

I use a wire to cut the rim of bowls and plates before removing them from the wheel. Once the piece is dry enough to handle yet still malleable I spend a lot of time smoothing the rims (and the whole piece) with my favorite finishing sponge

The cut rims are very similar, yet when the dishes are stacked the slightly undulating lines are more apparent.

As much as I like these cuts rims, I know it is risky. These piece are more susceptible to cracking and chipping. It's a risk I'm willing to take in order to gain the harmony found between an uneven rim and the hand-drawn images and patterns. 

Cups, mugs, pitchers, and vases are treated similarly- I allow the rim to be uneven as I am throwing the form on the wheel. Sometimes the rims are even, sometimes not, and the result is always very subtle.

New Designs at Workshop

Jenny Dowd

I may be taking a bit of a summer break, but not in the studio!

Lately I have been working on orders for shops and restaurants, as well as building up my inventory for upcoming fairs. One project includes the cute little cupcake stands that I am making for Workshop in Jackson. 

Each cupcake stand is thrown in 2 parts, I make the top (where the cupcake goes) upside down and then throw a cylinder for the stand. After shaping the edge and smoothing out the clay, I attach the 2 pieces.

The surface decoration is an inlay or mishima process. I use a sharp blade to cut into the clay making an interesting pattern, then I brush black underglaze over the cuts. Once it dries I wipe off the extra underglaze with a sponge- leaving delicate lines inlaid in the porcelain.

If you are in Jackson, be sure to stop by and check out Workshop! Everything in the shop is handmade and unique. Each of my items is one-of-a-kind: cupcake stands, bowls, platters, ring cones, and ornaments!

Succulent Planter Workshop

Jenny Dowd

This week I will be teaching a clay workshop at Penny Lane Cooperative! Make your own small flowerpot and personalize it with decorations. After I glaze and fire the pots, come back for a planting party! Or stop by and pick up your succulent planting kit.

We will start out with a block of clay- you can shape it to a square, rectangle, even a cylinder. Then scoop out the clay inside, shape the top and carve a saucer. Next step decorate! Add color and design with underglaze.

I will bisque fire the pots and add a clear glaze, making them bright, shiny and ready for plants. When you come back to Penny Lane Cooperative, your planter will be waiting for you- plus a planting kit: soil, sand, succulent, plus notes on care.

Thursday June 29

5 - 7 pm at Penny Lane Cooperative

$40- includes all materials

Come back and pick up your project July 13 or after

Space and supplies are limited, please let Andi at Penny Lane Cooperative know you would like to attend: andi@pennylanecooperative.com or 307-203-2323

Questions? hello@dowdhousestudios.com