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Journal

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

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

Pottery Sales!

Jenny Dowd

We will be participating in 2 local art sales in the next few weeks:

Teton Mudpots Sale

June 22 | 10am - 7pm & June 23 | 10am - 5pm

Located in the parking lot in front of the ceramics studio at the Center for the Arts. This sale features pottery made by several local artists including students and teachers at the Art Association. 30% of all sales are used to support the ceramics studio at the Art Association- this is where I teach and also do some of my own work.

I will have a table at this sale- with lots of my seconds as well as prototypes and one-of-a-kinds!

Grand Teton Association Local Artisan Day

June 28 | 10am - 3pm

Located in the Murie Family Park at the Jackson Hole Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center

We will be joining several local artists for this 1-day art sale in the park!

FoundSpace 2017 - Part 2

Jenny Dowd

It's here, FoundSpace 2017!

Invited by the JH Land Trust and JH Public Art I joined 4 other artists to create artwork designed to engage and enhance the pathway from the Wilson School to the Stillson lot. This busy pathway is a beautiful spot for walking and biking, enjoyed by dogs and their people, and even horses!

Matt Daly and I have been collaborating on a project that features lost objects and the stories behind their loss. Mailboxes became collection points for these objects and also added to the surrounding nostalgia. Living in a small mountain town means mail is not home delivered, so most of my days include a trip to the post office to check my PO box. Plus a mailbox in the middle of a field with a red flag up invites a look-see.

After months of thinking about this project and making plans our installation day finally arrived! Matt delivered the mailboxes to spots along the path where we attached them to fence pots and trees. With all the parts involved we were lucky to have an assistant, Brittany Hill helped immensely! 

Each mailbox contains a kit for writing love notes to objects that have been lost- tags to tie onto found objects plus pencils and sharpeners. You will also find paper that can be used to make rubbings from the poems on the ceramic tiles. (Check out last week's post for details on how these were made.)

During the opening event Friday night we hung a collection of found objects (lost items as well as some natural found objects) in the JH Public Art Mobile Studio. We invited people to write poems to the objects and place them in the mailboxes so they can be found. It was such fun watching people interact with the mailboxes and to hear about what they found inside!

There is much to discover along the path...

Silent Fallen Tree: Ben Roth carved a tree into a chain and also a bench, a perfect spot to sit and contemplate.

Get-togethers have been carved by Bronwyn Minton and create places to find interesting objects both found and made. An invitation to play, perhaps they with gather different objects over the summer.

Willow Wheel by Bland Hoke is a kinetic sculpture woven from willow, while turning in the wind it makes a beautiful and subtle sound as it rustles and glides through the water. Interesting from any angle, however I should have crossed the creek to take a photo!

There is plenty of time to experience the artwork along the path, come back to interact, see what has been changed, find something new! The artwork will be on site until August 14.

FoundSpace 2017 - Part 1

Jenny Dowd

This year I am joining artists Matt Daly, Bland Hoke, Bronwyn Minton, and Ben Roth in the FoundSpace Project. This is the third year that the Jackson Hole Land Trust has partnered with Jackson Hole Public Art to bring art to conserved public land in a surprising and engaging way. I think of it as finding or rediscovering a place.

This year the project is taking place along the path between the Wilson Schoolhouse and the Stillson parking lot. This is truly a found space for me because before this project I had never been to this pathway!

Last year I participated as an assistant (check out the details here.) This year I have been collaborating with Matt Daly to create an interactive sculpture that highlights objects that have been lost (and perhaps found.)

Matt and I began this collaboration during a conversation about lost objects. The snow was just melting and we were noting the funny way lost objects are lovingly placed on a fence post or sign where they were found. We thought this geolocation and obvious hope for reunion was an interesting point for our FoundSpace project.

Matt wrote 12 stanzas to a Ghazal, a poem that can be read in any order. Each is part of a love note to an object that has been lost. I collected different voices by asking 12 people to write the stanzas on paper. I then carved each into a clay tile then stained and fired each.

This past Friday evening I participated in a Gather with families from the Doug Coombs Foundation. We hiked around a Land Trust property at the base of Munger Mountain looking for interesting found objects to incorporate into our installation.

So, how will it all come together?

Check back next week for an update, or come to the opening celebration on Friday June 9 from 5-8pm at the Hardeman Meadows. Food, music, art, and beautiful open spaces, plus you never know what you might find!

Flowers still grow

Jenny Dowd

Earlier this year I was invited to participate in the Laramie County Library's summer exhibition, Inspiration and the Artist Book. I was especially excited partly because this exhibition has a yearly theme. This is a challenge I look forward to, knowing that it will take me out of my current box. The 2017 exhibition, curated by Sue Sommers, is Utopia/Dystopia. 

Since I don't usually make art with a theme in mind, I find this addition at first jarring and then liberating. I must pass through a few stages:

1. Shock: What?? How do I do That? 

2. Acceptance: Hmmm... but it could mean this... or it could mean that...

3. Problem solving: I've looked at several angles, now how do I say what I want to say within this frame?

4. Grateful: I've stretched, learned a bit, and have made something that I would not have come up with otherwise.

While thinking about how to interpret Utopia/Dystopia I kept coming back to books and information, and not only because this show is in a library! I thought about the porcelain books I used to make (see them here) and thought about what a dystopian landscape would look like to me: a heavily censored world with nothing to read.

In order to execute this idea, I decided to alter a book. I recognize that this is a weird process. I love the tactile feeling of books. They offer escape and education all in one place, so destroying a book seems like the last thing I would want to do. However, I see this an an opportunity to redirect the life of an object that has been produced in multiples and has been discarded. (This book was found at the Teton County Library where I have taught book altering classes in the past, they let me pilfer the collection of books that will be in an upcoming book sale.)

For this project I found a particular sized book with a black, hard cover. After distressing the cover I went to work cutting away the interior to create a niche for my hidden utopia.

I made hills out of the discarded pages and used correction tape to obscure any words with meaning, leaving behind only a few pronouns, articles, and indirect objects. 

Gluing everything together was interesting: 

When I was finished, I had a little fun making a stop-action video:

Flowers still grow

One book is an infinite, hand-held universe. It has the ability to introduce unknown places and ideas with questions, experiences, and thoughts. Just one book is capable of leading a reader on a lifetime of learning and searching.

This book represents a dystopian world of redacted and heavily censored information. While this could be a diagram for the ideal, utopian meadow, it still contains an element of dread. Set like a stage with delicate clouds hanging from thread over rhythmic hills, the subject of the book remains unknown and creates a suspiciously dull scene.

White flowers reflect what little nutrients are available to be gleaned from sanitized, stripped soil, but they are growing. Hope and the ability to evolve will always be found where something grows.

The exhibition will be at the Laramie County Library in Cheyenne, Wyoming from June 9 - August 7, 2017. If you are in the area be sure to stop by and see how several artists interpreted this theme!

Mini Maker Faire

Jenny Dowd

It's time for the Jackson Hole Mini Maker Faire! If you are in town this weekend be sure to stop by the Teton Science School from 12 - 4pm on Saturday where Sam and I will be joining over 30 Makers.

Sam will be teaching basic welding skills, these photos are from last year's booth, check it out and make your own garden tool.

I will be offering the opportunity to squish, squash and form things with clay. Last year I taught basic hand-building techniques and participants contributed to a community still life.

There will be lots to learn, come by and be surprised! 

Place/Settings: Part 2

Jenny Dowd

This is the 2nd part of my journey to Concord, North Carolina where I installed my sculpture in the exhibition Place/Settings. Check out last week's post for details on my artwork in this group exhibition.

12 artists from across the state of Wyoming were invited by co-curators Connie Norman and Do Palma to explore the theme of place. Check out this article by the Independent Tribune of Cabarrus County for more thoughts on this theme.

The show is hosted by The Cabarrus Arts Council and is on display at The Galleries, in the Historic Cabarrus County Courthouse from May 5 - July 7, 2017. The Artist Reception will be on June 9th. 

The exhibition is spread throughout 4 galleries, creating intimate conversations between the artwork in each space.

Starting out the exhibition in the Jones Gallery is artwork by Bronwyn Minton, Jenny Dowd, Georgia Rowswell, Dandee Pattee and Sue Sommers.

The Lockavitch Gallery features artwork by Connie Norman, Do Palma and Wendy Lemon Bredehoft.

The Grant Gallery contains artwork by Susan Moldenhauer, Leah Hardy and Georgia Rowswell.

The Dusch Gallery features the work of Jennifer Rife, Ashley Hope Carlisle and Jenny Dowd.

Here are some details of the work:

I am honored to be part of this exhibition and to have had the opportunity to travel to Concord. I came back to my studio full of energy and ideas... a great way to start out the busy summer season!

Place/Settings: Part 1

Jenny Dowd

This past week I traveled to Concord, North Carolina to install my sculpture in the exhibition Place/Settings. Co-curators Connie Norman and Do Palma invited 12 Wyoming artists to explore the theme of place in our artwork. How do these settings or childhood memories shape our outlook or artistic spirit?

The show is hosted by The Cabarrus Arts Council and is on display at The Galleries, in the Historic Cabarrus County Courthouse from May 5 - July 7, 2017. The Artist Reception will be on June 9th. 

Cabarrus County Historic Courthouse, Concord, NC

Cabarrus County Historic Courthouse, Concord, NC

I am so excited to be included in this beautiful exhibition and honored to be in such good company. The exhibition includes artwork by: Wendy Bredehoft, Ashley Hope Carlisle, Leah Hardy, Bronwyn Minton, Susan Moldenhauer, Connie Norman, Do Palma, Dandee Pattee, Jennifer Rife, Georgia Rowswell and Sue Sommers.

Check back next week for details and images from the whole exhibition. Since there is so much to say about this show I've decided to split it into 2 posts.

My thoughts on Place/Settings led me to explore the dream-like moments that follow me wherever I am. Thinking back to childhood, I spent a lot of time reading and living in my imagination- and still do. Lately I have been trying to define these dreamy moments without pinning them down too much.

My travel schedule allowed 3 days to install my work, luckily everything arrived safely. (To see how I packed and shipped my pieces, check out this blog entry from April.)

Where the ground meets the sky

Experimenting is a large part of my process. Where the ground meets the sky only lived in my head before last week. I worked with porcelain, silk and vellum to create a subtle palette and relied on shadows to add depth and attract attention. The silk and vellum clouds hang from thread attached to entomology pins, creating a deliberately orchestrated scene. While I'm not sure if this is a real place or not, it is important that it seem hauntingly familiar. The clouds flutter as people walk by, attracting attention and sometimes creating a weather pattern- big gusts cause some serious tangling, which I hadn't expected but really like. (Although, now the piece needs to be de-tangled regularly!) 

Where the ground meets the sky is made of porcelain, wire, silk, vellum, silk thread and entomology pins. In this installation it is 7 feet wide.

Passages

Passages is a flexible sculpture that I have been working on since 2009. I had an idea of a piece that could change over time in response to display in a variety of spaces. With each installation I learn more about these pieces and try different solutions. This is the 5th installation of Passages, and it's first trip outside of Wyoming. (Last fall Passages was installed outside in the courtyard of Persephone Bakery in Jackson, WY, check out the blog post here.)

The installation process is both exciting and nerve-wracking. I enjoy working around different site obstacles and allow them to shape the course of the piece. For this installation I had limited time (which is a great way to make me focus and commit to decisions!)

This time there were lighting fixtures to work around and a plaster ceiling which made adding extra hooks difficult, plus I wanted to make sure I was not distracting from the other artist's work in the space. All of these "obstacles" are actually what makes installing this piece fun, I think of it as adding to a good conversation.

Even though Passages and Where the ground meets the sky are 3-dimensional, I also see them as drawings.

Heavy anchor wire attaches the boats and allows them to visually move through their environment. This wire makes a beautiful line and I feel that I am drawing in space. I compare the cluster of boats to leaves, a flock of birds or school of fish and the shadows expand the space they occupy. I also see these pieces as something familiar, though not quite recognizable, seen just out of periphery. 

In this installation, Passages, is made up of 120 (ish) welded steel boats dipped in Egyptian Paste.

On May 4th Curator Rebecca Collins held a gallery talk to discuss the artwork and show concept with the docents. On the left she is discussing Ashley Hope Carlisle's piece Carried Away. I spoke about my pieces and answered questions. I never think I want to talk about new artwork, especially when it is so fresh, but it is actually very insightful as it helps me put my ideas into words. 

I am grateful to the amazing staff at the Cabarrus Arts Council for all of their help and for allowing me such freedom to experiment!

To make the whole experience even better, my parents met up with me in NC and attended the gallery talk! Here they are trying to figure out what I did.

Check back next week for more images from the exhibition as well as photos of all the other artwork!

Card Making Workshop

Jenny Dowd

Mother's Day and Father's Day are coming up!

To help you prepare for these big days, I'll be teaming up with Alissa Davies to teach a workshop at Penny Lane Cooperative.

Stations around the room will be set up to help you make beautiful and creative cards for Mother's Day (May 14) and/or Father's Day (June 18.) Try your hand at collage and painting with fabric, paper and stencils or work with text and learn how to write a haiku.

All supplies are included, this will be a fun evening of art, snacks and drinks. Bring a friend (or sibling) and make something special!

The class will be held on Wednesday May 10 from 5 - 7pm and the cost is $25. (Children are welcome to attend with a parent for free.) And if you have an art making material you'd like to try out, bring it along!

Space is limited, to register call: 307-203-2323 or email: andi@pennylanecooperative.com

 

Update: Chalk & Poetry

Jenny Dowd

Three weeks of sidewalk decorating went by pretty quick! Brittany Hill, my chalky partner in art, and I have been decorating the sidewalk and entrance to the Teton County Library in Jackson in anticipation of the visiting U.S. Poet Laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera

(Catch up on the first blog post here)

Using a mixture of spray chalk and regular chalk, we added to our designs weekly plus enhanced areas that had faded or washed away in the rain. (Images above: week 1, week 2, week 3)

I added lines from the poem "Let Me Tell You What a Poem Brings" around the front walkway, re-working it each week as it washed away. Here you can see some of the process and evolution:

Read the rest of this poem and others by Juan Felipe Herrera here

We added blips and spots for interest and lines to connect.

Last night we both attended a talk by Juan Felipe Herrera at the Center for the Arts, it was the perfect ending to a fun and inspiring project.

Summer Classes

Jenny Dowd

The summer class schedule is out at the Art Association! Here is a list of the classes I'll be teaching this summer:

Beginning Drawing Topics

May 24 - June 14 | Wednesdays | 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. Sign up for just one or all weeks!

May 24 - Line & Shape
May 31 - Perspective & Space
June 7 - Value & Depth
June 14 - Composition + Putting it All Together

Some things should not have wheels.

Some things should not have wheels.

3D Drawing

August 9 - 30 | Wednesday | 1 - 4pm

Take mark making to a new level in this mixed media drawing class. Sometimes ideas are better expressed through a blend of drawing and sculpture. Contour drawing and shading techniques will combine with wire and shadow drawings to create interest through depth and atmospheric perspective. Make your drawings come to life and jump right off the page! Weeks are as follows:

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

Where the ground meets the sky.

Where the ground meets the sky.

Pottery: Focused Topics

Friday | 2 - 4pm

Each session will address specific aspects in clay usage including: using tools, advanced hand building, troubleshooting your throwing, and discussing design and form. Take one class or all, the sessions are non-sequential. The aim of this class is to make you better at working with clay.

JUNE 16: Cylinder workshop (getting the cup form efficient)

 JUNE 30: Put a handle on mugs and pitchers

 JULY 7: Trimming - bowls and cylinders

 JULY 14: Plates & Wide Bowls

 JULY 21: Sgraffito - carving in color

JULY 28: Paddle, facet & small alterations - with wheel thrown ware

To see a complete list of classes taught by me or Sam, visit the Events Page on our website.

Plus, if you are looking for a whole summer of ceramics, spaces are still available in my Beginning Ceramics Class for Central Wyoming College in Jackson! We will cover throwing on the wheel, hand building, surface techniques and different firing methods. You can take the class for credit or for audit. Class meets Wednesday & Fridays 8 - 10:30am, May 24 - August 4. To sign up contact CWC: jacksoninfo@cwc.edu or 307-733-7425

Chalk & Poetry

Jenny Dowd

Later this month the Teton County Library will host a writing workshop and community program with U.S. Poet Laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera.

In order to prepare for this event, the library asked me to create a chalk art dialogue around the library. I invited printmaker, Brittany Hill, to help me with this multi-week project.

This past Wednesday we tackled the first area with - who knew? - spray chalk! We used regular chalk also for details, but the spray chalk was really fun, offering fast coverage, intense colors and the opportunity to make stencils.

For this first area we chose a line from "Borderbus"

We are everything hermana

Because we come from everything.

-Juan Felipe Herrera

If you are in the area, stop by and see the chalk drawings evolve each week.

For more information on these free community programs visit the Teton County Library

Community Program: We Come from Everything: Poetry & Migration

Friday April 21, 7pm at the Center for the Arts (Tickets available at the library)

Writing Workshop: Find your Activist Voice Through Poetry

Saturday April 22, 10:30am - 12:30pm at the Teton County Library

Stay tuned for an update in a few weeks!

Packing for a show

Jenny Dowd

This summer I will be included in an exhibition of artwork by 12 Wyoming women. The exhibition, Place/Settings, will be in Concord, North Carolina at The Galleries, located in the Historic Cabarrus Courthouse and curated by the Cabarrus Arts Council.

In May I will travel to Concord to install my pieces. One is Passages, which has been installed 4 different times in Wyoming since 2009. This flexible sculpture was designed to have several lives and I'm excited for this new chapter in NC.

Passages is made up of over 300 boat forms that are made from welded steel then dipped in Egyptian Paste and kiln fired (See some of the past installation here, plus check out this past blog post about the installation last fall at Persephone Bakery.) Each installation is different and I am looking forward to working within the gallery space and tying my work in to that of my colleagues. 

For this installation, I've packed about 125 boats, 2 spools of wire, a ton of screw eye hooks and some wire snips. Not sure how many boats I'll use, just want to make sure I have options. I've also never shipped this work before. I padded them in tissue paper and packed them tightly in boxes with old sheets and bubble wrap. You can see that Merlin is unsure of this packing method. I think it will be ok.

The other piece I will be installing, Where the ground meets the sky, is a new and also very flexible piece. There are lots of little parts and pieces for this one: silk and velum clouds suspended from pins by silk thread, little porcelain hills plus hills with porcelain and wire flowers. (I lovingly call them hillettes.)

I am equally excited to install this piece as I am to install Passages. And I can't wait to share the process! I had to be really careful in my studio- I found all these little pieces to be particularly attractive to the studio cat, I know he probably thought he was being helpful, but I really didn't need the flowers or clouds to be perforated. Playing with and installing this piece in a cat-free space is much needed.

Now the boxes are headed to NC, I'll see them in a month! (Boxes photographed with large studio cat for scale. Thanks Merlin, always so helpful.)

Stay tuned, I will post details of my installation and also the show!

If you are in the Concord, NC area, be sure to check out the show from May 5 - July 7, 2017

Delivery

Jenny Dowd

So just how does my pottery get from the studio to a shop, restaurant or a home? It can be pretty handy working in a smallish town...

Sometimes I box everything up on a cart and take them across a few streets (pitchers on their way to the Wort Hotel.)

Last week two little teapots came out of the kiln so I walked them over to Healthy Being Juicery

It's not always that easy, usually a car is involved when I'm delivering several boxes or the sidewalks are covered in snow.

And of course, a lot of work is shipped. In that case packages are hand delivered safely to the USPS, FedEx or UPS drop off! (But only after Merlin has inspected the box.)

Process

Jenny Dowd

Sometimes I don't want to think about all the steps it takes to make and finish a piece of pottery. But this process is what I really love.

The past few weeks has found my studio exploding with work, although, nothing is finished. I've been working on 2 bodies of work simultaneously, both porcelain, with drastically different surfaces.

This is just a slice of the process behind what I've been working on:

One set is for a soda firing this weekend (plus a few more in the next month.) The work for the soda kiln is very heavy on process- after the bisque the insides of the pieces are glazed, the outsides stained, the bases wadded (so they don't stick to the kiln shelf.) And that's just the start. (Catch up on the whole process in this blog post from last August.)

Meanwhile, in my home studio, I've been working on another type of porcelain pottery.

This black and white series is a little more straight forward, though still time consuming. While the form is still a little damp, I apply a black underglaze, then scratch through the surface (sgraffito.) Sometimes a funny landscape appears before I finish the design- in the plate on the right the lines made hills and the clay curls turned into m-birds. (It didn't stay this way)

After the bisque firing I apply a clear glaze, which is not clear before it is fired in the kiln. Before the glaze totally dries the black design comes through the glaze just a little, like a shadow.

Whew! And that's only part of it! 

A Milestone

Jenny Dowd

Something big is slowly happening... I opened the Etsy Shop, Dowd House Studios, in 2012. As of today we have had 95 orders!

To celebrate we will be giving something away with orders #99, 100 & 101! Not in any particular order we will be including a bud vase, sauce bowls and a tiny ceramic monster truck.

Clockwise from top left: Soda fired bud vase by Jenny, 2 little dipping bowls (one made by Sam, one made by Jenny), tiny red monster truck made by Sam

WOW!

I am so happy that pottery has officially become my day job. Thank you for the love and support!

Spring Classes

Jenny Dowd

I will be teaching in the next few months at the Art Association, these classes highlight my love for clay and drawing:

Beginning Drawing 

March 2 - 23 | Thursdays | 1 - 4pm

Learn the basics or brush up your skills in this intro to drawing class. We will address: line, shape, perspective, shading and composition. Get comfortable expressing yourself with line, funny or serious!  

Did you see what they did to Frank?

Perpetual Drawing & Monotype Printmaking

April 6 - 27 | Thursdays | 1 - 4pm

Consider this a continuation of beginning drawing, all levels are welcome. Add depth and layers to your drawings by combining processes- monotypes are a way to create interesting one-of-a-kind images using ink and plexiglass. The end result will be layered drawings and exploring different ways to make marks.

Beginning Throwing

April 20 - May 25 | Thursdays | 9:30am - 12:30pm

You know you've always wanted to learn how to throw on the potter's wheel... so join me for this morning class! Learn how to make cups, bowls, pitchers and a little about surface design and glazing.

Putting handles on plastic spray bottles is not usually part of my curriculum... however, sometimes a demo needs to happen and the spray bottle steps up to be a willing subject:

Stay tuned for summer & fall classes! A few are already posted on our calendar

New Designs

Jenny Dowd

The process of developing new ideas, including all the starts and stops, is something I truly enjoy. The frustrations only make me work harder and in turn, the successes are that much sweeter.

About a year ago I made a series of little ink drawings for an invitational exhibition. (Check out the blog post here.) Ever since I've been thinking about how to transfer some of these drawings onto cups and plates.

Thoughts of random objects drawn on my pots turned into drawings of tools and sweets. While discussing surface methods with Sam, the two ideas melted together and I started thinking about objects with hidden elements. Helpful cakes and tools with sweet surprises. 

I started by "drawing" the object using an inlay technique on the leather-hard clay. After bisque I inserted the hidden object (a saw or hammer inside a cupcake, or a cupcake inside a chainsaw.) I had a hard time stopping, it was exciting to finally visualize some of the ideas. I layered several glazes and underglazes and tried a few different applications.

I wasn't terribly happy with the results, but it was a good start and gave me more ideas on how to proceed.

The hidden cupcake inside the chainsaw needs more definition, the glaze outline around the chainsaw doesn't work, but the color contrast is a good idea, the tools are too ghostly inside the cake, the cupcake is just ok... 

At least this gave me enough information for another round of tests:

I'm happier with these results, though there will be a few more rounds before I start making more of these drawings on other forms and producing sets.

This process can be frustrating and exhausting but mostly it is exhilarating. Once I start working on one cup or plate, I think of so many more ideas and processes. I'll wake up at night thinking about new ways to solve the problems.

All the while I'm thinking about what these little drawings mean- is the cupcake being helpful? What about the secret the chainsaw is hiding? Is this about that time someone called me a tough little cupcake? I'm the kind of girl who likes getting tools as gifts, but I know some who don't- so maybe including a cupcake with the gift (that really isn't for her) would be helpful. (Just a thought!) 

Whatever it is, I'm enjoying the experiments and am excited to develop quirky stories for the surface of objects that are meant to be handled and used everyday.

Artist Trade

Jenny Dowd

This week I got a very happy box in the mail! Just when I thought the winter blues couldn't get any bluer, a friend and I decided to do an art trade.

I sent her a box with a few treats, including this ceramic cupcake...

Then Savannah sent me a box with a pack of her awesome hand-lettered cards and my very own hand-stiched kitty! (Lars- loves Indian food, watching scary movies and telling bad jokes... he is going to fit right in to the Dowd House.) Currently, Lars is keeping me company while I'm working on some new ideas in my studio. 

Check out more of Savannah Brady's work at her Etsy Shop and on Facebook

This was the perfect pick-me-up! And an idea I'll remember for future gloomy winters (or whenevers.)

Now I have a Valentine's Box from my parents to savor, so I think I'm in good shape for awhile!