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Journal

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

Chalky Characters & Helpful Objects

Jenny Dowd

Last week I tackled my largest canvas yet… the Town Enclosure Pavilion on the lawn of the Center for the Arts in Jackson. This temporary structure was installed last year by Carney Logan Burke Architects with the intention to be a space for performances, gatherings, and also to offer creative space for visual artists.

Jackson Hole Public Art asked me to consider drawing on the panels using chalk. The pavilion can be walked around and through, with the panels changing with movement almost like an optical illusion, so this became an inspiration. I made a rough plan and then just decided to go for it.

Before starting the drawings I could not comprehend the size of the panels. Once a ladder was in place and I could only reach as far as my arms would stretch - I just had to go for it and make the shape fit the space. Suddenly I found it easy to run out of room and wishing the panels were larger!

It was an equally freeing and terrifying feeling to freehand draw these characters and objects. I used both hands to draw and went up and down the ladder and walked back and forth to the street to get a better view.

Some characters feature furniture acting out human scenarios (Bad lamp) and others are embracing their helpful nature - Super chair! (This chair swoops in just when you really need to sit down but there are no chairs nearby.) And the lamp saying “I really like you” to the other lamp. So careful and hesitant, ready to go out on that limb, just not quite ready for the other L-word.

Other helpful and awkward objects include the giant watering can and umbrella. The placement of the panels inspired the watering can and flowers, while walking past the water drops line up so the flowers are getting a good drink.

I’m inspired by the awkward feeling of ladders and nets, as if they are stretching and helping to reach that far-away object.

This was such a fun project! The chalk drawings will remain for a week or so - depends on rain. So if you are in the area be sure to walk by.

Making a puppet

Jenny Dowd

It can be difficult to share process photos and explain projects that are still mostly living in my head. However, I’m finding that this is a helpful part of my process, plus I’m excited to share this project.

Sam and I are currently working on a huge project - we are making a pole puppet! In June we had the opportunity to work with Eric and Ines Bass from Sandglass Theater in a collaboration with Dancers’ Workshop. This project will culminate with a parade and performance on August 16. (Stay tuned!) Our puppet is 1 of 5 beasts, each based on one of the Chinese Five Elements: Earth, Water, Metal, Wood, Fire. Our beast is Metal, and is loosely based on an armadillo.

The Chinese Five Elements contain a lot of interesting layers; Metal also refers to the emotion: sadness, color: white, and flavor: pungent.

We spent 4 days working on the body structure, the tail and head will be added later.

The base of the creature was made out of cardboard, with the double layers helping to keep the reed armature in place. After shaping the vertical hoops, I attached the horizontal reeds with tightly tied bike tubes. I really wanted the puppet body to articulate in two directions - up and down and side to side. However, after attaching a fabric hinge and trying to move the creature, I discovered that it was too bulky to have that much movement. Up and down was more important, so the hinges were remade to easily shift the mass up and down - as seen in the bottom right image.

Poles were installed under the base - they are fitted to the backpack worn by the puppeteer. A pole was inserted into the front half so the body will articulate up and down. Both me and Sam tried on the backpack to make these adjustments.

So, now that the structure is nearly complete, it’s time for the details! Although, these are still complicated and require a bit of engineering and careful thought. This is just the body of the puppet - the head and tail are still seperate at this point and will each have their own pole and puppeteer. Our beast will be operated by 3 people!

I’ve started covering the armature with fabric, including the soft underbelly of the beast, in silver and metallic blue. Next, the scaly armor will be attached, plus a neck, head, and tail.

Remember that the Chinese element Metal also includes the color white? My plan is for the colors to fade from deep metallic blue on the inside to silver and white as they progress from the body.

A few of the details here - Sam is gluing nostrils onto the head and I’ve started sewing the tip of the tail. I think we are over halfway finished, but there is still lots to be done.

Stay tuned for more updates and information on the performance and parade on August 16th in Jackson!

Made for MADE

Jenny Dowd

Mugs, Mugs, Mugs! And one tuckered out studio cat…. because it’s tough work overseeing this kind of action.

So, what’s going on?

For the past few months I’ve been testing mugs for MADE in Jackson. This shop features handmade, unique goods from all over the country. The difficult part of the task: create a design to be produced exclusively for this shop, make it unique from the mugs I make for other shops in the area. Oh, and something I would not get sick of making.

To keep things simple, each mug has an outline of the Tetons - a striking landmark from this area. Each are filled with a variety of patterns, each a little similar yet different. This mug shape is also one that I have not made in awhile. My hope is that it will appeal to both men and women, making for a useful and perhaps, favorite gift.

Carving into the wet clay means that I’m left with a deep texture of the mountains and patterns. There are 2 versions of this mug, creamy ivory and black. For the black design the glaze is applied to the carved lines and wiped off - image on the above left. Then the mountains are coated with wax so that the color is protected when the whole mug gets dipped in the white glaze. (It looks totally different before firing!)

The wax burns off leaving the black glaze inlaid into the surface… here is a photo from a peek into the still hot kiln. And the black glaze is inlaid in the same way (minus the wax) on the bottom - to show off the “Made in Jackson Hole” stamp.

Finished mugs! The glazes, once wiped away around the mountains, leave a little halo of color. Something else that makes each one unique.

Find these mugs in Jackson at MADE or in their online shop!

FoundSpace

Jenny Dowd

For the past few years I’ve been a participant in FoundSpace - a public art initiative co-sponsored by the JH Land Trust and JH Public Art. This project invites artists to interact and activate public land, you can check out my projects from 2017 and 2018, each a collaboration with writer Matt Daly.

I thought it would be fun to check in on what is happening this year for FoundSpace at Rendezvous Park (or R Park)

After citing strange noises and sightings in the park, the staff of R Park brought in Observator R. Park to investigate.

Not much is known about Observator, however, their passion for discovery and documentation is apparent. Observator seems perfect for the job of discovering the secret lives of the imaginary creatures that call R Park home.

In order to aid in the task of documentation, Observator has set up a field station at the entrance to the park and is inviting visitors to help discover and catalogue the mysterious creatures inhabiting the park.

From the sounds of it, this field station will be at R Park all summer - so if you are in the area, check it out. Be sure to take a look at the field guide, located in one of the lockers, as it contains all notes and descriptions of creatures found so far in the park.

This Friday the 21st is a Solstice Celebration at R Park, this event will be from 5-8pm. I’m sure Observator will be eager to share some of their discoveries and will also recruit explorers to help throughout what looks to be a busy summer.

Observator R. Park seems to be easier to find online than in person - though, they are often at R Park studying specimens - the discoveries can be followed on Facebook and Instagram at @rparkobservator and also YouTube

Or send Observator an email with questions or information / images / video of your own discoveries in R Park: rparkobservator@gmail.com

Here are short videos of 2 creatures that have been found so far, I grabbed these off Observator’s YouTube channel - since they are busy out in the field I thought I’d help get the word out:

A Kiln Full of New

Jenny Dowd

In between orders and catching up on inventory for local shops, I’ve been dreaming up some new designs. It seems I’ve been a fan of black and white for a long time, and while I’m still a fan, it’s time for a little color.

This kiln load is just the start, I’ll be adding new forms soon. For now I’m continuing with a star catching theme with little cups. The prototype plates and bowls have potential. The kiln shelf cracked during this firing and I was lucky it didn’t cause any damage. It’s a bummer to lose a shelf, but I don’t feel the loss quite as much right now since this was such a happy load!

Most of this work features drawings with underglaze pencil, I like how the line fuzzes in the firing. The plate and bowl have more crisp lines- from an inlay technique. I’m excited to play with these processes and combine them.

Also some new extra-cute tooth fairy bowls! I asked my dentist about this once, after a thoughtful look she said that they would “reduce bedside fumbling.”

I’m looking forward to the next batch, it’s nice to have something new and to finally see it happening!

So many mugs

Jenny Dowd

I’m really in a mug phase right now.

Lately I’ve been working on mugs for shops, mugs for upcoming sales, and mugs for special projects. The biggest challenge is coming up with a unique design for each location, at the same time this is the best part - an excuse to stretch and come up with something different while maintaining my voice and style. I love that within each of these projects the mugs are unique yet similar…

This Jackson Hole mug was created as a custom design for Workshop; I’ve been making them for a few years and on this last round gave them a minor tweak. Lowercase metal letter stamps - the result is so much more playful! Each letter is hand-stamped and the mountains and lines are incised. Each different yet similar.

Penny Lane is opening at a brand new location tomorrow! I’ve made a collection just for this space, ivory glazed mugs of all shapes & sizes. Each incised with little details.

This year I have been working on another custom mug, this time exclusively for MADE. Each features the Tetons while varying slightly in pattern. I’m still tweaking this design, trying a batch made from porcelain… coming soon!

In the soda kiln right now… lots of mugs! I’m never totally sure how these pots will turn out (check out these past Journal entries for details on this firing process: Part 1 & Part 2) Here I’m applying stains to the surface of the clay, this will react in the firing and make something interesting.

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And finally! I’ve been invited to participate in the first year of Wyoming Art Drop. This project features artwork by 6 Wyoming artists. Order an Art Drop and you’ll get a box of curated artwork delivered to your door in December. This Wyoming Night Mug is my prototype for this project, I’m excited to represent my state!

Wait for it

Jenny Dowd

Most of the time art requires a vast amount of patience. Sometimes the patience is totally surprising.

In 2004 I was invited to participate in the public art event, Art Inside the Park, in Jefferson City, MO. I made tons of porcelain stacks - a sort of growth formation / pancake stack. There were probably hundreds of stacks of the bright white fired porcelain pieces, installed in a wide meadow and between the trees. They were meant to seem almost natural, as if perhaps they actually grew there. I remember standing back at the opening of the park, watching as some people did a double-take when they noticed “Growth,” while others walked on by without noticing. Both reactions totally perfect.

After the exhibition was over, the pieces were packed up and a friend took some for her garden, my parents took some for their yard, and I probably threw some away.

So here it is, spring 2019. Every time I visit my parents I’m reminded of these pieces. My dad has patiently placed them in the yard, tucking the stacks between rocks, plants, and trees. He glues them together in an attempt to prevent a squirrel from knocking them over (I think the squirrel is winning.)

The best thing is that I always forget about these pieces. Every single time. I look out in the backyard and think about how peaceful it is and how the trees and plant have grown so much over the years. Then suddenly… what? What is that? During the most recent visit in April I actually got about a foot away from them before I recognized what they were. Sitting outside for 15 years has resulted in a surface I could only have ever dreamed of. The somewhat porous clay has been stained and is growing the most beautiful moss. It’s a different piece than it was in that park, bright white against the green grass.

It’s a good lesson to let go. I loved the piece when it was installed because it was exactly what I imagined. After the show was over I felt no attachment to these pieces as they had served their purpose. Once again I am reminded that patience wins the day and the things beyond imagination are often better than the rigid ideas in my head.

Market Update

Jenny Dowd

Last week I showed a bit of the process behind the pottery I’m making exclusively for Market. I opened the kiln on Monday to find that for once, everything in the kiln looked great! (See last week’s post here)

Garden themed pots: Swiss chard cups, cherry tomato salad bowls, plus a salt cellar and garlic keeper.

Before this load could be fired, I had to solve another problem. The shelves were in serious need of care, the bottoms of the pots had been sticking - leaving behind tiny shards of fired clay. Not only is it annoying to constantly clean the kiln shelves, but it meant that a lot of my pots had bits of clay missing from the feet and it just looked bad.

Fixing this means another step, but one that is worth it. I’m now coating the foot of each pot with a mixture of brushable wax and alumina. This ensures that nothing will stick to the kiln shelf and the foot of each pot will look how it should! I also scraped each shelf, and coated it with fresh kiln wash - which dried out in front of the space heater with a little help from Merlin’s studio water dish.

I’m also making ornaments specifically for Market, with the Vertical Harvest logo on one side, and a ripe juicy tomato on the other. The logo is hand drawn onto the porcelain disk using an underglaze pencil. I found that I can go over the lines with a little water on a brush to make it look more painterly.

It’s a few months away, but now I can’t wait until I can grow Swiss Chard and cherry tomatoes in my own garden, right outside of my studio!

New Work for Market

Jenny Dowd

Lately these quiet snowy days have been helpful in the studio, where I’ve been working to design a new line of pottery to be sold exclusively at Market. This shop is inside Vertical Harvest, the amazing greenhouse that grows beautiful greens and tomatoes all year in Jackson, Wyoming.

This project has taken since last spring, working through sketches, testing glazes, and mostly just thinking about how to make colorful garden themed designs - while working on all the projects that kept me busy last year. My goal was to make garden themed pots for dining: cups & pitchers, serving & salad bowls, as well as helpful items for the kitchen: garlic keepers & salt cellars. It’s been nice thinking about garden parties during this ultra-snowy winter!

In January I finally made some actual pieces. New ideas don’t usually take this long, but this time the process is such a departure from my usual, and I was a little stumped. Usually I decorate the surfaces while the pots are still wet, using inlay and sgraffito techniques. But what was bugging me was that I wanted these images to have a gestural line feel, more like drawing. So I bisque fired the test pieces and ordered a few underglaze pencils.

A neat trick when working on bisque fired pottery is that a design can be worked out with a graphite pencil - any unwanted graphite can be washed off with a sponge but it will also burn away in the kiln. So I worked out some of my drawings with a pencil first. Then went over them with the underglaze pencil. (Which is a very cool decorating tool - it looks sketchy like a pencil and yet will fire to a permanent line!)

I drew Swiss Chard on the cups & pitchers, tomatoes on the bowls, micro-greens on the salt cellars, and garlic on the garlic keepers. Then started in with glaze - only using copper green and red right now; colorful, but not too colorful. Similar to the first colors of spring. The glazing is a bit tedious - starting with the greens, once the leaves are brushed on I went over them with wax resist. This way I can glaze with the second color right up next to the first color. Red goes on next, then wax over that, finally clear over everything.

This is how the prototypes turned out and I’ve got a whole kiln load right now that I can’t wait to see. So stay tuned for an update!

Sketch to Life

Jenny Dowd

My sketching process is really messy, sketchbooks get torn up and little scraps of paper usually hold the best ideas. Often I can’t figure out how to define the idea on paper and the sketch becomes 3D - clay or wire, and then gets recycled.

The past few weeks I’ve been cleaning and organizing my studio space as well as attempting to wrangle art images into files and onto my websites. This is a good way to find odd things and reminders of past projects. Here are 2 of the most vague sketches I found and their resulting sculptures…

Believe it or not this was the final sketch for a ceramic and steel chandelier made for a project in 2016. It was just enough information on paper for me to move on to clay. I remember showing this drawing to a few people who seemed to understand it and were really excited… maybe my verbal description was more coherent, or maybe they were just being polite. Either way, this is what the sketch turned into:

Wyoming Sky Lantern was commissioned by Agnes Bourne for the foyer of the Designer Show House at the 2016 Western Design Conference. Read all about this project in this past Journal entry. The chandelier is now permanently living in a private home, the owner shared these images and I absolutely love them. I never would have guessed how the porcelain would change color with the lighting and environment. Maybe that is why my sketches are so vague?

This sketch was from a project last summer, I collaborated with Matt Daly to make 12 thaumatropes that were installed around Emily Steven’s Pond. This project was part of FoundSpace, a project designed by Jackson Hole Public Art and the Jackson Hole Land Trust. Once again, a very simple sketch became something quite complicated.

Read more about this project and see images of all the thaumatropes on my website.

Jackson Hole History

Jenny Dowd

Recently the Jackson Hole Historical Museum asked me to create an illustration that would embellish the text accompanying their new exhibition: the History Co-op Corner. This exhibition asks the community as well as visitors to share their Jackson Hole History.

The final illustration is 11 feet long, definitely quite a bit larger than I’m used to working!

This was a challenge to wrap my mind around. A small and very, very rough draft helped me visualize the scale and subject. The drawings needed to add to the text, yet not distract.

I started by thinking in terms of seasons and easily recognizable land formations - from left to right: Winter / Saddle Butte, Spring / Tetons, Summer / Sleeping Indian Mountain, Fall / Snow King.

Since history is past, present, and future I knew it would be important to mix together the contemporary and historical nature of Jackson Hole. After making a list of landmarks, activities, and a few interesting historical objects I translated each into a small cut-out drawing. This gave me something to move around under the text so I could play with relationship and readability.

The scale was a challenge, but since the final image would be scanned, printed onto vinyl and then applied to the wall - I did not need to make the drawing 11 feet long. Instead I made the drawing in 4 sections, at half the size of the final product. The text was printed out and pieced together - so I would roughly know how much space was available around it for the drawings.

After moving around my little cut out drawings I was able to edit and figure out which images made the cut. This was tough - there are so many recognizable images that can be used to illustrate Jackson, plus many activities that people travel to this area for. In the end I had to choose images that would read well from a distance and that could be drawn in silhouette.

I really love this photograph of Jackson’s original school bus, it was one of the first images that I knew needed to be included. It may not be easily recognized as a school bus, however it doesn’t take much research at the Historical Museum to find out what it is!

A few challenges included keeping the line of images from becoming static - I wanted some of the images to break into the space around the letters. Also, there were plenty of items that I had to look up for reference, such as the bus used in Yellowstone National Park.

This is the final drawing with lettering laid over top. And the final version in the museum…

This exhibition invites interaction by asking the community and visitors to participate through answering the question “What is your Jackson Hole History?”

Local Elementary students were asked to draw and write about their Jackson histories and High School students researched and shared an oral history of their families. Postcards are also available for visitors and locals to include their histories in this evolving exhibition.

There is much to explore in this exhibition and it is best experienced in person. I’m honored to have my artwork be part of this display! If you are in the area be sure to stop by and participate.

Jackson Hole Historical Society & Museum

225 N Cache, Jackson, WY

Tuesday - Saturday 10am - 5pm

Winter Classes

Jenny Dowd

I’ve been taking a bit of a break to recharge - it was needed because all of a sudden I can’t wait to work in the studio and start teaching classes again!

Already a lot is happening in the studio (new stuff coming soon!) and classes begin this week at the Art Association.

Clay Surfaces: Color, Glaze & Pattern

Jan 10 - Feb 7 | 11:30am - 2pm

This class will cover lots of surface techniques - texture & stamping as well as the many ways to use underglaze and slip: sgraffito, inlay & mishima, stencils, transfers, wax etching… This class is the place to find or enhance your style!

Monotype, Chine-collé, and Hand-sewn Techniques

2 different sessions:

Feb 6 & 13 | 1 - 4pm

April 17 & 24 | 6 - 9pm

Learn the basics of monotype printmaking, a process that can be quick or layered. We will explore techniques to make marks using an etching press as well as techniques that you can do at home without a press.

Monotypes are one-time prints that I find truly special and sometimes haunting. Whether you love to draw & paint or are a little intimidated by paper - you will make interesting designs, patterns, and images that are exciting and one-of-a-kind.

We will also add to the layers of our prints with chine-collé and collage techniques.

Daytime Beginning Throwing

2 different sessions:

Feb 14 - March 21 | 11:30am - 2pm

April 18 - May 23 | 11:30am - 2pm

How does a lump of clay become a mug? Learn all the basics in this daytime throwing class. It will be awkward and messy at first, but you’ll have something you can eat out of by the end of the class!

Drawing Topics

2 different sessions:

Feb 20 - March 13 | 1 - 4pm

May 8 - 28 | 6 - 9pm

I think that drawing is a really important way to communicate. Whether you are doodling while waiting or are giving someone instructions that need a little visual component or you desire to make a realistic drawing of an object - drawing is useful. Learn confidence during this 4-week class as we work through the basics and a variety of techniques to get you started to brush up your skills.

Check out the Events page on the website to see Sam’s classes, and dates for shows and other events as we know them!

Special, Special Orders

Jenny Dowd

Just about every time I think that I’ve got too much to do and shouldn’t take on any more special orders - I get the most amazing requests. These are the things that, although they take me off my path, they make me realize that my path can (and should be) be wider than originally thought.

Just this past week I finished and delivered two of the most special orders. Each were commissioned by someone as a gift for another person or family, each very personal.

The pitcher and cups are for someone who has just moved into a new home that she has named “The Sunny Spot.” This inspired me to made a few little wall tiles with whimsical little hills, and a path to the sun and stars. Luckily, Sam and I had planned a soda firing and I was able to make these pieces and get them into the kiln in time. (This is a laborious process that we love but only do a few times each year. For the whole story on how these pieces happen check out my past journal entry here.)

This teapot and cup set is also extremely whimsical, full of special meaning, and commissioned as a gift. While working on these pieces I fell in love with the clouds - I’ve put these on succulent planters in the past, but this time it was if I saw them differently…. and they will be showing up in the future.

Every order, every piece of pottery that finds a new home, each one is a gift. When I stop to think about my work out there in the wild making people happy, it floors me and energizes me at the same time.

1 week, 2 shows

Jenny Dowd

Sometimes it works out this way, I have work in 2 exhibitions and they both have receptions this week…

Animal Shelter opens on November 1st at Mystery Print Gallery in Pinedale, WY. For this invitational exhibition artists were tasked with interpreting the theme of animal shelter - how do animals find shelter, especially in the shared spaces occupied by humans, other animals, etc?

I focused on the tiny: snake, spider, bird, mouse. These critters can be seen as pests or pets, and I like the idea of them having flexible found shelter - each has an indoor option and an outdoor option.

The little critters are made from porcelain, multiples were made in case someone lost a tail or beak. The little drawings were done in a local coffee shop- another reason I like to work small!

4 tiny sculptures resulted. I’m looking forward to seeing how the other artists interpreted the theme. This show will be on display until the end of the year, so check it out if you are in the area.

The cookbook project, a year in the making, is now an actual printed cookbook! (Check out my past post Illustration project sneak peek for some behind the scenes.) The cookbook is available to purchase in the Jackson CWC office in the Center for the Arts.

I never imagined that my sketch - how to butcher an onion - would make the cover! (I took a knife skills class a few years ago, a short evening class through CWC. Learning how to chop an onion blew my mind! Plus… I’ve only cut myself in the kitchen a few times since this class.)

All of the original illustrations are on display and available for purchase in the Theater Gallery located in the Center for the Arts in Jackson until November 5th.

This Friday November 3rd, from 5:30 - 7:30, the culinary arts students will be serving tastes from the cookbook at the reception. Come by to see (and taste) the recipes that inspired drawings by me, Jocelyn Slack, and Cal Brackin.

Illustration project sneak peek

Jenny Dowd

I’m excited to share a peek into a project that has been in the works since late last year…

In collaboration with the Culinary Arts Program at Central Wyoming College, located at the Jackson campus and illustrators Jocelyn Slack and Cal Brackin, I’ve been working on a cookbook! The three of us have been illustrating a collection of recipes developed by the culinary arts students.

The end result will be a published cookbook and an exhibition with some of the original illustrations as well as actual recipes made and served during the opening by the students.

Wrapping my head around how to create illustrations for the recipes was a challenge. It didn’t take long to realize that composing the image right there on a piece of paper was causing me to stall out and I would be more confident if working dimensionally.

I thought about the story each recipe told and how to best give visual instructions, then drew the components. After cutting the pieces out I was able to play with the composition and relationship of each object. Some images came from memory, while some- the 1950’s pink convertible- needed a source image.

After the initial composition on scrap paper, I moved onto ink on drawing paper. The next part seemed the most scary- I don’t usually use much color and rarely use watercolor. I had a few drawing drafts that didn’t work out, so they became confidence building practice pieces.

Pictured here- how to chop lemongrass for Thai Masala Squash Soup, Taco Soup, and Asparagus Soup with Cream- for that one I imagined a budding romance between asparagus and a pitcher of cream. (I got sick of my brushes rolling around on the table and making a wet mess, so I made a quick brush holder with foam and push pins. I made a sea monster brush holder out of clay earlier in the summer, but haven’t glazed it yet.)

For some recipes, I picked out a few key ingredients, like a shallot and mint for the Cucumber Mint Salad. Some are more visual how-to’s, like the middle illustration- Winter Vegetable Hash (Scrub veggies before peeling, do not rinse after!) and some are about telling a story- Thai Coconut Rice- gateway to the taste of another country.

The Cuban Chicken recipe was influenced by the grandmother of the chef… so I couldn’t resist a 1950’s pink caddy being driven by a chicken on a mission! The Singapore Fruit Salad made me think of a market full of exotic fruits which led to fruit eager to travel the world. Mixing pasta dough like a volcano of flour filled with eggs… well, that’s my visual definition anyway.

Some recipes got more color than others, I still love the simple black line of pen on paper, so I highlighted that in a few of these drawings. Especially the Meatball Sub- the meatballs are waiting for the toast to be perfect.

I still have several more illustrations to finish, so stay tuned for an update! And if you are in Jackson, be sure to stop by the Theater Gallery in the Center for the Arts to see the exhibition. The work will be on display from October 20 - November 5. The opening reception will be November 2 from 5:30 - 7:30pm. And the cookbook will be available at that time too!

Fall Classes

Jenny Dowd

Fall classes have begun at the Art Association! I’m teaching a variety of topics…

Make your own clay and silver jewelry in Melding Minerals. In this 3-part class we will make jewelry components from stoneware and porcelain, highlighting texture, color, and surface design. Then we will put it all together with silversmith Jen McNaughton.

Tuesdays | 5:30 - 8:30pm | Sept 18 - Oct 2

Surface Design on Pottery started this past Wednesday, but it’s not too late to drop in for any topic you are curious about. Sgraffito, inlay & mishima, decals & transfers…

Wednesdays | 6 - 9pm | Sept 12 - Oct 17

Drawing Topics is a great drawing class to refresh your skills or start up a good drawing habit. Each week covers a different topic, sign up for all or just a few.

Tuesdays | 10am - 12pm | Oct 2 - Nov 6

In Handbuilding with Clay - Daytime we will cover all the basic handbuilding techniques - slab, pinch, coil, plus a lot more. Bring your ideas- large and small! Learn how to use studio tools such as the slab roller and extruder.

Wednesdays | Oct 24 - Nov 28 | 12 - 2pm

I’m offering 2 opportunities to make your own cards before the holidays:

Printing & Sewing: Cardmaking In this one-day workshop we will spend the morning making designs, and patterns by making simple screenprints and monotypes. In the afternoon we will collage these prints by sewing them onto cards with other found and handmade papers. No glue! The sewing machine lines can create beautiful attachments and simple lines that add to your design. No sewing or printmaking experience necessary.

Saturday | Nov 3 | 10am - 3pm

Monotype Printmaking: Holiday Cards Spend an afternoon making fun and simple cards to celebrate the holidays (or any event.) Learn simple monotype techniques and make cards or images in multiple sizes. Once the print has dried you can even go back and draw on top of the colors or images… so many options!

Tuesday | Dec 4 | 1 - 4pm

Stickum Up!

Jenny Dowd

Friday evening the alleys of Jackson got plastered with large prints of local art! Thanks to JH Public Art these temporary murals were installed during the Palates & Palettes art walk and will remain on view through Fall Arts Festival.

After a little wheat paste practice we hit the streets...

In the alley behind Eddie Bauer and Pinky G's Pizza you will find "Peaceful Inputs" by Sophie Stoessel and "Thrilling Wyoming" by Walt Gerald.

My tiny drawing, "Some things should not have wheels" is now huge in comparison to the original, and is right across from Sophie & Walt. And just down the alley behind Trio: "Holding Steady" by Katy Fox.

There are 7 more! So if you are in Jackson walk around and find them all, they will be up until the 22nd. One is even going to be a permanent painted mural, the artist will be starting on the 17th.

I'm so excited to see my little characters suddenly large! Stop by my booth at the Takin' it to the Streets Fair tomorrow to see the original- it's about 4 inches x 10 inches.

Display Ideas

Jenny Dowd

One thing I love about making things out of clay, besides ease of use and overall helpfulness, is the challenge of finding solutions for display. I'm always rethinking how to make objects that are helpful and highly functional, plus looking for good ways to display them- I like it when a story can simply be told through the juxtaposition of a few objects. 

A few weeks ago at the August Art Fair Jackson Hole I was across the isle from Sita Sabina. She saw a helpful potential in my "stuff holders." By using these little dishes to display her rings for people to choose from, she also created a beautiful and simple display that offers good ideas for storage (or home display) of precious objects.

Recently metal artist, Jen McNaughton, asked me to make necklace display stands and I got pretty excited about this project. I'd never thought of making ceramic display stands!

I started out by making a cardboard pattern. This template helped me think through the angle which it would sit at as well as size. It also gave me a good visual before cutting into the clay- the necklace needs to stay put on the top and hook somehow into the back, so I came up with a few ideas before getting too far into clay work.

After lots of smoothing and assembling I added a little decoration- like a frame around Jen's pendants. This needed to be simple and not distracting, underglaze inlay seemed to be a good fit. I drew a design into the clay with an xacto, coated it with underglaze, then wiped the excess away.

And the results! The notches at the top hold the necklace in place, while holes in the back supports give options for chain length, plus a little anti-theft. 

JDowd_CeramicStands_JenMcNaughtonNecklace.jpg

Come to the Takin it to the Streets fair on September 9th on the Jackson Town Square to see these in person. Well, come to see Jen's jewelry, really- you won't even notice the stands! And I'll be a few booth away with my pottery still thinking about new ways to display things.

Sometimes for fun

Jenny Dowd

Sometimes I make silly things that are just for me... these plant pots were demo pots made while teaching youth and adult handbuilding in the spring at the Art Association. The submarine started out like a regular pot, then transformed into something truly silly that I couldn't wait to get into my garden! The whale came along second as a response to the submarine.

It might be rare that I have an excuse to use a cake stand, but it's fun to use them! And I do think they get sad when they go too long without cake (oh, and I get sad too.) This cookies & cream icebox cake was extra yummy since the cake stand was involved!

Sometimes cake stands crack in the kiln- in my garden those turn into plant stands.

I have a few more silly things at work in the studio- starry garlands for my art fair booth and a sea monster paint brush holder... I'm looking forward to putting these to use soon! 

FoundSpace: Update

Jenny Dowd

I'm used to projects offering more challenges than initially expected. Most things are not as simple as they seem, and making working thaumatropes proved that statement true over and over this summer.

Despite, or perhaps because of the difficulties, these are the projects I love the most. In frustration I'll leave my studio to take a walk, returning with another idea that I'm eager to try. I'll turn a difficult project around in my mind while working on something that makes sense- then when that project turns on me I'll go back to the other one.

To read about the first installment check out this past post and to read about the whole FoundSpace project check out this past post.

Thanks to installation by Matt Daly all 12 thaumatropes are now on display until the middle of August at Emily Steven's Park!

I got really serious about making the thaumatropes sturdy and functional, so for this final version each disk spins on an axle. The wood disks are glued and screwed together (learned from another early mistake.) The screws are counter-sunk on the last 4 disks so the drawing surface is smoother.

Each illustration was completed on paper, then transferred to the wooden disk using carbon paper and drawn/painted with acrylic paint pens. The illustration for the mottled sculpin was made on paper as well as vellum so I could check the overlap. When the disk spins both images are visible at once- for this image the mottled sculpin needed to look like he was under water- or more precisely, in a riffle.

After the logistics of creating spinning thaumatropes was figured out, the illustrations came easily as accompaniments to Matt's poems. 

One of the coolest things about working with Matt on this project was learning about these little critters. When I looked up images of the Bushy-tailed Woodrat I also learned that they will drop whatever edible thing they are carrying back to their stash in favor of a shiny object- like a spoon or coins!

I had no idea what a Mottled Sculpin was- and that they are tiny- end of a finger tiny! 

Plus the humor- while it may seem funny and light-hearted to authropormophise animals, it might also be serious. They might actually find each other obnoxious.

And cicadas might actually be pretty excited to graduate from nymph-hood!

The best part is that this project has made me look differently at this area I've lived in for over 10 years... there is always something to learn and something to see.

Stop by Emily Steven's Park to see all 12 before August 20th!