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Journal

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

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. 

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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!

Summer Pottery Sales

Jenny Dowd

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It's time for summer pottery and art sales! Check out the Teton MudPots Summer Sale this Thursday & Friday. This year the summer sale will include work by local potters as well as printmakers, painters, and jewelers. 

I've been packing up work for this 2-day sale. Find 2nds (glaze weirdos and things I'm not totally happy with), extras from orders, prototypes, and some older work that I'd just like to get out of the studio.

I'll be participating in 3 more sales this summer, check my Events page for details as the dates get closer...

Mountain Craft Show

I'll be teaming up with Susan Fleming, Lisa Walker, Noa Staryk, and Arcy Hawks for this 2 day sale located behind Nest on Pearl Street in Jackson. Friday June 29, 4 - 7pm & Saturday June 30, 10am - 4pm

Art Fair Jackson Hole

Dowd House Studios will be at the August Art Fair in Miller Park this year! August 10 - 12

Takin' It To The Streets

Dowd House Studios will finish off the summer with Takin' It To The Streets on September 9

 

FoundSpace 2018: Part 2

Jenny Dowd

This week FoundSpace 2018 was unveiled at Emily Steven's Park! This art will be on display until August 8, and there is plenty to explore. I'm one of 5 artists invited by the JH Land Trust and JH Public art to create a temporary installation that will bring awareness to our public wild spaces. At FoundSpace, the challenge is to create something that will help visitors see the space in a different way- and hopefully discover something new every time they visit.

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This awesome map, designed by Cal Brackin, was screen printed onto bandanas by Walt Gerald

FoundPrints by the Sun

Brittany Hill took inspiration from the organic material found in this location to create naturally dyed flags. Each represent a species that has been transferred to the fabric through printmaking processes that rely on the sun.

Looksees

Bronwyn Minton invites viewers to come over and take a looksee. Her large sculptures are hard to resist and each offer spyglass holes- look through and you might just see something.

The Small Village of Treepoli

Bland Hoke enticed the small occupants of Treeopoli to construct a tiny village of hanging houses and rope ladders. Look closely, many details are hidden within the village.

Chronicles of the Introverted Minifauna

Matt Daly and I have created thaumatropes (check out last week's blog post for details) that tell stories about the little critters that are easily overlooked. So far we have installed 4... but keep an eye out, we will be installing more around the park over the next month!

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FoundSpace 2018: Part 1

Jenny Dowd

FoundSpace 2018 is ready to be explored! 

Now in its Fourth year, this project is a collaboration between the JH Land Trust and JH Public Art. FoundSpace offers the opportunity and challenge of interpreting conserved public land in creative and interactive ways. This year FoundSpace is at Emily Steven's Park just outside of Wilson, WY.

Last year I collaborated with Matt Daly, (see our project here) we had such fun that we decided to work together again. Inspired by the optical combination of words and images in thaumatropes, Matt wrote 12 short poems, one for each month, that highlight the overlooked (and often introverted) mini-fauna found in this area. 

I illustrated each poem, which has been challenging since the magic behind the thaumatrope is 3 drawings- one on each side, plus a combination of the 2 when the disk spins.

The image had to be clear enough to read, yet the multiple parts allowed for slightly more information. I was so excited about telling the stories that I missed an important step- the image has to be perfectly registered on each side so that when the disk flips the image is not blurry. Oops.

I drew the image on paper, transferred it to plywood with carbon paper, then registered the image using holes in the side of the disk. (As seen by the highly technical use of drill bits...) 

Each little critter has such personality and imagery created through Matt's words, it was easy to imagine the story and what I wanted to visualize. I am so excited to be part of this project and to work in collaboration with another creative who sees the world from a different angle. I'm already learning a lot about some of the mini-fauna that I was not aware of! 

The thaumatrope is made cut disks from plywood in a diameter to fit discarded bike wheels that Matt scavenged. I drew and painted on the primed surfaces and made cranks so they can be turned by hand. The stands were made by Matt from discarded fence posts, and all stand at different heights.

We've started with 4 thaumatropes, and will install all 12 within the next month. So stay tuned for updates, and if Emily Steven's Park is part of your normal routine be sure to check back periodically.

There are 3 more artists who have installed artwork in the park: Bronwyn Minton, Bland Hoke, and Brittany Hill. Check back for my post on Saturday June 9th for a full update!

And if you are in the area, stop by Thursday June 7th from 5-8pm for the opening event. (You'll be able to make your very own small thaumatrope!)

Ensemble

Jenny Dowd

It's time for the Laramie County Library annual book arts exhibition, Inspiration and the Artist Book. As usual, this year's theme left me stumped for a few months: Ensemble. I rolled the idea around in my head as I worked on other projects and brainstormed with my dad (now you know my secret!)

This time I went tiny, deciding to make an ensemble of clothing. But it's not just any clothing- these items are made from the pages of an old book.

I started out by making tiny patterns and testing how to fold the paper with the fewest number of folds or overlaps. 

I really wanted a hat as part of this wardrobe, it took me a few tries to figure out how to display it. At first I made a stand-alone hat rack, but that seemed too complicated. In the end I added a little hook onto the clothing stand so all the little pieces would be together.

The clothing rack and hangers are made from black wire. I like the gestural line quality and felt it fit well with the pages of text.

The final piece is very small, 8 inches tall by 10 inches long.

Book Jackets

Each person is a book. We are each an ensemble of ideas, information, fact, fiction, stories, dreams and musings. In order to face the day we wrap ourselves in what we have, leaving space in the wardrobe for more items and changing styles.

By mixing and matching we create a story to be presented to the world, adding and sharing pages and pieces through conversation, reading, living, and researching.

This tiny delicate piece was also a challenge to pack for shipping. In the end it occupied a much larger box than I would have imagined for such a small piece... but the box only weighed 4 pounds!

Visit this book sculpture in person and see how all the other artists interpreted "Ensemble." The show will be on display at the Laramie County Library in Cheyenne, WY from June 8 - August 8, 2018.

Summer Classes

Jenny Dowd

The summer class schedule just arrived at the Art Association and I'll be teaching 2 classes this summer. If you are looking for a little art instruction this might be just the thing, the topical classes are perfect to drop into. Check out the complete schedule here, there are lots of great offerings!

Surface Decoration on Pottery

June 26 - July 31 | Tuesday | 6 - 9 pm

Each week we will explore a different topic- from decoration before bisque, glazing techniques, and how to make your own decals:

Wet Clay:
June 26: Carving / Stamping / Sprigging / Thinking about Glazing and Staining
Leather Hard Clay:
July 3: Sgraffito (Slip or underglaze)
July 10: Mishima and inlay (Underglaze)
July 17: Monotype Transfers (Slip)
July 24: Many ways of Stencils (Slip)
Post Glaze:
July 31: Decals - how to design and print your own

Drawing Topics

June 7 - July 26 | Thursday | 10am - 12pm

An introduction and refresher to drawing skills for the artist who wishes to improve this basic skill set required to become an artist. 

June 7: Line
June 14: Shape & Space
June 28: 1 point Perspective
July 5: 2 point Perspective
July 19: Value
July 26: Composition

Maybe I'll see you in the studio! 

Pottery in Action: The White Buffalo Club

Jenny Dowd

I have been working on custom pottery for The Restaurant at The White Buffalo Club in Jackson for over a year. This is the first in a series of big orders and even though it still seems like it takes me a long time to finish anything- I can tell that I've gotten faster and more consistent thanks to this project!

At the start I met with Chef Joel Hammond to discuss plate forms and glaze colors. We started out with 1 bowl and 3 plate forms with 3 different glazes. Since completing these, we've started adding specialized plates and ramekins.

For the pieces shown here, I used stoneware with satin glazes that highlight speckles from the iron rich clay. All of these pieces were made in the clay studio at the Art Association, so in snatches of time between classes I often took over a few tables with stacks and stacks of pottery. (Check out my past blog post The Studios for more on how I balance work spaces.)

The speckles and satin earth tone glazes really fit the theme that Chef Joel has created at the White Buffalo Club. He sources local and regional products that highlight small ranches and farms. This extends to local handmade products- not just pottery, also the tables in the restaurant!

One plate form was totally new for me, a shallow flat plate with straight sides. While making the form was simple, I wanted to also ensure that the plates stacked well- imagining a busy kitchen. I came up with a simple solution to bevel the bottom edge- so each plate fits slightly inside of the plate it is on top of.

Working with chefs to create custom dishes to support their vision has quickly become one of my favorite parts of being a potter. Joel came by the studio one day to try out an idea- I made a deep wide bowl and he pressed in and shaped the side... now I'm replicating this form and I can't wait to see what will go in it! I am also currently working on a specialized steak plate. So stay tuned, there is much more to come.

Visit the White Buffalo Club's Facebook page to see more images of my pottery in action, with yummy things on them. (All food photos on this post are from this page.)

Better yet, make time for dinner- The Restaurant at The White Buffalo Club re-opened May 11 for the season, so stop by to see what's new!

Catching Up

Jenny Dowd

So much is happening right now! Which is funny, since I have been feeling like I'm not doing anything interesting or worth talking about. I'm at the start of several new things, desperately behind on some others, and thinking about a huge change to my studio by adding a new clay / decoration / firing temperature. I think it's realistic to say that I've been overwhelmed. 

So what has been happening?

A few sculpture projects are in the works. More on these to come in the next weeks...

I've been teaching a lot of clay classes at the Art Association, both adult and youth. And making some funny things as examples... like this submarine flower pot (next up, garden gnomes!)

I just finished a project at the Kelly Elementary with the 2nd & 3rd grade class. For this project I worked with pARTners- an organization that bring local artists into the schools to help with special projects. The class was studying the Pacific Northwest, so I worked with the students to make their own totem poles. Each section tells a story, about the maker as well as family, past and present. 

I've been working on a new mug design for the General Store at Menors Ferry in Grand Teton National Park:

And... I'm a new vendor at Uncommon Goods! Visit my page and read the story here

I'm moving in a lot of directions right now and every day is different. It's good to take time to reflect, this is a nice reminder that I'm doing a lot of interesting things. (And even a better reminder to keep carving out time to sit and read!)

 

 

Spring Classes

Jenny Dowd

Since it's feeling more damp & muddy than warm & springy right now in Jackson, this might be the perfect time for a clay class! I am teaching 3 classes that start over the next few weeks, plus there are lots more coming up, read on for details and check out the Art Association online schedule for more.

Beginning Throwing II - A La Carte

You've taken a throwing class or just need a refresher? Sign up for just one session or all 7, each week will address a specific topic. Click here for details and the list of dates and topics.

April 11 - May 23, Wednesday, 6-9pm

Handbuilding - Daytime

This daytime class is perfect for the beginner who wants to learn to create bowls, dishes, vases, tiles and more without the potter’s wheel. Sculptural forms will also be created as we build basic but fun forms using pinch, coil, and slab techniques. Then learn to add that personal touch using sculpting, alteration, stamps, stencils, painting, slip, stains, sgraffito, found objects and more.

April 16 - May 21, Monday, 12:30 - 2:30pm

Beginning Throwing - Daytime

How does a lump of clay become a mug or a bowl? Do you dream of eating cake off of your very own handmade dishes? This beginning throwing class is for you! Check out the details here.

April 26 - May 31, Thursday, 12:30 - 2:30

Hope to see you in the studio!

Soda Firing: Part 2

Jenny Dowd

Soda Firing: Part 1 was just the beginning! Here's the rest of the story behind this labor intensive work:

While Sam and I both have work in this kiln and use some of the same materials, our results are totally different. One thing we both like about this process is that sometimes the pieces come out of the soda kiln awesome and sometimes - Meh. It may be a lot of uncertainty, but it's worth it. This is what I am always telling my ceramics students - there is always another step, and almost always another chance.

Sam calls these "2nd chance pots."

After they come out of the kiln we draw onto the surface with underglaze. Sam doesn't know what the drawings will depict until he sees the pieces after the soda firing, then he reacts to the surface and glaze oddities.

I try to be loose with my designs, reacting to the atmospheric effects from the stains, though I have an idea of what will happen from the beginning. Sometimes there are strange glaze or surface flaws that I can work in (shooting star on right.) This is pretty loose for me, but my drawings are always tighter than Sam's crazy ideas.

Still not done! Now that the underglaze drawings are dry, it's time to re-fire the pieces. Remember how we had to add wadding to the base of the pots so they wouldn't stick to the kiln shelf? Well, that has to happen again. This keeps the pieces lifted up so the residual soda doesn't stick to the shelf when it remelts during the firing. I keep the bits of wadding so I can save time and resources by reusing them. 

Here are a few, still warm from the kiln! All the work, all the little steps... totally worth it. I'll be adding a new tiny cup with a star to my cabinet today.

Soda Firing: Part 1

Jenny Dowd

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I've been building up a lot of pottery over the past year to get ready for soda firing. This is a process that Sam and I both really like, however, it's a lot of work with a crazy amount of steps so we don't do it very often. This time it's been over a year since we've fired this kiln, and we've built up enough work for 3 kiln loads! 

I use porcelain for a smooth white canvas and to ensure bright crisp colors. I start out by layering stains onto the bisque-ware; cobalt oxide (blues) and iron sulfate (browns and golds). These stains end up washy and atmospheric, I have an idea of how they will look but there is a large unknown element which I really appreciate.

After staining, I glaze the inside of the pieces. The soda firing process makes an overall glaze- near the end of the firing, soda ash and water is injected into the kiln. This glaze flies around and makes the final look even more unpredictable, the surfaces end up beautiful and juicy, sometimes lightly textured. Because of this process, wadding must be added to the bottom of the pots so they don't stick to the kiln shelves. (Adding the wadding is aways the point at which I am reminded how much work is ahead.) The wadding lifts the pieces up like little feet and can be knocked off after the firing.

Sam is the one who does all the work firing the kiln, it's a long day but there's something energizing about a fiery kiln. The firing is about 14 hours and then the kiln cools for 2 - 3 days before we open it. 

I'm never super excited about the results after the firing, but I see a lot of potential. The atmospheric quality of the blue and brown stains is exciting, it's a great layer for the next step... stay tuned, they aren't finished!

Whodunnit?

Jenny Dowd

Whodunnit? is my favorite event & fundraiser at the Art Association, and it was last night! This yearly event is a celebration of tiny anonymous art. Around 200 artists create and donate 6x6 inch artworks that are signed on the back.

One reason I like this event so much is that I find the 6x6 inch format difficult. After my usual struggle, the final piece often marks the exploration of a new idea in my studio. The small canvas becomes a sketch for a new path or it helps me figure out a problem to work through an idea I've been mulling over.

I've made several pieces over the past years for this event, but haven't managed to photograph them all. Here's what I found... 

2010

Tooth Fairy Notes

At this time I was trying out some new materials and working to make the canvas feel more like clay. I was also writing some funny little stories and haiku about the Tooth Fairy.

2015

Envy

I think this was the first time I made the "canvas" instead of using the provided canvas. But most importantly, this piece was the first time flowers or little mischevious vases showed up in my sculpture!

2016

Remember when?

I'm still mulling this idea over, of adding depth by combining drawing with sculpture. This was the piece that started me thinking about that idea.

2017

Books

This was a tiny version of a small piece I had made in 2016 for a book arts exhibition at the Laramie County Library. (See that piece Here.) I had lots of leftover little books and wanted to revisit the idea and keep the background open. I added the flowers because as much as I love having flowers around the house, they have to be put up on high shelves or else my cat knocks the vase over. So I'm often finding wilted flowers here and there. 

2018

The flower stage

This time I wanted to make something that would change with different backgrounds (I only made one, but photographed it on a few different papers.) I've been thinking a lot about stages and invented settings. I've also recently discovered that I love working with cardboard and I like showing some of the "how" behind the craft.

I'm still excited about the ideas behind each of these pieces (and the ones I forgot to photograph) and am looking forward to seeing what these ideas lead to!

Make & Reuse

Jenny Dowd

I'm always looking for ways pottery can be helpful. 

Bronwyn, Director of Programs & Events at the Art Association, was looking for a way to provide reusable cups at gallery openings and events. Pottery ended up being part of the solution.

Jam jars solve the problem of trash (and cost) generated by throw-away drink cups, despite the extra work of washing, they feel great to hold and at the end of the night the trash cans are light. (If you are in Jackson and have jam or small jars that are not going to get filled with more deliciousness- bring them by the Art Association and put them to work!)

The another reusable option is something you can use and take home with you! I've been making small ceramic cups specifically for the gallery programs. During events the gallery offers the cups for $10- which we split, I see it as a small way I can help support the Art Association, and give a shout out to the ceramics program.

Since the clay studio is right next to the gallery it is always easy to find serving options for the snacks!

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I was focused on seeing this idea put into action Friday night, I also enjoyed the artwork, but you'll have to stop by to see the annual Member's Show on your own as I didn't take any photos!

Pottery in Action: The Wild Sage

Jenny Dowd

Here's a behind the scenes look into a project I've been working on for the past few months. I'm currently working on pottery for several Jackson area restaurants (more updates to come!) the latest one is the Wild Sage located in the Rusty Parrot

I've not been great about photographing the work, I was so excited to deliver these pieces that they went straight from the kiln into boxes. That just means that now I have an even better excuse for dinner out! (Besides, pottery always looks better with food.)

Last fall, Chef Travis Catanzaro contacted me to discuss new pottery designs for the restaurant. Since then I've been making sauce bowls, pitchers, ramekins and bread baskets with a stoneware, earth-tone inspired palette. 

One of these forms, the bread basket, is intended to replace the metal woven baskets they have been using. After measuring the existing baskets, my first thought was to find a form that I could slump the clay over. I wasn't terribly excited about the simple oval form that would be created, so I took some time to think.

Eventually, I wondered if the clay could be folded into the squared oval shape that I was seeking. After a few paper test pieces, I was able to make a pattern. Rolling the slab of clay onto burlap gave the outside texture. The walls were folded up and since the baskets are the same size, they also stack. (The first few were pretty wonky, I learned that the template was really important.)

Amazingly, when I sent Travis a photo of the prototype basket, he told me about a bread dough that is wrapped in fabric with texture similar to burlap, the process then transfers the texture to the bread!

These ramekins are a new form for me as well. As an extra challenge I had to find an oven safe clay that could survive the thermal shock delivered from the oven. The dishes are wheel thrown and then slightly pressed on the sides to create the oval shape. When glazing I used 6 glazes in a variety of combinations- you can see by my notes (on the left) how I had to make a plan to keep things organized.

So if you are in Jackson, be sure to stop by the Wild Sage for dinner. I know I can't wait to see these pieces in action!

New Mugs at Workshop

Jenny Dowd

I'm starting the year out with more custom projects! This Jackson Hole mug is now available exclusively at Workshop, just off the square in Jackson.

The design is made using an inlay technique. I hand stamp the letters, which makes them a little wonky, and score the damp clay with an xacto blade. The surface is coated with black underglaze and then sponged off, leaving narrow lines inlaid in the clay. 

While similar, each design is a little different. The variety is fun for me and also makes for sets of interesting mugs- all related but still unique.

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Find my mugs, platters, bowls, and cake stands at Workshop, along with lots of unique handmade items- a perfect place to find a gift, for you or someone you love!