contact us

Drop us a line!

Use the form on the right or email dowdhousestudios@gmail.com


Alpine, WY, 83128
USA

JDowd_SucculentPots.jpg

Journal

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

Filtering by Tag: Jackson Hole

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

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.

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!

Custom Mugs: JH Book Trader

Jenny Dowd

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ornaments & Cookies

Jenny Dowd

Same process, different outcome!

About a month ago I started making ornaments knowing they would be just in time for absolute last minute Christmas gifts. The ornaments start out a lot like cookies- roll the clay thin, cut with biscuit cutters, add a small hole for hanging. 

The ornaments are for sale at Workshop in Jackson and each one is unique, just like everything in this store. Even the name- some say Jackson Hole and others say Jackson, WY. 

The text is written with an underglaze inlay process; when the clay is almost leather-hard I write the text into the surface with a sharp blade. Watered-down black underglaze is brushed over the surface, then sponged off.

The other side features patterned mountains, this time in a sgraffito process. The entire surface is coated with black underglaze, I wait until it has dried just enough, then scratch through to reveal the clay underneath. Some are glazed partially with a clear glaze while others remain unglazed for a satin finish. 

Needless to say, I've been thinking about cookies since I started this project! 

My ornaments are hanging and the (actual) shortbread cookies are out of the oven... Merry Christmas!

Passages

Jenny Dowd

A few weekends ago, with the help of Jackson Hole Public Art, I installed Passages over the patio of Persephone Bakery. This installation will be up through Jackson's Fall Arts Festival, so if you are in Jackson be sure to stop by!

Passages is part of a series I have been working on since 2009, each installation is unique with its own challenges (see them here.) This is the first opportunity I have had to install these pieces outdoors, I found the main challenge to be working in a public space. I strove to find a balance between visibility while not creating hazards in a busy, popular restaurant. 

Each form is welded steel that has been dipped in Egyptian Paste and fired in a kiln. I strung them from a spiderweb of wires stretched between the canopy of trees that makes this patio so cozy and inviting. The boats (or leaves or fish or birds or bats...) form lines and groups, drips when they meet a tree and swirl around overhead. Sometimes they seem to hide in nooks between branches, offering moments of discovery.

I am so happy to have been able to add something extra to one of my favorite spots in Jackson; every installation of Passages offers new ways to activate space. This has been beautifully written about by Katy Niner on the Persephone Blog

Next time you are looking for a coffee or beautiful baked treat, be sure to stop by Persephone... then see if you can find all the boats!