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Journal

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

Filtering by Tag: Jenny Dowd

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 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!)

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!

Winter Classes

Jenny Dowd

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

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

Beginning Drawing Topics, Tuesdays 1 - 4pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Artist Statement & Bio: January 27 & February 3

Resume & CV: February 24

Photographing your artwork: March 24

Application Opportunities: April 28

Creating your Web Presence: May 26

Marketing your Artwork: June 30

Utopia/Dystopia

Jenny Dowd

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

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

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

Here's a peek...

Camellia El-Antably: Experiments in Utopia

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

Mark Ritchie: Imperfect Circle

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

Cristy Anspach: Highway Reliquary - Mule Deer

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

Conor Mullen: Facts About Fallout

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

Holland Morelli: Dystopian Flora

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

Tawni Shuler: Warrior Rabbits

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

Susan Durfee: Mystery

Sue Sommers: Liberty Walking Part 1 & Part 2

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

Nyla Hurley: The Railroaders

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

Nyla Hurley: Nativist Nostalgia

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

Nathan Abel: Excavation: Found Scroll

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

Jenny Dowd: Flowers still grow

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

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

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

Time for Tea(pots)

Jenny Dowd

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The cup and saucer patterns inspire decoration for the teapots. 

Mmmm... I feel warmer already!

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Art Fair Jackson Hole!

Jenny Dowd

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

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

Friday Aug 11: 10 - 6

Saturday Aug 12: 10 - 6

Sunday Aug 13: 10 - 4

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

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

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

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

3D Drawing

Jenny Dowd

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information, check out the class description here.

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

Details

Jenny Dowd

I spend a lot of time on details. 

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

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

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

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

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

New Designs at Workshop

Jenny Dowd

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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!

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

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

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! 

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.

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!