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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: foundspace

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:

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.

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!