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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: sculpture

Archive Part 1: Blast from the past

Jenny Dowd

I finally (partially) completed a task I have been putting off for years. It resulted in an empty shelf in a closet. 

All of the artwork I produced and documented during my undergraduate years and first year of graduate school were captured on slides. The digital transition was slowly taking place and by the time I finished college I finally had a good enough / affordable digital camera. I happily said goodbye to the ordeal of slides!

I'm lucky that I only had 4 or so years of my artwork locked up in slide format, still I managed to lug an old slide projector, books and boxes of slides, plus their many many duplicates around the country while putting off sorting and digitizing them.

After dusting off the slide projector and mis-orienting some slides, I spent a few nostalgic afternoons remembering where I started in my ceramic and sculpture career.

This little slab box was the first time I fired clay pierced with metal, and it was my very first piece ever to be accepted into a juried exhibition, I think it was even purchased. Mostly I remember how nervous I was packing the box for shipping. 

There was a lot to relive in this trip down memory lane, including the time, energy, and money spent on this documentation: matching the lightbulbs with the correct tungsten film (film that lived in the produce drawer in my refrigerator) taking rolls of photos, waiting to have them developed, viewing the slides, throwing half of them away, returning to have duplicates made of the good images...

It was really fun to revisit all of this old work, though a little scary and sad when in the end I threw away heaps of slides. So much time and money. 

Final.jpg

I kept 2 small boxes that will be sent off this week to be digitized. The next part of this project will be to organize the images I'm keeping. Soon they will be included in an archive section of my website... stay tuned!

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.

Place/Settings: Part 1

Jenny Dowd

This past week I traveled to Concord, North Carolina to install my sculpture in the exhibition Place/Settings. Co-curators Connie Norman and Do Palma invited 12 Wyoming artists to explore the theme of place in our artwork. How do these settings or childhood memories shape our outlook or artistic spirit?

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. 

Cabarrus County Historic Courthouse, Concord, NC

Cabarrus County Historic Courthouse, Concord, NC

I am so excited to be included in this beautiful exhibition and honored to be in such good company. The exhibition includes artwork by: Wendy Bredehoft, Ashley Hope Carlisle, Leah Hardy, Bronwyn Minton, Susan Moldenhauer, Connie Norman, Do Palma, Dandee Pattee, Jennifer Rife, Georgia Rowswell and Sue Sommers.

Check back next week for details and images from the whole exhibition. Since there is so much to say about this show I've decided to split it into 2 posts.

My thoughts on Place/Settings led me to explore the dream-like moments that follow me wherever I am. Thinking back to childhood, I spent a lot of time reading and living in my imagination- and still do. Lately I have been trying to define these dreamy moments without pinning them down too much.

My travel schedule allowed 3 days to install my work, luckily everything arrived safely. (To see how I packed and shipped my pieces, check out this blog entry from April.)

Where the ground meets the sky

Experimenting is a large part of my process. Where the ground meets the sky only lived in my head before last week. I worked with porcelain, silk and vellum to create a subtle palette and relied on shadows to add depth and attract attention. The silk and vellum clouds hang from thread attached to entomology pins, creating a deliberately orchestrated scene. While I'm not sure if this is a real place or not, it is important that it seem hauntingly familiar. The clouds flutter as people walk by, attracting attention and sometimes creating a weather pattern- big gusts cause some serious tangling, which I hadn't expected but really like. (Although, now the piece needs to be de-tangled regularly!) 

Where the ground meets the sky is made of porcelain, wire, silk, vellum, silk thread and entomology pins. In this installation it is 7 feet wide.

Passages

Passages is a flexible sculpture that I have been working on since 2009. I had an idea of a piece that could change over time in response to display in a variety of spaces. With each installation I learn more about these pieces and try different solutions. This is the 5th installation of Passages, and it's first trip outside of Wyoming. (Last fall Passages was installed outside in the courtyard of Persephone Bakery in Jackson, WY, check out the blog post here.)

The installation process is both exciting and nerve-wracking. I enjoy working around different site obstacles and allow them to shape the course of the piece. For this installation I had limited time (which is a great way to make me focus and commit to decisions!)

This time there were lighting fixtures to work around and a plaster ceiling which made adding extra hooks difficult, plus I wanted to make sure I was not distracting from the other artist's work in the space. All of these "obstacles" are actually what makes installing this piece fun, I think of it as adding to a good conversation.

Even though Passages and Where the ground meets the sky are 3-dimensional, I also see them as drawings.

Heavy anchor wire attaches the boats and allows them to visually move through their environment. This wire makes a beautiful line and I feel that I am drawing in space. I compare the cluster of boats to leaves, a flock of birds or school of fish and the shadows expand the space they occupy. I also see these pieces as something familiar, though not quite recognizable, seen just out of periphery. 

In this installation, Passages, is made up of 120 (ish) welded steel boats dipped in Egyptian Paste.

On May 4th Curator Rebecca Collins held a gallery talk to discuss the artwork and show concept with the docents. On the left she is discussing Ashley Hope Carlisle's piece Carried Away. I spoke about my pieces and answered questions. I never think I want to talk about new artwork, especially when it is so fresh, but it is actually very insightful as it helps me put my ideas into words. 

I am grateful to the amazing staff at the Cabarrus Arts Council for all of their help and for allowing me such freedom to experiment!

To make the whole experience even better, my parents met up with me in NC and attended the gallery talk! Here they are trying to figure out what I did.

Check back next week for more images from the exhibition as well as photos of all the other artwork!

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