About

the artist…

Jenni Ward is originally from West Orange, New Jersey but has been based in Santa Cruz, California for over 20 years, she currently leads a nomadic lifestyle in her van and spends a great deal of her time on her desert property in Baja Sur. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Hartford Art School in West Hartford, Connecticut in 1998. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally since then including the de Saisset Museum, the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History and the Grants Pass Museum of Art. She has been invited to residencies around the world, and most recently spent 3 months at the Yingge Ceramics Museum in Taiwan. She has created public art projects in Sweden, Florida, Washington, Taiwan and California. Ward has a passion for adventure and travel often finding inspiration through her exploration of the natural world. She owned and operated Earth Art Studio which offered community clay classes for all ages from 2005-2018 and continues to share her creativity through philanthropic art projects, which have involved working with local organizations as well as artists and communities in post-earthquake Haiti. Please contact her with questions or comments. Full CV

the art…

Jenni Ward is a ceramic sculptor and installation artist who finds inspiration through her exploration of the natural world. Her time spent connecting to her environment and exploring way above and way below sea level is an integral part of her process. With a particular interest in the patterns and structures of biological forms, she takes inspiration from those spaces to create abstract interpretations of thoughtfully crafted ceramic sculptures.

Using clay as her primary medium, she builds in parts and assembles the pieces into ephemeral installations in nature, which are documented and then removed. These parts are later transformed for gallery installations and independent objects but creating ephemeral installations in nature is the heart of her art practice from which everything else evolves. Her work plays with the connectivity of the form to its environment finding a sense of place within the systems of nature. She has exhibited her work in museums, galleries, forests, deserts and even on a shipwreck under the Atlantic Ocean. Her work ties science, environmentalism and art together in the hopes of inspiring others to preserve, protect and enjoy our wild spaces. 

Ward’s current body of work, an expansion on her Bone Series uses very thin, nearly translucent, porcelain clay to explore the unseen world of plankton; she uses this subject matter to create both individual objects and site-specific installations. Her interest in planktons began with microscopic images of radiolarians (single cell zooplankton) that have intricate and beautiful skeletal structures. In doing more research about them, she discovered just how important they are for the health of the planet. Plankton are the base of the aquatic food web, they provide half of the planet’s oxygen and they absorb carbon out of the atmosphere, trapping it in the deep oceans when they die. She finds inspiration in the fact that even though they are too small to be seen with the naked eye, a bloom of plankton can be so large that it can be seen from space. In light of our changing climate, sharing the importance of these tiny and beautiful creatures seems vital to understanding how we are all connected.