bottle windows project

After months of collecting, cutting and planning for this bottle window project, I’m am thrilled to announce …


We had over 150 bottle bricks made, laid out in the design plan, set up the scaffolding, masked off the walls, hired our building contractor to help us mix the mortar properly and got to work. It was a learning curve for all of us to install the first window, but by the second, we were a machine. I love the results and how the light changes in them throughout the day. I will definitely be building other things on the property with bottle walls again, but for now, it’s time to take a break from bottles and move onto other creative projects in the studio!

Big thank yous to everyone who keep drinking and collecting bottles for me – I couldn’t have done it without you! Cheers!


It is easy to forget how far you’ve come with a project when you know there’s still so many more things that need to be done and even more things that you want to be done. I recently was scrolling through older photos of our studio build. I realized that it was only six months ago that we were still under construction, with crews showing up daily and the generator rumble and concrete mixer grinding were the soundtrack to our day. And now, we’re working on the details.

Anyways, if you needed a reminder (because I definitely did!) of how much progress you’re making on a project, take a minute to flashback. It’s amazing how much happens in just a few months with just a little push forward each day.

april + may awesome foundation winners!

Congratulations to the April + May winners of the Santa Cruz Awesome Foundation!

In April, Anthony Alcala, owner of The Booth Bus won with their project of partnering with Digital Nest to offer their students and other local Watsonville schools with free high-end, professional head-shots to help them with their future career ambitions in the tech industry.

May winner Kendall Grady, a bipolar writing instructor and Ph.D. candidate in Literature at UCSC will be hosting a neurodiverse poetry workshop to foster mutual care and trust whereby participants can become more intimate with those qualities of which may be under-recognized or undernourished.

Check out past projects here

We love reviewing these amazing, creative ideas – keep them coming Santa Cruz! $1000 micro-grants are given out monthly. Got an Awesome idea that needs a little funding? Pitch it here!

sharing resources…

Need something to inspire you?

I recently updated my page on the ArtAxis website and subsequently ended up browsing through a selection of the artists listed there. It is a treasure trove of talent. As artists, we spend a lot of time in our studios with our heads down focused on what we are making, and I am always humbled when I take the time to break away from my own studio practice and look at the amazing work being created around the world. If you’re an artist or an art lover (especially of clay!), I highly recommend taking some time to explore this site. It’s well organized, beautifully presented and you can of course follow links to follow the artists on their respective social media channels and websites. Also, ArtAxis is a volunteer run non-profit, so you can drop them a donation too for all their work supporting artists and the arts.

sharing resources... | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture
photo credit: Crystal Birns

I also have to give a shout out to another resource that I love, The Ceramic School, they have online clay classes for all levels of ceramics. The world of ceramics is vast, from glaze recipes, to firing techniques to building tips and tricks, there is so much to learn. If you’re into working with clay but need more instruction or want to expand on what you already know, this is such a great resource. The online class I taught with them about using high-temperature wire in clay is available in their regular class listings and if you want to get an idea of what they offer, join in on the upcoming Clay Camp event with a series of live hand-building classes.

Check it out and get inspired!

last chance for a feast of fennels!

The Umbels are Up! | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

A Feast of Fennels Umbels at Sierra Azul Gardens will be coming down soon. If you’d like to transplant these sculptures into your garden – now is your chance!

There are four flowers available in varying sizes, the height of the flower stems can be made custom for your space. Free local installation, feel free to contact me with questions!

Visit Sierra Azul Sculpture Garden at:

2660 East Lake Avenue (Highway 152)
Watsonville, CA 95076
Across from the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds

Open Daily from 10 – 5

inspiration revisited

A million years ago, I was making a lot of insect inspired works, like this bee inspired one which bounced when you touched the metal rods. We had just moved into the redwood forest and I think I was inspired by some of the critters that made their way into our home. I made small abstract critters using a combination of clay, copper, steel and wire mesh and loved getting the heavy clay bodies to stand on tiny wire legs. (which is not dissimilar to my current medusa sculptures!)

I also remember making a small installation of abstracted bugs with wire wings that were installed to look like a small swarm in flight. I think there was maybe a dozen of them and I remember wanting to make hundreds of them but for some reason didn’t. I haven’t thought about that piece in forever and I couldn’t even find any documentation of it.

Now, living in the desert, I’m surrounded by the weirdest critters, like stick bugs, trap-door spiders and praying mantis. Just the other day, a wild bee hive on our property swarmed and I watched it throughout the day as they left the hive in controlled chaos, clustered on a nearby tree for a few hours and then in perfect timing they all took off to their new home.

Even though I hadn’t thought about that little installation in years, the bee swarm made me realize that it was time to make that installation of hundreds a reality. I’m not sure of the details, but I’m excited to make some abstract bugs that will swarm somewhere on the property. Inspiration comes from all kinds of places but somehow insects always hold a place in my heart!

visitors and more

We are making more and more progress on the studio each day, and right now, I’ve got extra help. Nate has been working on getting the plumbing system completely online including getting the mini-kitchen installed. And my parents came into town to visit. They are helping install the new track lighting, troubleshoot the ceiling fan and help organize things. So it’s all hands on deck right now to get all the details sorted.

Don’t worry, we are making sure they get some down time on the beach, eat good food and go on adventures too.