virtual open studios success!

I just wanted to take a moment to THANK ALL OF YOU who participated in my Virtual Open Studios Sale this year! I was overwhelmed with the response and so happy to see lots of new art find happy homes! Hopefully we will be able to see each other in person, sipping wine, hugging hellos and chatting art talk next year, but until then, stay safe and healthy everyone!

And just to keep you all posted on my whereabouts and shenanigans…

virtual open studios success | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

I’ll be spending the rest of the year working on our property in Baja Mexico and enjoying leaving a cold, wet winter behind me. I’ll be setting up a little make-shift studio space there too so I’m sure to stay creative and busy. I’ve also set up the studio to be ready for my return with lots of new work from the large Rock Candy pieces drying and awaiting a ride through the bisque firing. And I’ll also be continuing working on my porcelain pieces embedded in resin, I’m looking forward to getting some of these pieces finished and up in the shop for 2021.

virtual open studios success | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

Thanks again for continuing to support independent artists!

ONLINE OPEN STUDIOS IS HAPPENING!

This weekend would of been the opening of the annual Santa Cruz County Open Studios events, which is not taking place for obvious reasons but you can still add new art to your collection!

While you can’t come visit my studio, sip wine and talk art with me in person this year, I have set up the online shop with brand new work from my Bone Series, see above for a sneak peek! 

Since I need to make room in the studio for some bigger work coming down the line, I’ve put a bunch pieces on sale for one week only! October 1st – 7th only!

FREE local pick-up available at checkout!

SHOP NOW!

success.

After quite a few trials and errors on my extra large Rock Candy pieces, I’m pleased to report that I ~finally~ had a kiln load of successes! Phew!

This stage of the creative process is always the most exciting; the challenge figuring it all out, the emotional rollercoaster of cracking the kiln lid to see if there is success, the frustration of figuring one part out while another part becomes the problem, it’s all the best. Now, I feel like I can go into production mode and start cranking out some big pieces, feeling confidant that when I open the kiln I’ll have what I’m expecting. This stage is also exciting because now I get to really start to play with color and I’m looking forward to getting these into a garden space soon!

Turquoise piece is 20″x 12″x 13″, Blue is 20″x 15″x 12″ and the green is 10″x7″x6″

little by little

piti piti, zwazo fè nich | little by little the bird builds its nest – Haitian Proverb

I learned this proverb when I was working in Haiti years ago and it definitely applies to my studio practice these days…

Since the ash has stopped falling from the skies here, I decided to start working with embedding my ceramic pieces in resin. It’s been an exciting but very slow process to get some actual results. I’m working with a new-to-me resin product that is non-toxic, which is great and it’s also easy to work with, and is supposed to be extremely resistant to yellowing with age. The only drawback is that I can only pour an 1/8th of an inch layer at a time and I need 5 hours between pours, so it is a very, very slow process to pour pieces that are over an inch thick, but even with that, I think that these results will be worth it.

My husband Nate built me (yet another!) contraption that I can use to modify for different size circles and so far it seems to be working great. Since this is still in the R&D stages and this resin product isn’t the cheapest, I decided to make only one piece to start. I poured a solid base layer to start, let it cure and then started layering in a few ceramic parts and have continued doing that for nine individual pours so far. I love how clear the product is and how these pieces really seem like they are floating in the resin. They also leave shadows when the light is strong, which adds to the sense of depth. So little by little I’m building these out but very excited to see how they finally finish up when I remove them from the mold!

one step forward…

Since all of California seems to be on fire including many of our favorite camping hiking spots, we’ve been spending A LOT more time in the studio these days. And I’m so grateful to have this space to work in when everything else is closed up.

I’ve been focused on two (sort of three) separate projects. One is building my Rock Candy Series really big. If you’ve been following along on my posts, you already know that this has been a challenge. I’ve been getting a ton of cracks along the seams and haven’t been able to figure out why. But, the good news is that I’m making progress and getting one step closer to figuring these out.

Below is a photo of three pieces hanging on the wall of my studio. The two larger ones are about 2 feet across to give a sense of scale. The dark blue one is the only one that is actually successful with only one small crack in the bottom. The other two are covered in cracks, but I’ve realized the difference between how I built each of them and I’m understanding where the problems lie.

Of course the latest one to come out of the kiln had no cracks, but apparently had an air bubble in one wall, so that wall exploded during the bisque firing. That was disappointing to say the least but, I’m committed to seeing these challenges through to be able to make these pieces in mass. So stay tuned on this…

The other project I’ve been working on is creating my Bone Series | Medusa pieces. It’s quite the dichotomy to go from making these huge heavy stoneware rock forms to super thin and fragile porcelain pieces. It feels good to have success in making these and is a good reminder that it took me a few years and a few residencies of focused time to be able to make them. I love how delicate and whimsical they are, especially when they bounce slightly as they balance on the wire tips. I’m hoping to make a large amount of these pieces and have them up in my online shop soon.

The third project I technically haven’t started yet is embedding my flat porcelain pieces in resin. I consulted resin artists, I bought all my materials and was ready to start and then the ash started falling from the sky. We had so much debris in the air here that it didn’t seem like a good idea to start pouring resin and risk getting little bits stuck in it. But now we’re on our second day of blue skies and I’m hoping to start a pour in the next few days. Very excited about the potential with these pieces.

Video: How to make your own kiln stilts

I’ve shared how I make my own kiln stilts before but I decided to put together a little step-by-step video for the Ceramic Arts Networks Clayflicks series and also share it with you here. If you make ceramic art and you glaze your pieces entirely, making your own stilts is an easy and cheap way to support them in the kiln. I purchase my stilt pins and all the nichrome wire I use from National Art Craft (direct links are below)

Remember! Be sure to test your clay first and don’t use any other type of wire to make these!

Direct link to purchase nichrome wire stilt pins:
https://www.nationalartcraft.com/subcategory.asp?gid=10&cid=172&scid=1539

To view videos from the Ceramic Arts Network visit:
https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/magazines-subscriptions/clayflicks/

Enjoy and comment below if you still have questions!

Work from Taiwan is (finally!) up!

bone series | yingge ceramic museum residency | objects | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

I finally got a webpage up showcasing a selection of the work I made while I was at my 3 month long residency in Taiwan. Yay!

These pieces are at CC Gallery in New Taipei City and available for sale. Four others were selected by the Yingge Ceramics Museum for their permanent collection. To check out these porcelain pieces from my Bone Series | Medusas, click here!