making progress…

If feel as though I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole the past week, busily making what feels like a million parts for my upcoming exhibit, Bodies of Water this September at the Eloise Pickard Smith Gallery at UCSC. Working with gallery director Tauna Coulson, we’ve been choosing paint colors to turn the gallery into an ocean, creating templates for a nearly 2000 part site specific installation, selecting work, organizing pedestals, designing the layout and of course making parts.

I hit a point where it seemed daunting, but now I’m rounding the corner and can visualize it all coming together and I’m getting really excited about it. I also l.o.v.e. the color blue we chose for the gallery walls, can’t wait for you to see it!

Making all the art is one part of the job but installing them is a whole other task. I’ve started getting things boxed up to bring them up to the gallery in the coming weeks and start the process. Luckily I’ve got a long lead time since the gallery is technically closed for summer, so I can use that to my advantage and not have to rush installation. Phew! Hope to see you all at the opening September 24th 5-8pm where all these parts will magically transform into a plankton filled ocean gallery!

Bodies of Water | Eloise Pickard Smith Gallery UCSC | Sept 20th – Nov 3rd | Opening reception Sept 24th 5-8pm

the outside scoop: 2

This week, outside the studio…

My parents came to town for my birthday week, so we went kayaking in Elkhorn Slough with friends.
It was Bowie’s first time in a kayak and he did great checking out all the otters and birds.
For those of you that don’t know, when I’m not in the studio, I’m most often found here, in the freezing cold ocean swimming. This week I got my mom in with me. Swimming is my form of meditation and of course a source of inspiration for my work as well.
While I was crouched down taking this photo of a water hyacinth flower in a Bonny Doon pond, my dog was trying to walk across them and promptly plopped completely into the water – both of us were pretty surprised! He’s a good swimmer though!

The Outside Scoop is a weekly blog series that shares a little bit of what’s going on in my life outside of the studio. Please feel free to leave comments, I look forward to chatting with you here!

video: evolution of an installation

If you come by my studio this year for Open Studios, you’ll get to see this piece in person, but I thought it’d be fun to share a bit of the process making it. I actually wish I took more photos in process, but hopefully this very quick video gives an idea of it’s evolution.

The composition is mimicking the rings of a droplet into water and it’s composed of around 700+ porcelain pieces that are inspired by the bone structure of radiolarians (single cell planktons). Some of the pieces are mounted directly on the wall and some are attached to metal stems so that they can float off the wall, creating depth and casting shadows. If you watch the video closely or repeatedly you’ll notice that some pieces were removed and more space was given between the ripples, sometimes these are things that you can’t predict before you’re actually installing the work. I still need to clean the chalk lines off the wall but the more I live with this piece the more I love it. Hope you all get to come see it in person!

the outside scoop: 1

This week, outside the studio…

Santa Cruz summer sunsets are pretty perfect

The Outside Scoop is a weekly blog series that shares a little bit of what’s going on in my life outside of the studio. Please feel free to leave comments, I look forward to chatting with you here!

Save the date for Bodies of Water!

Mark your calendars and get ready to dive into my newest exhibit: Bodies of Water!

Join us for the opening reception at the Eloise Pickard Smith Gallery on the UCSC campus Saturday September 24th from 5-8. The exhibit is on display Sept 20 – Nov 3.

The gallery is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 12 PM-5 PM and Thursdays 12 PM-7 PM

New Blog Series Launching!

I’ve been feeling disenchanted with social media these days and posting there less and less. Fighting the algorithm and being inundated with an overwhelming amount of admittedly very funny videos are a just part of the battle. But, I still do want to share what I’m up to both in and out of the studio with you all. So….

I’ve decided to launch a new blog series, called ‘the outside scoop’. This will be a once a week post containing what’s going on in my life outside the studio so you might get some inspirational nature bits, adventures and probably a dog photo or two will sneak in once in awhile. Please feel free to leave comments on my posts, I look forward to chatting with you there!

low tide morning dog walk at Davenport Landing

I will be keeping all my social media accounts live, but my plan is to share more content here through this blog series and less (…and less) there. After all, you guys have actually subscribed to get my posts and hopefully we can reconnect without fighting the algorithm. Thanks for letting my life hit your inbox once a week!

studio life and the environment

I try to keep as ‘green’ of a studio as possible, all the while knowing that I’m working with a material that has been mined from the earth and shipped across hundreds to thousands of miles. So, it’s a bit of a quandary for me but I try to offset that heavy carbon footprint in other ways.

I’ve written posts before about recycling my fired ceramics into the tile/toilet pile at our local landfill, they grind it up and use it as aggregate for other products. Which is a great way to get rid of all my mistakes, broken bits and abandoned ideas. I also recycle all of my wet clay so that every scrap will be used even if it’s dried out on me. And I try to reuse all the packing materials that come into my studio, in addition to a regular recycling of metal, plastics and papers.

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

Recently I started thinking about my energy usage in the studio in regards to my kiln firings. I started playing with the idea of once firing my work, which for those that aren’t familiar with the process of working with clay means that instead of doing a slow initial firing called the bisque, followed by a second glaze firing, I’m instead going from dry clay to finished ceramic in one firing. With the cost and use of energy to get my kilns up to 2000 degrees, saving one firing seemed to be the way to go.

looking into the kiln

From a technical standpoint it doesn’t always work depending on your clay, glazes, process of building and a million other clay techy things that can go wrong. But for my porcelain pieces that don’t even get glaze put on them, I thought I could make it work. The first few times I tried, the clay seemed slightly pinker in color rather than the true white it should be, so in my last firing, I added a bit more time to the kilns firing program at it’s mature temperature, letting it soak at it’s maturity point and that worked! I’m really exciting that I can get all of these pieces done in one firing now and waste less energy all at the same time!

Any one have other ideas on how to keep a greener clay studio?

Have you been to see Sculpture IS: 2022??

Grab some friends and your picnic basket!

Sculpture IS: 2022 at Sierra Azul Sculpture Garden & Nursery is open daily 10-5 and the sculptures are up until Oct 31st! There are tables and umbrellas available for use to enjoy an afternoon in garden.

I have 4 fennel inspired sculptures onsite and for sale! They are just waiting to be transplanted into your garden space. There are also over 100 sculptures in a variety of mediums waiting to be discovered in the 2 acre demonstration garden!

2660 East Lake Ave Watsonville CA 95076 |