the dirt

NCECA 2017: The Evocative Garden

The Evocative Garden happened in Portland and it was a beautiful show! I am so humbled to be included among this list of talented and creative artists. Thank you so much to everyone who came to the show, supported me from afar and shared my work with others- I’m forever grateful!  Here are a few of my favorites (mostly detail shots) from The Evocative Garden exhibit from NCECA 2017 curated by Gail M Brown.


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Studio is Closed for the Week

Just a reminder that the studio will be closed for the week of March 20th while we’re in Portland for NCECA 2017! Looking forward to seeing my Hive Installation along with the entire Evocative Garden exhibit at the Disjecta Contemporary Art Center. You can follow along on our art journey on Facebook or Instagram!

Studio is Closed for the Week | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

Clay classes will resume at the studio on March 28th, see you then!


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Press: Local Santa Cruz

After all of these winter storms the driftwood collecting on the beaches is plentiful and inspiring! Local Santa Cruz recently did an article featuring artists that are creating with that driftwood and pieces from my Rock Candy Series were included. You can read the article, Local Driftwood Artwork here and shop for the few remaining pieces from this series here. Enjoy!

Press: Local Santa Cruz | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

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Call for Entries: Sculpture IS: 2017

Sculpture IS: 2017  Call for Entries:

Call for Entries: Sculpture IS: 2017 | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture



The Pajaro Valley Arts Center invites you to participate in the Eleventh annual Sculpture IS: exhibition, taking place in the beautiful two-acre Sierra Azul Nursery demonstration gardens, located at 2660 East Lake Avenue, Watsonville, California. We have enjoyed ten critically and financially successful exhibits, and look forward to including your sculpture in our eleventh exhibit.

Apply Here

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NCECA Blog: The Evocative Garden

I am so thrilled to be participating in the annual exhibit of the 2017 NCECA conference and I can’t wait to get up to Portland next week to see the exhibit in it’s entirety. The piece accepted for this show is my Hive Series Installation which is comprised of approximately 200 individual pieces that are nested together in a cluster to create a dynamic structure resembling an abstract hive. This piece was part of an In the Field installation in Nisene Marks State Park in 2015.

About the exhibit curated by Gail M Brown:
A breadth of implied and articulated dramas will be staged as a personally defined natural landscape or more formalized garden scenario. In works of ceramic sculpture, installation, object and vessel format, each participant will offer a new or recent work- some potent objects as-metaphors, with sub-text and, others as choreographed scenes with figuration or the figure/s implied in a verdant location, in vocabularies from nuanced realism to personal symbolism.

Each will be designed to reference an array of issues- nature’s fragility and sustainability, the wild and the tame, life’s appetites and dilemmas, conflict and resolution, the everlasting and the temporal- social and historic events, of the natural world and the human condition. Artists remind us that nature and the articulated garden, as context, stimulation and tactile allure, is a seductive, universal, ever present enticement.

The article below was first posted on the NCECA blog by Exhibitions Director Leigh Taylor Mickelson, photo credit to Lisa Conway.

NCECA Blog: The Evocative Garden | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

The 2017 NCECA Annual is here!
Posted by Leigh Taylor Mickelson, Exhibitions Director

The highly anticipated NCECA Annual “The Evocative Garden,” curated by Gail M. Brown, opens this weekend, kicking off the 2017 NCECA conference “season” with a whirlwind of garden-centric delight and botanical wonder. The exhibition, held at Disjecta Contemporary Art Center, features five artists who were invited by the curator along with 29 artists who were selected from the call for entry.

Invited artists Megan Bogonovich, Jess Riva Cooper, Kim Dickey, Linda Sormin and Dirk Staschke set the tone for the exhibit which is indeed what the curator intended: “a breadth of implied and articulated dramas… staged as a personally defined natural landscapes or more formalized garden scenarios.” The exhibit offers variety in approach to the ceramic medium as well as in conceptual interpretation of the theme, and captures the imagination as spring slowly approaches.

Participating artists include Christopher Adams, JoAnn Axford, Lisa Marie Barber, Chris Berti, Megan Bogonovich, Jess Riva Cooper, Deirdre Daw, Audry Deal-McEver, Jennifer DePaolo, Kim Dickey, Caroline Earley, Carol Gouthro, Karen Gunderman, Dawn Holder, Cj Jilek, Chuck Johnson, Tsehai Johnson, Heather Kaplan, Paul Kotula, Annie Rhodes Lee, Nancy Lovendahl, Andrea Marquis, Lindsay Montgomery, Grace Nickel, Anne Drew Potter, Jessica Putnam-Phillips, Dori Schechtel Zanger, Linda Sormin, Dirk Staschke, Claudia Tarantino, Hirotsune Tashima, Colleen Toledano, Jenni Ward, Stan Welsh.

I’d like to give special thanks to Disjecta for hosting the exhibit, and a big shout-out to our On-Site Liaison Brett Binford who orchestrated the installation of the exhibit, beautifully I might add. A sneak peek of the exhibit can be seen here…

This not-to-be-missed exhibit is easy to reach via Portland’s Blue line. Hours during NCECA are Tuesday 10:30am-5:30pm; Wednesday – Saturday 10am-5pm. Or come to the reception on Thursday, March 23rd from 6-9pm to have the opportunity to meet the curator and the artists. I’ll see you there.

Leigh Taylor Mickelson, NCECA Exhibitions Director

Want to visit pre- or post-conference? Visit Disjecta Arts for gallery hours and details.

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Video: Umbel Series | Work in Progress

Here’s a quick video showing assembling the pieces from my Umbel Series. This piece will be exhibited at the UCSC Arboretum as a part of the Art at the Arboretum “Site Specific Environmental Installations” this spring. To learn more about this installation…

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Support Art at the Arboretum

It’s Giving Day at UCSC and all of your donations for the Arboretum will support Art at the Arboretum upcoming exhibit Site Specific Environmental Installations!

I will be exhibiting two large installations as a part of this upcoming exhibit along with a number of other talented artists. Events are going on all day at the Arboretum, so you can donate onsite or online. Thanks so much for supporting Art at the Arboretum!


Support Art at the Arboretum | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

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Nichrome Wire & Clay

I have used nichrome wire in my clay forever, and not just for little ornament hangers either. This high temperature wire has been the structural element in hanging my Vine Series and the material that brings playfulness to my Sprout Series. On my most recent project the Umbel Series, I realized that I was going to need a lot more wire than I’ve ever used before, like 1000′ of wire. It was a little intimidating to order so much wire but I think the results will be worth it.

Nichrome Wire & Clay | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

High temperature wire is a really fun material to be able to use in the raw clay and fire in the kiln without it melting. I really encourage you to play with this material in your own work and see where it leads you. Please share your results, I’d love to see what you come up with!

Here’s where I get my wire from if you’ve like to order some for yourself: National Art Craft

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Video: Art at the Arboretum

I’m creating new work for an upcoming exhibit at the UCSC Arboretum and you can help make the exhibit even better by donating on Wednesday March 8th for Giving Day! The Arboretum is organizing to take advantage of this opportunity to raise support to grow our Art in the Arboretum program and fund our ambitious new exhibit Site Specific Environmental Installations.
Check out the video for more info about Art at the Arboretum!

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