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April Showers bring Umbel Flowers!

A fresh batch of brand new Umbel flowers are up in the online shop now! Add some color to your garden with these drought resistant varieties!

Join the monthly mailing list before May 1st and get a COUPON CODE for a 30% off discount on these babies!

why i work on five million things at once

It’s really about a dozen different things but sometimes it feels like five million.

When I shared three work-in-progress posts in a row and they were all on different projects, I realized that it might be hard for y’all to keep up with what’s been going on in the studio. Sorry about that. I really like to use my blog, emails and social media accounts to share all the behind the scenes triumphs and failures of life in the studio, but it doesn’t work well when I’m all over the place.

It made me start thinking about my process and why I work like this. And for better or worse, I realized that there’s a few reasons for the madness.

a portion of my 8’x8′ studio table with parts for four different projects in all stages of design and fabrication

One, I get bored easily. I like challenges, problem solving and trying new ideas out. But, that is only one part of studio life and the art making process. So, I have to mix it up and keep moving from task to task.

Two, I like to work. I will gladly spend all day, every day in my studio. (But don’t worry, I play just as hard as I work!)

Three, clay can be slow. It seems like I’m always waiting for something to dry, something to be fired or a kiln to cool off. So it’s good to have different projects to bounce between while you’re waiting for another.

Four, I get excited about new projects. Which kind of means I’ll almost always say yes to a collaboration, exhibition, or project. But I’m good with follow through too, so it doesn’t mean other projects get dropped from the roster, the to-do list just gets longer….and longer.

And five, sometimes, I just get inspired to make something that’s not on the list of projects. And I have to follow that inspiration, trust it, and make time for it.

Is this good for my art practice? I don’t know. Maybe I’d make better work if I focused on one thing at a time. I just don’t know, this is just how I roll. Yet, I will also try my best to slow down and share as much as I can with you. Thanks for being along on the journey with me.

Artists Sharing Artists: Susun Gallery

Susun and I go way back…. like waaaayyy back. We met in the early 2000’s when she first employed me to drive a 30 foot long trailer that was a mobile art classroom, into underserved communities of Watsonville and teach art classes out of it. That was an adventure in itself. But I also went on to teach through her art based preschool program and her after school art classes bringing ceramics into her programming. We’ve stayed in touch over the past 20 years as I went on to pursue my own studio art practice and so much of what I know about running an art business comes from her.

Her love of color is evident everywhere in her life, from every wall in her house, to her paintings, to her clothing. She inspires her students with her love of painting always finding clever ways to engage them into being creative. She has literally taught hundreds and hundreds of students in Santa Cruz County since she first opening Susun Gallery ArtSchool in 1987.

She moved to Hawaii a few years back and opened ArtSchool on the Beach, where you can sign up to paint on location with Susun and take home your painting as a souvenir of your time spent on the big island. Or if you’re a local, you can join her in her studio to paint, draw, and sculpt.

Always inspired by her surroundings, Susun explores every grain of sand, fills her paint cup from a waterfall, rubs red dirt and black sand into her paintings, and takes divine notes from nature. She channels the beauty of Hawaii through her paintbrush.

You can follow Susun on Instagram and Facebook or visit SusunGallery.com to sign up for an art class on the beach!


Artists Sharing Artists: is a series of posts where I share some of my favorite artists who are also inspired by nature and use their art to protect what they love. More artists coming soon…

Video: Work In Progress | Porcelain in Resin

I’ve been slowly plugging away at these pieces, trouble shooting and learning as I go. This batch was the best yet and honestly they look so much better in person than photographed but hope you can get a sense of their potential.

There’s of course still some kinks to work out with the resin, the frames, and the lighting but I’m really excited about them and I know that when I dial it in, they are going to be amazing. If you missed the last post, read here first, but otherwise enjoy this quick video of creating these pieces one layer at a time.

work in progress: lichen installation

Just a quick update on the Lichen Series: Spore Pattern installation that’s going to be installed in the Price Sculpture Forest this summer. I’ve been steadily building pieces in the studio and decided that I had enough to start laying them out on the floor of the studio. These are all in various stages of drying, firing and glazing but laying them out gives me a good idea of how many more I need to make and what the final piece will look like.

work in progress: lichen installation | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

The large circle in the center photo above is about 10 feet across with a 1 foot center opening and there are almost 200 pieces placed down. I’d like the final piece to be about 2 feet wider, and there are still some holes to fill with parts, so I’m estimating that I’ll need to double the amount of parts but I’m getting closer to the finish line. Can’t wait to see it all together and installed!

Virtual Tour of Take-Aways Art to Go Exhibit

Tour the Take Aways exhibit virtually HERE!

This exhibit features seventy-six of the county’s most notable artists in Take Aways: Art to Go! The art on view includes a wide variety of mediums including: sculpture, drawing, ceramics, fiber, mixed media, encaustic (wax), printmaking, photography, glasswork, and more. In this wildly popular show everyone benefits; you take home fabulous art the day of your purchase, the artists and PVA get their normal commissions, and new art comes into the gallery every day!

OR MAKE AN APPOINTMENT TO SEE THE SHOW IN PERSON:

Gallery Hours:
Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 11.00am – 4.00pm, by appointment only. https://pvarts.org/appointment/

Max group size: 10 persons, masks and social distance is required.

Work in Progress: Bling!

I’m finally ready to reveal a fun collaboration with sculptors Lucia Bruer and Franco Di Majo entitled Bling!

It all started with the pile of Rock Candy pieces in the studio. Lucia was visiting the studio one day and said, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun if they were gigantic jewelry?’. We both looked at each other and knew we had to see this idea through.

We decided to make two rings, that would appear to be stuck into the ground at the bottom and have their big gems crowning above.

Lucia enlisted the help of Franco and they started planning out the logistics of making the structure for band of the ring. Then we designed the layout of the band so that it mimicked the shapes of the ceramic rock candy. We also designed the bezel it would sit in with similar angles. Next up, there’s a lot of welding to do but it was really exciting to get a vision of what it would look like assembled.

We’re hoping these rings will be installed at Sierra Azul Sculpture Garden early summer, details to follow.

New! Bone Series: Urchins | In the Field

bone series urchins | in the field | portfolio | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

Bone Series: Urchins

NEW Video and Images here!

ABOUT: The Bone Series: Urchins are hand built, perforated flanges of very thin, nearly translucent porcelain, if held up to the light the edges will glow. For this ephemeral In The Field installation, I went to one of my favorite beaches near Davenport California at a very low tide to have access to where the urchins live. Read more…