There were many qualified applicants, unfortunately…

I wrote this post in 2016 and it still applies today. In this week alone I’ve applied for 3 things and been rejected from 2 others so I thought I’d revisit this post from the archives… enjoy!

The start of many a rejection letter…no need to read the rest.

Rejection is hard for everyone but when you are an independent artist, you apply for a lot of things; grants, residencies, teaching opportunities, exhibitions, projects proposals. So by default, you get A LOT of rejection letters. I don’t keep an actual count, but I’d estimate that I’ve received at least 40 since the beginning of this year and I haven’t even heard back from all the things I’ve applied for.

Sometimes you get more than one per week and it’s hard to not let self doubt creep in. Especially when a lot of your time goes into researching, custom formatting photos for each application and not to mention the $15 -$25 application fees can really add up. But as artists, we force ourselves not to wallow in it and we drag our asses back out to the studio and keep making art.

There were many qualified applicants, unfortunately... | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

Kim Liao recently wrote an article called “Why You Should Aim for 100 Rejections A Year”, which discusses the idea of embracing rejection as a goal. The more that you ‘collect’ rejection letters, the more you are applying for, the more practice you get at applying for things, the less you invest in caring about the rejection itself and the odds are you will actually get accepted to a few things too.

While I’ve been rejected from 40+ opportunities to date this year, I’ve also been accepted to at least 10, some of them really amazing, potentially career changing opportunities. The pile of rejection letters next to those few acceptance letters only makes those acceptances even more sweet.

Commissioned Work…

I’m currently working on a few commissioned pieces, and it occurred to me that you may not even think to ask about having a piece commissioned. I always have work available in my online shop but if you see something that you love but you want it a little bigger, smaller, or a different color or (the worst!) when a series you had your eye on sells out before you added it to your cart. If this happens, drop me an email and I’d be happy to work with you to create a custom sculpture for your home, garden or office. There’s even a form in the online shop to help you start the process.


Please join us this Sunday, February 10th, afternoon into the evening.

From 1-5pm revel in the creative stylings of:

Ann Altstatt- printmaking | Nora Dougherty- jewelry | Elisabeth Foster- jewelry | Felicia Gilman- cut paper

Bridget Henry- woodcut prints | Mariclare Mcknight- leather goods | Beth Sherman- ceramics | Jenni Ward- ceramics

A portion of our proceeds will go to causes close to our hearts- immigrant families, ending the backlog of untested rape kits, and wildlife – to name a few. also….

  • Check out Bridget’s brand new studio! woot!
  • Keep your eyes peeled for valentines we have hidden
    especially for you. Don’t tell, but we like you.
  • Settle down to make some secret love notes of your own to
    distribute as you please. Around the office, in the produce
    aisle, at the dmv.
NEW: Hearts are in the SHOP! | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

As the sun goes down, gather round the fire for music and stories. We’d love to hear from you. We want to hear about love.

With gratitude and remembering what is important in this life,

My Art, Your Space: Privett Family

On a recent trip to Florida for a site visit, I got a chance to reconnect with friends and also got a chance to see where my artwork ended up living too! It’s always so good to know when my work goes to a happy art loving home! Here’s a few shots of some old-school pieces in their current home…

My Art, Your Space: Privett Family | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

I love seeing where my art ends up and hearing why you connect with a piece, if you have some of my work that you’d like to share, please email me! Thanks for sharing!

Take a Tour of Take Aways!

Can’t see it in person? You can take a virtual tour of the entire Take Aways show at Pajaro Valley Arts Center, click the image below to start your tour…

Take a tour of Take Aways! | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

onward and upward…

In the rollercoaster of emotions that has been the past two weeks, losing our dog Indigo was the hardest but there has also been a number of really good and exciting things happening as well. I was invited to a site visit and meeting with the Art in State Buildings program at the University of Florida – Gainesville campus as one of two finalists for a permanent public art project in their Career Connections Center building. It was fantastic to meet with the staff and students, hear their thoughts on how they feel about working in their brand new LEED certified center and to see their reactions to my work samples. They are specifically looking for art that exudes biophilia – the human connection to nature, and I’m pretty sure that I can provide them with that! Over the next few months, I’ll be working on a final proposal for their central stairwell, will present everything to the committee in April in person and then fingers crossed. Either way, the process of preparing and presenting my work in this format will be a great experience.

While I was in Florida for this meeting, I took the opportunity to reconnect with dear friends who I hadn’t seen in person in 6 or so years. The irony was that they were both experiencing their own recent and profound loss and so our visit was a blend of hysterical laughter, consoling hugs, walking through gardens, tears, swimming with manatees, surviving the hundreds of well intentioned “I’m so sorry” comments and completing the challenging and mundane tasks that follow the loss of loved ones. It’s hard to feel good and bad all at the same time, but I think that laughing while we cry is how we make it through. These are a few images from my trip that remind me of the beauty in the world, the amazingness of nature and how lucky we are to be connected to it.


After nearly 12 inseparable years, last week, I lost my studio mate, hiking buddy and all around partner in crime. Indigo came into our lives as a fluffy four month old rescue puppy and we were in love from day one. In her short life, she camped & hiked all over the west coast in the sun, rain, snow & hail, road tripped through Baja where she was often mistaken as our pet lobo and was the greeting committee for hundreds of students and visitors that came through our studio. We are heartbroken and will dearly miss our adventurous and independent girl. It won’t be the same without you Indyboo.