Sunflower Installation

My students have been working on a special Van Gogh inspired sunflower installation that will debut at the Spring Studio Sale. Here are just a few teaser photos of the work in progress but be sure to come by on Saturday from 11- 4 to check out the whole installation. The kids will be busy glazing away this week to have everything ready in time.

And remember that all of these beautiful flowers will be for sale!

Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture | the dirt | sunflower installation Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture | the dirt | sunflower installation Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture | the dirt | sunflower installation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

seed bomb workshop

Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture | projects | homeless garden projectThis Friday May 1st, The Homeless Garden Project will be hosting First Friday activities at their downtown store. My studio assistants Nina Hipkins and Hong Liu will be running a seed bomb making workshop at the store as a special mother’s day treat. Using clay, compost and wildflower seeds you can form the materials into creative creations that once planted or ‘bombed’ into the garden, will create beautiful blooms for years to come. We made these seed bombs last year and it was a great success. So, go get your hands dirty and make something sweet for your mama! I’ll be at the studio getting things ready for our Studio Sale the next day, have fun for me!

Friday, May 1st, 6-8 pm at the downtown store just off of Abbott Sq.
Eats, Drinks & Mother’s Day Activities
Live Music: Singer-Songwriter Jessie Marks.
Special presentation 6:30: Feed 2 Bird

when you buy art

Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture | the dirt | when you buy artWhen you buy a piece of art from me, whether it’s from the online shop or direct from the studio I always try to sneak in a thank you postcard with my favorite quote I found by artist Rebekah Joy Plett about what you are really buying when you buy art from an independent artist. You can buy a print of this quote from her Etsy store. Enjoy!

When you buy from an independent artist you are buying more than just a painting or a novel or a song. You are buying hundreds of hours of experimentation and thousands of failures. You are buying days, weeks, months, years of frustration and moments of pure joy. You are buying nights of worry about paying the rent, having enough money to eat, having enough money to feed the children, the birds, the dog. You aren’t just buying a thing. You are buying a piece of heart, part of a soul, a private moment in someone’s life. Most importantly, you are buying that artist more time to do something they are truly passionate about; something that makes all of the above worth the fear and the doubt; something that puts the life into the living.  –Rebekah Joy Plett

Thank you for supporting independent artists!

 

Everybody’s Ocean comes down

jenni ward ceramic sculpture | the dirt | Everybody's Ocean comes down

 

After nearly 4 months of floating in the Solari Gallery at the Museum of Art & History in Santa Cruz for the Everybody’s Ocean exhibit, it was finally time to take the Bone Series Installation down. Thanks to the help of ceramic artist and my mentee Hong Lui, we were able to take the whole piece down in about an hour. You can see the last tail end of pieces still hanging in this photo. If you liked this piece, be sure to come by the studio for my Spring Studio Sale on May 2 from 11 – 4 and the pieces will be installed in a whole new arrangement.

 

 

 

making pots

Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture | the dirt | making pots

 

When new students come to my studio for classes, typically the first thing they want to do is learn how to throw on the wheel. I don’t blame them, its messy, fun and frustrating and it was the first thing I wanted to do with clay too. In the beginning, I thought I would try to make a living selling mugs but when I realized all the possibilities of hand-building, I never went back to the wheel. And if it wasn’t for my students, I’d get rid of the two wheels in my studio altogether.

A lot of times my students ask me if I’ve made all of my dishes and mugs and the truth is that I’ve hardly got any handmade ware in my cupboards- WHAT?!?- the pottery community gasps! But, when traveling to NCECA this year and staying with my college roommate, I found this cute little thrown mug in her bathroom that I’d made when I was in school. Its got a beautiful pink blush from a soda or salt kiln and a not so bad handle on it, the lip could be a little fatter and the piece a lot lighter but the fun in finding this relic from the past brought me back to a time when I did (attempt) to make pots and I thought I’d share. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Art imitates Life

This year Nate and I decided to try having backyard chickens, mainly because we wanted organic, pastured, nutritionally dense beautiful eggs from these happy birds. If you’re not up on your politically correct foodie speak, ‘pastured’ means chickens that run around in the grass eating bugs, slugs and plants as a major part of their diet. This makes for healthier, tastier eggs and is a big step up from cage-free. It’s been a great experience raising cute fluffy chicks into egg laying hens.

We coop them up at night for safety and during the day they roam the fenced garden area, which they clearly love. But, there is also a down side to not being in a cage all the time, in a word: predators. Where we live there are a lot of them, from foxes to mountain lions, our chickens really are vulnerable to it all not to mention our own dog who is infatuated with them. Over the past year, we’ve lost 2 birds to a predator, probably a bobcat. Since then, we’ve caged the birds for most of the day and only let them out when we’re around- which is kinda sad for the birds and also defeats the purpose of having pastured chickens.

It seems like a silly dilemma, obviously we should keep our birds safe from harm, but at what cost? The concept of caging is an idea I’ve been exploring for years through my nest series and a dilemma that we all feel. We want to be safe in our homes with locks and alarms but at the same time we’ve trapped ourselves in our own cages. And freedom is a beautiful and exciting venture, but we are left vulnerable to the elements. My work tries to explore the balance of this concept while I try to put it to practice in my own life.

Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture | the dirt | life imitates art
caged chickens
Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture | the dirt | life imitates art
nest series detail
Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture | the dirt | life imitates art
new baby chicks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

new work

Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture | the dirt | new work

 

When I start out with new pieces, I feel like I have to get to know them for a while before I figure out what I’m doing with them. These pieces are pinched flanges with wide bases and range in size have a feeling of fungus growth or mushroom gills which is probably inspired by my hikes through the redwood forests this time of year when the mushrooms are flourishing. The pieces are very reminiscent of my Lichen Series too but I’m not exactly sure yet how similar they will end up. I really like the look of how they layer when stacked next to each other, it reminds me of a mountainous landscape with each ridge line creating a new horizon.  I’m designing them to be wall mounted for an indoor installation, but I’m also thinking about where I might arrange them for an in the field installation as well. Stay tuned and we’ll see where this creative journey goes…