Clay Class for Adults

In my experience as an art teacher for over 15 years, I’ve found that parents are quick to sign their kids for a clay class, but rarely do they give themselves the opportunity to be creative. And when adults finally do allow themselves that time, it becomes some of the most precious hours in their week; its a time to think less about the laundry, a time to challenge themselves with a new skill and a time to be ok with risking failure. My adult students surprise me everyday with what they are willing to take on even if they haven’t touched clay since kindergarten and the results are beautiful!

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”   ― Pablo Picasso

Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture | the dirt | clay classes for adultsJenni Ward ceramic sculpture | the dirt | clay classes for adults Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture | the dirt | clay classes for adultsJenni Ward ceramic sculpture | the dirt | clay classes for adults







If you are interested in classes at the studio for yourself, you are welcome to join in at any time and no experience is necessary. There are opportunities to learn wheel throwing and hand building techniques through projects ideas I provide as we go through classes. And, you are also welcome to come and create your own ideas using my guidance to help you see your vision through. Come and get your hands dirty, I look forward to seeing you at the studio soon!
Click the link for more information….

Series Showcase: Specimen Series

The specimen series is a line of work that focuses on arrangements of organic shapes. The small wall mounted ceramic boxes create frames which both restrict and enhance the pieces that they contain. The forms contained inside the boxes are abstracted version of seeds, fungi, shells and bones but made entirely of clay and arranged in an intriguing composition. The forms in each clay box have been fused into place through the kiln firing process. I wanted these sculptures to have the feel of biological specimen collections often seen in museums, each cataloged and preserved. In my own life, I like to organize and box things up, it makes me feel in control of the things I own and this series translates that same idea of organization and categorization.

Each piece is uniquely hand-built and there are a limited number of pieces left in this series. All available works are in the SHOP.

Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture | specimen series | the dirt

Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture | specimen series | the dirt Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture | specimen series | the dirt









Art in a Box Subscription

Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture | Art In a BoxHow about a unique piece of art landing in your mailbox every month? Ever join a wine of the month club? This is sort of the same thing, except that you get a piece of amazing art from a California artist every month and I’m one of the artists you can get art from!

Operating on the model of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) or wine subscription service, Art in a Box offers amazing original works of art instead of vegetables or wine. The ART IN A BOX subscription service runs out of The Compound Gallery in Oakland CA , you can click the link for details and how to sign up. Lena & Matt Reynoso are the husband and wife team behind this endeavor and all of the amazing projects they have going on at the gallery. If you’re a Bay Area local, be sure to check them out for art openings and events- they will not disappoint! They pride themselves on their excellent reputation, attentive customer service, and high quality of collectible artwork by cutting edge artists. I’m so proud to be included in this group of artists!



My Art, Your Space: Henderson Family

I asked for you to send me photos of my art in your space, thanks to all of you that did! I’ll slowly be sharing them as posts in The Dirt. I love seeing where my art ends up and hearing why you connect with a piece. Thanks for sharing!

Here’s this weeks share from the Henderson Family:
The piece I have outside was a gift to my husband and he placed it right at the base of our front steps.  Every time I pull up to my house it is the first thing I see when I head toward the front door.  Even though it has lived in that spot for almost two years, it never ceases to surprise me which always makes me happy.

The three pods were also a gift to my hubs — one for each child we have together. They rest in a favorite antique bowl with some dried poppy seed pods from our garden.  I love the the combination of these organic shapes. People are drawn to them.

The bone piece, under the cloche, also draws a lot of interest.  It sits in moss gathered from our property and there are stones around it too, that have tiny fossils I collected at the beach. For me, it is a shape that represents the past & feels particularly personal.

Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture | the dirtJenni Ward ceramic sculpture | the dirt Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture | the dirt










If you have some of my work that you’d like to share, please email me!

studio visits

Yesterday, all of the art was pulled from the shelves and given a bath to get the dust and spider webs off of them. All the shelves were wiped down and everything was put back again in a new eye pleasing arrangement. Why go through all this work when the art is not up for an exhibition? Because I’m hoping that you’ll stop by the studio for a visit and I want everything to look good when you come by! Artists spend a lot of time alone in their studios working away and most will welcome a studio visit and a chance to talk about what they are doing one-on-one with you. There’s no reason to wait for an art show to contact an artist about their work. So, feel free to drop me an email and arrange a time to come by… looking forward to seeing you at the studio!
Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture | the dirt

What is it?

Visual artists are often asked to explain their work through a tedious bit of copy called an “Artist Statement”. Its just about the most dreadful thing to have to create as an artist and its the first thing any application or gallery or curator will ask you to provide. Ultimately, you need it, and you need it to explain clearly and concisely: why do you make your art?, what inspires you and what is it?  The other thing is that your artist statement is always evolving, just as your work evolves, so you can’t just write this up and use it for the rest of your artistic life, you need to update, write and re-write…

In your head, you instinctively know the answers to these questions, but can verbalize them all in a few minutes? Probably not. It takes me the better part of a day to create these few precious lines and I’ll still revisit them days or weeks later to make sure I’m still making sense. BUT, there is an upside to this process. Once you slug through all the deep thoughts of your art and ideas, you appear on the other side with some very clear ideas about who you are and what you do- this is so empowering as an artist. For me, I find it clears away some of the clutter and allows me to focus on what is really important to my work- from a technique, a conceptual idea or just my purpose.  It also gives the viewer/buyer of your work a story or an understanding of what your work is about, and if you can tell your story clearly, they can spread your story clearly to others. So I invite you to read my latest artist statement, feedback is the best medicine for a new statement, so please click the link: About and let me know what you think!

On this same topic, I encourage you to watch Shea Hembrey’s Ted Talk on “How I became 100 artists” where he impersonates 100 fictional artists for an exhibition and needs to create a statement and body of work for each artist – his guidelines include the fact that his grandmother needs to understand what each artist’s work is about. Its very clever, so enjoy!


Series Showcase: Nest Series

I started the Nest Series around 2010 and only recently stopped making pieces from this series. They began as a technical challenge to cleanly trap one form inside of another and also to pay attention to the inside of the vessel. Traditionally the inside of clay forms are hidden from sight, in these pieces I love being able to see through the work, it creates a visual lightness in a medium that is physically heavy. In the course of making this series, I experimented with every type of hole, shape and possibility I could think of to find what was the most successful way of conceptually expressing the balance between protecting and trapping. Each nest has an item that is exposed to the viewer through its outer shell but also shielded by its webbing. In some, the inner items are attempting to escape but are then left vulnerable to the elements, I think that this is a human condition we all feel at one point or another. If you’d like even more info about this series, you can watch a video where I talk about the process of building and the conceptual aspects of trapping forms.

These pieces are hand-built, hand-carved and created with a process that fuses the inner pieces to the outer. They are made from high fired stoneware and each piece is original and unique. You can purchase pieces from the nest series in the SHOP while they last.

Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture | nest series

Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture | nest series Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture | nest series










inspiration in exploration

I am very lucky to live in a place as beautiful as Santa Cruz County, every corner is filled with natural inspiration for artists. I try to take advantage of that everyday, typically in the form of a dog walk. My furry companion Indigo and I hit the beach, the creek, the woods- pretty much everyday we’re outside exploring somewhere, finding interesting things to inspire. Today I found a collection of bones that had washed up in a tangle of kelp from sea birds and seals. The forms are beautiful and sculptural. I brought a few back to the studio and took a look at them next to the work I’ve been making for my bone series. The image on the far right is my work in clay, the image next to it is a bird bone, the similarities are striking. This time spent exploring the natural world is so integral to my work, I love that my art takes me out of the studio as much as nature brings me back in and creates a working balance for me.

Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture | the dirt | inspiration from explorationJenni Ward ceramic sculpture | the dirt | inspiration from explorationJenni Ward ceramic sculpture | the dirt | inspiration from explorationJenni Ward ceramic sculpture | the dirt | inspiration in exploration







Land of Fire and Water

Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture | the dirt | land of fire & waterThis January I was so lucky to sneak in a quick trip to the Big Island and visit my sweetest friend Susun Gallery who runs Artschool on the Beach in Kona. (If you’re going on vacation there, look her up. She’ll teach you how to take a bit of your vacation home in a painting you made!)

I brought a few small sculptures with me and with cameras in hand we adventured off to the north coast near the town of Hawi and hiked down the cliffs to a beautiful black sand beach covered in lava rock. We played with rocks and sticks, challenged the waves timing and strength and acted like artists- oooh-ing and ahhh-ing over the beauty of it all. I didn’t know what to expect, but the beautiful contrast of my bright red glaze against the satiny black sand was a perfect match. I’d love to go back and do a larger installation with more pieces, but that will have to wait for another day. You can check out some images of the spark sculptures in the land of fire & water here…