Walking the Trail of Umbels

Have you made it out to the UCSC Arboretum to see Environmental Installations yet and walk the 100′ long trail of my Umbel Series Installation? I love this photo taken from a drone that was hovering just over my installation as I walked the trail. Sometimes, it’s good to sit quietly with a piece of art and contemplate it but equally, there is something really nice about getting to experience a work of art while physically moving around it. I think it draws you into to the piece and you notice things you might not of noticed otherwise. So, if you get a chance, I really encourage you to get up to the Arboretum and walk the trail of umbels… and let me know what you think!
Walking the Trail of Umbels | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture
Umbel flowers are available for pre-sale in my online shop and at only $65 each they are going fast!

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

Work in Progress: Umbel Series

For those of you that have swung through my studio in the past few weeks you may have noticed an army of spiky flower forms covering my tables and have probably wondered if I’ve lost my marbles. Well, I assure you that there is a method to my madness! This is the start of my new Umbel Series which will be installed at the UCSC Arboretum this spring as a part of Site Specific Environmental Installations; a new exhibit for Art at the Arboretum curated by Susana Arias. This exhibit will be up for an entire year so you can visit the installations and see how they change and respond to the environments as the seasons change. Here are a few photos of the work in progress, and I’ll be sure to share more as things develop.

Work In Progress: Umbel Series | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

About the Installation:

I have forever been intrigued by natural structures and the biology of how things work in nature. Lately, I have specifically been looking at umbel shapes in flower structures which is a flower whose shape resembles an umbrella. I’m attracted to these structures for the visual volume they create while remaining delicate and light at the same time. In researching flower structures, I also came upon a story of the wild mustard plants of California. The story has many variations and most are believed to be folklore but the basic premise is that the Padres and explorers to form the Missions left behind a trail of mustard seeds as they traveled from Mexico to California so that the seeds would grow and the bright yellow mustard flowers would color the path between each mission for the 800 mile pilgrimage. I love the idea of being able to track your path through the wilds of the world by following a color. While wild mustard flowers in reality are not the umbel shaped forms I’ve been researching, I loved this story so much I thought I could combine these concepts together to create an impactful installation.

Work In Progress: Umbel Series | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture
I plan to build 200+ abstract ceramic flowers that will have an umbel form to them using high temperature wire to help create the delicateness of the structure and they will be glazed in the bright yellow color of wild mustard. Each flower form will be supported by a steel stake that will be driven into the ground as a ‘stem’ so the flowers can hover a few feet above ground level. It is my hope that the impact of number of flowers and the yellow spot of color in contrast to its surroundings will create a dynamic installation that will engage the viewer and encourage them to explore the landscape.Work In Progress: Umbel Series | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture