sharing resources…

Need something to inspire you?

I recently updated my page on the ArtAxis website and subsequently ended up browsing through a selection of the artists listed there. It is a treasure trove of talent. As artists, we spend a lot of time in our studios with our heads down focused on what we are making, and I am always humbled when I take the time to break away from my own studio practice and look at the amazing work being created around the world. If you’re an artist or an art lover (especially of clay!), I highly recommend taking some time to explore this site. It’s well organized, beautifully presented and you can of course follow links to follow the artists on their respective social media channels and websites. Also, ArtAxis is a volunteer run non-profit, so you can drop them a donation too for all their work supporting artists and the arts.

sharing resources... | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture
photo credit: Crystal Birns

I also have to give a shout out to another resource that I love, The Ceramic School, they have online clay classes for all levels of ceramics. The world of ceramics is vast, from glaze recipes, to firing techniques to building tips and tricks, there is so much to learn. If you’re into working with clay but need more instruction or want to expand on what you already know, this is such a great resource. The online class I taught with them about using high-temperature wire in clay is available in their regular class listings and if you want to get an idea of what they offer, join in on the upcoming Clay Camp event with a series of live hand-building classes.

Check it out and get inspired!

open studios baja style

In all of my time coming to Todos Santos, this was the first year that I was here for the weekend of the Open Studios tour. While I wasn’t able to participate as an artist, I was able to go participate as a visitor which was a great way to meet other artists, see studios and see how the event was run. With only 41 artists participating compared to Santa Cruz’s 300+, it was obviously a very different event but it was great all the same. The event is also a fundraiser for The Palapa Society which offers community education and enrichment programming to local children and adults.

Many of the artists showing in el centro and were exhibiting with local gallery or retail spaces, but outside of town, artists were opening up their homes to the public. This area has a lot of narrow dirt roads that lead to places unknown, so it’s definitely an adventure trying to find some of these studios. I was able to visit 9 different studios and chat with the artists about their experiences participating in the tour, which was great and there is definitely a lot of talent in our area. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a lot of photos of artists or studios, but I did find this super cute cactus wheat-pasted to a random wall when I got out of the car.

And I added a few pieces to my collection, a shell painting by my neighbor and fellow clay artist Christa Assad and a pulpo (octopus) print by Gererdo Rendon, both of which I love! Looking forward to being a participating artist next year and if any of you are in the area next February, be sure to come and find me in the desert!

Awesome Foundation June Winner

Awesome Foundation June Winner | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

The Santa Cruz Chapter of the Awesome Foundation picked its third winner! We love reviewing these amazing, creative ideas – keep them coming Santa Cruz! $1000 micro-grants are given out monthly.

Congrats to Stephanie Suarez for their community project, Bipoc Arts Healing Circles! Click here to learn more about this project.

Got an Awesome idea that needs a little funding? Pitch it here!

Awesome Foundation May Winner

The Santa Cruz Chapter of the Awesome Foundation picked its second winner! So blown away by the submissions that have come in, there’s a lot of talent in this county!

Congrats to Andrew Purchin for his film project, What’s Home? Painters Listen Across Differences! Click here to learn more about his project.

Got an Awesome idea that needs a little funding? Pitch it here!

First Awesome Winner

Really excited to announce that the brand new Santa Cruz chapter of the Awesome Foundation picked their first micro-grant winner! It was so amazing to see how many great ideas were submitted and I have a feeling we are just getting started. So thrilled to have helped launch this project with an amazing team of supporters.

Congrats to Emily Meehan for her film project called Concurrent! Click here to learn more about Concurrent.

Got an Awesome idea that needs a little funding? Pitch it here!

Article Share: Don’t ‘get’ art? You might be looking at it wrong

I came across this gem of an article on the NPR app and thought it would be great to share with you all. I really liked their idea of taking the pressure off of trying to see the whole museum on one visit and instead, taking your time to see a collection or a new exhibit. Also great tips for how to look at and appreciate art that you might just as easily dismiss. Let me know your thoughts….

Many of us would love to have this kind of deep connection when we look at a painting or sculpture, but it can be challenging. Art can feel inaccessible, as if it can only be interpreted by those who know a ton about the subject. And museums can be overwhelming. With thousands of pieces in a collection, how do you know which to focus on? And once you see a piece you like, how do you interact with it?

read full article here

Malaka Gharib/ NPR

ArtAxis Fundraising Sale

Over 100 works donated by over 75 artists are now available on the Artaxis web shop and all sales support their mission, one of my Medusas is available too! The sale launches Tuesday November 15th at 11am (PST).

Artaxis is an all volunteer 501(c)3 non-profit arts organization that is guided by a simple principle – artists supporting artists. Featuring nearly 1000 artists from over 50 countries and all 50 States in the US, Artaxis engages the ceramics community through promotional, educational, and networking programs while celebrating diverse artistic practices and being a resource of aesthetic values.


Local artists doing public art

In my last post I shared my installation at the new Kaiser building in downtown Santa Cruz but I also wanted to share a few of my favorites of the other local artists that were chosen for this space too. It’s so great to see large organizations or corporations prioritize local artists and unique work into their public spaces. Chandra Cerrito Art Advisors was given the task of presenting all of the works for potential selection and it was great working with them. Check out some of these great pieces…

Ethan Estess uses reclaiming fishing rope to create many of his pieces. John Maxon paints the great beauty that surrounds us. Laura Beach combines her love of science and printmaking to create her works. Lea de Wit creates large scale glass installations that swim, fly and flow across walls. Leslie Morgan creates work that is inspired by her time in the water.

There are many, many more pieces included in the building, so if you’re going to get your flu shot or booster be sure to keep an eye out as you pass through the halls. You’re sure to be inspired!

Eloise Pickard Smith Gallery Visit at UCSC

I went up to Eloise Pickard Smith Gallery this week with curator Tauna Coulson to see the gallery space and toss around ideas for my upcoming exhibition there this fall. It’s a beautiful space nestled into the redwoods that I hadn’t been to a million years. As a bonus, I got to see the current exhibition on display.

Warp & Weft is about how textiles are integral in our lives, yet often overlooked. The exhibit showcases nine artists work with themes of family, community and politics through weaving and the history of cloth. Here are a few images I took of the show…

I know the parking is awful, but they are open Thursday nights until 7 and on Saturdays 12-5, so if you get a chance get up there and check it out!

For more information…

Scenes from NCECA 2022, day three

Three days and viewing almost 40 exhibitions is definitely pushing my limits of creative absorption but I’m honestly so amazed by the diversity of ways that artists use this humble medium of clay. From hand-built functional ware to high tech 3D printing, artists are really doing just about anything and everything with it and it’s so, so impressive.

From Ground to Surface at Sacramento Fine Arts Center & Constructed Landscapes- Brick, Tile and Pillar at Blue Line Arts

I ended my conference with a first time visit to the Crocker Museum which hosted the NCECA Annual Exhibition Belonging, and enjoyed the permanent collection on display. Their collection was vast and displayed beautifully…I loved seeing their collection of Stephen deStabler works since I took a workshop with him the year that I moved to California, and their Japanese ceramics collection was stunning as well. I also included one image below of a Ruth Asawa crocheted copper piece which is technically not clay but I love her work so much, I had to include it as one of the highlights of this art adventure.

Beneath the Surface-Origin Stories at The MACC: , Belonging and Permanent Collection at the Crocker Art Museum & Body Image at E Street Gallery

And with way too much art swirling in my brain, that’s a wrap NCECA 2022…

So grateful for the opportunity to work with this dream team!
Marisa Sayago-Professor of Art at Folsom Lake College + Artists Shannon Sullivan, Jenni Ward, Cynthia Siegel, Susan Whitmore & Wesley Wright