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!
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.
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.
And with way too much art swirling in my brain, that’s a wrap NCECA 2022…
Looking for a way to help those in Ukraine directly? I was.
I then I realized that I follow a fellow ceramic artist on Instagram who is based in Kiev Ukraine. I literally watched their posts go from sustainable produced handmade pots to war posts overnight.
Studio potter Yuliya Makliuk is still in Kiev and has set up a number of ways that we can help support her and her community. One of the easiest is to buy a digital poster (like the one on the left here!) from her Etsy shop. She’s sending the money from these sales to local humanitarian organizations and the Ukrainian armed forces who are supporting those in the most dire situations.
This past year, I’ve shared eleven artists with you through the Artists Sharing Artists project and I really hoped you enjoyed meeting them. There is so much talent and passion wrapped up in this one photo, and looking at them all together, just makes me so happy to know that all these amazing artists are doing their thing out there in the world.
My first introduction to Sue’s work was through her website while researching artists to bring on board to an upcoming exhibition. I was immediately intrigued by the variety of textures in her work. Some of her forms are solid, glossy probing shapes and those contrast starkly with the web-like fragile veils of layers that seem to ooze around the structures. Some seem animated as they might start crawling across the table and some seem to be the remains of a creature that once was. I still don’t know how she makes these pieces, but I’m really excited learn more about her work and find out.
Susan is one of five artists in the exhibit that Cynthia Siegel and myself are co-curating as part of the 2022 NCECA conference entitled, This is the Anthropocene. The Anthropocene is defined as the current geological age during which human activity has been the dominant influence on the climate and the environment. The artists will be responding to this topic within the themes of Animal, Agriculture, Landscape, Water and/or Atmosphere in a diversity of styles and approaches. Susan will be featuring work based on forest fires as part of this exhibition.
About Susan Whitmore’s work:My current sculptural work is an exploration of studio based research: physicality and metaphor in concepts of torn, fatigued, erupted, collapsed, or disintegrated objects and images. I merge new technologies such as 3D modeling software with traditional hand skills such as drawing and ceramic construction. My goal is to create abstract pieces that explore the tensions between control and functionality, and the chaos found in natural forms.
I was first introduced to Wesley’s work during a ceramics event in San Francisco where he exhibited large scale ceramic sea turtles that had jet engines and propellers mounted on their shells, and they carried protected intricate worlds on their backs under glass domes. At first glance, they were fun and whimsical creatures of the imagination, but a longer look revealed their deeper message about loss of habitat and mass extinction as well as the craftsmanship involved in sculpting the intricately carved patterns and textures. When I was teaching kids clay classes, I loved using his work as examples for my students, they were always drawn into the eccentric combinations and were so inspired to create their own creatures. Check out Wesley’s video below to see how his life, home and work all tie together to inspire his sculpture.
Wesley is one of five artists in the exhibit that Cynthia Siegel and myself are co-curating as part of the 2022 NCECA conference entitled, This is the Anthropocene. The Anthropocene is defined as the current geological age during which human activity has been the dominant influence on the climate and the environment. The artists will be responding to this topic within the themes of Animal, Agriculture, Landscape, Water and/or Atmosphere in a diversity of styles and approaches. Wesley will be featuring work from his Guardians Series as part of this exhibition. Over the next few months, I’ll be featuring the other artists from this exhibit.
I’m fascinated by the creative adaptability of nature as it presents elegant solutions to the problem of survival. I’m inspired by the eccentric, the grotesque, and the beautiful, as I attempt to emulate the wonder of nature. My work is a celebration of these qualities and a critique of the human relationship with the natural world.
Let me just start by saying that I love Shannon Sullivan’s work. It’s clearly based on her keen observations of nature from a micro to macro scale. She’s clean and precise in the execution of her organic forms with a clever eye for presentation. Be sure to watch the video below where she explains the process and inspiration behind making her latest body of work, Folded Topographies. I am really looking forward to getting to know her and her work better as we work towards a group exhibition next spring.
Shannon is one of five artists in the exhibit that Cynthia Siegel and myself are co-curating as part of the 2022 NCECA conference entitled, This is the Anthropocene. The Anthropocene is defined as the current geological age during which human activity has been the dominant influence on the climate and the environment. The artists will be responding to this topic within the themes of Animal, Agriculture, Landscape, Water and/or Atmosphere in a diversity of styles and approaches. Shannon will be featuring work from her disc series as part of this exhibition. Over the next few months, I’ll be featuring the other artists from this exhibit.
Sullivan creates sculptures, wall pieces and installations using a core visual vocabulary rooted in the prevailing ways of nature. Her work maintains a seductive, mysterious quality as she explores the nuances present in the living world.
Wet clay transforms the paper mold from exclusively sharp and crisp to something in between—manipulated, and distorted. I seek the inimitable forms that result from this experimental process of what I’ve termed “paper casting”. Jutting and topographic, the glazed composite forms are reminiscent of plate tectonics at work. I’m compelled by the rugged and folded coastal mountain range of my home here on the North Coast of California.
I have been a fan of Cynthia’s work for a long time, the textures on her pieces are incredible and they draw you in to the movement of her figures and forms. I have probably known her work longer than I’ve known her, as we have shown our work at the same local venues over the years, both being clay artists working in the same town but hardly crossing paths in person. When we went to the same residency in Taiwan, one year apart from each other, she was able to share all of her experiences there with me before I left for my residency- which was fantastic! And we became friends through the process of putting together exhibition ideas for the NCECA conference. We spent lots and lots of time pitching ideas to each other, editing content and not only did it forge a friendship, but it also resulted in a big upcoming show.
In March of 2022 we will be co-curating an exhibition entitled This is the Anthropocene at the 2022 NCECA conference. The Anthropocene is defined as the current geological age during which human activity has been the dominant influence on the climate and the environment. 5 artists will be responding to this topic within the themes of Animal, Agriculture, Landscape, Water and/or Atmosphere in a diversity of styles and approaches. Cynthia will be featuring work from her beautiful Bristlecone Pine Series as part of this exhibition. Over the next few months, I’ll be featuring the three other artists that Cynthia and I curated into this exhibit.
If you want to see her work in person, be sure to visit Cynthia’s studio October 9th, 10th, 16th, or 17th for the Santa Cruz County Open Studios Art Tour, she’s artist #160 in the catalog. And check out the video below to see how Cynthia builds her large scale figures.
I create figurative work, primarily ceramic sculpture, which celebrates human connection to the natural world. By re-establishing human respect for all flora and fauna, I believe that the earth may again find its balance. I revere the beauty that comes from the passage of time, and the struggle to survive and adapt. My imagery and process of meditative mark-making are fueled by a love of storytelling, anthropology, anatomical structure, and natural history.
One of my current work series is inspired in part by the ancient bristlecone pine trees of the western United States, (particularly the groves close to my former home in Bishop, a remote town in the high desert of the Owens Valley in eastern California), As a parallel to the human struggle for survival, I’m drawn to the tenacity of the bristlecone pine trees that have endured for thousands of years, both because of and despite their fragile environment. The textured surfaces of my sculpture reflect the intersection of time, weather, growth, and decay. As memory and experience abstract themselves over time in our minds, so I encourage my figurative sculptures to transform themselves, in the form of markings carved upon their surfaces. My intent is to connect with others, to bring awareness to nature’s current state of peril and to empower viewers to reconsider and to recalibrate their own relationship to our earth.
I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know JB. We grew up together, skiing in the winters in Vermont and scheming adventures in the summers in New Jersey. We go years without seeing each other in person and when we are reunited it’s like no time has passed. I know I can count on him to say yes to any adventure and he is always the first person to make snow angels with me, even if there’s no snow. He’s a lifelong, long lost friend and a crazy talented landscape painter too.
On first glance, you’d swear he was a photographer not a painter. His attention to detail and patience throughout the process of bringing his paintings to life continually astound me. When you scan his horizon format paintings, some of which are only 3 inches high but nearly 6 feet long, you feel there, immersed in the space, seeing it through his eyes. Diving into his seascapes seems like a perfectly reasonable option, it’s as if you’re looking through a window out to the glistening ocean. JB’s work is represented by Robert Lange Studio if you want to add a new piece to your collection, I know it’s a life goal for me! Check out the video below to see his process and learn more…
About JB Boyd’s work: Focusing on the Lowcountry as a subject, Boyd’s paintings start with photographs, or more accurately, the journey to reach the photograph site. Boyd uses boats, ladders, trees and whatever else he can find and/or trespass on to create a unique perspectives. Perched twenty feet above the flat expanse of the marsh, or lying belly down in the mud, Boyd photographs in series to create a 360º view. Then, back in his studio, he arranges, crops, and edits these photographs to make a singular image. Using the image as a reference, his oil paintings are built up layer by layer, with each subsequent layer tightening the detail presented.
I had been a fan of Sally’s work long before I got to meet her in Taiwan during our residency at the Yingge Ceramic Museum. It was impressive to see her in action, she was only at the residency for one month and I think she created more work in that month than I had in the three months I’d been there, she’s amazingly productive!
I love how animated her forms are, it feels like they will just get up and start walking or swimming through the studio. Her use of pattern, color and carved textures only adds to the movement in her work. I also had no idea that she threw all her forms on the wheel, I had assumed everything was hand-built, so it was great to be able to watch and learn about her process. Not only is she an impressive sculptor with excellent craftsmanship but she is also the sweetest person, a stellar karaoke singer and she made me laugh until it hurt.
Check out the video below to see more images of her work…
About Sally Walk’s Work:My sculptural works are often on the edge, balanced, uneasy and restless, contrasting with a delicate prettiness that presents a sense of determination. They reference the illusions we create, how we present ourselves and what we determine as truth. Our outer shell is a façade, a beautiful illusion, but who we are is unclear. Our very existence is constructed, carefully controlled, meticulously edited. Only the edited version is apparent. What lies within or beyond the beautiful façade is lost, as reality teeters on the edge. This imbalance between what is real and what is not, is unnerving, and my ceramic sculptures explore this concept.
The shape of the forms are inspired by marine animals and microscopic imagery. I became interested in microscopic images after my mum was diagnosed with cancer, and unlikely positive to come from the situation. The virus-like rounded spikes were actually from some research I did into viruses that were being used to cure cancer. Oh how quickly that imagery has become linked to a pandemic.