Sculpture IS: 2022 Opens!

Over 90 sculptures by 48 artists are in the 2 acre demonstration garden at Sierra Azul right now! This is one of my favorite shows of the year, be sure to check out my four fennel inspired Umbel flowers growing in the garden, on display June 1st – Oct 31st.

Sierra Azul Nursery & Gardens | 2660 East Lake Ave Watsonville CA | Open Daily 10-5 |

The Umbels are Up!

Yesterday, I installed my four largest Umbels at Sierra Azul Sculpture Garden in Watsonville CA as a part of Sculpture IS: 2022 exhibition. I love showing my work in this space, it’s truly one of my favorite annual local shows. Here’s a sneak peek of A Feast of Fennels, but you really need to get to see this show in person – it officially opens June 1st!

About A Feast of Fennels: The inspiration for these sculptures comes from my exploration of the natural world, and my curiosity about identifying plants, especially the edible ones. As an amateur forager, every hike in the woods has become like a trip to the grocery store for me. Fennels are one of the most recognized edibles that grow in California, available for the taking, yet there is a tendency to not trust the wild plants. This disconnect we humans have with nature, the loss of knowledge about native plants and how that relates to the global issue of food insecurity are all concepts explored with these pieces. 

Sierra Azul Nursery & Gardens | 2660 E Lake Ave, Watsonville, CA 95076 | Open Daily 10 – 5

Sculpture IS: 2022 | June 1 – October 31 |

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…

Video: Gallery Tour of This is the Anthropocene

If you missed seeing this show in person, here’s your chance to check out the exhibit with a full gallery tour of This is the Anthropocene, which included works by Cynthia Siegel, Shannon Sullivan, Jenni Ward, Susan Whitmore & Wesley Wright. If you want to learn more about each of the artists work and the curator’s vision for the show, see below…

Curators Statement:

The Anthropocene is defined as the current geological age during which human activity has been the dominant influence on the climate and the environment. Curators Cynthia Siegel and Jenni Ward chose to bring together a diverse group of artists whose work has not been grouped together before to explore this concept. The five artists are responding within the themes of Animal, Agriculture, Landscape, Water and Atmosphere, from multiple viewpoints. Using their current bodies of work, the artists have challenged themselves to deepen their consideration of these relevant topics.

While diverse in style and approach, the artists find commonality in the medium of ceramics, with each artist’s inspiration from nature, and with their desire to use their work to bring awareness to the planet’s current state of peril. 

For tens of thousands of years, humans have used the abundant earth resource, clay, to increase their chances of survival. From primitive vessels to applications within the high tech industry, clay has paralleled human development and advancement. This shared history makes ceramics a uniquely relevant medium of expression for this exhibition. Each artist uses this humble medium to reveal a unique point of view regarding the impact of the Anthropocene.

As a parallel to the human struggle for survival, Cynthia Siegel is drawn to the tenacity of the bristlecone pine trees that have endured for thousands of years, both because of and despite their fragile environment. With textured surfaces that reflect the intersection of time, weather, growth, and decay, Siegel’s sculptures convey the inseparability of man and nature.  

Using aerial and microscopic imagery as a point of interpretive departure, Shannon Sullivan explores human intervention in the landscape. Patterns found in agricultural landscapes, shifting geologic boundaries, and migrating oceanic phenomena intermingle in her work. 

Through her abstract umbel flower installations, Jenni Ward’s work speaks about the disconnection that we have with nature, the unsustainability of monoculture farming, as well as the global issue of food insecurity.

Aspects of attraction and repulsion influence much of the work of Susan Whitmore, who regards light variations and magnifications, varied textures and colors, and the creatures that inhabit the depths, as inspirational and sometimes frightening. Whitmore explores how changing our actions will enable the planet to provide a hospitable existence for all species.

The ornate surfaces of Wesley Wright’s contemplative and noble animals respond to mass extinctions and recent losses of terrestrial and aquatic habitats, yet they also portray species interconnectedness and the hope for continued survival. Some of Wright’s sculptures hold an environment within a glass dome on its body, creating an alternate world of protection and safety. 

Each of the artists included in This Is The Anthropocene has a keen interest in understanding and interpreting the inner workings and the wonder they find in their everyday life as a part of the natural world. Driven by personal experience, they have created works for contemplation and discussion, empowering the viewer to consider and even question their own relationship with nature and our changing planet. 

Cynthia Siegel & Jenni Ward

New project with Aerena Gallery

I’ve been quietly working away on these pieces in the studio over the past few months and just finished them up. I’m excited to announce that they have been placed with Aerena Galleries in Napa/Sonoma. It was a fun project to collaborate with them on, as they supplied the cloches and I designed the inner compositions with pieces from the Bone Series | Urchins and Medusas. They also have a bit of dried seaweed as part of the compositions, adding texture and color. I’m really pleased with the amount of movement and energy the pieces have despite their containment in the glass.

It will be interesting to see how they will display them in the gallery and even more interesting to see where these strange specimens end up!

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

scenes from NCECA 2022, day two

I spent half of today in the conference center watching a few lectures, the morning keynote speech and half the day walking around to exhibits that were close by downtown Sacramento. The keynote was a fascinating talk by Courtney M Leonard who discussed her relationship with her ancestral lands, the surrounding waters and how her ceramic works are responses to that relationship. I ended a very long day at our exhibit ‘This is the Anthropocene’ in Folsom with our artists reception. I really didn’t know if anyone was going to make it that far out of Sacramento to see our show, but we had a busy attendance all evening with lots of words of support and praise. Big thank yous to everyone who came out for our show!

‘Fertile Exchange’ at Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority
Legends and Legions: A survey show of California wood firing at Alpha Fired Arts
Seismic State: California Ceramics at Sparrow Gallery
This is the Anthropocene at The Harris Center for the Arts | Bank of America Gallery

NCECA is happening in Sacramento next week!

Excited to be attending this year’s NCECA conference in Sacramento. There’s a line up of great lectures, demos and of course ceramic exhibitions happening all over the area. I’m especially excited to attend the opening reception of the show I co-curated, This is the Anthropocene. My large scale Umbel flowers will be on display alongside the work of Cynthia Siegel, Shannon Sullivan, Susan Whitmore and Wesley Wright. Hope to see you at the reception!

Harris Center for the Arts – Bank of America Gallery | 10 College Parkway Folsom CA

February 11th – March 27th with a reception for the artists March 17th, 6:30 – 8:30

Closing Reception for Take Aways Art to Go!

Have you visited Pajaro Valley Gallery lately?

I did! It’s a beautiful show brimming with local talent and I picked up a new piece of art that will be a gift for a friend. There’s still time to see this show and pick up some art for your collection.

This annual invitational exhibit features seventy-three of the county’s most notable artists. As a fundraising event, these artists are presenting works that fit into many budgets.

Closing Reception & Raffle:
Sunday, March 6, 2–4

37 Sudden Street, Watsonville, CA
Gallery Hours: 11.00am – 4:00pm