Sweden, here I come!

Making Progress... | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculptureI was so happy to hear that my crate of artwork arrived safely in Mariestad Sweden!

One hurdle accomplished. Yay!

I leave for Sweden today and will be spending the following 10 days assembling and installing two large Umbel Flowers for the Off Season Art Gardening: Humle Park project. I’m so looking forward to meeting the team I’ve been planning with in person and exploring Sweden for the first time.

Hoping that it all comes together as planned and that the artwork looks great installed! Fingers crossed!

more to come soon….

New Sculpture Headed for Sweden!

I’m excited to announce that I have been given the opportunity by the city of Mariestad Sweden to create a unique permanent sculpture for their Off Season Art Gardening program! I’m working on creating two large Umbel forms that will tower over head in a park setting, these will be built in a similar style to the ones I made for Sculpture IS: exhibit this year (see photo on right). The flower buds for the new sculptures will be a repetition of the shapes of the metal structure and will be glazed in a rich bright red reminiscent of the color used on many of the buildings in Mariestad. I hope that these pops of bright color will contrast against the greens and blues of the natural landscape. This piece will be installed early December, so stay tuned for more photos!

New Sculpture Headed for Sweden! | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

New Video! Artist In Residence Iceland

This video documents two ephemeral installations I created during my month long artist in residence at the Fish Factory Creative Centre in Stoovarfjordur Iceland. The first is from my Umbel Series and is based on Angelica flowers which grow native in the landscape of Iceland. The second is from my Bone Series and is based on radiolarian (single cell planktons) skeletal structures that live in all the oceans of the world.

New Video: Artist in Residence Interview

The Fish Factory does interviews with each of their artists on their last week as a way to reflect on their time spent there and how it effected their work. As an artist, when you’re so focused on your work and in your headspace, it can be hard to explain (in a way that makes sense) to the viewer what you’re thinking about and why you’re making what your making. Being forced to verbalize it in a cohesive interview is a great way to gather your thoughts and wrap up this amazing opportunity. Enjoy my interview…

week four: artist in residence at the fish factory

This is my final week in the tiny village of Stodvarfjordur in remote eastern Iceland and I can say already that I am definitely going to miss this place. But, I am very excited to do a bit of exploring as I make my way back to Reykjavic driving along the southern coast road. I’m also very excited that my husband Nate will be joining me for that adventure! But before I move on to other adventures, here’s what happened in my very busy last week in Iceland…

week four: artist in residence at the fish factory | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

Everything came out of the kiln perfect, which was great. I was able to unload my pieces and start experimenting with all the parts I’d made. We had the luck of having a few days of really nice weather so I decided to start with my ‘in the field’ installation idea of putting the radiolarian inspired forms into the water of the fjord. There were a few technical difficulties in planning this but eventually those got sorted and I got access to a small boat, made some contraptions to hang the pieces from and tested out a few shots with my underwater camera- which came out great! Then, my underwater camera promptly flooded and I was literally dead in the water with this photoshoot idea. So that happened. It appears to be glitch with the all important seal and locking mechanism on the door which protects all the innards. Meh.

week four: artist in residence at the fish factory | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

Sooo, while trying to figure out plan b with that whole situation, I started making stems for my Angelica inspired Umbel flowers. These came out beautiful and I was able to take them for a photo shoot in the mountains above the village among the real Angelica blooms. I’m still editing photos and video from that shoot, but it was really fun to see the ceramic flowers mixed in among the real ones, they truly looked like they belonged there.

Since the ceramic flowers are extremely fragile, I decided that I wasn’t going to attempt to bring them home to my studio. But I wanted to display them in a really finished way if I was leaving them at the Fish Factory. So I scoured through the endless supplies of materials here and found some formed acrylic pieces that were heavily scratched but just the right size for making a wall mounted holder for the flowers. I took the time to sand the whole surface of the acrylic to faux frost the surface which hid all the scratches. I also drilled holes to put the stems through and made small anchors to fix the base of each of the stems in place. The whole dealio was mounted in the stairwell leading from the offices to the entrance of the factory, there was a window on one side which cast soft light on the pieces and I think it ended up being a perfect spot for them to live out their lives.

week four: artist in residence at the fish factory | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

Regarding plan b with the radiolarian forms and underwater photoshoot, I am in contact with the manufacturer about replacement of the camera and in the meantime, my husband is bringing out another one when he comes. So hopefully if the weather cooperates, I still have a chance of getting some really beautiful underwater shots of my radiolarian forms. Once they have taken a dip in the fjord, I have big plans for these forms once I get home. I made a mini experimental version here which I’m also leaving behind. I decided to use this time to play and experiment with new ideas rather than worrying about making finished work or a new body of work. I’m at such a good jumping off point for so many new ideas I want to pursue, I’m just thrilled with my time here and I look forward to really seeing these ideas through when I’m back in my studio.

Thank you again to all of you that made it possible!

Consensus: Iceland is amazing, get here at some point in your life if you can! I’m so grateful for all the other talented artists and the team at the Fish Factory who have become friends and colleagues – they really make this experience unforgettable. And I’m so pleased with the new work, concepts and plans that have been created in such a short time. Only complaint… I have been here for four weeks and I have yet to see the aurora – maybe it’s the universe’s way of telling me I need to come back!

Open Studios Preview Exhibit at SCAL

Plan your tour!

Umbel Series | shop | Jenni Ward ceramic sculptureWork by all artists participating in Open Studios will be available for a preview exhibition at the Santa Cruz Art League. Come and meet the artists and preview the amazing work and creativity in Santa Cruz County!

Santa Cruz Art League
526 Broadway in Santa Cruz

Reception for the Artists:
September 30th 3 – 6pm
Exhibition Dates:
September 29th – October 21st

week three: artist in residence at the fish factory

This week is the transition week for me. I stopped building with wet clay early in the week and gave everything a few days to dry out completely, then we loaded up the kiln. It’s still cooling off so you’ll have to wait for next weeks post to find out the results.

week three: artist in residence at the fish factory | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

But, in the meantime, I took some time to work on some applications for future art events, catch up on office stuff, took the hour long ride to the closest grocery store to refill on supplies but most importantly I’ve started planning out what I’m going to do with all these pieces that I’ve made.

Assuming that everything comes out of the kiln ok…
I have a pretty clear idea of what I want to do with the Angelica inspired flower forms. They will be assembled, attached to their metal stems and planted in the hills above the village where I’ve been hiking. I’ll document them in place and then find a permanent place to plant them at the studio. I think they will be too fragile to attempt bringing back home, but if any of you reading this are in Iceland and would like to purchase them- they will be available!

week three: artist in residence at the fish factory | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

The radiolarian forms I’ve been making I would like to document in the fjord but I’m still figuring out how to photograph them in the water. The challenge mainly being that the water is just too damn cold to jump in their with them as I normally do for a water photoshoot but I’m sure that I’ll be able to figure it out by building some sort of armature and maybe borrowing a kayak or some hip waders? Once the ‘in the field’ photo shoot is done, I’ll be attaching some of these pieces to acrylic circles to give them their microscopic view and I’m going hang the circles. I’m not sure if these will come back to California with me or not yet, it sort of depends on how they can be packaged up. Fingers crossed that my ideas evolve into interesting results!

If things don’t come out of the kiln ok…
I’ll be telling you all about ‘plan b’ next week! Stay tuned!

New Video: Dust to Dust | Fish Factory Residency Iceland

This is an experiment with a raw clay form returning to the earth. The piece settled on a bed of seaweed while the waves gently washed in and sped up the reclaiming process. I love the little bubbles and sound of the water permeating the clay. (sorry for the vertical format!)