price sculpture forest installation part II

Day three working on the installation was spent getting the 4th section of the composition installed and laying out the last section. It was a shorter working day because I was invited to a potluck by local artists and supporters of the Price Sculpture Forest. It was so lovely to meet everyone and get a chance to take in the gorgeous views the island has to offer. The community here has been so welcoming and supportive of my contribution to the forest. I will definitely be back here again but for playtime instead of work next time.

Day four was filled with finishing up the last section of the circle and then pouring concrete underneath the last three sections. It was tricky to get the concrete to run everywhere but we made it work and eventually everything was covered, with some drainage areas designed in too. There is so much that goes into creating a site specific installation like this; so many hours, so much labor and materials that are beyond the main medium of ceramics. The ceramic pieces are obviously the focus, but all the support systems that are built to showcase the ceramic pieces are often more work, cost and effort and yet go sort of unseen. Tomorrow will be the final work day on site and we’ll backfill over the concrete so the forest floor can return to its natural state and the piece will become a part of the landscape.

I’m really grateful for all the help I received to make this piece possible, from my husband Nate with design and fabrication ideas, to my artist neighbors sourcing materials for me and offering advice and to Scott Price for his vision on this sculpture forest, and who has been getting his hands dirty everyday helping me make this installation a reality. It takes a village to raise and artist and I’m so grateful to my village.

Final photos will be coming next week… stay tuned!

Price Sculpture Forest Installation Week Part I

After a two day drive north, I arrived at the Price Sculpture Forest on beautiful Whidbey Island last weekend to start the process of installing my site specific piece entitled Lichen Series | Spore Patterns. I arrived in the middle of a random summer rain storm which seems perfectly appropriate for the Pacific Northwest, everything was lush and green. I was given a personal tour of the forest by founder Scott Price and got details on the artists and works in the collection. Then we got to work scheming and scheduling all the components of this installation. Scott’s dad also got involved designing a custom contraption that would safely and cleanly distribute the concrete to the base of the work in the days to come.

All of the ceramic parts and steel rods were unloaded from the van and carted box by box down the trail to my site including over a ton of concrete that will be used to hold the pieces in place. I got to work on laying out five separate sections of the radial composition and laying out all of the pieces.

Then started installing the over 300 ceramic pieces onto steel rods that had been predesigned to hold them. I even had friends who took a day out of their vacation in the area to help me get started installing and who kept me laughing all day. By the end of the first day, 2 sections had been installed and were ready for concrete. By the end of the second day we successfully used the concrete contraption and poured two sections with concrete and had another section installed.

It’s been long and laborious days, but the installation is really looking great, so it’s all worth it. It’s also great to hear the interest from visitors who are walking by on the trail, everyone is very excited to see what the piece will look like and to learn all about it. The next few days will reveal the final installation and it’s my goal that by the time I pack up all the tools and boxes, replace the underbrush of the forest floor, and let the birds return peacefully, it will seem like the installation has grown in the forest all on it’s own.

updates from baja…

updates from baja... | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

As much as I love my studio in Santa Cruz, it has been such a calming and restorative experience to spend a few weeks at our property in Baja Sur by myself. I’ve been sleeping outside under the stars and waking with the sun and the birds.

I’ve been able to take care of some projects like getting out solar system up and running and have been organizing and upgrading our glamping situation here. As a bonus, I’ve had visits with my friends and clay people down here and am making plans for some clay workshops and studio time here in the future.

I was even able to get my little Umbel flower which was fired in the last multi-fuel firing at Taller de Terreno and planted it in my cactus garden where it seems very much at home.

I’ll return to my studio soon, but until then, I’m very much enjoying some time in the desert finding inspiration through exploration.

New! Bone Series: Urchins | In the Field

bone series urchins | in the field | portfolio | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

Bone Series: Urchins

NEW Video and Images here!

ABOUT: The Bone Series: Urchins are hand built, perforated flanges of very thin, nearly translucent porcelain, if held up to the light the edges will glow. For this ephemeral In The Field installation, I went to one of my favorite beaches near Davenport California at a very low tide to have access to where the urchins live. Read more…

taking some time…

As much as I’d like to say that I’ve been using the last few weeks of this year to be really creative, honestly… I’ve had more days away from clay than with clay. Instead, I’ve been focused on getting our new property in Baja set up and functional for camping on which comes with all kinds of unexpected and fun challenges.

I’ve also been trying to enjoy the time with my husband as his sabbatical year comes to an end. This year was not what any of us expected it to be, but my personal positive take-away is discovering that spending all day, every day with my husband is fantastic. I’m so grateful we made the decision to take this year off- even if it was not what we planned.

So as we approach the holiday season, I hope you also get some time and try to find what might of been a piece of positivity that came out of this last year too. And then we can all just rejoice in January 2021. I’m excited to hit the studio hard next year and crank out lots of new works and hopefully some new exhibitions. See y’all then!

happy happy, merry merry

ephemeral art in the arroyo

One of the most intriguing spots within our new property in Baja is a small section of arroyo that cuts through a corner of the property. Initially, we were a little reluctant to buy property where we’d have to deal with the occasional moments of insane amounts of water but I have to say that it’s become one of my favorite spots to explore. The plants are different, the sandy soil lends itself to wanting to sit in and enjoy the space and it’s amazing to imagine how and where the water might flow through the space. So I decided that this would be the first spot I’d create an ephemeral art piece. The beauty of this being my own property is that I’m able to leave it installed and see what actually happens to it, I may add to it or it may dissolve on it’s own… time will tell… enjoy…

If you want to see my 30 days of ephemeral art from earlier in the year, here’s the link: 30 Days of Ephemeral Art

mini-studio in el desierto

Since we’ve had a driveway and small camping area cleared on our property, the first thing I did was buy a table and set up my mini-studio under the shade of a Torote tree. It’s been a little bit of a challenge to deal with the intense sun and some wind but I’ve figured out a system that seems to be working. I’m continuing to work on my smaller Bone Series Medusa and Urchin forms while I’m here and will be able to fire them in a friends kiln before I make the journey north again. I’m hoping to have a large batch of these to show and get up in the online shop next year.

In the meantime, I’m definitely finding inspiration here in the desert and the beaches. I’ve been finding and collecting all sorts of bits of bone and wood that inspire but my latest prize possession is this pelican skull below. The center photo is a close up of the fibrous structure of the beak connecting to the skull, I love how fragile and also how strong it is. I also love how translucent the bone is, so reminiscent of working in thin pieces of porcelain.

inspiration from the desert

I’m spending the remainder of the year at our property in southern Baja, and it’s so easy to get inspired here. I’ll be setting up a little mobile studio to get some new work built and connecting with some local artists to borrow some kiln time getting things fired. I’ll be sure to share the process but in the meantime, here’s what I’ve been looking at for inspiration these days. I post a lot of these images on my Instagram feed, if you want to follow me over there too.

fuego en el desierto

While the paperwork on our property purchase is making it’s way through the system, we’ve been keeping busy at Taller de Terreno creating fires in the desert. The big multi-fuel kiln was fired up last weekend and it was fun to be a supporter during the 15+ hour process of firing it. It took a few days to cool and then we were able to unload it while ooohing and ahhhing at the results.

I was lucky enough to get a few of my pieces into the kiln too. Three large-ish rocks from my Rock Candy Series and two Umbel Series flowers were included. Unfortunately, the rocks got some big stress cracks in them, but the surfaces came out really interesting because of the addition of salt and soda ash to the kiln towards the end of the firing. The Umbel flowers came out fine and it was interesting to see how some of my typical glazes changed in this type of firing. There were a ton of beautiful pots that came out and as always there are some that were destined for the shard pile too. Ceramics is always a lesson in experimentation but this type of kiln firing only adds to the level of chance.

Once the kiln was unloaded, the three potters Christa Assad, Steve Jacobi and Fernanda Cov started to get all of their pots cleaned up, priced and organized for display for an art party sale at the studio. For us it was a great opportunity to meet (socially distanced of course!) a lot of the locals and learn a little more about the community here in Todos Santos. Everyone was really welcoming and it’s been fun to start to view this amazing little pueblo from the locals perspective instead of the tourists.

While the summer is obviously not the ideal time to be camping out in the desert, we definitely can’t complain about the sunsets, long stretches of empty beaches and the night skies.