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 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!

Week One: Artist in Residence at the Fish Factory

Greetings from Iceland!

After the jealously of watching all my friends travel photos appear on Facebook in the past few years, I can finally cross Iceland off my bucket list…and it does not disappoint! I arrived in Reykjavik and spent one night in the city with enough time to wander around town before leaving for the eastern coast of Iceland the following morning. The corrugated steel houses with their simple design and bold colors and the Icelandic lambs and horses grazing in epic landscapes makes it very easy to fall in love with Iceland.

Week One: Artist in Residence at the Fish Factory | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

In the photo above you can see a little village along the fjord called Stovardfjordur and that is what I’m calling home for the next few weeks. It’s a remote little fishing village of around 200 residents, many of whom worked at the Fish Factory, when it was an actual fish factory up until the early 2000’s. When the factory closed, the town was decimated and many local businesses left along with a lot of the population. In an effort to save the building from demolition and revitalize the village, a group of founders coordinated buying the factory and turned it into the creative space that it is today. Over the past four years, they have done a ton of work with their own hands on the enormous building while the entire group was and still is operating on a completely volunteer basis. Along with the artist-in-residence program that has shared and private studios, they also host local concerts and events, have a working print shop, dark room, wood, metal, textiles & ceramics studios, plus a professional recording studio that is -almost- finished. And of course they have plans and dreams for lots more. The founders of the Fish Factory believe that you can’t have a thriving village without culture, so they are being the change they want to see in their world and their commitment is inspiring.

Week One: Artist in Residence at the Fish Factory | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

In addition to being bowled over by the incredible scenery here and completely impressed with what this small group of art entrepreneurs have created from an abandoned fish factory, I’ve simultaneously settled into my corner of the shared studio space and started making art. I came with a foggy plan in my head of what I thought I’d like to make, but there is so much inspiration here it’s hard to not get distracted onto side projects too. So I’ve been 3-D sketching/doodling to help me filter out ideas with more potential for completion in my time here and I’ve got some promising starts.

I’m using the translucent porcelain clay that I was experimenting with while on my last residency in June (yes, it survived being in my checked luggage!) and I would like to create enough pieces to do an ‘in the field’ photoshoot onsite, I’m just not sure if there will be one or two (or maybe three!) site specific installations. I’m playing with some ideas from seeding plants I’ve found on my hikes as inspiration (see image above) for some land installations, which I think could be very successful. The work I had planned on making is based on radiolarian forms (lace-like skeleton structures of single cell ocean dwelling plankton) which would be a water based installation. And then of course there are the other ideas that can’t help but sneak into my studio practice, we will see if there is enough time for them to come to fruition. I realize that I’m being a little vague about my plans, but I’m not exactly sure where it’s all going yet, so here’s a sneak peak at my current studio table, I’ll let you know how it progresses as I head into week two here…

Week One: Artist in Residence at the Fish Factory | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

And remember, if you want to keep up with what’s going on with me on a daily basis, you can follow my Instagram account for works in progress, inspiration through exploration snapshots and just musings on life as an artist.

New Installations at Cin-Cin Wine Bar in Los Gatos!

In the midst of getting ready to leave for Iceland, prepping for Open Studios and having a slew of little pop up art events going on, I’ve also been getting ready for an installation at Cin-Cin Wine Bar & Restaurant in Los Gatos. This show will be up for about six months and includes work from the framed Bone Series pieces and a site specific installation of the Relic Series.

New Installations at Cin-Cin Wine Bar in Los Gatos! | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

This space came with it’s own set of challenges but I think that I was able to over come them to create a really nice exhibit. Here’s a sneak peek of the work, but make sure to get down there and grab a glass of vino while you check out the art! And if you’re interested in purchasing any of these pieces for your own space, you can contact JCO’s Art Haus for details…

New Installations at Cin-Cin Wine Bar in Los Gatos! | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

Cin-Cin Wine Bar & Restaurant
368 Village Lane | Los Gatos CA
Exhibit Reception: October 24th, 6-8pm

Wall Mounted Hive Success!

I had always wanted to try to get the Hive Series pieces on the wall and I thought it was possible but I had never really taken the time to experiment with wall mount designs. Well… I finally tried it and it worked! Here’s a little but of my process…

Wall Mounted Hive Success! | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

First I mocked up a prototype on some scrap wood, it was nothing pretty and is not pictured here, but it helped me find the pattern of attachment points for each of the layers of ceramic pieces and it gave me confidence that the wire looping from the clay to the wood would actually hold them down. So moved forward and cut large circles for the base that the pieces would rest on, drilled holes for the wire loops, then sanded and painted them. Then one layer at a time I attached the pieces with the wire loops and did a dot of extra strength epoxy on the edge of the wood where the pieces rested not so much to keep them attached as much as to keep them from shifting position.

Wall Mounted Hive Success! | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

Once all the pieces were wired on and epoxied to hold their place, I added a second smaller circle of wood to the backs. This piece has the hole to hang on a screw on the wall and it also has three screws connecting it to the larger circle with small spacers in between the circles to allow space for the twists of wire. I think this gives them a clean backside hiding the wire ends while also floating them off the wall a little bit- which also makes them slightly easier to hang. And here’s the result…

These three are available in the online shop with free shipping in the US and three more will be added in a few weeks! Enjoy!!
Hive Series | shop | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

New work up!

If you haven’t seen the latest Umbel Series pieces at Sierra Azul Gardens for the Sculpture IS: 2018 exhibit, here’s a teaser but click on the photo for more images! These extra large Umbels are available for transplanting into your garden, with free installation if you’re local!

800. each

New work up! | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

Week four of my residency at Buffalo Creek Art Center

This is my fourth and final week here on the ranch and it’s bittersweet to be leaving for sure.

Week four of my residency at Buffalo Creek Art Center | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

This week, the dream team of artists and art wranglers were treated to a bbq dinner on Lake Tahoe, enjoying good food, good company and an excellent sunset. Back in the studio, I created nine bone spheres encased in terracotta shells, they were a little bit of an experiment and I lost 3 in the firing but there is definitely some potential with those guys that I’m very excited about! I also finished assembling all the parts of my newest porcelain and terracotta Bone Series inspired pieces, photographed them, sold one and got the rest up in the online shop.

Today, I started packing things up and prepping myself for the journey back in normal life again and while it will probably take awhile to absorb it all, right now, I just have so much gratitude to Steve, Lana, Mel, Bill, Harry & Austen for making this a fantastic experience and especially for my husband Nate who’s been holding down the fort back home this whole time.