It’s Open Studios Season!

It's Open Studios Season! | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture
I may still be in Iceland, but my studio is all ready to go when I return for Open Studio season in Santa Cruz! I can’t wait to see everyone Oct 13 & 14 for opening weekend of North County artists. Make sure to check out the preview exhibit at the Santa Cruz Art League to plan your tour!

Mission Industrial Art Studios will have 13 artists open this year working in everything from glass, painting, metal, ceramics and mixed media – come check us out!

October 13, 14, 20 & 21 | studios open 11 – 5 | Artist #307 in the catalog
2523 C Mission St Santa Cruz | cross street: Swift St

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.

Planning for Open Studios 2018!

Planning for Open Studios 2018 | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

In my previous post ch-ch-ch-ch-ch changes… about the new status of the studio, I mentioned that I may not be able to participate in the annual Santa Cruz Open Studios event… well, I’ve got some good news!

I was lucky to be invited and hosted by artists Nora Dougherty & Bridget Henry at their gorgeous space up the coast this year. I’m really grateful for the opportunity to spend the weekend with these talented ladies and I’m looking forward to seeing you all there.

Mark your calendars for Oct 13, 14, 20 & 21 | 11 – 5
5221 Coast Rd Santa Cruz (5 miles north of Western Dr)


Two years ago I made the announcement that after 12 years in our home studio, we were moving to the westside of Santa Cruz. It was a huge change for us and we were really excited for all the possibilities. The past two years at Mission Industrial Art Studios has been even more amazing than we could of expected; the community of artists who work there became friends, a 1400 sq ft warehouse became our basecamp and you- the community of art lovers- joined us at events, for classes and drop-in visits- it’s been pretty incredible and we’re so grateful.

Just a few weeks ago, the powers-that-be at Mission Industrial notified all the tenants that due to issues with ADA compliance, it is too high of a liability for the property to be open to the public any longer. Therefore all of the tenants are no longer allowed to participate in art events like Open Studios, hold classes, or have the public come onto the property. Everyone was stunned by the news and it has taken time to digest what this means and how each of us will move forward. And to be honest, we’re not exactly sure how Earth Art Studio is going to move forward yet but I wanted to keep you in the loop.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes... | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

What we do know is that we will not be resuming classes at the studio but we may offer some workshops outside of the studio space, those opportunities will be announced in our monthly email blast. And while, I was delighted to officially be accepted into the Open Studios Art Tour for this coming October, I’m still researching my options for a venue, if a suitable one can’t be found, I may not be participating for the first time in over 15 years.

In the short term, we plan to stay put since the idea of moving the studio again in addition to the lack of spaces available for light industrial artists is daunting but we are keeping our eyes open for options – please let me know of any leads if you’ve got them!

In the meantime, since you can’t visit the studio to buy art any longer, the online shop is open 24/7 for all your art buying needs and will be added to and improved on to make an even better art buying experience for you. I’m also working on more venues to show and sell my work from that are outside of my studio space and will announce those as they happen.

Thanks for sticking with us as we go through these ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch changes!

(also sorry if that song is stuck in your head all day after reading this!)

New Sweetheart Pink Art Hearts Available this Weekend!

New Sweetheart Pink Art Hearts Available this Weekend! | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

The newest addition to the Art Heart family are Sweetheart Pink hearts with wings!

They are available at the Homeless Garden Project downtown store AND they will be available this weekend at the studio for the Valentine’s PopUp Saturday 12 – 6.

Pick one up for your sweetheart!

Join Us:
Earth Art Studio
2523 C Mission St Santa Cruz CA
Saturday February 10th from 12 – 6

for the love of art | Pop Up Show at the studio

Join Us for a Valentine’s popup show at the studio Saturday February 10th from 12-6

For the Love of Art - Pop Up Show at the studio | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculptureArtists:
Nora Dougherty with a mobile gallery | metaphoric jewelry. quality stick and stones.

Kachina Schoos of Field Notes Farm & Studio | artisanal handmade soaps. all natural- all the time.

Jenni Ward of Earth Art Studio | ceramic sculpture for the home & heart.

make a valentine, toast marshmallows by the fire, join us!

Mission Industrial Art Studios
2523 C Mission St
westside of Santa Cruz, just off Swift St.

Busiest Art Show Time of the Year

Busiest Art Show Time of the Year | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculptureI feel like I have been running a marathon of art shows this past few months and it’s finally slowing down with almost all the shows coming to a close. From the the Spring Studio Sale way back in May, to the launch of the Annieglass Craftbar, the Umbel Installation at the UCSC Arboretum, Sculpture IS: 2017 exhibit at Sierra Azul Nursery, The Church Street Fair downtown, Sculpture SLAM in San Luis Obispo, JCO’s Affordable Art Fair in Los Gatos, 2 weekends of Open Studios in Santa Cruz and rounding it out with The Bioneers Conference in San Rafael and that was just the past 6 months.

Nine major shows in 6 months is a little bit crazy but it’s been fun too. I am definitely  looking forward to the slow down. That said, I’ve been conjuring up new ideas and will probably be hitting the studio hard making new work this winter. I look forward to sharing the work with you as it comes out of the kiln. In the meantime, you can always shop online for your creative holiday gift needs!

And if you happened to miss alllll of those exhibits but you still want to see me and my work in person, the only show on the schedule through the end of the year is a fantastic group exhibit with the LOOK collective, be sure to join me at that one for all your gift giving needs! I’m so looking forward to wrapping up the year with these talented folks in their beautiful coastal community. Click here for details on this one day show…

Selling AND Buying Art at Open Studios

I was so fortunate to have many pieces of art find new happy homes during Open Studios Art Tour this year. Thank you so much to all of you who put your money where you mouth is and supported your local artists!

Selling AND Buying Art at Open Studios | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculptureWhen you are a participating artist in the tour it’s really hard to make your way around to see other artists studios but this year, my husband and I were able to sneak in a few studio visits one afternoon. While we don’t have the biggest budget to buy art, let alone the space to put it in, we also believe in supporting local artists. So many people think that art is out of their price range so I wanted to share the gems that we bought, all for under $200. Seriously. Under $200.

The koi fish and coral original painting was done by muralist Elijah Pfotenhauer, the rabbit print was done by muralist Taylor Reinhold and the small bowl was done by ceramic artist Liz Crain. I love the color and energy that each of these pieces add to my collection of local and global artists.

What did you collect this year at Open Studios?