Friday, January 23, 2015

Thesis Update #2

Thesis is hard at least that is what I keep saying. My body is telling me to stop and slow down but the reality of the upcoming show is pushing me onward. I hurt everywhere, my fingers, every muscle, and especially my brain. Thank goodness for a husband who has been wholly supportive even during this most stressful time. He is walking through it with me holding me up when I need it, talking sense in to me when i've lost it, and rubbing my back at night so I can fall asleep. I think Forrest might deserve some kind of award for this as well. Maybe a second honorary degree?!?
My studio has been filled for the last month leaving little flex space to even put down my computer. Over break I made several slump moulds and extruder dies for my dishes. The process is simple but time consuming as is almost everything in ceramics. I start with basic slabs and I am printing my pattern in blue on the white porcelain body with thermofax and screen printing techniques. I then cut it to size with my templates and attach the extruded coils to form the edge of the vessels.
Even through the studio work has been stressful the project has been fun. It is hard for me to show to much excitement right now because the reality is I am still very tired. But I have enjoyed the process of developing this project and getting to know people in my Columbus community.
My thesis project came about a little late in the game. After encouragement from my thesis committee to do something in the gallery, to use the space, and make it happen there. I designed a project about the space. The space being Urban Arts Space part of OSU in the old Lazarus building downtown Columbus. I had to work at this gallery during my first year of graduate school and it was by far one of the hardest parts of my experience here, other than bullies, and being away from my husband for 2 years. The large building used to be a department store and it is not the home to 14 different organizations and businesses. My idea was to have one person from each entity come together to share a meal. This sounds simple but it was not. The building is large it was hard to find where each place even existed. Several were the Ohio Department of _____. And they don't even let you past the front desk. Hundreds of people enter the building each day but few ever enter the gallery.  I am not going into detail about this project because I had planned it well and I hope to execute it in the future at the right 'place'. The day before my thesis proposal was due in early December I received news I was NOT allowed under any circumstance to serve food in the gallery. 
If there is one thing I have learned in graduate school it is pick and choose your battles. So I left this one behind and decided to do something that I wanted to do. I started thinking about Columbus as the place and I decided to combine some of my past projects "The Dish Set Challenge's" together into a new piece about Columbus. I'll update you all soon on whats happening with the new project, Partake Columbus.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Beyond the Brickyard

Forrest and I are excited to announce that we will both be showing in Beyond the Brickyard at the Archie Bray Foundation! Forrest will be exhibiting Welcome Home (the hats) from his thesis exhibition and I will be showing portraits and plates from Project NOLA. It looks like it is going to be an excellent show!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Ceramic Growlers by Forrest Sincoff Gard

Forrest wrote his first article for Ceramics Monthly. Check it out in the January issue!  He has been working at CM as an assistant editor since June and it has been a great resource (and a blessing for my applications!) to be married to an awesome man :) Check it out below and get your copy here.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Project Nola in Ceramics Monthly Exposure

Ceramics Monthly covered Project Nola in the expose section this month! Yippee, I am celebrating the little victories in this time of chaos aka THEIS. You can still see the work in person through December 14, 2014 at the Ulrich Museum of Art in Wichita, Kansas.
On an extra positive note one of my best friends had her first feature in CM. Reading her article was a highlight in the December issue on functional discussions. Great job Lindsay- I am proud of you. Keep it up! -jeni
After Conscious Clay comes down Project NOLA will be heading to the Archie Bray Foundation's Beyond the Brick Yard Exhibition- where (after years of applying) Forrest and I will be showing our work for the first time! The exhibition will be open January 16- March 7, 2015 in the Bray North Gallery.

Monday, December 1, 2014

what does it take to make a thesis?

I have been working toward my thesis for 2.5 years. When I arrived here I had no idea what my thesis project would be or how it would come about. I was naive, young, and open to the possibilities of graduate school. I thought way to hard and I worked even harder. Now the question is where does that leave me?

Some might say I made too much work while others not enough. But it was in the process of making that led me here—to this moment before I begin my thesis work. It was each project building on the next, and each decision that brought me to the next collaboration, process, or project.

So here I am stuck in a drift that is taking me strait to my thesis. This drift isn't what I had imagined but it is in a sense why I am here. So that I can receive feedback and criticism, and take the leap into a career when I leave here. 

What is a drift you might ask? A drift, as I know it, is a huge pile of snow.  Drifts often formed in my driveway during my childhood. My parents lived on Lake Michigan and the lake effect results in enormous amounts of snow. The wind coming off the lake was intense and there were often snow drifts that were well above the height of my car that would take hours to dig out. I am thinking of this current moment in time as a drift because I feel a bit stuck in a drift so large is feels almost unmoveable but I know if I keep shoveling I will get through it.

To sum things up I had a magnificent thesis project one that I felt had (almost) every component that I felt was important from my years of study. Realizing now that it is largely my own fault but also things outside of my control that both wouldn't let it be and I moved forward to consider a new project that I would not have designed by my own.

Moving forward my thesis project is ________ (currently untitled- but I assure you it is coming soon). My thesis exhibition will take place at the OSU Urban Arts Space in the Lazarus building downtown Columbus Ohio. The project is aimed at bringing together a group of people that share the physical space within the Lazarus building. The Lazarus building is an old department store that was converted into work space and leased out to businesses. The walls create a barrier that prevents the many employees who enter the building each day from ever encountering each other. This project is a meal share that is designed to help those participating and those who view it to reconsider the space that is shared.

I am arranging for one participant to act as a liaison from each of the 14 different entities that rent space within the Lazarus building. These 14 people will come together to share a meal at the table within the gallery space. The meal and the dishes will be reflective of the building, the people, and a blend of personal food choices. 

Check back soon for a Thesis Update ^^^^^^^^

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Apron Article-Ceramics Monthly November 2014

I teamed up with my great friend Lindsay Scypta to write our first article for publication in Ceramics Monthly. Lindsay and I love to make aprons (and ceramics of course!) The article serves as step-by-step instructions and also includes a few tips and tricks to make your apron extra fancy or simply efficient! Check out the 2014 November issue of CM for the article.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Visit to Wichita State University

 "In an effort to raise awareness of food insecurity in the Wichita area, the WSU Hunger Awareness Initiative, in collaboration with the WSU Ceramics Guild, will center its October 2014 Hunger Awareness Month on the “Empty Bowls Project.” An international grassroots movement that enlists potters to create handcrafted bowls, Empty Bowls has raised millions of dollars towards the fight against hunger. Conscious Clay is the start of our conversation, an exhibition examining innovative solutions to hunger awareness through clay, community, and conversation. This exhibition features works by American ceramicists Steven Young Lee and Jennifer Hansen Gard, two ceramic activists who strive to make a difference in their respective communities."
I recently had the honor of being an invited artist to participate in Conscious Clay at Wichita State University. The flights were miserable with several delays and an unexpected night stay in Chicago but the people were incredible. It was a warm welcome from everyone on my first day. I started with my artist talk in the morning and in the afternoon I did a short demo with some building processes and surface techniques. I walked off the plane and went directly to my artist talk asking for only one thing- that I could brush my teeth! I made a quick stop in the restroom and even had time to change my cloths before getting started. The following day my good friend Gunyoung Kim, who is the current artist in residence at Lawrence Arts Center, came to visit and we got to relax and watch Steven Lee's workshop! In the evening we attended the opening reception of Conscious Clay at the Ulrich Museum of Art which Steven and I both had work in(my first museum show, yippe)! Followed by a panel discussion that we were apart of for World Food Day. Where we discussed innovative solutions to hunger awareness from our own perspectives, projects, and stories. The Empty Bowls event took place on Saturday morning and Gunyoung and I each purchased a few bowls that I managed to carefully pack up and bring safely back to Ohio. I want to give a special thanks to faculty Brenda Lichman, Ted Adler, and the graduate students who went above and beyond. It was refreshing to be in an environment where people were invested in the same issues and questions I am asking. Wichita is a special place and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a GREAT graduate program. They have a positive and supportive community with dedicated faculty!
Brenda and I at the Empty Bowls event / pre-panel with Steven Lee
Schedule of events.
Panel presentation and discussion.
Empty Bowls event with Gunyoung.
I continued my trip through Kansas with a visit and artist talk at K-State University with the amazing faculty Amy Santoferraro and Andrew Casto. Also a place I HIGHLY recommend and ending with a demo at Lawrence Arts Center with my best friends Lindsay Scypta and Gunyoung Kim!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Jeni's upcoming show MFA & ROY G BIV

Graduate school has gone faster and slower then I expected. Slower during the hard times... and faster as I jump from one project to the other hardly stopping to slow down. My path as an artist has been craved out in a way I never imagined. I entered graduate school thinking I was going to make art about movement and its relationship to the human body. After a year of exploration I was feeling lost, confused, and most importantly I was not fulfilled. At the end of the year I did a project called The Dinner Party, where I invited a group over to my home to share a meal. I served a plated meal to the guests and as they ate they uncovered phrases that enacted movement. At the end of the night when I was left with a pile of dishes I starting thinking about what was important about the project. When I answered food my work took a shift in direction and I began to explore the human relationship to the food we consume. Considering human choice in relation to the ceramic vessel.
I am looking forward to my MFA thesis exhibition that will take place at Urban Arts Space from February 14 - March 22, 2015 with the opening reception February 21st from 5-7.
I am also excited to announce my upcoming exhibition at ROY G BIV Gallery in Columbus, Ohio in April! The Exhibition runs from April 4–25, 2015 with the opening reception Saturday, April 4 th 2015 @ 7:00 PM and an artists’ talk on Saturday, April 25, at 2:30 pm

Concurrent 2014 EASE Gallery

EASE Gallery at 
St. Stephens Episcopal Church.
October 10th through November 2nd

Check out a great article about the exhibition written by Denise Blough at  the OSU Lantern.

Concurrent is a group exhibition of current member of the ceramic community at The Ohio State University. Concurrent means occurring or existing simultaneously or side by side. The artist work together side by side in a shared studio space and are now showing their work together in the gallery space. The working conversation that occurs through making in a community environment is transferred to the gallery where it will continue.
Participating artists: Natalia Arbelaez, Ashley Cahall, Allison Rose Craver, Brittany Faye Helms, Jeni Hansen Gard, Forrest Sincoff Gard, Byoung Hoon Kang, Yuanyuan Lu, Britny Wainwright

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Day 16, 17, 18, & 19 Welcome to Texas!

Tumbling through Texas..
Getting tired behind the wheel we decided to stop and sleep. We found it impossible to sleep in the car because it was hot and with the windows down the bugs were vicious. We found a camp site outside Wichita Falls and woke up surrounded by prairie dogs and a rattle snake, crazy! 

We made it to Dallas the following morning to visit with Monica and Michael. Monica and I are good friends, we met as classmates at the University of Florida. I have not seen her in two years so you can only imagine my excitement in visiting with her! We spent the morning catching up and getting to know Caffrey the new cat who I now love! We spent our afternoon at a half priced books sale stocking up on books we didn't need, but of course really wanted. We made our classic quinoa salad at home in the evening. The following day we had lunch at Southpaw's Organic Cafe followed by a trip to tu-lu's gluten free bakery, yum! 
In the evening we made it into Austin to visit with Katrina one of my long time high school friends she brought us to Elizabeth Street Cafe for an incredible dinner and dinning experience followed by wine and a great view of the skyeline at Uncorked
The following day we stayed busy eating our way through Austin. Forrest and Katrina started with Gourdough's one of the popular food trucks. We quickly moved on to Torchies Tacos a Austin staple food. She brought us to Mozart's Coffee Roaster for a view of the lake and off we went to Hope Outdoor Gallery and graffiti park. We climbed up and down inspecting the park from all different directions. The quick stop is a must do. We visited an assortment of shops including the very first Whole Foods Market which was by far the largest we have been to. My friend Hope met us for dinner and since we couldn't miss having barbaque in Texas we drove out into the country for some of the good stuff at Salt Lick!
We ended the evening at Amy's Ice Cream where Forrest got to play a game. We mentioned it was our first time and the gentlemen offered to throw ice cream across the street and if Forrest could catch it he could have it for free. Across two lanes of traffic he finally caught it on the third try but at that point the ice cream was no longer edible. We went back in and ordered a small Mexican Vanilla to share.
The following day we were on the road again headed back to Baton Rouge. We made an afternoon stop in Houston to visit my college friend Alisha and her new baby Brycen. We had a wonderful time holding the baby and we are both cured from our 'baby fever' after observing the amount of work that goes into baby land. We are so happy for Alisha and Bobby on the little addition to the family he is perfect!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Day 15 Food: Our Global Kitchen

I have been patiently waiting this whole trip to see Food: Our Global Kitchen at the History of Colorado Center. The show was excellent and we spent over three hours viewing, it was the longest my attention span has ever allowed me to focus! The exhibition covered where our food comes from, from farmers to laboratories. It presented current food issues including waste, hunger, obesity, and how our food choices effect what is available and produced. I particularly enjoyed the series of films within the space that brought you across cultures exploring the importance and value of food in different societies specifically in terms of celebration. Food as celebration what's better then that!

There was an interactive table similar to a large touch screen tablet that allowed viewers to make different recipes. I made pouched eggs with hollandaise sauce and made tamales, I wish I could have eaten them!

There was a food kitchen as part of the exhibiton and we had a taste testing experiment. TRY IT AT HOME: Plug your nose and eat half of a jelly bean; be aware of what you are tasting then release your nose and evaluate how your perception of taste changes with the addition of your sense of smell.
I particularly enjoyed a collection of cookbooks from all over the world. As well as a wall filled with different utensils for food preparation and consumption- some I could not even imagine what they were used for! We picked up a book on the way out, Consider the Fork A History of HOW WE COOK and EAT, by Bee Wilson. The book addresses the tools we use and have used to eat and how they transformed what we consume and how we think about food. We are both looking forward to a good read!
I believe the exhibiton is traveling and if it makes it to your area; I highly recommend it!

Day 14: road trip tips and tricks

Yesterday evening we slept in the car because it was raining and we knew it wasn't going to let up. We woke up and went to Amazing Grace for breakfast in Breckenridge, where we spent most of the morning relaxing and blogging. After breakfast, we headed to Rocky Mountain National Park but unfortunately cloud cover came in and it rained most of the day. We drove right through the park up to the tundra and back down again. At one point the fog was so thick we couldn't see so we pulled off to wait it out a bit. After that scary adventure we headed down to Boulder for a trip to the apothecary since Forrest had a little congestion and my right tonsil was swollen. I have a history of tonsillitis so I wanted to make sure and prevent anything from getting worse. We had dinner at Julia's Kitchen and it was honestly some of the best food we have had on our trip: 100% organic, gluten free, corn free, and vegan (a dream come true for me!). We stopped into the Tea House where Elisa works for a last good bye and back to Umar and Ashley's for some sleep before leavin Colorado.

Through our trip we have compiled a few road trip tips and tricks: 

1. If you plan to go to a few national parks just buy the year pass up front it's not worth the entrance fee at each park and it will pay itself back rather quickly.

2. Don't be afraid to sleep in your car. It might sound a little uncomfortable but with a little rearranging you can make it work and it's free! Make sure everything can fit in the trunk so you have as much room as possible. Make sure you crack a few windows this will reduce condensation and it will be a little less obvious you are sleeping in the car. But where to park? We usually stick with hotel parking lots and pull in after dark. Find a back corner with the least amount of light. Be smart and be safe.

3. Pack your food. Get a cooler and stock up at the grocery store. Use ziplock bags for ice- it's free from the fountain pop machine at most gas stations. For breakfast we ate oatmeal, yogurt and oats, granola, anything easy. For lunch/dinner cheese sandwiches got us through the trip. If we needed to spice it up we added some chips for a nice crunch. We tried to eat out only one meal a day and we usually spent time making sure it was going to be good food, from the region, and reasonably priced. We have yet to be disappointed!

4. Don't give in to fast food it's not worth it. We accidentally... Ate some on the way from Columbus from Baton Rouge and instantly regretted it- we felt sick and sluggish imediatatly. 

5. Never buy water: bring your water bottle and refil frequently. Bring a loose leaf tea tumbler. They are multifunctional you can get hot water for tea for free from gas stations and surprisingly most restaurants were happy to provide as well. You can use it as an extra water bottle I needed and it saves you a few dollars each day!

6. Have you heard of Couchsurfing? It's a real thing and it's awesome! You set up a profile online and you can host surfers and request to surf with others. We met some really great people and stayed for free for three days outside Santa Fe. Knowing locals in the area really made a difference in the restaurants we chose and what activities we did. 

7. You probably have friends all over the country so contact them if you are heading in their direction. We had so many generous people open their homes to us.

8. Lighten the load. Depending how long you are going to be gone pack a reasonable amount of cloths. We are on the road for about three weeks and we brought one week's worth of clothes and did laundry when needed. 

9. Always arrive at your camp site before dark. For your own safety it is smart to scout out the area before night fall plus it's much easier to set up camp with day light. Read all the posted signage sometimes you're in bear country and it's always good to know.

10. The best plan is no plan. We enjoyed the days that patched themselves together much more then the days we planned. Just go with the flow and start driving.

*Don't forget what's important just because you are traveling doesn't give you an excuse. We have made a point to recycle everything we can and that means carting around glass bottles and cardboard boxes until we found a Whole Foods. 

Friday, May 30, 2014

13th day in the road: Carbondale Clay Center, SAW, And Anderson Ranch

Yesterday we woke up on the North Rim of the Black Canyon at Gunnison River (a National Park in Colorado). We quickly packed up our tent and went on a short hike to further explore one of earth's most amazing places (that I've seen at least). We then took a scenic drive through the mountains towards Carbondale Colorado.
Along the way to Cardondale we drove past what looked like a long line of beehive kilns and we quickly pulled off the road. Sure enough they were kilns called coke kilns for cleaning coal in part of the coal mining process. At the kilns we met an older gentleman who had his MFA in sculpture from Ohio University and retired from Kent state in 2003 after a long teaching career. What a small world!

We then arrived at Cardondale Clay Center for a tour and visit with two of their residents: Matthew Eames and Mike Stumbras. We first met Matthew (who holds the MFA Studio Tech and residency position) and talked with him for quite a while about the clay center and their residency program. While we were there we got to see resident artist Kendra Spark's exhibition. Next we talked with Mike Stumbras, who recently accepted at LSU for graduate school. After Carbondale Clay Center we visited SAW Carbondale (Studio for Arts and Works). At SAW we visited with artist Jessi Maddocks who gave us a nice tour of the space. SAW offers studio spaces to over 20 artists who are working in just about every medium. We mostly visited the ceramic studios and were lucky because the entire studio preparing for an open studio and reception. This meant everyone had their work out and we were able to admire a variety of ceramic art. SAW seems like an amazing opportunity for artists to continue working in a close community environment. 
After SAW we drove up the road to Anderson Ranch Arts Center. Anderson Ranch was incredible! Tucked into the Rocky Mountains in Snowmass, Colorado (near Aspen) this arts center offers summer workshops in almost every medium. Everyone was working hard to prepare for the first week if workshops that start on Monday! We met  Doug Casebeer (the artistic director), Ralph Scala (the ceramics studio coordinator), and all the summer staff. We visited the ceramic studios and kilns. Ralph takes pride in the kilns (and he should!) as he showed us his newest baby, a small anagama wood kiln. Ralph even showed us where a shower was so we were able to freshen up after a few days in the woods.Feeling like a million bucks we drove the Independence Pass and crossed over the Continental Divide. Next we're heading back to Denver for an interactive food exhibition and after that we'll head South to Dallas, Texas. Thats it for now!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Still road tripping: Days 11 and 12! Taos Clay & Mesa Verde National Park

Tuesday morning we said good bye to our wonderful couch surfing host, Tyler. Before leaving New Mexico, we finally got the chance to go on a short hike at Camp Glorieta. It was a bit muddy but that didn't hurt the beauty. On our way back north to Colorado we stopped for lunch in Taos at the Farmhouse Bakery and Cafe. Farmhouse is a farm to table restaurant with an on site-garden. Our table was facing the same mountains that we just can't get enough of. I ate an elk burger with purple potatoes. Jeni enjoyed a delicious gluten free veggie lasagne and a salad.
Photo from our morning hike and the Rio Grande Gorge.

After lunch we visited Taos Clay. We had a wonderful visit and tour with Brandi Jessup, the executive director. Brandi was young, ambitious and full of energy. I can't wait to see how Taos Clay strengthens in the next couple of years. They had a gallery that supported community members as well as a contemporary exhibition filled with some familiar and some unfamiliar atmospheric potters. If we had more money I would have purchased a Perry Haas tumbler, perhaps at NCECA. Taos Clay offers a long term artist-in-residence program and they have plans for a short term residency position in the future.
After Taos we drove into the San Juan National Forest and camped a few miles from the entrance to Mesa Verde National Park. We have been very fortunate and this was the first time in our trip we paid for lodging. The camp ground was affordable and absolutely worth it! 
Early this morning we packed up camp and drove into Mesa Verde National Park. Mesa Verde has over 4,500 archeological sites including over 600 cliff dwilings from built by the Ancestrial Pueblos. The only way to actually visit some of the main cliff dwilings was to pay for a tour. At $4.00 a tour we said yes! The trip into the cliff dwilings was unbelievable and one of my favorite exploration so far on our trip. The Ancestrial Pueblos were farmers and they grew their crops (mostly corn, beans, and squash) on top of the mesa and lived down below.
Stay posted for our next post: we will be visiting Carbondale Clay Center an Anderson Ranch. Bye for now.