Interview with Jenni Ward - Spotlight, April 2012

SPOTLIGHT, April 2012: Jenni Ward

/ Read the full interview in Ceramics Now - Issue Two

Ceramics Now Magazine
: You are presenting yourself as a sculptor even though you have a BFA in Ceramics. What are you currently working on?

Jenni Ward: Although I’ve been educated in all aspects of ceramics; pottery, functional hand-building or sculpture, I’ve chosen to focus on abstract sculptural ceramics. I feel that if I say I’m a ceramicist, people either don’t know what I’m talking about or they assume I throw pots, so I feel that introducing myself as a sculptor who works with clay is a more precise description of the work I create. Right now I’m working with organic forms that have holes cut into them and those forms have other ceramics pieces that are trapped inside. This process of trapping forms has manifested itself into multiple series of work. I’m conceptually playing with the balance between trapping and protecting an object and simultaneously exploring abstract ways to express that in clay.

Jenni Ward Contemporary Ceramics, featured on Ceramics Now Magazine
Nest Series IV, 2010, ceramic & high temperature, wire, 12” x 10” 8” - View her works

What triggered the passion for ceramics in you?

I have always worked with clay, my parents still have the first coil pot I made as a kid and I just never stopped working with clay. I was lucky enough to of had an in depth ceramics program in my high school. That exposure gave me the experience to explore clay and know that it was going to be my focus at the university level. I also really love the process of working with clay; each stage that you go through from a soft malleable material to a fired finished piece offers the chance that everything can go wrong at any step in the process. Having the ability to balance control over the clay and letting what happens happen is always a battle for me that I’m very attracted to. I’m constantly learning new techniques or possibilities with clay whether it’s through taking a workshop or seeing another artist at work. Clay is a very basic, primitive material that can be used in such varied and technological ways; it’s a constant learning process.

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Jenni Ward

Jenni Ward Contemporary Ceramics

Jenni Ward's profile on Ceramics Now Magazine - View her works

Jenni Ward is a sculptor, art instructor and owner of Earth Art Studio in Aptos CA. In 2005, she opened Earth Art Studio; a sculpture studio offering clay and mixed media sculpture classes and workshops for children, teens and adults. Throughout her teaching career she has worked extensively with many youth and senior art programs. She is also the creative engine behind the humanitarian group; HOPE Art which brings art to the youth of Haiti. In addition to teaching, she has been creating, showing and selling her own sculptures since graduating from University of Hartford-Hartford Art School with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1998. She exhibits her sculptures locally and nationally.

“My work focuses on how organic forms interact and engage with the space they encompass. I create abstract arrangements reflecting the biological world of seeds, pollens, bones, shells and entomology.

My pieces explore the tensions of opposing forces with results that evoke contrary feelings of unshackled captivity, organized randomness and the density of negative space. At times I work in multiples; the forms are often configured in simple geometric compositions to counter their organic nature. Using clay as my primary medium, I develop these pieces with commonalities of shape, color, texture and movement. The results are a series of work that strive to achieve a sense of beauty in their asymmetrical balance.” Jenni Ward

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Jenni Ward: Branch Series (installation), 2011, ceramic & high temperature, wire, variable dimensions

Jenni Ward: Branch Series (installation), 2011, ceramic & high temperature, wire, variable dimensions

Jenni Ward: Branch Series IV, 2011, ceramic & high temperature, wire, 54” x 8” x 8”

Jenni Ward: Branch Series IV, 2011, ceramic & high temperature, wire, 54” x 8” x 8”

Jenni Ward: Branch Series II, 2011, ceramic & high temperature, wire, 42” x 8” x 8”

Jenni Ward: Branch Series II, 2011, ceramic & high temperature, wire, 42” x 8” x 8”

Jenni Ward: Branch Series I, 2011, ceramic & high temperature, wire, 47” x 4” x 4”

Jenni Ward: Branch Series I, 2011, ceramic & high temperature, wire, 47” x 4” x 4”

Jenni Ward: Sprout Series II, 2010, ceramic & high temperature, wire, 12” x 12” x 12” each

Jenni Ward: Sprout Series II, 2010, ceramic & high temperature, wire, 12” x 12” x 12” each

Jenni Ward: Sprout Series IV, 2009, ceramic & high temperature, wire, 18” x 36” x 4”

Jenni Ward: Sprout Series IV, 2009, ceramic & high temperature, wire, 18” x 36” x 4”

Jenni Ward: Sprout Series V, 2009, ceramic & high temperature, wire, 15” x 4” x 3”

Jenni Ward: Sprout Series V, 2009, ceramic & high temperature, wire, 15” x 4” x 3”

Jenni Ward: Nest Series IV, 2010, ceramic & high temperature, wire, 12” x 10” 8”

Jenni Ward: Nest Series IV, 2010, ceramic & high temperature, wire, 12” x 10” 8”