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  • Airport Museums

    Traveling by plane can test your patience. You basically “hurry up to wait”. Very early this morning, I arrived at the Phoenix airport, checked in, and what did I see? A ceramics display! LOVE IT!

    A nice way to wake up, just a little bit.

    Larry Allen, ceramic jar

    In 2016, local Phoenician ceramic art collectors, Billie Jo Harned and Joan Lincoln, gifted a sampling of their collections giving the viewer a glimpse into the variety of artworks that helped fuel their shared passion for collecting contemporary ceramic art.

    Ceramic dog, unknown maker

    I discovered that the Phoenix Art Museum is one of the largest airport art museums in the United States.

    Don Reitz ceramic platter

    Sultry Birch Teapot, by Eric Serritelia

    Suzanne Kane, ceramic folding book

    Les Lawrence, New Vision Teapot

    Ceramic Bottle, maker unknown

    Check it out the next time you are visiting the desert. These two displays are located in Terminal 4, Level 2.

  • White Beans & Tomatoes with Kale Pesto

    White Beans & Tomatoes with Kale Pesto

    35g Carb, Serves 4, Total Time: 20 Min

    Ingredients:

    1 cup packed baby kale
    2 Tbsp. pine nuts, toasted
    1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    1 clove garlic, halved
    1/2 tsp. lemon zest
    1 Tbsp, lemon juice
    1 Tbsp. water
    1/2 tsp. kosher salt
    2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
    3 cups grape tomatoes, halved
    2 15-oz. cans reduced-sodium cannellini beans, rinsed
    1/2 tsp. ground pepper

    Directions:

    1. Combine kale, pine nuts, Parmesan, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, water, salt, and 1 tsp. oil in a food processor. Process until nearly smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. Set aside.
    2. Heat the remaining 1 tsp. oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly soft, about 2 minutes. Add beans and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 3 minutes. Season with pepper. 
    3. To serve, top the bean mixture with the pesto.

     

    Per Serving (1 cup bean mixture & 2 Tbsp. pesto each): CAL 288, CARB 35g (11 g fiber, 4 g sugars), FAT 11g (2 g sat. fat), PROTEIN 14g, CHOL 4 mg, SODIUM 435 mg.
  • Gabrial Lundy music Supporting Artists in West Michigan

    Musicians are Artists and we love them at C2C GAllery!

    On the First Friday of every month, we host live music in the gallery. Free to the public – a professional plays his or her favorite tunes. You get to hang out, listen, sip wine (or water), and look at great art.

    Gabrial Lundy Music

    West Michigan is also known as the Third Coast. Musicians traveling between the other two coasts stop here to perform and record in a variety of venues. Bill Chrysler’s studio, Third Coast Recording Company, is recognized as fabulous option for recording debut albums or with artist’s who have Grammy awards hanging on their walls.

    Bill Chrysler in recording booth Grand Haven MI

    Third Coast Recording Studio

    All around West Michigan, you can find live music on Friday and Saturday nights. A favorite venue of ours is Seven Steps Up, located in Spring Lake, Michigan. This is a listening room arranging shows for acoustical musicians – rock to folk to bluegrass.

    Seven Steps UpMichelle and Gary Hanks, Seven Steps Up

  • Fun trip to Chicago – Amtrak – Art Institute – Shaw’s Crab House

    Last week, I took Amtrak into the Windy City with a friend. We love doing these one day excursions. Hop on the train in Holland, Michigan and ride it into Chicago. You can walk or cab it to the Chicago Art Institute. While on the train, you can read, sleep, return emails, work, or just look out the window. It is great!

    Chicago’s Millennium Park

    We walked and arrived before the museum opened. So, walked around a bit more.

    Bridge to Chicago Art Institute

    I have been asking myself to watch for a “simple magic” each day. I think for me it was watching a young couple race each other up the downward flowing escalator. They were laughing and just having fun.

    We saw the three special exhibits: John Singer Sargent and Chicago’s Gilded Age; Charles White: A Retrospective; and George Jensen: Scandinavian Design for Living. My favorite was the Charles White Retrospective.

    Charles White was a gifted draftsman,printmaker, muralist, and painter. He focused on African American history and culture. For me, the hands always seemed a bit larger than life. I wonder if he was trying to get us to think of the use and work of those hands. This artist focused on the Black Americans and only two white men. I am amazed by the talent. Loved this quote by White, “I like to think that my work has a universality to it. I deal with love, hope courage, freedom, dignity – the full gamut of human spirit.” My favorite pieces of art seen at the Institute on this trip.

    The Soldier by Charles White

    A collage focused on the angst of World War II for African Americans

    Birmingham Totem. 1963 church bombing by Charles White

    Elmira Castle by Charles White

    John Singer Sargent painting

    Thistle by John Singer Sargent

    Watercolor painting by John Singer Sargent

    Watercolor painting by John Singer Sargent

    George Jensen Danish Silver

    Helen Frankenthaler Print exhibit

    Chicago art institute print

    Print by Helen Frankenthaler

    Cyndi Casemier cold in the Chicago Art Institute

    And, then, we headed to Shaw’s Crab House, a REQUIRED restaurant when in the city (for me).

    What a fun day, living the creative life with a great friend. Take care everyone. C2

  • To Laugh Often and Much. Living the Creative Life

    About two years ago, I started a creative journaling process. Each morning, I read for 10 minutes. Journal thoughts, concerns, to do’s, favorite quotes. There is more to this process. Check out Lisa Sonora‘s website to learn about her books and courses. Lisa believes that journaling is more than being creative. It is about documenting your journey as a human; helping your learn more about yourself; and helping you create the life that you truly want to live. This writer is a high school dropout with an MBA!

    Mixed media painting by Denise LeClaire

    Anyway, back to this morning. Read this great quote and had to share it.

    Quick question: How many books do you read at the same time? ( I think I always have about 5 books.). I read this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson with regard to his best advice on living a good life.

    “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciate of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know that one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

    Have a great day and I hope you doing something creative TODAY.

    Abstract painting by Nora Faber

  • Just Getting it done – Life of a Potter

    Do you ever really know how your day is going to play out? I try so hard to make a list at the end of each day for the next day’s tasks. Wake up, check the list, and get to work on checking the items off.

    C2Ceramics porcelain houses

    Last night, my list had these items on it:

    Fire Gas Kiln, while doing this, do these things:

    Clean studio.

    Call a couple of artists

    Payroll

    Newsletter for Designers

    Newsletter for Loyalty customers

    Empty electric glaze firing

    Work out

    Make yogurt

    A fairly reasonable list. Instead, the day has run like this:

    Kiln stopped firing 5 times last night. Had to re-light it, of course.

    Did payroll.

    Completed Social Media posts

    REALLY Cleaned the studio. That means wiping down every surface. Moving every bucket.

    Emptied Electric Kiln.

    Read a couple of emails.

    Gas Kiln now has a fire coming out of a location it shouldn’t have flames. Yikes!

    Call Jim Bailey at Bailey Pottery Company.

    Inside of bailey gas kiln

    He was wonderful. Patient with me. He gave me a vocabulary lesson in kiln parts, looked at the pictures I sent him, and calmly reassured me that we would get this fixed. No, I was not going to have a serious problem. Read between the lines here.

    Gas burner for bailey gas kiln

    With the kiln firing on one burner and at 1793 degrees, I put on my Kevlar gloves so that I don’t burn myself, a pair of pliers, I listen to Jim tell me what to do. I won’t go into the details but we did get the problem corrected so that I can finish the firing. Yes, I am checking this baby every half hour or more, just to make sure. Learning to fire a gas kiln teaches you respect for fire and you do lose your fear of fire. Not sure how this is possible. Plus, if you are a potter, you can see that the paint has burned off the blower. I learned from Jim, that I haven’t had the correct balance between air and gas. Another lesson. It’s been an interesting day. Thank you Jim, for your help.

    Finished cleaning the studio.

    Huge Chinese Wok used for glazing dinner plates

    Made yogurt.

    Yes, life goes on. How has your day been going? If nothing else, I hope you have done something creative. Take care, C2

    Porcelain houses by Cyndi Casemier

  • Stephen Kostystyn ceramic basket vessels It’s a Wrap! First Friday Art Hop Fun with Stephen Kostyshyn, ceramic-basket vessel maker. Plus Stephen answers our “Ten Questions to the Artist”

    Ceramic artist Stephen Kostyshyn holding a ceramic basket bottle

    Stephen drove down from the Grand Traverse area of Michigan to spend the evening with us in the gallery. He shared how he creates these vessels. Personally, I think he is a closet engineer.
    First Friday Art Hop July 2018
    Did you know clay shrinks two times during the making process? During the drying stages and the first kiln firing (bisque) and then again during the glaze kiln firing. Steve needs to drill precise holes in the top and bottom clay sections. He keeps his fingers crossed that the holes do not become distorted during firings. If all goes well, then, he is able to select his reeds for creating his gorgeous baskets. I had wondered where he got his idea for making these types of vessels. Several years ago, A maker told him that there were baskets being made on the East Coast that start with a piece of wood for the base. It dawned on Stephen that he could create a base by throwing it on the potter’s wheel. He started trying different methods and slowly figured out how to create his own unique artwork.
    Stephen Kostyshyn holding his ceramic basket vase with SUSAN picking, singer songwriter

    One thing that I enjoy doing, is asking the same ten questions of our artists.  We learn just a little bit more about him or her as a person.

    Ten Questions to the Artist

    Stephen Kostyshyn making a ceramic basketWhat turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?

    Music. But, I have always has been excited by vessels, love ceramics.

    Do you have an influence or theme that guides your work?

    No. I let the materials guide me.

    What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

    Archeology

    What profession would you not like to do?

    Be a doctor, Really, no blood.

    Who are your favorite artists?

    Monet, all impressionists.

    What is your favorite tool used to create your work?

    Scribe tool from Home Depot. It has a little hook that I use to complete a basket.

    What is your favorite word?

    Cool

    What is your least favorite word?

    Awesome because what will you say when you look at the Grand Canyon what word would you use.

    Who is your favorite musician?

    Colin Hay (men at work), Drew Nelson.

    How much formal education have you received? Related to your craft.

    BFA  in ceramics, plus a minor in painting.

    Thank you, Stephen, for taking the time to answer our questions.  We appreciate it.

    Stephen Kostyshyn's ceramic baskets
    Kostyshyn’s forms are one of a kind. I have not seen anything like his artwork. Stop into the gallery or get ahold of us to send you pictures of our current inventory. We can ship one to you.
  • Is your newly purchased pottery food safe?

    A friend sent me a note this morning with regard to a piece of pottery that she had received as a gift. She didn’t think that it had glaze on the inside of it and wondered about using it. So, I thought I would put some information out there with regard to using pottery in your “every day life”. ( You know that is what C2C is all about.)

    If you are like me, when I travel, I consider what I would like to bring home as a reminder of the holiday. Sometimes, I purchase gifts for friends and family. When, considering pottery, these are the considerations:
    Will your gift be just a decorative piece, to be enjoyed over time? Reminding you of a lovely day?
    Do you want to use the mug, bowl, tile, plate in your daily life? If yes. Here is a simple test. You can set the ceramics on a counter, cut a wedge of lemon, placing it on or in the piece of pottery. Let it sit over night. The next day, look closely at the location of where the lemon sat for several hours (12 or so). Is there any discoloration? Changes in the piece? If yes, then, your piece is probably not food safe. The glaze is not a good fit with the clay body or it is low fired (think raku).

    Raku fired pots are a type of firing that creates metallic shine, crackles, and many times areas of raw clay that will provide a black decorative element. Raku is not water tight which means that fresh cut flowers will probably not work for vases fired in this manner.
    If you purchase ceramics in the USA, most potters know if their artwork is truly functional and food safe. When, traveling internationally, I always talk with the artisan, asking about how they create their work. If you ask enough questions, you will learn enough about their making, so that when you return, you can stop into the gallery and we can help you decide whether it is food safe.

    I ask questions like this:
    Where do you get your clay?
    How did you make this piece?
    If in their studio, I ask to see their kiln (mostly because potters love to see other potter’s tools and equipment. And, I am a potter.). You will get to see if they have taken care of their equipment and see if it is an electric, gas, wood, or other type of firing. All good information.
    If in a foreign country, asking how long it takes to fire their work and where they fire can uncover information.
    At the end of the day, do you love the piece? That is what is important.

    Buy it (support artists). (The image above is what I purchased while in Italy this spring. I immediately loved it – think water.)
    Incorporate it into your every day life.
    Enjoy it for many years and try to do something creative today. It is good for your soul. C2.
    https://c2cgallery.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/img_1883.mov
  • Did you receive flowers for Mother’s Day?

    Did you receive cut flowers for Mother’s Day? I found an interesting article in The NY Times where someone did an experiment with regard on how to make them last a long time. You can learn how here: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/14/science/how-to-keep-flowers-alive.html

    These flowers were arranged by Grand Haven Garden House. We are partnering with Kathy Kwekel and her professional florists. You can select a vase in the gallery. We will deliver it to GHGH and they will create a lovely flower arrangement to be delivered to a special person in your life. It’s a Win-Win Situation for everyone.

    Lovely Handmade Vase – Gorgeous Flower Arrangement – A Unique One of a Kind Gift

    Ceramic Pitcher by Richard Aerni
    Ceramic Vase by Julie Devers
  • “Try It and See”

    Today is my mentor’s birthday. He left this world just more than a year ago. I am still on my Italian holiday. I know that he is smiling that I did “try it and see” in my class at La Meridiana. Daily, I am thinking about the nuggets of take-always from the class. Considering how to incorporate this knowledge into my clay work at home. Robin coached me that I needed to really “see” more of the world and that I should travel as often as I could afford. This trip is honoring his counsel.
    (A picture of Robin Hopper three years ago, he was always making music with any object available. This time a teapot. How appropriate!)
    Bev and I had a wonderful day wandering down the mountain from Montepescali heading towards Tyrrhenian Sea to a town called Castiglione Della Pescaia. It was lovely. Lots of families walking, sunning, and playing at the beach. We hiked up to the fortress finding lovely views across the water. But, I digress.
    Leaving Montepescali was a challenge. One that had both of us laughing. We are staying in an apartment with tiny, very tiny windy roads. The Italians drive effortlessly through these alleys. We had parked our Fiat close to our apartment. Now, I had to get it out of there and down the mountain. As I inch my way down the steep grade, we come to a tight right hand turn with stone walls on every side. Three cars arrive wanting to make the turn also. Finally, I wiggled my way out of the intersection and let them all go through. Then, the church ladies in their 4 inch high heels pass. They wobble down the cobblestone alleys. I don’t know which was more precarious me in my little manual car or their walk home. We made it out of the tight maze and onto the open road headed toward the beach. Whew!
    Being by the ocean, watching people, smelling the salt water, watching children enjoying their time had me smiling in a big way. Our Lake Michigan beach days will be arriving soon and I love them.
    Have I mentioned that I love trees and their bark? Cypress trees are in abundance here. Check out the arrangement of canopy (I call them umbrella trees) and cypress.
    In Robin’s honor, I will look up the name of these umbrella trees. Their scientific name is Pinus Pinea or Umbrella Pines. These pine trees grow naturally around Tuscany. This is the tree where our beloved pine nuts grow. I think a pesto recipe is in order soon. Quite often, you will find cypress trees planted near a burial. It is believed that they assist the souls of our loved ones to heaven.
    We made it back to the apartment without a scratch on the car. Walked around our town in the dusk.
    Our world is an amazing place; filled with people trying to make the best with what they have; just like us; working; raising children; spending time with friends; and trying to find fun when they can. It was a fun day. Happy Birthday, Robin.