• A St. Paddies Day Salute To Grass (Robin Hopper)

    About two years ago, maybe three, Robin Hopper knew that he wasn’t long on this earth. He asked Tony Clennell to give his eulogy at our national ceramics conference (NCECA). I know that Tony started thinking about what he would say to his peers about this man who gave so much to our clay community.

    Tony Clennell and Robin Hopper

    Tony did a great job. He wore glasses, hat, and bow tie of Robins. He had one of Robin’s t-shirts on too. Robin would always wear these silly T-shirt’s while running a workshop. One time when he took me to his favorite T-shirt shop in Victoria. We hunted around, being in the moment, I had to purchase three silly T-shirt’s too. When, I got home, I said to myself “Really?! I don’t wear T-shirt’s like this laughing at myself.”.
    Robin Hopper, an artist, man, husband, father, teacher, author, gardner, chemist, entertainer, and taskmaster, he was a force. Who will take his place? I know Tony is to some degree. Robin counseled him to not live as large and hard as he did. I hope Tony listens and that we get to see his artwork, take his workshops, and read his blog: smokyclennellblogspot.com for many years.

     

     

  • Cyndi Casemier holding a handmade ceramic bowl Treating Everyone with Respect and Being of Service

    Treating Everyone with Respect

    Cyndi Casemier holding a handmade ceramic bowl

    One of C2C Gallery’s core values is to treat everyone with respect.  You say, “well, of course”.  Sadly, this is not something that happens automatically in our world. As C2C grows, treating customers with respect is one of my personal core values and I am proud that is part of the gallery’s DNA.
    In my mind, treating people with respect should simply be part of the fabric of society.  We shouldn’t have to write it down.  It’s just the right thing to do.  We are all humans, (as one of my girl friends reminds me often). We’re all in this together and, for the most part, people are good and want good things for society.  What’s sad is how surprised people are to see this in practice.  That’s because we live in a world where people say and do very disrespectful things to one another on social media and in real life.
    So, I thought I would share my thoughts about respect and talk about change in the gallery.  Change is good.  Change will not include losing our focus on always being friendly, helpful, respectful, and offering the highest quality plus widest range of art in West Michigan.  Our goal is to help you include art in your every day life.
    You will see two new faces in the gallery – Julie Minnema and Joy Roach.  Joy will be helping us on First Fridays, special events, and other busy days.  Julie Minnema will be helping us on Sundays and Mondays with a focus on networking with interior designers, architects, and realtors.  We have relationships with more than 45 artists.  If you are one of these professionals or have a favorite pro, please consider scheduling a time to talk with Julie or myself.  We would love to learn if we can be of service to you, helping one another.
    Sarah Mattone will be in the gallery during the week managing the sales floor and other duties.  So where does this leave me?  I will be in the gallery several mornings a week.  Then, heading to my studio to make pots and create new forms.  I am excited to be able to focus on my art, plus the business side of C2C Gallery.
    C2C Gallery has always been about sharing the talents of our artists with you, our clients and visitors to Grand Haven.  As we grow, C2C is also supporting me, our employee’s families, our health, and our choice of lifestyle.  So, once in awhile, we will not be able to be open, because a child is sick; we have the flu; a kiln needs repair; or some other emergency that is out of our control.  I hope that you will understand because we only have one life – our family and our health are much more important than the gallery.
    For us, treating everyone with respect is a mantra that we will continue to do in ways both big and small….every day.

    Cyndi Casemier ceramic ladies and slumped porcelain houses

  • In Honour of Life Collage by Denise LeClaire 10 Questions to the Artist – Denise LeClaire

    Photograph of artist Denise R LeClaire

    Denise R LeClaire
    Denise is our 2017 ArtWalk artist.  She is a West Michigan artist and high school counselor. Denise creates collages using found paper objects such as antique sheet music, atlases, and books.  Often, she applies a photo transparency over the collage and then, paints over those layers allowing you to see or hide different components of the canvas.  This artist focuses on an idea such as belonging, forgiveness, mortality, or love. Her goal is to create a connection between people and her art with shared experiences.  All of Denise’s work is personal, a combination of the ordinary and the profound.  Like a soft kiss on the forehead for no reason.
    In Honour of Life Collage by Denise LeClaireIn Honour of the Fact that Life is Short

    ArtWalk Voting Code:  Artist number – MM14. Category – Mixed Media

    Denise answers our
    “Ten Questions to the Artist”
    so that we can get to know her, just a little.  

     

    1. What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?
    I heard a quote once, I think it was Marianne Williamson who said that the spiritual path is just the journey of living our lives and we are all on a spiritual path, sometimes we just don’t know it. I love this philosophy and feel like it falls together with my own belief in the importance of small moments, the little things that end up being the most memorable. So, it’s just everyday life that does it for me. We get to decide in the first world, what to do with our days, how we respond to life, and how we are creative; it’s a huge gift that not everyone has, that’s a pretty big turn on.
    2. Do you have an influence or theme that guides your work?
    I think the theme is connection through common ground. I think there is a spiritual and emotional element to my work with the combination of ideas, words and photographs and I see and feel this when I talk to people about what’s drawn them to a particular piece.   
    3. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
    Travel photographer/writer
    4. What profession would you not like to do?
    Police officer
    5. Who are your favorite artists?
    VanGogh, O’Keefe, Gustav Klimt, Mark Rothko, Jim Dine
    6. What is your favorite tool used to create your work?
    A “mop” brush.
    7. What is your favorite word?
    Serendipitous
    8. What is your least favorite word?
    Can’t think of one.
    9. Who is your favorite musician?
    Impossible to choose. I love all kinds of music.
    10. How much formal education have you received?
    My B.A. is in Sociology and Fine Art. I’ve taken art classes on and off my entire life including in photography, pottery, painting, drawing & collage. What I’m currently doing with regard to the combination of collage, photography, photo transfer and painting is self taught, trial and error.
    Thank you, Denise, for answering our questions.  Stop in to the gallery to see her exhibit. She and I will be hosting an Artist Talk beginning at 7:30 pm.  Denise will be in the gallery, Friday night, October 6, 6-9pm.  
    Time for the Daffodil collage by Denise R LeClaire

     

     

  • Beach Series by Donna Zagotta A Painting I Love – A Day at the Beach

    Beach Series by Donna Zagotta

    Donna Zagotta
    A friend suggested that I consider Donna Zagotta’s painting for C2C Gallery.  I was intrigued by her artwork.  I love her unique use of watercolor.  She likes to paint women busy or not, with their lives.  Days at the beach, walking the streets of a new city, or bustling through their day.  These paintings are not large in size.  Each painting  is  filled with vibrant color.  Stop in and have a look.  If you live out of town, we would be happy to email images to you allowing you to select your favorite.  We will ship.  
  • The Challenges and Joys of starting a Pottery Business

    kiln-building-and-more-011_2_orig

    Form Follows Function by Peter Evens
    I thought I would share this article by a Vermont potter.  He shares his thoughts about well crafted pots and more.
    A couple of days ago, I threw twelve mugs. After I pulled and attached a handle to each one, I lined them up on a board and then stepped back and looked. They were each made with exactly a pound of clay, about five inches tall and had a flaring cylindrical shape. They were similar, but different as sets of thrown pots can be. I’ve been experimenting lately with some different mug forms in search of the right one and a cylinder that flares just a bit at the rim is the one for now. They looked okay with consistent wall thickness, flat bottom, smooth rim and appropriately attached handle. At the same time, as I studied the mugs, I wondered if their form was unique enough or were they just like all the others. If someone, someday, looks at one of the mugs, will they realize the mug was made by me without turning it over?

    mugs by Peter Evens

    My mug musings brought me back to my first year in college in 1971 and a debate about form, style and technique.  I was sitting with other ceramics majors in one of my first classes and after being prompted by Hobart Cowles, our professor, we started talking about the difference between art and craft. Most of us fledgling potters felt we were more craftsmen than artists while some argued the lines between the two were less crisp. That led to a discussion that eventually morphed into a debate about style and form versus technique and the utility of an object.  It was at that point when Hobart got up, went to the chalkboard and wrote the phrase, “Form follows function”. I’m not sure the quote changed the minds of all those who argued that we were every bit the artists as our classmates upstairs in the fine arts department, but it did add a considerable amount of weight to the argument for the rest of us who embraced being craftsmen.
    It actually was an architect, Louis Sullivan, who is credited with the phrase that Hobart scribbled on the board. In talking about good building design in the late 1800s, he suggested that structures must exhibit the three qualities of “firmitas, utilitas, venustas” meaning solid, useful, and beautiful. What’s interesting is Sullivan actually wrote that “form ever follows function”, but a version minus “ever” is typically what is quoted.  The two phrases, although similar, are slightly different.  That said, Sullivan’s quote offers support to the notion that form is not unimportant, but it must come after function and utilitarian requirements have been met.
    One of the reasons I love making pottery is that it’s dependent on the convergence of science and art.  Maybe that’s another way to define what craft is. Despite this convergence, most of my time in the studio right now is focused mostly on science and less on art. This reality led me to recall another quote that I had read in a book that stuck with about art and science, form and function, style and utility, but I couldn’t remember where I had read it. After a few days of searching through my library for the quote, I found it buried in the preface to a book by the author, Daniel Rhodes (photo, below). He shared that, “While technical information must not be considered as an end to itself, it is a necessary prerequisite to a free and creative choice of means in ceramics”.  More support for where I find myself right now. With form following function and the need for technical information as a prerequisite to creativity, I felt I might be on to something.

     

  • There was a small West Michigan Gallery that loves….

    Small West Michigan Gallery offers art for your every day life…

  • dreaming of water photographic art by lori reed A Photograph I Love – Dreaming of Water by Lori Reed

    dreaming of water photographic art by lori reed

    Lori Reed
    Lori Reed is a graphic artist who is taking her photographs and turning them into collages.  I didn’t get to visit Tucson this year so this artwork caught my eye reminding me of the saguaro cactus that stand like soldiers.  Lori tries to move from a photographic documentation of a place at a particular time, to an impression of a place that is timeless … more of a memory or a feeling of the space.  We will be hosting her artwork July and August this year.
  • Photographs that I Love – Decay of Our Schools – Bob Walma

    South Haven School Bob Walma

    Bob Walma
    Bob Walma is a West Michigan photographer who has lived in Europe and North America.  He is known for his lakeshore photography around Grand Haven.  I love his more “artsy” images with interesting composition.  Bob has won several Michigan photographic contests.

  • A Bowl A Day – John Shirley – translucent bowls using only local sources

    John Shirley porcelain

    john shirley

    I found John Shirley’s work several years ago.  Fell in love with it and go to his website every once in awhile to see his newest porcelain work.  John spent many years creating a bone china porcelain that is translucent.  It was important to this clay artist that he use only local sources to develop his clay body.  John is one only a few ceramic artists currently working with monochromatic decoration using soluble salt, ceramic pigments, oxides and resist techniques layered over multiple firings.  Antoinette Badenhorst interviews him on a visit to South Africa.

  • A Bowl A Day – She hopes to make you smile!

    Cory McCrory Bowls

    Cory McCrory
    Cory McCrory is an East Coast artist living in the MidWest. She has had a love affair with clay since grade school.  In her late 30’s she moved away from throwing on the potter’s wheel to hand-building.  This has become her love!  One of the things that I love about Cory is that her ceramics are also a form of recycling.  She uses discarded McDonald’s drink trays.  Friends deliver used ones to her because they know that she will turn the cup holders into paper pulp.  Cory adds about 15% of the paper pulp to her brown stoneware which is called “paperclay”.  It is fired like traditional clay but allows a freedom to create thin, strong sculptural work.  Cory truly hopes that her whimsical work will make you bring you pleasure for many years.  

    Cory McCrory teapot