• Finding Meaning in the Every Day

    With all of the talking heads out there telling us what we should think, what do you really think? Are you watching the news? How does this relate to your every day life and handmade?

    Cyndi at a C2C Gallery event for designers

    I don’t know about you but I am struggling. Struggling with the world around me. I am fortunate and I am very grateful for it. Life in Grand Haven, Michigan is relatively safe; filled with friendly people; just trying to raise their families; and live their lives to the best of their abilities.

    Sunset at Grand Haven State Park

    When you purchase a piece of art – handmade bowls, pitchers, vases, paintings, jewelry and more, you are helping an artist and his/her family live in a manner that is important to them. They have spent countless hours and years working to learn their craft to the best of their ability. Most of our artists live quiet lives, usually working 50 plus hours a week in their private studios, making functional and non-functional artwork.

    Raku wall hanging by Tonya Rund. Ceramic and Basket vessel by Stephen Kostyshyn

    You get to see the finished piece. It may have been re-made several times before arriving at C2C Gallery. So, how do you find meaning in the every day? I think by connecting with people. Looking them in the eyes. Smiling genuinely at them. I also believe sharing handmade, unique, items with those special people in your life says to them “You matter to me.”

  • Anya Selina Wells photograph And the Winner is……

    Week Number 1

    of our

    Lines and Colors of West Michigan Photo Contest


    So much fun!  Bob and I loved seeing all of the great photographs by area photographers, both amateur and professional.  Thank you for taking the time to submit your entries.

    And the winner is:



    Anya Selina Wells photograph

    First Place:  Anya Selina Wells
    Over all winner, Amateur photographer
    Congratulations Anya!  Your photograph shows great composition and mood.  We will be printing and framing your image this week.  It will hang in the gallery until March 2.  Please visit us on Friday evening between 6 and 7 to get your picture taken with Bob Walma.  Thank you for participating.  


    Lauren Kane Mattone 2nd place winner over all
    Lauren kane mattone
    2nd place overall, amateur photographer




    Madigan Lautzenhiser photograph winner
     madigan lautzenheiser
    3rd place overall, amateur photographer


    Stacy drake pearson photograph
    Stacy drake pearson
    1st runner up, amateur photographer



    Linda Africa 5th runner up
    2nd Runner Up, amateur photographer 


    Kevin Tempelman photograph
    Kevin Tempelman
    3rd runner up, amateur photographer


    Morgan Lachney photograph
    Morgan Lachney
    1st runner up, professional photographer



    Ryan Christensen photograph
    Ryan christensen


    Joel Bradshaw photograph
    Joel Bradshaw


    Thank you to everyone who submitted an entry.  We have two additional weeks for this photograph contest.  This week the theme is: 


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    Please submit your photographs to Bob Walma via his emai:  bob@walma.com OR you can submit on facebook or instagram using the hashtag:  #c2cgallery2018photocontest.  


    Have a great week, everyone.  Thank you, Cyndi and Bob


  • bowls and casseroles So, what makes a great pot (ceramic, that is)?

    Ceramic artists (potters) are a hard working group of people. They have a commitment to making the best pots possible that reflect their personal story using clay. Pots can be very straightforward like a human body: functional, beautiful and strong. Ceramic work can also be complicated, abstract, and sculptural. One of the things that I love about clay is that it connects us to others. It is a basic material that can be used for many things.   As humans, we have used it for thousands of years to assist us in our daily lives.
    sketch of tony clennell's pitcher

    Tony Clennell

    I believe that we are all creative. You do creative things all day long:  what you are wearing; how you cook your food; how you mow your yard; and more.  Being creative can heal and connect us to something deeper than ourselves. It makes our lives richer. Using handmade pottery does enrich your life connecting you to a larger world; reminding us to take just a few minutes to consider the story of this pot; and to breathe.


    So what makes a good pot?


    “The best of pots through the ages have a quality of timelessness about them that transcends chronological and cultural boundaries. The essence of form, the movement of a brush, the quality of surface. Pottery is neither painting nor sculpture, although it has elements of both.” (excerpt from Robin’s Hopper preface in his book, Functional Pottery)

    Ceramic Jar by Robin Hopper

    Robin Hopper

    There are several things to consider, when looking at a piece of functional pottery:
    • Proper use of the selected clay body and glazes.
    • Does the pot function well for the use intended?
    • The overall design of the pot.
    Which clay body and glaze is best?
    Any clay body – earthenware, stoneware, porcelain – can be used to make Fantastic Interesting Pottery Forms. IF the maker applies correctly formulated glazes and then fires the work correctly. What I mean by this is:
    Earthenware is typically what we call low fired. We have one artist – Michael Kifer who uses this type of clay. It allows him to get unusual colors and textures. Think Bright Reds, Blues, Greens, Yellows. Michael’s pottery can go in the dishwasher. I wouldn’t put it in the microwave for more than 40 seconds.

    Michael Kifer pottery

    Raku – is not earthenware. It is a type of firing. Typically these clay artists use groggy clay to handle the contraction and expansion of clay that occurs during a raku kiln firing. Four artists at C2C creating raku work: Tonya Rund, Scott Berman, Mike Bryant, and Diane Niehof.
    raku wall hangings and moreStoneware – is a mix of different chemicals that help the clay be very forgiving when working with it. It is great for planters, dishes, serving pieces, vases, etc. We have several potters who work in it either throwing on the potter’s wheel or hand building to make their work. Artists at C2C who work in stoneware are: Mike Taylor, Julie Devers, Polly Wellford, Richard Aerni, Jerri Puerner, Jacob Koster, Cory McCrory, and Mary Kuilema.


    In the 1700’s, porcelain was considered “white gold” and history told us that in those days it caused greed and theft. Bernard Leach, a British potter, was one of the first artists to create a fairly reliable porcelain clay for ceramic artists. At C2C, Marion Angelica, Brooks Bouwkamp, Jerri Puerner, and myself use porcelain.

    porcelain pottery

    Does the pot function well for the intended use?
    When you pick up a mug, do your fingers fit well in the handle? (This is a personal preference.)
    mugs variety ofIf you pick up a bowl, does the bowl feel balanced, not bottom heavy. If you run your fingers up from the inside of the bowl to the rim are the walls of it an even thickness?

    bowls and casseroles


    A casserole (lidded and un-lidded) can be very lovely for display and use. You should ask whether it can go in the oven (into a hot or cold one) or be used just for serving food. Does the lid fit comfortably on the base? Is the galley where the lid sits substantial enough to handle use? Or will you need to be careful when replacing the lid?

    correct handle placement

    If you are selecting a teapot; do you collect or will you use it? Many teapots are created just for pleasure; others for use. Does the teapot pour well or dribble? When you are pouring liquid from it, does the pot feel balanced? Remember you will have hot liquid inside of it. You don’t want your hands to be touching the body of the teapot. Can you pour the hot liquid easily?

    functional teapots

    nonfunctional teapots

    What makes a good pot? The overall design.
    “Trust your gut when looking at a painting or a piece of pottery.” Intuitively, we all know whether a piece of art “works”.  When considering pottery, we use terms like: shoulder, belly, lip, neck, and foot. We look at the form’s proportions. How does the piece feel in your hands? Will you be picking it up often? Is the form graceful?  Did the potter pay attention to the small details like the rim and foot of the pot?  Does the surface decoration work with the form?  Are the decorations appropriate, interesting, and well constructed?

    great ceramic forms


    A famous Greek philosopher-mathematician named Eudoxus is said to have carried a walking stick with him. He would ask friends to visually divide the stick into two parts at whatever point they sensed it to be most pleasing. Much to his satisfaction, the majority of people chose a point close to the same place on the stick. From this he deduced that most people are spontaneously drawn to the same ratios. The Golden Mean or Rule is also fascinating in that the living world follows this natural law creating pleasing forms and relationships. (excerpt from Functional Pottery by Robin Hopper).
    This is what I mean when I say to a client “Trust your gut when looking at a painting or a piece of pottery.”








  • 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

  • artprize 9 winner Every One is Creative. Yes, you are!

    I found Sofia Ramirez’s ArtPrize entry interesting showing the public of her daily creative practice – drawing.  As in all things, in order to become “good” or accomplished at a craft or skill, you must practice.  Many times, customers come into the gallery and I hear them  saying how they have no artistic talents.  I always try to have a conversation with them that being creative takes practice.  Our artists have tens of thousands of hours invested into their art medium.  I also believe that being creative does not mean only using an art medium.  Everyone is creative daily making decisions, cooking meals, choosing clothing, and even in how they choose their words to communicate.  We are all creative.  
    Flint – ArtPrize 3 Dimensional Juried Winner
    Another ArtPrize and ArtWalk wraps up today.  Three weeks of all things related to art in West Michigan.  It’s fun to hear the comments about the entries with discussions about “Is this art?”  In Grand Haven, I felt that the entries were of high caliber across all categories.  Our artist was Denise LeClaire with a mixed media entry, awarded honorable mention in this category, “In Honour that Life is Short”.

    In Honour of Life Collage by Denise LeClaire

    With Grand Haven’s smaller, volunteer organized version of ArtPrize, we gained a new mural in town by Chris Protas, who won the Juried Painting Category for Grand Haven’s ArtWalk event.  

    Mural at Dee-Lite by Chris Protas

    Sofia Ramirez Draws Every Day – It is Non-negotiable. 

    Art for Life


  • 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?
    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



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

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

  • old window by Bob Walma A Photograph I Love – Windows to the World

    old window by Bob Walma

    Bob Walma
    Bob Walma is a West Michigan photographer and videographer.  He is known for his clouds and sunsets along Lake Michigan.  Like many of us, Bob has done many things in his life:  worked in the financial world internationally, worked in other corporate capacities in the United States; and then landed in West Michigan.  Lately, working on recording music and creating related videos to a new CD “Fresh Cakes”.

  • A Photograph that I Love – Four Fence Line by Stone Peng

    Four Fence Line by Stone Peng

    Stone Peng
    Stone Peng visited us about four years ago.  He is a quiet man who’s photography attempts to reflect  the Chinese philosophy of life and the aesthetic principles “less is more” and “empty is full” in creating his  images.  One of his professors told him “if you put your heart at peace and involve yourself in nature, you can feel that nature is your friend and realize nature’s life cycle and beauty.”  Stone has been accepted into and won many awards around West Michigan.   His most recent award is 4th place in the West Michigan Area Show.  We are honored to represent this artist.
  • A Painting I Love – Beautifully Denied – Lee Ann Frame

    Woodcutt Etching by Lee Ann Frame Beautifully Denied

    Lee Ann Frame
    Lee Ann Frame is a West Michigan Artist.  She holds an MFA in printmaking and teaches various printmaking and bookbinding processes.  I love a quote from her website:  “Layers, surface textures evolve, irregularity and imperfections–like life, find place. My hope is that my work will conjure memories, tap the imagination and allow for an intimate visual experience.”