• The Dragon gets another one of “ours”

    Self Portrait by Robert GennSelf Portrait by Robert Genn

    I follow/skim several blogs every couple days or so.  There are so many people writing blogs today.  One of the newsletters/blogs that I get the most enjoyment and creative intention from is by Robert Genn.

    Robert Genn passed away Tuesday surrounded by his family.  You can read about them in one of his earlier newsletters.  This morning, Sara posted telling of his passing and her commitment to continue what her dad started.  I have been impressed with her writing, she has learned well.  I can’t help but think of another artist that I know, Michelle Courier, who’s father is also a teacher and painter.  It seems that these two women were ahead of the art game by having these men in their lives.  Check out Sara’s letter today.  It is a testament to Robert Genn.  You might want to sign up for her blogs.  She has committed to sending one of her dad’s earlier newsletters every other posting.


    May 30, 2014

    Dear Artist,

    “The world is so full of a number of things, that I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings.” (Robert Louis Stevenson)  Robert Genn, age 12, in Victoria, BC

    Robert Genn, age 12, in Victoria

    “The world is so full of a number of things, that I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.” (Robert Louis Stevenson)

    On Tuesday morning, at 10:20am, Dad passed away. He was at home, surrounded by his family. My brother, BCDave’s Airedale, Stanley, lay on the floor nearby. This day was also my, and my twin brother James’s, birthday.

    A few evenings earlier, Dad and I were sitting up together, discussing a favourite piece of music. “Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana has the ability to take you from placidity to power in one sonic breath. It is music of dignity and strength, with primitive, energetic passages, evoking absolute beauty from the simplest of phrases. It brings up something that has everything to do with significance — squeezing joy and motif that you just can’t drop — it stays with you.”

    I tapped along on his laptop as he riffed a stream of consciousness, his sense of wonder twinkling, then sparkling, his voice growing ever softer, his hand squeezing mine when we paused. “The thing about art is that life is in no danger of being meaningless,” he whispered. I remembered, again, the wonder of nearing the summit plateau at Lake McArthur, rounding a corner to the West Coast Trail’s packed, silvery strand and, moment by moment, the unveiling of the magic hour on the Bois d’Amour in Pont Aven, Brittany. A few more steps, a couple of breaths to our destination: a silent sharing in the marvel.

    I thanked him for the millionth time. We all thanked him as he slipped away. “Thank-you, Daddy, thank-you.”

    In Fuengirola, Spain, 1964

    In Fuengirola, Spain, 1964

    And what about your twice-weekly letters? This ardent epistolary friendship, this living commitment, a connection and conviction to the imagination and creative heartbeat, and to lifemanship? Dad wrote to you last October, after receiving his diagnosis, and since then we’ve solidified our intention. He wrote:

    “From the get-go we have been aware of the value of these twice-weekly letters to artists and others. Sara has helped me with many of them. We’ve shared our artistic journey together and have often talked about this day. One of the ideas we’re tossing around is that she start off by writing once a week. The other letter would be a favourite previous one of mine. If we ran all my previous letters once a week, they would last for 27 years! Finding ourselves at new chapters in our adventure, we sincerely hope we can continue to be of service to you.”

    And so, I’ll write to you. And you’ll get Dad’s letters, too. It will be my honour to do so, and will continue to be with the deepest gratitude to you, his friend in art.

    In Crescent Park, Surrey, BC, 1981
    In Crescent Park, Surrey, BC, 1981



    PS: “Over the days of this journey, a kind of energetic serenity has set in. Something happens with the mixture of space and time. I feel a sense of story. Others have told me you can feel it in your brush, and I do now. A family of mergansers swims close by — the young are almost ready to fly south. Perhaps you have felt it too — it has something to do with purity.” (Robert Genn, on the Mackenzie River, 2000)

    Esoterica: Dad’s dream has been to reach artists of all stripes — individuals with a common joy, journeying in this life-enhancing, inexplicable affair of the heart. He wrote, “We have no other motivation than to give creative people an opportunity to share ideas and possibly broaden their capabilities — to get more joy and understanding from their own unique processes.” With this dream in mind, please forward this letter, or letter of your choice, to someone you think might find it of value. If one, or many, chooses to subscribe, we will exponentially widen — as a diverse and generous community of worldwide artists. “To float like a cloud you have to go to the trouble of becoming one.” (Robert Genn)

    “Work is love made visible.” (Kahlil Gibran)  Robert at Lake O’Hara, Yoho, Canada, 2008
    “Work is love made visible.” (Kahlil Gibran)

    Robert at Lake O’Hara, Yoho, Canada, 2008″Art is something else. Art is fluid, transmutable, open-ended, never complete, and never perfect. Art is an event.” (Robert Genn)

    “We live our short spans in the vortex of a miracle, and while we may not be the center of that vortex, it is magic to be anywhere in there.” (Robert Genn)

    “Love me truly!
    Remember my constancy.
    With all my heart
    and all my mind
    I am with you
    even when far away.” (Anonymous text, Carmina Burana )

  • Cory McCrory’s Ceramic Vessels will make you smile

    Should USA citizens have guns?
    Last night we were talking about guns and wars and the demise of our race.  The conversation ran the gamut between should citizens be allowed to have guns in the United States.  What should our rights be?  Are people more violent now than in the past? Safe places to travel abroad. Let’s agree to disagree. 
    What does this have to do with pottery, artists, art, and C2C?

    handmade mug by Cory McCroryHandmade Mug by Cory

    I believe that by helping people find handmade artwork and crafts, it humanizes their existence and brings pleasure to their daily lives. 
    Handmade mugs, bowls, lamps, jewelry and more can immediately remind us of a trip that we enjoyed or what we learned about the person who made it.  In many potter’s homes, you find that they are surrounded by art.  They eat off of their own handmade plates and bowls or a potter’s work that they admire.  It is an adventure each time you visit a potter’s home.  You are able to touch, pick up, and really look at the pottery that they fell in love with sometime in their past. 

    Cory McCrory's oil jars and moreCory’s oil cans and more

    For many years, Cory McCrory was a functional potter throwing on the potter’s wheel to make her wares.  I learned from one of her friends that she has vivid dreams.  Several years ago, Cory was introduced to paper clay and she had an “ah ha moment!”  Paper clay allows the artist to create elaborate ceramic work more successfully than in the past.  Cory incorporates her dreams into her clay vessels.


    “welcome to my world

    still trying to fiqure it all out.

    each piece is made entirely by hand.

    no molds are used.” (from Cory’s website)

    Cory McCrory work in process

    Cory McCrory's teapot houses

    Cory’s Finished Teapots

    Two of Cory’s goals are to bring a smile to someone’s face and to brighten their world.  I think she accomplishes these goals quite well.  Stop in the gallery to see her current work and take a piece home, or several pieces, to brighten a corner of your world.  You can also purchase her work online at www.c2cgallery.com/cory-mccrory/

    Cory's Mermaids

    “Millions of men have lived to fight, build palaces and boundaries, shape destinies and societies; but the compelling force of all times has been the force of originality and creation profoundly affecting the roots of human spirit.” (Ansel Adams http://www.art-quotes.com/)


  • Who has the voice of an angel?

    Three years ago, we opened C2C Gallery in the former Story and Clark Piano Factory.  We held our breaths, set up displays, invited Karisa Wilson to perform for our first Friday evening.  We rushed to get the space ready.  Since that evening, we have gained customers, made new friends, sold artwork made by several Michigan artists and more.


    230875_122770964470129_6239106_nPiano Factory, 2011

    In 2012, Vera Armstrong was retiring and wanted us to move into her retail space.  She had started Euroflora in the same location I was in the piano factory.  Women business owners have to stick together.  (Don’t you know!)  So, with much discussion between Brian and I, we made a commitment to Grand Haven, bought the building and moved in.   Dave Sanders and Joe Larsen have made it happen in both locations.  They are both wonderfully patient men who renovated both spaces exactly as I requested.  Bob Walma helped with my website and created several videos.  Plus, he has always been available to take pictures and help in the gallery.  I couldn’t have made it this far without the support of our community and visitors, Bob Walma, Brian Barker, and Christi Dreese.


    So, here we are open for ArtWalk 2012, but our sign still says “Euroflora”.  It all worked out.  The move has been fantastic.  We continue to make new friends, introducing  “Art for Your Every Day Life” to West Michigan.   So, here’s to remembering where we started on Throwback Thursday.  Thank you everyone and see you Friday night.

    Opening Night at C2C Gallery 2011

    Opening Night 2011 Video by Bob Walma

  • Birch Trees in your living room, Christi Dreese Did you make a mistake today?

    Did you make a mistake today?  If not, then get moving and take some risk.  
    If you are a painter, use a brush that you haven’t used before or try a new surface.  If you are a potter, throw a new form.  Throw larger.  Try a new clay body.  If you have never used the “Diva”, throw a pot using porcelain,.  If you don’t risk making something new, then you will never move forward.  Hmmm, so what am I going to try today?

    Christi Dreese abstract Interconnection Series by Christi Dreese

    Christi Dreese is a painter at C2C Gallery.  She is a woman who paints every day.  Every Day.  I am impressed with her work ethic.  Christi believes that if she continues to paint, she will learn things that she never considered.  We have Christi’s paintings in oils and acrylics.  She paints on paper, canvas, and more.  Both abstract and landscapes.  Last year, I co-juried a show with two other artists.  I found it interesting listening to their technical critiques of  two dimensional art (in other words, paintings).  I learned a few things about considering art.  Mostly, I learned that I intuitively understood what makes “good art”.  But, I want to re-state that:  I believe that most people know what they like and if they like it, then “that” is good art.   If someone loves a piece of art, then they should own it, to enjoy for many years.  Another reason why, the gallery’s tag line is “Art for Your Every Day Life.”.

    Along the Shoreline by Christi Dreese

    Along the Shoreline by Christi Dreese

    Ok, so what am I going to risk today?  I am doing a pottery-wheel throwing demonstration to a group of women business owners tonight.  I could wedge some stoneware and throw large or tall.  But, I think I will throw with porcelain.  The “Diva” of clay.  Porcelain is like using cream cheese.  It is so lovely to touch while make a form.  It is lovely when bone hard and again after it comes out of the glaze kiln firing.  So, yes, I am going to make some pots for the women using porcelain.
    PS:  Neil Gaiman and Robert Genn say:   “Because if you’re making mistakes… you’re Doing Something.” Painting is a do-it-yourself thing that requires focus and a self-critical eye. After a while some people get very good at it. Writers write. Painters paint. According to Neil, that’s about it. But I often wonder what might have happened if I had kept kicking that wheel.

    Cyndi Casemier "Into her Work"

    Cyndi’s “Into her Work”

  • How do you look at pots?

    Mike Taylor's envelope vase

    Mike Taylor’s Basket

    Do you love sand, waves, and the Midwest woodlands?
    If it’s yes, then you need to look at Mike Taylor’s pottery. We are hosting an online exhibit with Mike’s work available for purchase online.  
    Mike Taylor has been making ceramics vessels for more than 30 years. He lives outside of Hamilton, Michigan. His pots have texture on its surface that relate to all the things we find familiar in nature here. (The Great Lake State – Michigan) Mike makes his own ash and Asian styled shino glazes. He dips, pours, and sprays the glazes. Sometimes there are more than 6 layers. The texture and layers of glaze are what produce his interesting ceramic work.


    Mike’s studio work

    When Mike’s pots are touched, picked up and considered, you always turn it around to see the other side and look at its bottom. You will find surfaces that seem to be familiar but each person describes it differently. Wouldn’t it be fun to have friends over for dinner letting them select a handmade ceramic serving piece to serve the meal in? I can see them looking through the cupboards, picking up different pieces, asking about it and the maker, and then making a selection. What a great way to share a meal and make it very personal.


    Mike Taylor’s Textured Bowl


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  • Brooks Bouwkamp Vase We are not your ordinary gallery

    We are not your ordinary gallery, in so many ways.  Did you know that our average item is priced at $55?  The handmade art at C2C Gallery ranges from $8 to $3,800.

    So many things going on in the gallery and around Grand Haven.  We continue to host the High School Ceramics and Jewelry Show.  A virtual exhibit by one of our potters.  New work continues to be delivered to the shop.  We are getting ready for this summer.

    I have been working in porcelain and taking an online class with Antoinette Badenhorst.  She calls porcelain the “Diva” of clay bodies.  I am learning a lot from her and falling in love with porcelain.

    Hand built by Antoinette Badenhorst

    Three of our artist’s in the gallery, plus myself, use this Diva.  Becky Rotter uses it to create her painterly flowered functional pots.  Mike Taylor uses it many times when he is firing a wood kiln.  Brooks Bouwkamp uses porcelain to create his crystalline glazed pots.

    Becky Rotter's pottery

    Mike Taylor Teabowl

    Brooks Bouwkamp Vase

    Around town this weekend, it’s MacKite’s 26th Kite Festival.  I am keeping my fingers crossed for them with regard to the weather.  Check out their website for festival information.

    Kite Festival by Bob Walmaimage by Bob Walma

  • Four female potters and baby goats

    Feeding the Goats at White River Creamery

    What do potter’s do when they get together? They have a lot of fun. We visited a goat cheese maker, White River Creamery; learned about taking care of the goats, milking them, and making the cheese. Did you know that goat cheese is much better for you than cow cheese?

    Many of my non-creative friends (but I believe everyone is creative in some manner) think that if you are an artist, you lead a wild crazy life. Most potters and other artists, that I know, lead fairly solitary lives. You need to have your own personal space and time, to really do your work. Yes, our work. It is work – whatever the craft. The most productive and successful artists that I know, treat their craft as a “real” job. They stick to a schedule. They show up. I could write an entire article about the concept of showing up. But, I digress.

    When artists do leave their studios and meet up with one another, we do have a good time. About a month ago, I was invited to friend’s home. We had such a great time – talking about pots, making great meals, working in her studio, and getting to see the new Walton family art museum, Crystal Bridges.

    Crystal Bridges Museum

    Crystal Bridges, Fayetteville, Arkansas

    As usual, there was a lot of talk flying around as we wandered the museum. One of the gals, said that when her daughter was young, they would play a game of choosing their favorite three pieces of artwork. I used to do the same thing with my daughter. So, we played the game. When we got back to the car, we compared each other’s choices. What I found most interesting was that only one painting was agreed upon by two of us. So, it confirms what I tell my customers, “Trust Your Gut” when deciding if you like a piece of artwork. Even artists don’t agree on what is best. As an uneducated collector of art, you might not be able to use the acedamia language to describe why you like a painting. I believe that we have an inner voice or intuition that tells what is working well in art. You might not know its because the composition follows a formula recognized as pleasing to the eye. You just know that you like it.

    If that is the case, then buy it. You will never regret the purchase. You bought for the right reason, the only good reason – you like it.

    “Woman with a Veil”, Henri Matisse


  • Christi Dreese Abstract Interconnection

    Christi Dreese Interconnection series

    What do you think when you hear “Abstract Interconnection”?

    I think that is an interesting use of words.  For me when I hear the word abstract used to describe a painting I think “non-representational”.   Christi Dreese titled this new work “Interconnection Series”.  Are the pieces interconnected between one another?  Is there a connection to the images within each painting?  For me, you must like and love the painting for it to go into your personal spaces, whether it is your home, cottage, or office.  I do believe there is a connection between the objects within each painting and the lines drawn. When you see this work in person, you see a lot of texture between the paint and graphite lines.  There is a lot going on, actually very quietly, when you take the time to really look.  Even with the bright colors.

    Interconnection Series by Christi Dreese

    How do you know if you will love it in a certain location of your home or office?  One way is to try it out.  Take a painting or several paintings home.  See what looks best.  Christi has painted several variations in this series – long, wide, small, large, on canvas without a frame, on paper/matted and framed.  I am liking all variations.  My house is fairly neutral.  Look what one of her paintings does in it:

    Interconnection Series by Christi DreeseIf you need help/input, we can go to your home.  Many times a custom painting is the answer.  You love this one painting but the colors or size is wrong.

  • 2014 GHHS Student Art Show Local teachers pull undiscovered talent from students!

    opening at C2C GalleryOpening Night for the 3rd Annual GHHS Ceramic & Jewelry Show
    C2C Gallery, Julie Sanford Designs, and the Creative Fringe hosted the 3rd Annual GHHS Ceramic and Jewelry Show on Friday, May 2, 2014.  Many families came in to see the students’ work.  There are over 20 ceramic pieces and 5 jewelry creations that were chosen to be apart of this exhibit.  The show will remain on display through the third week in May.  Stop in during business hours to see it.
    Cyndi Casemier, owner of C2C Gallery, and Sheri Greene, GHHS Ceramics Instructor select the student artwork.  Cyndi and Sheri spent several hours looking at the work, discussing it, and looking some more.  They decided to add jewelry students to the show.  Irene Sipes is the high school jewelry instructor. “It is always a difficult selection,” says Cyndi.   Sheri has a hard time selecting because she has worked all year with the students.  She knows which students worked hard and those who didn’t. In the end, both women agree on the selected artwork.   


    Sheri Greene begins the school year introducing pinched pots, composition, and some basic glaze ideas.  The organic forms that the students create are always the highlight of the exhibit.   
    Student Hollowed Ceramic form
    From there, they move on to hollowed, coil and slab built forms.  Sheri assigns the students projects where they must consider something in nature, a famous artist that resonates with them, or an industrial item.  She pushes them to really think before they touch the clay.  
    Student sculptural work
    They learn to draw sketches and discuss their ideas.  From there, some of the students move on to throwing on the potter’s wheel.  Many hours of practice needs to take place before a pleasing-to-the-eye pot is formed.  

    Thrown altered student work

    Each year, the students accomplish sophisticated work.  As a teacher, Sheri, has pulled unrealized talent out of each student.   Grand Haven Public schools are fortunate to have this talented teacher working with our students. 

    Cyndi Casemier and Alex Fagan

    New to the exhibit, is awards for exceptional work.  This year, Alex Fagan, was chosen for his organic ocean-like sculptural piece, titled “Reef”. 
    Two jewelry students were selected for their exceptional work.  Julie Sanford Designs selected Ellyse Vandyke’s copper embossed bracelet.  Julie loved the texture the student created and the achieved patina.  Stacy Broas, of the Creative Fringe, selected Claire Borcher’s earrings made of copper, wire, beads, and cord.  Stacy loved the organic, asymmetrical lengths of the pair, and the fact that they were well crafted.


    Student clay work


    GHHS student clay work

    GHHS Student Clay work

    Irene Sipes, Sheri Greene, Julie Sanford, Cyndi Casemier

    This is such a fun show to host.  The student’s talent and energy is fun to have in the gallery.  We look forward to seeing what the students create in 2015.  (Thank you to Bob Walma for photographing the evening.)