• Persistence and pure Stubbornness

    I did it! I fixed my Bailey Gas Kiln! Covered in soot three times but I got it done. It makes you feel so good when you overcome a problem that has been nagging you for a long time. We were so busy this summer in the gallery (C2C Gallery) that I could only find small windows of time to work on taking a part the blowers and burners; scraping and cleaning them; then putting it all back together. I did it three times.

    My firing on Saturday was successful. The kiln roared to completion. It was so much fun. Here are some images of the new pots. They aren’t great but I wanted to share.

    Shino glazed porcelain serving bowl

    Shino porcelain mug with beach glaze

    Shino glazed porcelain boat

    In the gallery, we are getting ready for Light Night. A downtown Grand Haven tradition of the official lighting of the lampposts and storefronts. Free Hot Chocolate is served. Julie and Sarah have created a scavenger hunt in the gallery with a drawing for a gorgeous wooden serving bowl; a Lake Michigan photograph by Bob Walma; and a Christi Dreese, lakeshore related print of one of her original paintings. Many of the stores will have special offerings. So, come on down to downtown Grand Haven Friday, November 16, 5-8pm.

    Getting Ready for Shop Small Saturday

  • Firing Day (Kiln Firing that is)

    Many of my friends know that I have been struggling with the repair of my gas kiln. With help of Jim Bailey (Bailey Pottery) and another engineer friend. I think we have fixed the problems. Yeah! I won’t bore you with the details. But, I was covered in soot taking burners and blowers apart several times. I think I could dismantle my kiln now with my eyes closed.

    I lit the kiln last night. The flames look right and the blowers are quiet. I even have work waiting to go in the next firing.

    Glazed pots waiting to be fired

    Lots of gold and orange shinos plus celedon glazes in this load. Monday night, we will be able to learn whether this was a successful firing AND whether I fixed the firing problems.

    Bob Walma composed an interesting angle of my little houses. He is one of our C2C Gallery photography artists.

    Happy Saturday, everyone! Cyndi Casemier, art for your life, c2cgallery.com

  • “I am as all mortals….

    It’s Election Day here in the United States. I hope all registered vote. I know that won’t happen but we can dream. Here is a quote that I think is relevant almost every day.

    Quote by Martin Luther king JR

    “The space between what we do and say AND actually accomplish can be very great. Even with the best of intentions.”

    Bailey gas kiln

    It’s a busy time in the studio. I have a bisque kiln firing with enough for a second as soon as this one cools. Glazing starts today. There are lots of vases, serving bowls, mugs, new tea light candleholders, and more. I think I have my gas kiln “fixed” and ready to roar. Keeping my fingers crossed.

    Please vote today if you live you in the US. Your vote counts. Peace everyone.

  • It’s a Wrap! Our PaperClay Workshop with Graham Hay

    From our reviews – we organized and managed a successful paperclay workshop. It does take a village to accomplish these projects. Thank you to Lee Ann Frame, Matt (our studio technician), Mike Taylor, Muskegon Community College, Laguna Clay Company, Graham Hay, and Sarah Mattone. All of you, helped enormously with regard to details, etc.

    Graham Hay arrived a flight early on Thursday evening. I was very grateful for the earlier arrival. We got to bed at a decent time, allowing him to catch up to our time zone a bit.

    Graham Hay getting right to work.

    Graham started us off with strips of dry paper clay strips and challenging us to make a tall structure. The idea was to show us how we could use dry to wet construction. (Breaking all traditional clay rules.)

    Working together in teams using paperclay

    Very interesting constructs.

    Lee Ann Frame and Cyndi Casemier defying gravity plus having fun.

    Paperclay construction

    Paper clay construction


    Paperclay construction

    Paperclay construction

    Graham Hay instructing possibilities with paperclay

    From there, Graham discussed how you can create components in paperclay; let them dry; then attach dry to wet. Creating much more complicated and/or larger sculpture.

    Larger sculpture pieces in paperclay

    More complicated ideas in paperclay

    More complex paperclay forms

    Yes, you can throw on the potter’s wheel with paperclay

    Matt, our studio technician, proved that you can throw paperclay on the potter’s wheel. He threw several sections and then combined them. Followed by adding interesting components to it. Now, how is he going to get this piece into the kiln?

    We played for three days. Our classmates came from all walks of life with a wide range of artistic backgrounds. We laughed and learned a lot. It will be interesting to stay in touch to see where we all go with using this type of clay body.

    The West Michigan PaperClay workshop 2018

    On Monday, Graham and I hiked out to Lake Michigan from my house. It rained part of the way. It sure felt good to get some exercise.

    Graham Hay visiting Lake Michigan.

    See some of Graham’s PaperClay Sculptures:

    Bigger than life paper clay sculpture by Graham Hay

    Graham Hay with paperclay sculpture

    Graham Hay paper clay sculpture

    Organizing this workshop, reminded me that I truly enjoy managing these types of programs. We will be offering another one in 2019. Take care everyone, c2

  • Roasted Cauliflower with Feta, Almonds and Olives

    Roasted cauliflower is a pure delight, but tossing it with feta, toasted almonds and olives makes it even better. The additions come together while the cauliflower roasts, allowing you to assemble this side in no time. If almonds aren’t available, walnuts or hazelnuts are good substitutions. This dish works well served warm, but it’s equally good at room temperature if you want to make it ahead. Serve with grilled pork chops or pan-seared chicken thighs with lemon and herbs, or fold it into cooked grains, such farro or rice, for a hearty grain salad.
    • 1 medium head of cauliflower (about 2 1/2 pounds), cut into florets
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • Kosher salt and black pepper
    • Pinch of red-pepper flakes (optional)
    • ¼ cup roughly chopped almonds
    • ⅓ heaping cup/about 2 ounces crumbled feta
    • ½ cup pitted and roughly chopped green olives
    • 2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley
    • ½ lemon, to taste
    • Flaky salt (optional)
    1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower with the olive oil. Season well with the salt, pepper and red-pepper flakes, if using, and toss again. Spread the mixture evenly onto a large sheet pan and roast until crisp and golden, about 25 to 30 minutes, tossing halfway through to ensure even browning.
    2. Meanwhile, toast the almonds in a skillet over medium-low heat, stirring frequently to ensure they don’t burn, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
    3. Once the cauliflower is roasted, toss it in a large bowl with the feta cheese, olives, half the almonds and 1 tablespoon parsley until combined. Top with remaining almonds and parsley, and lemon. Season with flaky salt, if desired.
  • Quinoa-Banana Muffins

    Quinoa-Banana Muffins

    A new version of a much loved favorite adding some protein with quinoa.
    • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
    • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 2 very ripe bananas
    • 1/4 cup honey
    • 1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
    • 1 large egg
    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 cup blueberries
    • Raw sugar (for sprinkling)
    • Cook quinoa in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until tender, 10–12 minutes. Drain well and return to pot. Cover and let steam 10 minutes. Pour off any condensed water, then let cool. Set aside ¼ cup cooked quinoa for topping muffins.
    • Preheat oven to 375°. Coat a standard 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick spray (do not use muffin liners). Whisk flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and remaining 1 tsp. salt in a medium bowl.
    • Mash bananas, honey, and brown sugar in another medium bowl, preferably with a potato masher, until sugar is dissolved and banana is completely mashed. Add egg and continue to mash until combined. Stir in oil and vanilla.
    • Stir banana mixture into dry ingredients just until combined. Stir in blueberries and 2 cups quinoa. Divide batter among muffin cups. Sprinkle lightly with raw sugar and reserved ¼ cup quinoa.
    • Bake muffins until tops are firm, just beginning to brown, and a tester inserted into muffins comes out clean, 30–40 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.
    • Do Ahead: Quinoa can be cooked 5 days ahead; cover and chill.
    (From joy the baker)
  • The Times are a changin’, but are they?

    My daughter has been working on the largest production of her creative career at University of Michigan. My mother and I drove over to see it. Camille works in many mediums. This project was all about imagery and videography creating the back drop for the actors/actresses to perform. She also moved among the actors, an actor herself, filming them in motion and adding another dimension to the visual. Very hard to describe.

    The show was titled “Night and Day“, performed in the Walgreen Drama Center on North Campus. A dance/theatre work by Charles Mee Dept. of Theatre & Drama. Directed by Malcolm Tulip with Dominika Knapik. In collaboration with the Polish National Academy of Theatre Arts, a work based on the Greek myths of Daphnis and Chloe, and Thyestes.

    Of course, we took her out for breakfast! Always Sava’s. Then, headed over to the Stamps Gallery. The current show is:

    Have We Met? Dialogues on Memory and Desire is a For Freedoms Federation exhibition.” For Freedoms exhibitions engage local perspectives on Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms: affirming the inalienable human rights of freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.

    Exhibit at Stamps Gallery in Ann Arbor

    For me, this exhibit made me think about how even though we are living in a different decade, as humans, we continue to make the same mistakes of violence; cruelty to people that are different from ourselves; and just can’t accept that a different opinion is ok (just don’t hurt others with it). Can we just be kind, please?

    And, of course, I found a clay piece to consider and study. It was made by Michele Oka Doner in 1964. Porcelain and Iron Oxide. Love the texture, craters, and complexity.

    Porcelain Serving Bowl by Michele Oka Doner

  • “Art for Art’s Sake”

    Mayor McCaleb and Cyndi Casemier kicking off ArtWalk

    In West Michigan, you will find art everywhere in downtown Grand Rapids and Grand Haven.

    ArtPrize and ArtWalk is here!

    Lots of energy, questions, artists, and visitors asking “Is this art?”

    Oil Painting by Aziza AbbasiAziza Abbasi’s painting entry for GH ArtWalk

    Grand Haven has a smaller version of ArtPrize called ArtWalk. It is run entirely by volunteers. This year, we have more than 145 adult entries, 100 youth entries and 45 venues. Three jurors and I viewed every art entry yesterday. I always learn something either by just looking or listening to our jurors. This year, our jurors are:

    Sarah Weber, art professor at Grand Valley State University; Beth Purdy, art professor at Kendall School of Art and Design; and Sue Jerosvek, art collector. Thank you to each of them. I greatly appreciate their time considering each piece of art.

    Moon Totem ArtWalk entry by Lee S BrownLee S Brown sculpture entry for ArtWalk

    Last Tuesday, we hosted Grand Haven Area Public School’s 4th graders to ArtWalk. They viewed many of the art entries plus were treated to learning an interpretive dance movement led by the instructors at SpotLight Dance Academy.

    Spotlight dance academy leading 4th graders in a dance movement during artwalk

    The students and dancers from Spotlight Dance Academy performed a flash mob dance at our opening on Wednesday.

    Spotlight Dance Academy flash mob dance at ArtWalk

    This past weekend, we had additional art available for purchase in the Depot Building at our Waterfront and a family art day where kids and parents could paint their own piece of art.

    Family art day at ArtWalk

    You can vote for your favorite artist through October 2.

    Live Music at GH ArtWalk


  • Couldn’t attend First Friday? Check out our video of Julie Devers and me talking about Ceramic Traditions and Wood-fired pots.

    We had so much fun during our First Friday Art Hop. Julie Devers, our September featured artist, joined us to talk about her wood fired pots and her philosophy with regard making functional pottery.

    Bob Walma has produced a video of our conversation. I hope you enjoy it.

    Ceramic Traditions with Julie Devers and Cyndi Casemier, First Friday ARt Hop Video

    (Click on the image or this link)

    Wood fired vase by Julie Devers

    Wood fired Unami, tea bowl by julie Devers

    Wood fired cups and saucers with a teapot by julie Devers

    Three legged wood fired vases by Julie Devers

    We have several wonderful pieces still available in the gallery. If you can’t physically visit the gallery, call us, (616-935-7337) and we will send you images with more information.

  • 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.