The "F" Word, currently showing at Riverworks Gallery, in the heart of Greenville, SC through December 16th
Let me share a bit about this amazing workshop/retreat at Lake Logan...Words like amazing, spiritual, calming, connecting, magical, FUN, kept coming up, so much so that on the last day we started talking about a reunion!!! I declare it one of the most enjoyable, deeply spiritual and fun workshops I have done. I attribute this to Norma Hendrix for having the wisdom to make good choices when she put this workshop together her ability to be flexible and open to special opportunities that revealed themselves along the way. Next I thank each person in our workshop as well as those doing an mini artist-in-residency for their openness, flexibility, openness, humor and sharing attitude.
I would also like to remember Paulus Berensohn, artist, dancer, poet, environmental activist, philosopher, and author of FINDING ONE'S WAY IN CLAY. I first met Paulus through his book. It was an important starting point for my approach to teaching and my work in clay for some twenty years. I finally met Paulus when I taught my first class at Penland called FINDING YOUR FORM THROUGH NATURE! From that point forward, I felt like I had known him for a life time. Time spent around Paulus was always a great gift especially when he read poetry... Although he is greatly missed we know he is now "changed addresses", as he was fond of saying. Now Paulus is part of everything. As folks in our group were sharing stories about Paulus, suddenly the lights in our studio flickered and went our very briefly. We all reacted at once laughing and exclaiming that it must be Paulus reminding us of his presence in the universe and that we are all still very much connected..... Thank you Paulus!
MACEDONIAN PEPPER, soon to be seen in Trial by Fire, opening at the Gallery at Flat Rock on Tuesday, October 10, 5-7 PM
The story that follows is about why I chose MACEDONIAN PEPPER the exhibition Trial by Fire.
In August of 1998 I was invited to the International Ceramic Colony in Resen, Macedonia for a 3 week experience with a small group of ceramic artists from Europe and the Middle East. I was very excited to take advantage of this unique experience, however, that area was where the United Nations had a presence while they waited for possible war in Kosovo. The decision I had to make whether to go or not felt like “a trial by fire”…. I decided I would wait until the last possible moment and if the war had not started in that region, I would go. It was a scary proposition to say the least. I decided to rely on my instincts and intuition. The war had not started so I decided to go, hoping that thefrom Resen would be there to meet me in this time of chaos in the region. Much to my relief, Mila was waiting with a big hug! We left immediately as they transported me to the lake region bordering Greece and Macedonia, still a resort area for the most part. My 3 weeks in Resen was indeed a life changing experience that I will never forget. I will love this time and the people I met forever...
For me, the pepper became a metaphor for the region, in part because they are a staple in their diet. At the same time peppers are a voluptuous and beautiful, the type of form I am attracted to. So when I returned home I created “Macedonian Pepper” in white earthenware and terra sigillata. It shows both the incredible and sensuous beauty of Macedonia as well as the feeling of unseen danger represented by spikey hornlike projections on the dark underside. This was the heightened reality of the 3 weeks I spent in Resen… Beauty and the kindness of everyone greeted me each morning but as I gazed across the lake at Albania at the sunset, I knew there was a dark side that seemed to illuminate and enhance my experience of being a visitor in Macedonia. That contrast of the dark side against all that brightness and beauty made the experience palpable...
My Macedonia experience changed me forever and for this I am deeply appreciative…Risk taking, if taken for what one believes are the right reasons, often yields unexpected and special gifts that cannot be obtained in any other way. My “Macedonian Pepper” is a visual symbol for that gift….When i see it, visions of my Macedonia experience comes rushing back!
An exhibition which is an installation poses special challenges. I thought I would share some details that will demonstrate the complexity and challenges of such an exhibition.
The first step after conceiving the idea is consider how best to share your idea visually. In this case I wanted to invite the viewer to take a slow walk in order to view my work. My walks are slow, meditative and meandering. I am usually looking down as I discover all manner of Nature's treasures. It is these treasures that inspire my work in clay. Therefore, I have displayed the work so the viewer will be looking down to view it. The pedestals have been stacked to create a type of geometric interpretation of a topographical map. The levels were added for visual interest. I also wanted to slow the viewer down by the way the pedestals were placed. my hope it to guide the viewer on their walk without their awareness of my intent... This required that I begin with a floor plan of the space to work with from the Bascom.
The actual work of getting paperwork and work ready was done with the help of my very able assistant Mackenzie Patterson. Mackenzie was instrumental helping me invoice the show with all those required details like price, size, medium. She also helped me lay out where the pedestals would go in advance. This required us to measure the commons at CCES, where I teach, cut paper patterns for all the pedestals we had available to use and then try to imagine how to lay them out in the Joel Gallery to achieve a certain visual look. We also had to allow for travel space for visitors to cross Joel gallery to enter another gallery on the other side from where the stairs and elevator were located. This was done in advance to avoid having to move heavy pedestals around any more than necessary and photographed. At this point, everything was carefully packed for a trip to the Bascom to begin the installation.
This seems the perfect opportunity to thank Mackenzie for being a huge help with this challenging endeavor. I also want to add my gratitude to Mackenzie for being my artist assistant for the past year. She is an amazing young woman who just started her first year of college at USC. She is bright, creative, flexible, funny, mature, empathetic and will be an asset to mankind as she finishes her education and goes out into the world with one mission being to make a difference! How fortunate I am to know Mackenzie and to have benefited from her help in so many areas. Bravo and thank you Mackenzie!!!!!!!!! I am so glad we can continue our friendship because Greenville is also Mackenzie's home and she will be coming back from time to time!
I would also like the thank everyone at the Bascom for their help, especially Teresa Osborn, Executive Director. I would also like to thank Maurice Laderoot for his help preparing the pedestals and for helping me get them into place for the installation.
Hope you enjoy the images from paper patterns to the finished installation of "A Walk Remembered". I hope you will come to see the show at the Bascom! It opened September 2 and will be up through December 2 so you can see first hand the "fruits of our labor". The opening is October 6th, 4-6. Please let me know what you think of the show! I always love feedback!
A CONVERSATION WITH NATURE: Walk Remembered, Joel Gallery, The Bascom, Highlands, NC, Sept. 2 - Dec. 2, 2017, OPENING Oct. 6, 4-6
photos courtesy of Alice Ballard
CONVERSATION WITH NATURE: A Walk Remembered
The Joel Gallery
September 2nd - December 3rd
OPENING - October 6, 4-6
The following is from a catalog for " Contemporary Landscapes…Crossing Boundaries" at the McCall Center for Visual Art, Charlotte, NC 2005.
I have always loved the following quote that was written about my work…
If we are to sustain our lives and the lives of our children’s, children,we must promote a deeper understanding of the ecology of people and place. How are we connected with each other, with other animals and plants, with each other, with our surroundings? What are the ramifications of our surroundings? What are the manifestations of our choices?Are we in the midst of a cycle of careless stewardship of living systems that sustain us… or are we entering a new era of hope? Alice Ballard’s exquisite ceramics of “natural objects” illustrate, by her hands, the fact that we are a part of an not apart from nature. If we understand that - we cannot escape our responsibility to use our own hands wisely.. Van W. Shields, director , Culture & Heritage Museums and the planned Museum Museum of Life and the Environment.
Hope you will have a chance to get up to the Bascom to see my show. Along with my show, the Bascom and the surrounding environment, sculpture garden, the Barn and Highlands with great restaurants and hiking trails make it a great place to visit, especially in the fall.
My art is a reflection of my relationship with natural forms. These forms come to me on walks, while I work in my garden, or appear as gifts from friends who share my fascination with the beauty inherent in Nature’s abundant variety of forms. It is often the metamorphosis of nature’s forms, as they change from season to season, that attracts me. I am endlessly drawn to that universal world in which differing life forms share similar qualities.
I spend countless hours contemplating a particular form in order to feel its energy. It becomes a Zen-like connection not unlike a meditation. As an artist, I hope that those who choose to connect with my work can share some of the harmony and tranquility I feel through the creative process. Perhaps, at the very least, the viewer will give those small, often unnoticed forms in Nature a second glance.
- Alice Ballard
Alice Ballard received her Masters Degree in Art from the university of Michigan before becoming a professional artist and educator. She received a Fulbright Grant to study in India, was one of 8 ceramic artists to be invited to the International Ceramic Colony in Resen, Macedonia, received a South Carolina Arts Commission Individual Fellowship and has work traveling work currently traveling in “Tradition//Innovation American Masterpieces of Southern Craft and & Traditional Art” organized by Art South. She is represented by Hodges Taylor in Charlotte, NC, Blue Spiral 1 in Asheville and Tao Evolution in Hong Kong. She has had solo shows at the Mint Museums, the Greenville County Museum of Art and has work in the collections of the Renwick Museum of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC, Arrowmont School , the Mint Museum of Art and the Greenville County Museum of Art. Her teaching experience includes Penland School of Crafts and she currently teaches at the SC Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities and Christ Church Episcopal Middle School, both in Greenville, SC where Alice Ballard currently lives and maintains a studio.
CULOWHEE MOUNTAIN PROGRAM, WESTERN CAROLINA UNIVERSITY, LAKE LOGAN RETREAT FOR ARTISTS AND WRITERS
A few images to get you excited about the Lake Logan Retreat experience and what to expect.
For more information mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org?subject=re Lake Logan
Wednesday, October 25, 2017 – Monday, October 30, 2017
Ming Rose, my donation to the Penland 32nd Annual Benefit Auction, It will be offered Saturday, August 12th during the live auction
COMING SOON! ARTIST/WRITER RETREAT AT LAKE LOGAN, NC, Wednesday, October 25, 2017 – Monday, October 30, 2017 3:00pm
CULOWHEE MOUNTAIN PROGRAM, WESTERN CAROLINA UNIVERSITY, LAKE LOGAN RETREAT FOR ARTISTS AND WRITERS
Wednesday, October 25, 2017 – Monday, October 30, 2017
TEACHING TOGETHER AT LAKE LOGAN
ADIALOGUE BETWEEN ALICE BALLARD (TEACHINNG CLAY & DRAWING) AND JANICE MASON STEEVES (TEACHING COLD WAX AND OIL PAINTING)
JANICE: I'm looking forward to teaching a workshop at Lake Logan in North Carolina from October 25th-30th alongside Alice Ballard. Alice is a ceramic sculptor. You can see her work here: http://aliceballard.com.
Although we are teaching separate workshops, we will work together for part of each day, so students will have some experience with both teachers. Our workshops are called: Considering the Natural World as Source.
Alice, I'd like you to tell me a little about your work and how you teach.
ALICE: I am so excited to be working along side Janice Mason Steeves. You can see Janice’s work here: http://www.janicemasonsteeves.com Not only do I see wonderful opportunities to share what I will be teaching to her class but I get to be a student as well, as I learn about how Janice works with cold wax and oils along with the source of her ideas and inspiration! This is the richest of all ways to teach and to learn.
In answer to Janice’s question I would say my work is a reflection of my relationship with natural forms. These forms come to me on walks in my garden, hikes, the grocery store or appear as gifts from friends who share my fascination with the beauty inherent in Nature’s abundant variety of forms. It is often the metamorphosis of nature’s forms, as they change from season to season, that attracts me. I am endlessly drawn to that universal world in which differing life forms share similar qualities.
As for my teaching style, I encourage everyone to take a deep breath, slow down, to be “open” to the possibilities... Creating art should be a joyful and fun experience or process, an experience which is all about learning to work with your medium and to open your senses to all the possibilities without fear of taking a chance...It is the process after all that is at the heart of art making that drives our ideas forward...
Janice, my question to you is how you have come to choose cold wax on oils as your avenue for self-expression?
JANICE: I came to cold wax medium at the same time I was moving into abstraction. I had been painting representationally for 25 years, and felt my work needed to change. I found Rebecca Crowell’s work in cold wax and oil in Santa Fe and contacted her about taking a workshop with her. She had just started teaching at that point. I was delighted to meet her and to take her workshop. The medium spurred me into working abstractly, especially because the main tool Rebecca used was a 6” bowl scraper, which meant making large shapes. The only trouble was that I had no idea how to paint abstractly. So, I bought books on the foundations of art and design, and gradually taught myself. I developed a workshop to help students learn about the structure of abstract painting much more quickly than I did. So I teach the fundamentals of abstraction, along with techniques of cold wax painting.
I also am influenced by the world around us, particularly landscape, and especially light. I try to incorporate that influence into my work in an abstract manner. I agree with you Alice that creating art should be a joyful experience and I encourage play. That’s how I begin each new series, by playing, trying out new ideas, experimenting.
For the joint sessions in our workshops, I’ll begin each morning with a short contemplative coming together. Then I'll ask students to sit outside for 20 minutes, quietly and separately, coming in at the end to do 4 quick, small paintings in oil and cold wax. At the end of the week, we’ll gather as a group to discuss the questions I ask the students to contemplate as they sit outside, and to look at the resulting work.
Tell us how you’ll teach your joint sessions, Alice?
ALICE: My plan for our combined classes is to close each day with participants making a small meditation bowl in clay. The meditation bowls will be made by pinching a small amount of clay into a form. The form the clay would take on would be in response to something meaningful encountered during the course of each day…...
JANICE: I'm very much looking forward to working with you Alice. I think this is a very exciting idea. I love the idea of working collaboratively for part of each day.
To find out more information about these workshops and to register, contact:
Do not miss IN SIGHT!!!! I MEAN IT!!! These 3 emerging artists deserve to be noticed because they are headed toward becoming full time highly recognized artists worthy of our attention and support!
IN SIGHT: RECENT PAINTINGS BY DOROTHY SHAIN, GLORY DAY LOFLIN, AND KIAH BELLOWS
JUNE 2 - JULY 26, 2017
Opening Reception: First Friday, June 2 / 6 - 9pm
Artist Talk: Tuesday, June 13 / 6 - 7pm
'In Sight' is a group exhibition of new work by Greenville based artists Dorothy Shain, Kiah Bellows and Glory Day Loflin. After participating in a class at Penland taught by Alice Ballard last fall, they considered how they could bring that educational experience back to Greenville to share with their community. They proposed a show at the GCCA that fell in line with their experience of multimedia approaches to landscape at Penland, Dorothy through collage, Kiah through painting, and Glory through outdoor drawing.
THE GALLERY AT GREENVILLE CENTER FOR CREATIVE ARTS
25 DRAPER STREET, GREENVILLE, SC 29611
(864) 735-3948 http://www.artcentergreenville.org/past-exhibits/
Part II Slides from FINDING YOUR FORM THROUGH NATURE....The Bascom, Highlands, NC, Alice Ballard and Dow Redcorn
Many thanks again to all of you who were in the workshop last week. Special thanks to Dow Redcorn, my fabulous assistant for making this an extra special week !!! Part II of the pictures from the last 2-3 days will follow on Friday.... Send additional pictures to me if you have a couple that you want to share.
Just returned from the Bascom in Highlands, NC where I taught a 5 day workshop called FINDING YOUR FORM THROUGH NATURE, along with Dow Redcorn, ceramic artist from Atlanta, GA
The image is of a group of works that are the result of "cross pollination" between my work and Dow's.
I will soon post images from the workshop but I didn't want to wait to thank Frank Vickery, director of the ceramics program, and the staff of the Bascom, along with a huge THANK YOU to Dow Redcorn, whose assistance made the workshop possible. Another huge THANK YOUgoes to the 13 of you who comprised one of best and most creative workshops I have ever taught! Each of you arrived "open" and ready to learn, take risks and to grow in your work,
Believe it or not I had an emergency appendectomy the Monday before the class started the following Monday!!!!!!!! Frank and his staff, but especially Dow and all of you who participated made the workshop possible. All that positive energy coming my way was truly healing...along with the great hospitality of those who hosted us, made the week extra special and memorable.
The following three Meditation Bowls are now on view and available for sale at Cerbera Gallery, Inc. in Kansas City, Missouri
My work is now being represented by Hidell Brooks Gallery in Charlotte, NC!!! Katharine and Rebecca met with me this past Tuesday when I delivered my first work to them. They are an amazing team and I feel so fortunate to be working with them!
The gallery space is stunning to say the least! It is light, airy and flexible. As you might imagine, I can hardly wait to have a show in this space! We are looking toward the spring of 2018 for my first solo show but in the mean time they will have an ongoing inventory of my work in the gallery available for you to see.
Plan to drop by Hidell Brooks Gallery and meet Katharine and Rebecca soon. The gallery is easy to find and they have great parking. You will also enjoy seeing the work of a host of amazing artists, many being friends from my past.....like Herb Jackson and Virginia Scotchie!
GALLERY INFORMATION AND DIRECTIONS http://www.hidellbrooks.com/
I am delighted to tell you that my 2 Long Pods have already been installed in their new homes! Thank you Katharine and Rebecca!!!
If you have not seen the show, hope you will try to see it. Gallery at Flat Rock has done a brilliant job of installing it and setting the stage for the title, TEMPORAL WITNESS. The exhibition demonstrates how each of the artists in their own very personal way relates to this idea in a variety of mediums.
To those who have seen it or who came to the talk yesterday, I want to thank you for your time, words of encouragement, feedback and all around support. This means so much.....
I put together a slide show to help entice you to go see the exhibition if you have not been or to give you a chance to see it again, or to see it if you just can't make it.
Special thanks to Suzanne and Tom! And to Christina I have to say what a great pleasure it was having a show with you and your amazing work!
PHILIPP EIRICH, director of Cerbera Gallery invited me to join the gallery. Cerbera Gallery is an outstanding and highly respected gallery in Kansas City, Missouri. It well know nationally and internationally.
Currently I have 9 pieces in their on line gallery store and will soon have several works in the Cerbera Gallery itself. It is an honor to have my work represented along side some of the best ceramic artists in the world. You can see my work and other work by going to the following link .
The talk is this Saturday, May 6, 1 pm, 2017. We would love to see you!
Coming SOON! TEMPORAL WITNESS Tracing Nature's Path, Alice Ballard, Christina Laurel, Rosamond Purcell
When finished these will complete a group of 9 Half Pods. They will be fired 2 to 3 times to create the layering of colored terra sigillata and oxides.