Presenter at Jackson Pottery and Clay Guild's 3 Days of Clay
In just a few short weeks, the Jackson Pottery and Clay Guild will be holding their annual 3 Days of Clay March 6th, 7th and 8th. Their featured artist this year is Jennifer Allen, who will be teaching and demonstrating throughout the event. Jennifer graciously answered a few of our questions while gearing up for the workshop. Registration is still open, so if you are interested check it out here.
You currently teach at West Virginia University, maintain a full time studio practice and are raising a family, what helps to keep everything in balance?
Ah, balance. Still trying to figure this one out. I find that one thing always trumps the others. Right now with a four week old and a two year old, family is consuming most of my time. Although I thoroughly enjoy being a mother, my studio practice has taken a back seat. I know things will shift as my kids grow and I look forward to being able to spend more time in the studio in the future.
What do you enjoy most about teaching workshops?
I love to teach. It allows me to pay forward the knowledge that has been given to me over the years. Teaching is as much about discovery as it is about sharing. Presenting at workshops is a way for me to share methods and ideas in a short, focused time in front of an audience that truly wants to learn. I always look forward to the discourse that evolves during these events.
What do you plan to demonstrate for participants at 3 Days of Clay?
During the workshop, I will showcase a variety of processes I use to make my work: wheel-throwing techniques, altering forms both on and off the wheel, slab construction, stamp/slab texture making, carving, surface decoration with slip/underglaze/glaze and etc. Along with technical content, I will discuss idea development, formal considerations and how I deal with issues of ergonomics.
Where do you see the most success? In galleries, online or art fairs/sales?
Although my work sells well online and in galleries, my best sales happen during public events where there is a large audience that understands the value of handmade pots. I find that the personal connection that forms during these fairs/sales between consumer and artist deepens the value/success of each pot.
What has been the most beneficial way to market yourself?
My online presence through social media sites (Facebook/Instagram) has evolved over the last few years. The more I post, the more attention my work gets. This usually translates into increased sales. My website has proved to be a successful marketing tool as well as my new Ceramic Arts Daily DVD. In addition, I am a part of an online cooperative called Objective Clay that helps promote its members both collectively and individually.
You recently released a video on Ceramic Arts Daily “Darted & Decorated: Techniques for Enhancing Form & Surface” can you tell us about your experience creating this video?
At first, the idea of creating a DVD was intimidating. But, when approached by Ceramic Arts Daily with the opportunity, I couldn’t pass it up. The entire DVD took three days to film with a ton of prep work beforehand.
What is your favorite tool and why?
This tool my husband brought back from China. I use it with every piece to help compress seams at the hard, leather-hard stage.
Can you tell us about the tools you make for yourself?
I mainly make stamps and templates. Stamps I use to apply texture to my work and the templates are for building repeated forms (from spouts to tumblers) with slabs.