We love when we get to showcase art by Manitou Art Center artists. This show features potters Madalyn Kae and Robin Scappaticci, sculptor and figure artist Nancy Morse, and printmaker Ramona Lapsley. Together they will fill our gallery space with whimsical and colorful art to delight the eye and the imagination.
I am a Colorado artist who is interested in many mediums. I love the abstract expression of clay and am fascinated by rhythm, repetition, and the movement of textures. I find the marriage of function, expression, and beauty to be very rewarding. I am passionate about portraiture and figurative work and study them in my sculpture, painting, and drawing. I have been studying the figure and portrait for almost thirty years, attending figure drawing groups whenever possible. Sometimes (not as many as one would hope) getting a drawing or painting that can be, in itself, a finished product, but often I use sketches to then work into sculptures. I am excited to have the opportunity with this show to pull all forms of my art together in one venue.
Recently, I have started spending more of my time on sculpture. Many years ago, I started a series of “Gargoyle Coat-hooks” inspired by my travels in Europe. I have once again returned to the image and function of these. I find humanity (in all forms) and therefore the representation of it in art beautiful and fascinating. And hope the viewing public can see that as well.
My work is expressive and indicative of the whimsy I see in the world around me. The creative process is like an expanded reality that is exciting, invigorating, and sometimes, in the most rewarding way, takes on a life of its own. For example, when a small unintended smudge or line in a drawing ends up being an important part of the finished piece.
Visitors are welcome at my studio in the Manitou Art Center backdoor studio and quite often my work can be found in shows there. My work can also be seen online at nancymorseart.com and at the Boulder Street Gallery at 206 North Tejon Street, in downtown Colorado Springs.
I have had a lot of fun creating my “Fabulous Flock” for the “Whimsy” show. Each porcelain bird is individually handmade and between 18 and 23 inches tall.
It is challenging to work with ceramic porcelain at such a large scale, especially when it involves body attachments such as wings and beaks. After much trial and error these fabulous creatures arrived, each with a distinctive personality!
I have been an artist since I was 8. The love of drawing and the encouragement of friends and family have motivated me to continue to draw, print, paint, and teach art. I have been printmaking for the last twenty years. I am fortunate to have access to the press and studio at the Manitou Art Center.
Making art is putting a visual image reflecting thoughts, interests, and experiences on paper or in another media. Art is a way of bringing something important to light for others to see and enjoy. Sometimes words just can't convey what ideas I want to bring forth.
I have been working with images of fish and more recently birds. Colorado sport fish have been an interest for a really long time and more recently I have been depicting birds found in my neighborhood and at my feeders. There is a fun almost whimsical nature both in fish, and fishing, as well as bird communities.
My linoleum prints start as sketches in my sketchbook from ideas or photos I've taken. I draw on the linoleum block with a sharpie and then carve out the white spaces. Using a brayer I apply a layer of black oil based ink on the block and then place paper on top. The image is transferred to the paper by pressing it thought the printing press. Later, water-based inks and colors are hand painted on the print.
I like elements of design like the grid, square, pattern and contrast so I work those into my design. I have to like the image as a black and white print and then most likely add color to it. To the viewer, those same things are appealing. I also want people to see fish differently perhaps as well as birds. I want people to interact with the idea that you don't have to go far to experience nature. Fish can be spotted in the Ruxton creek across the street from the studio and birds are right outside my window. Both require observation and appreciation.
I really like my newest print of the two woodpeckers. Although I have them perched on trees, it is really funny to watch them try to hang on to tube bird feeders.
My work can be viewed at the Manitou Art Center Print studio as well as the gift gallery at the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center, the Sangre De Cristo Art Center, and the Lapis gallery in Denver on Tennyson.
I grew up in the Hudson Valley in New York State. I took my first ceramics class in high school and fell in love with clay. I continued taking classes in college and ended up with a major and the idea of being a production potter, which did not work. After 25 years, I fell back in love after taking a summer class.
I make pots for the joy of it. I love everything about it—working with the clay to form the piece, deciding what laces to use, thinking about and adding color, firing, and opening the kiln hoping for a successful outcome—even glazing has become enjoyable.
Making art is about joy. It has been many years since I have thought that I could make a living at it. It takes way too long for me to make a finished piece. It is something that I do for myself. I love going to the studio and working. It is time that is completely mine. I love it when people appreciate what I make.
I have used lace for about 10 years in in my work to create patterns and texture, and it makes a way to add color that works for me. Two years ago, I made a few flowers, and I had thought I would like to make more but never took the time. This show called “Whimsy” gave me the opportunity.
Water Flower was the first piece that I made for this show, where, for me, form and color came together.
My work is in 45 Degree at 2528 W Colorado Ave in Colorado Springs. https://www.45degreegallery.com/
How long have you been part of Commonwheel?
I have been a member of Commonwheel for just over a year.
What does making art mean to you?
Making art is a way to take the creative ideas that are inside my head and give them physical form. There is great satisfaction in using a simple ubiquitous material—clay—to create something useful, sculptural or thought provoking.
What are you currently working on?
I recently built a soda kiln and this type of firing process is my current obsession. I have fired my kiln 10 times and I feel I am just starting to scratch the surface on getting my work to a place where I can expect some reliably, consistent results. This is all part of the intrigue and excitement of starting a new process.
Tell us about your process. Walk us through the steps of your flowing creativity to achieve one of your works.
In a soda kiln, you spray a mixture of soda ash (sodium carbonate) dissolved in hot water into the kiln at high temperature (2300). This is carried through the kiln and onto the surface of the clay pieces reacting to the silica and alumina in the clay body creating a glazed surface and reacting with other surface decorations.
What emotions/reactions/thoughts do you want to cause/explore/achieve on the public looking at your artwork?
When people look at my work, I hope they try to discover the nuances of the making process and the surface decorations that are transformed through the soda firing that is both science and magic. Perhaps they will pick up a piece to see that the foot has been cut in a subtle but particular way or that a carved line has picked up the soda from the kiln to cause a slight variation in color and see that the small blue dot of glaze has even smaller crystal formations within.
What is your favorite piece recent work? And why?
This little piece is one of my favorites. It was from my very first firing of the soda kiln. It captures the movement of the flame and bleaching action of the soda and erases some of the surface slip letting you know that something was once there while revealing what it could have been through what you can see.
Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself?
I live in La Veta, Colorado with my sweet husband and two cats and have a compact bright ceramics studio. For a decade we owned and operating an art gallery in La Veta. The gallery continues to this day celebrating many local and regional artists.
I have been an adjunct art instructor since 2006 at Colorado State University in Pueblo and have instructed ceramics students from beginners to graduate students. I also teache kid’s classes, workshops and private lessons.
One of my most rewarding experiences has been that for three consecutive years I traveled with a team of ceramic artists to Port-au-Prince, Haiti to teach pottery making skills to employees of an art-based, socially conscious business called Papillion Enterpises. These women have become extremely skilled potters and sell their work to support their families.
Where can we find your work: website, social media, local stores.
Gallery 113, Colorado Springs, Colorado
La Veta Gallery on Main, La Veta, Colorado
and of course, Commonwheel!
Originally from St. Louis, m. jo hart moved to Colorado in 2015 after receiving her MFA in Ceramics from Illinois State University. She has a B.A. in Visual Communications and has worked as an Art Director/Graphic Designer in the corporate sector, non-profit, and public/private design industries with over 35+ years experience. Hart considers herself both an artist and maker. She creates highly decorative functional pottery along with sculptural work that primarily focuses on female issues.
During her time as a designer she sought out ways to create for herself and was reacquainted with clay, remembering the fun she had in the clay studio as an undergrad. For years she attended classes at a local pottery studio and began selling her work. Later in her life an opportunity to apply to graduate school presented itself and she fully immersed herself in a 3-year program where she discovered a passion for working with the figure in clay, primarily on female issues. Attending graduate school as an older student, Hart was confronted with many hurdles and presented with countless opportunities for evolving as an artist.
Today, Hart works as an artist/maker, leaving the corporate world in the dust and no longer having to be contained in a cubicle. Recently she began collaborating with her partner, combining his woodworking craft and her porcelain art. Hart teaches workshops in clay and other mediums and finds the creative process at times more satisfying than the outcome. As a self-supporting artist her piggy bank is often not as full as it was but she wouldn’t trade this life for anything.
Hart can be contacted at email@example.com