Ray Jordan is one of our newer co-op members, joining us after last spring’s “Mandala” show. Be sure to take advantage of our Artist of the Month discount on Ray's work when you're in the shop.
Tell us a little about yourself.
Art, in some form, has been part of my life since I was a small child. My grandfather was a master carpenter and he shared his creative spirit and love of sawdust with me at a very early age. In high school I took every art class that was offered along with wood shop and I explored various artful endeavors (quilting, silk-screening, printing press, sketching, painting, etc.) creating things for my home, family and friends. More recently I added acrylics and began producing colorful, 3D, themed pieces adorned with intricate scroll saw cutouts. Finding this artistic voice provided the focus, motivation and confidence to share my art with the outside world.
How long have you been part of Commonwheel?
I joined the Commonwheel Co-op in May of 2017, so it has been just over a year with the artist co-op.
What does making art mean to you?
Making art to me is an amazing journey into the depths of my consciousness, digging deeper and deeper to find more and more interesting ideas, and ways to express myself through art. I love coming across a new idea, and exploring that idea to its fullest potential, and hopefully be amazed with the output/artwork.
What are you currently working on?
Currently I am working on 8x10 sized print pieces that have 3-D flower mandalas in the middle along with some accent pieces. I am also working on a series of new Pendulum Clock pieces, as well as some smaller to medium sized flower Mandala Boxes.
Tell us about your process-- Walk us through the steps of your flowing creativity to achieve one of your works.
I've been asked this before, and it is a hard thing to explain. I'm not sure where everything comes from, other than a good idea that comes into my mind, and through the process of thinking of how to accomplish a certain piece, Magic happens? I start with a drawing from my sketch book most of the time, from there, images get drawn on wood, and cut out with my scroll saw. Then color comes into play with paint. I choose a very bright palette most of the time and try and create something I can be proud of.
What reactions do you want the public to have when looking at your artwork?
Honestly, I want the viewer to find their own inspiration in my work. Maybe it reminds them of something from their childhood, or a place in time from the past. I will leave all that up to the interpreter.
What is your favorite piece recent work? And why?
My favorite recent piece of work is my 8x10 mandala prints with the lotus flower in the middle. It was just fun to make, I drew up a pencil sketch, went over it with black ink, then colored with Prisma color pencils with shading. I don't get to draw every day, usually painting or putting things together that are already cut/made. So, starting from scratch with a new idea, is always exciting.
Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself?
I love the outdoors in general. I play amateur adult baseball in Colorado Springs. I love to hike, rock climb, snowboard, plant gardens/flowers, mountain bike, go to art festivals, and hang out with good friends. I also love to quilt, make mosaics, cook, play frisbee or bocce ball, play pinball, and all the other amazing activities that life has to offer.
Where can we find your work?
Pretty exclusive so far, just Commonwheel and my website TrippyTrixter.com. I do plan on attempting to get into a few more art galleries this year.
by Leti Wesolowski, contributor
Opening reception Friday June 16, 5-8pm
Show ends July 17
“Women in Clay” is a show celebrating visual art created by women bonded over more than love for mud. Community through creative expression strengthens our world in the most challenging of times. The artists gathered for this gallery show include potters/ceramicists Madalyn Kae, Brenda Hadnagy, Deb Crowley, Linda Ross, Carroll D. Hightower, Robin Scappaticci, Harriet Lee and oil painter Jean Cuchiaro.
Each one has created new works for this show. Some are inspired by nature, tropical places, textures, or new processes. Others are inspired by personal events like a new puppy or their flower garden. Join us for this much-anticipated Summer show. Opening reception is June 16th from 5pm to 8pm as part of the Manitou Springs 3rd Friday Art Walk.
Harriet Lee has been a sculptor for 30 years working in many different mediums. During her extensive career, she did a number of large public art sculptures, but more recently she has found herself wanting to explore smaller and intimate pieces. “Clay is a wonderful material that can be used in a lot of different ways,” she explains. “This last year I have been playing around with pieces using a variety of processes and it's been fun.” For this exhibit, she has worked on two techniques for the love of graphic black/white patterns: carving lidded pots out of blocks of clay and the application of “naked” raku firing on hand-built pieces.
Note: Naked raku is a type of raku firing in which a slip is applied to the pottery before firing, then it chips off revealing a black crackle pattern.
About ten years ago, shortly after retirement, Linda Ross took a class at Bemis School of Arts and immediately she fell head over heels with clay. “I quickly discovered my pieces gave me a voice I'd never experienced before. Needless to say, I was inspired!!!” she says. For this show, she is exploring sculpting the human figure and the uses of glazes and non-traditional finishes. Inspired by tropical places and soft Summer breezes, her favorite piece and the one that “feels exotic” to her, is a stylized hand with a whimsical henna tattoo.
Robin Scappaticci started out in college as a computer science major but took an art elective and fell in love. She graduated with a BA in studio art with a focus in ceramics planning to be a production potter. However, after a few years working in a co-op studio in Lynn, MA, long hours, no money, and many other reasons, she lost her love for clay.
About ten years ago, she was reintroduced to clay when a friend invited her to take a Summer class, taught by Rui Hagen. Today she is creating functional work, whether wheel-thrown or hand-built, and she is using lace to create texture. “Lace, with its delicate quality and the many different patterns, gives me (the texture that I always loved). I like the idea of taking something old and creating something new from it,” she explains. Robin’s favorite pieces on this show are her cups. Her true joy comes after they are finished, when “I am able to hold them, warmed with something inside,” she says. Find more of her artwork at 45degreegallery.com in Old Colorado City.
Deb Crowley took a wheel throwing class about five years ago and has loved working with clay since then. Her primary inspiration are shapes and colors found in nature—an aqua summer sky, the green Spring foliage, the vibrant oranges of sunsets, the curves found on the creek behind her house.
For this show, each work is unique with its own flaws and qualities, not perfectly symmetrical. “I love the way porcelain...finds its own shape and flow in the firings,” she says. Her pieces are glazed on the inside, making her work functional but raw on the outside, exposing the natural color and feel of the porcelain, a texture she calls “naked.” Her favorite pieces with this technique are the little wish cups, colorful and bright on the inside and nude on the outside. They are all unique and can be used as rice cups, espresso glass, toothpick holder, etc.
Artist Brenda Hadnagy has been making art since she was a little girl. In third grade, she decided to be an Art teacher, so she did! She got her BFA from the University of Utah and taught Art for many years. She took her first pottery class at 16 and it was instant love. Ever since, she has worked in many formats from sculpture to everyday tableware, trying to bring an intimacy and emotional connection through her art to her viewers. She loves to experiment with different techniques and glazes. “I find carving into clay and creating a tactile third dimension to my work to be very satisfying. I like to tell a story about how I am feeling through my work,” she explains.
Her work for this show includes a few functional pieces carved using scrafitto technique, creating a bold look in black and white, as well as a trio of sculptural pieces called the “Yoga” figures, where she experimented with playful poses to make you smile. Find more of Brenda’s work at commonwheel.com
Note: Scraffito is a decorative pottery technique created by scratching through a surface to reveal a layer of contrasting color underneath.
A native of Brooklyn, NY, Carroll Dorrell-Hightower moved to Colorado Springs 22 year ago. She learned pottery at the Senior Center and she has been enjoying pottery for the last eleven years. For this show, she has created hand-built functional small dishes and sushi plates with her glazes being the focal point of her work. “I see my pieces as lovable, beautiful, and pleasing to the eye,” she says. “Making…functional pottery pieces means a lot to me. I know that my pottery can be used just about every day,” she adds. You can find her artwork at Cottonwood Center for the Arts and at 45degreegallery.com
Potter Madalyn Kae discovered her passion for clay over 40 years ago. Most of her work is sculptural but for this show she made an exception. “I love to do work that makes people smile, whimsical, sometimes fanciful,” she says. For this show she made functional pottery such as plates and bowls inspired by a puppy she rescued last year. “My new puppy is a tri-color border collie and she is a pistol, always making us laugh...This small ball of joy has grown into a 45-pound best friend,” she adds. She decided to express their friendship through her dog series.
When the artists of “Women in Clay” approached Colorado oil painter Jean Cuchiaro to paint flowers as a colorful backdrop to their clay creations, she felt honored by their challenge. “I've always had a creative spirit, eager to come up with or try different methods of communicating my appreciation and wonder about all the colors, patterns and characters in my surroundings,” she explains. An avid gardener, Jean loves to paint flowers as well as landscapes, farm animals, birds and wildlife.
Her paintings for this show represent all the wonder and delight to be found in and around a Summer garden in Colorado, with colors that vibrate in the sunlight through transparent petals and leaves, such as “Pink Dahlia” (Oil, 24”x36”) “Morning Glories” (Oil, 36”x24”) and “Pink Poppy” (Oil, 20”x30”).
Her favorite work on this show is the “Tulip,” (Oil 24” x 30”) because “the striking composition and range of values makes it almost a beautiful abstraction of nature.” Along with it, she has included a large collection of “Posies” (Oil, 4”x4”) and four 12”x12” oil paintings depicting a poppy, a morning glory, a sunflower and a petunia.
She also added succulents to the mix. This collection is called “Succulents for a Brown Thumb,” all deep floating frames measuring 4”x4”x2.5”. The reason, Jean explains, is that “I have become intrigued with all the diversity in colors and patterns… as a gardener, I really appreciate that they are drought tolerant and extremely easy to grow in the Colorado landscape...and because I want to add these to my garden now also!” she says.
Find Jean’s artwork on her website Jeancuchiaro.com, at Commonwheel in Manitou Springs, on commonwheel.com, and at Squash Blossom gallery in Old Colorado City.
Did you enjoy this post? Leave as a comment and let us know! We’d love to hear from you!
Want more local art news delivered to your inbox? Sign up for Commonwheel newsletter here.