Category

Cowgirls

Why Cowgirls?

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I had just built and fired my very own little wood-kiln when I had the idea to recreate a particular project I had developed while I was in college.  I was going to construct my second octopus punchbowl.  And instead of a salt/gas firing, it would be finished in the Adobe Moby, the little whale-shaped wood-kiln we built from adobe style bricks replacing the earth part of the recipe with fire clay to survive the 2000 degree temperatures.

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Attracted to the unique characteristics of cephalopods I had once designed a fairly functioning punchbowl after a cuttle fish.  The physics and visual appeal were so engaging that I had continued to build forms modeled after the liquid forms of various sea creatures.  Years after that first punchbowl, I decided to have another go at the form and function with some alterations.  I typically think through the physics and logistics of a sculpture before diving in with music or a book on tape.  This particular sculpture took shape to the tune of Tom Robbins’ Even Cowgirls Get The Blues.  And when the body of the octopus was finished, complete with punchbowl, removable lid that flipped into a chip and dip, and its eight cups, I wasn’t quite finished.  With no serving function, I sculpted a rider for my party bowl monster.

octopunchcowgirl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prepping for the May Wood Firing

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With schedules swirling around spring travel during our slower season in Taos, we took our usual team of 12-20 potters that fire the two large Tres Piedras kilns and split it up into 2 firings.  They just finished the April firing and for those of us firing in late May it’s go time for making work.

I just started making the first cowgirl sculptures.  It will be a little different type of wood firing than the last time I wood fired the cowgirls.  We will only be firing our ground hog kiln that we typically add baking soda to enhance certain effects.

Groundhog Soda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Building the the cowgirl sculptures is a fairly straightforward process.  For standing cowgirls I start with a sturdy base and model the legs and boots.  I need to consider the final gesture I want to achieve from the placement of the feet to the balance and pose of the legs so they can set up in position long enough to support the rest of the sculpture.  The strong forward stance of the guitar player is planned from the first steps, and the angled bent pose of the protector is set up to curve the body off center facing left.  The entire sculpture is built solid from the bottom up with all the arm gestures, clothing details and facial expressions carefully worked into place.  Props, pets, and cowgirl hats are the finishing touches on each piece.

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Clay Cowgirl Sculptures on their Way to Town

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Washboard player in KilnSpring is in the air and as our ski season has come to a close, it’s time to get ready for spring wood firings, and get in a good position for the summer season, building inventory, getting work out there, and reaching out to galleries.

I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback about the cowgirl sculptures, the stories they tell, and the women they celebrate.  With a few commissions in the works, making pots, and providing donations for organizations like Empty Bowls, and Dos Manos, it’s been a really busy time.

One of the newest projects is building a grouping of cowgirls to display in the Logan Wannamaker Gallery in downtown Taos, New Mexico.  I’m working on a “Stand Off” scene and hoping to get the washtub band on display as well.  I’ll be sitting the gallery on Thursdays from 10am to 6pm throughout the summer and eventually encouraging visitors to come by my studio in Arroyo Seco as well.

The challenges of trying to make a living as an artist are fully under way.  I’m really lucky to have such a powerful support system of friends, family, and community, and of course, an army of inspiring women!

Cowgirl Sculptures, Pots, and Sales

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It has officially been 3 months into 2014 and so far so good, ok, getting by at the moment…

As a maker, it is a scary and daunting task to give up a regular paying job and go all in and invest wholly in yourself.  Fear and intimidation has kept me from it for many years, and in September 2013, I surrendered my steady pay check for a full time gig in the studio.  In that time with the help and support of friends and family, I have built a website for the clay cowgirl sculptures complete with the ability to sell directly from the site, (you’re looking at it), established representation in a gallery outside of my own town (Gallery MAR), and opened an etsy site (www.etsy.com/shop/BrZart).

I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback, commissions, and even some direct sales along the way and in the Taos, area I display my cowgirl sculptures in Rottenstone Pottery in Arroyo Seco, NM, as well as Su

bstance of Taos, women’s clothing store right downtown.

mini octopus

I’m still not making a living, and the day to day of allotting all the funds coming in to the steady bills that hang over my h

ead monthly has been a bit uncomfortable, but not discouraging.  I continually make headway on getting the structures of running my own business in place and I am doing what I love every day (except for those two random days in a row where I got a flat tire… they asked me if someone was out to get me!  I hope not!).

Glad to be follo

wing my dreams, celebrating my heroes through the cowgirl sculptures, making functional handmade pottery for friends, family, and fans, and staying active as our ski season comes to a close and river rafting is just around the corner, it’s time for biking, hiking, and exploring the area on the cheap while I slowly climb my way back into the working masses that have some kind of income!

girls in the kiln

 

Thanks for the support!

Etsy

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Last week I opened an Etsy store for some of the clay projects I have worked on.  I don’t have any cowgirl sculptures ready for the site just, yet but they’re on their way! I’m still producing about 12 cowgirls sculptures each month along with mugs, bowls, platters, and other ceramica.

bikemug3 bluebicyclegirls

 

A couple of summers ago I started biking with some amazing girlfriends on the various high altitude terrain here in Northern New Mexico.  Glad to have a team of strong women to get outdoors with I love getting out on the trails on my mountain bike, and thanks to a generous gift I have fallen in love with the meditative rhythm of road riding too!  I am also really impressed by the genius invention that is the bicycle.  Beautiful design, highly functional gear system, ideal mode of transportation, excellent piece of simple and complex machinery all in one fairly light weight man powered gadget!  So I’ve been playing with my brushwork and have taken on the habit of embellishing many of my functional pieces with bicycles.  Thanks to a crew of amazing women and a brilliant pair of wheels, while they aren’t actual cowgirls, for me there is certainly a clear link.

Luck of the Irish

By | Blog, Cowgirls, Inspiration, Making, Process, Uncategorized | No Comments

Happy St. Paddy’s Day!

17 cowgirl sculptures for the 17th of March are cooling off from their night in the kiln with some fresh cups and mugs, and a few fun experiments.  Half of the washtub band sculptures are in there, and a cool collection of armed cowgirls are ready for the attack, pistols, rifles, and shotguns at the ready.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

Speaking of shotguns…  in the tradition of the holiday, Irish Car Bombs (the drink that goes down like a chocolate milkshake) is on the menu for tonight’s celebrations.  If I see you out, we can toast together!  Cheers!

17 cowgirls sculptures waiting to be fired

17 cowgirls sculptures waiting to be fired

Grouping the Girls

By | Blog, Cowgirls, New Ideas, Studio | No Comments

fashionistas

The cowgirls are meant to stand alone as individuals, but I’ve been excited about the potential to group them, have them interact with each other, and create movement between them.  I am working on a series of fashion cowgirls for Substance clothing store, and an idea for a shoot out grouping is on it’s way to the kiln later this month.

The latest in groupings? We’re getting the washtub band together, but so far there are only two.  Any ideas are welcome, maybe there will be a poker game, saloon gals, and more campfires.
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shootout

Fired Up

By | Blog, Cowgirls, Studio, The Southwest | No Comments

 

 

The newest cowgirls are fired up and ready for photographing.  Here are some rough shots to paint the picture.  Firing big wood kilns with bad ass women potters you have to have your lady lumberjack, and with our shifts cycling 24 hrs a day for several days you can see why one might yawn at first light or any time of day.

I have also modeled cowgirls in honor of a dear friend who has taken on owning and running her own clothing store.  A woman of substance who not only dresses well, but finds time for adventure seeking by mountain biking, back country skiing, and dirt biking through the desert, just to name a few.  Check out her store, Substance, by clicking on the link, walking in her door, and liking her on facebook!

Lumber Jane and The Yawn Cowgirls of Substance