Monthly Archives: April 2014

Talented Tuesday: Gina Mai Denn, Ceramic Artist

I bought a small piece of Gina Mai Denn’s work at a festival in Greenbelt last year.  I want to say it was maybe the Kale-a-rama Festival.  Yes, there is a Kale Festival!

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Gina Mai Denn ceramic “toothpick holder” is just the right size for my mini-Moo business cards.

I haven’t had a lot of room to buy or store things in my downsized life.  Sometimes, though, you just want something and I wanted something from her booth.  The item was small, so I could start my justification process there.  It was affordable – score two more points in the justification process!  The container,  which I think most people would use as a toothpick holder, was just the right size to hold a handful of my Mini-Moo brand business cards, so I made my final justification and bought it.

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Gina holding one of her wood fired pieces.

It turns out that Gina is the wife of my husband Will’s longtime friend John.  John has been the subject of two Talented Tuesday’s here on my bloggy.  Turns out he’s an awesome poet and I didn’t know it until the reading at Zu Coffee.  So, they are a dynamic duo of talent.  And that my friends is a perfect example of how Greenbelt works!

Gina has a Bachelor’s of Fine Art in Ceramics from Alfred University.  She has been teaching pottery classes for 18 years.  Currently she teaches at the Greenbelt Community Center where she is an Artist in Residence.

I had the pleasure of peeking inside her studio where the magic happens.

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Her earthy color palette is extremely appealing to me. She gave credit to the center’s stock stores of glaze, but wherever the inspiration comes from for the color choices – the result is beautiful.  Aqua greens and nutmeg browns blend beautifully in an array of spicy earthiness that makes you want to cup one of the warm mugs in your hands.  Most of the pieces are sturdy and have a visual weight to them. But there are more delicate pieces also.

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She makes impressions on the clay with many different things. This piece has impressions from a variety of sources, including a rubber stamp.

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Many of the handbuilt pieces have impressions of various objects on them.  Everything from an old bit of a 1970s lampshade to commercially made stamps.

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Gina’s dog Katy!

I’m an artist who likes to dabble in multiple art forms.  I’ve done some clay work myself and actually quite enjoy it.  In looking around the studio I was reminded of how much dedication clay requires.  She can’t be your part time mistress, you have to give her your full attention.  I really admire a person who can focus on one passion this way.

You can find Gina’s work  next at the Greenbelt Green Man Festival, which is coming up in just a couple of weeks.

You can also find her shaving cream bowls at Mystic Water Soap, which will be at the Greenbelt Farmer’s Market this summer as well as a number of other locations.  Also, they travel around to other locations.  Check out their website.

Gina’s current classes are already filled up, but you can sign up for the next set of classes!  Don’t drag your feet though, her classes fill up fast!  Enrollment is open for Greenbelt residents, currently. Non-residents can fill out a registration form and it will be processed as soon as enrollment is open for non-residents.  CLICK HERE

Gina’s two classes for the summer are listed on page 8 and page 14 of the Recreation brochure pdf.  CLICK HERE

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The Grown Up Things

I roll the vacuum cleaner cord up because it is the adult thing to do. Otherwise I’d just leave it hanging there like a lasso. Well, maybe I still do it that way sometimes too, but today I wound back on there like grown up.

Settling In

It’s been a pleasure to be caught up enough on unpacking to consider myself out of the critical zone.  I know where my important papers are.  My clothes are put away. Essential furniture is all installed.  My computer is all set up.  I have dishes to eat on.  You know, all the really major stuff.  Everything else is going to be icing on the cake.  Which means that today I got to catch up on blogging.  Read and work.  Just work all day if I want to, until I pass out.

I baked a successful cinnamon raisin bread.  I’ve been using only Bob’s Red Mill for my flour because they are a very responsible company that treats their employees well and the ingredients are quality stuff.  I even got some vital wheat gluten from them to try and make some seitan.

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I hung up my fairy suncatcher that Jackie G. gave me.  It’s right next to my seat where I work all day.  It helps me think of sunlight in magical ways.

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This is the view of part of my “office” from my seat.  It’s actually most of my office since my office/studio consists of a corner of the living room.

 

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It’s a little chilly in here, but I like having the windows open on a day like this, so I compensated by wearing fluffy booties.

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I’ve been drinking my decaf Constant Comment tea, which goes very well with fluffy socks on a chilly morning.  Actually, I bought it yesterday (and some Natural Directions peppermint) for making iced tea now that we’re on the cusp of hot weather.  Constant Comment tastes AMAZING iced and peppermint is very refreshing.

Repair Cafe – Fix It Felix Jr. Would Love This!

I’ve noticed that Club125 in Roosevelt Center has been doing something really cool called “Repair Cafe.”  This is a description of what it is:

“The Cafè is a free community service offered by a volunteer staff to help people repair their damaged or broken goods. The classroom and workshop areas of Club125, located next to the Old Greenbelt Theatre, will be converted into five repair stations. Each station will focus on different types of objects: clothing and fabric items, computers, small appliances, jewelry, and furniture.

Some types of repair work will be made easy simply by having the right tools for the job such as a sewing machine for a ripped shirt sleeve, glue and clamps for a loose chair leg, or silver solder for a damaged earring. Other repair work may need an experienced professional, to rewire electrical connections or to diagnose a tough computer glitch. Some items may need matching materials or spare parts to complete the repair, which the owner may already have. Otherwise, owners will be assisted in ordering the needed parts from local businesses, and repairs can be made at a later date.

Of course, not everything can be repaired. For any such appliances and electronic devices, Club125 will accept the broken items for a week of “take it apart” activities. This is where kids and other curious people rip stuff apart to see what is inside, to examine what makes the device work. At the end of the week, staff will take the pile of e-rubbish to the Public Works facility on electronics recycling day.

Repair Cafè is made possible in part by Club125’s receipt of Greenbelt Consumer Co-op’s Jim Cassels Award and an eager supporting army of volunteers.”

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To read the whole thing on their website go here http://club125.com/blog/2014/01/14/what-is-repair-cafe/

You should also like their Facebook page to keep up with all the activities going on there.

What a wonderful way to help out the community!