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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