Fairytales, Plates & Porcelain

In early January I found out that I was selected as a finalist in the Pfister Hotel’s annual Artist in Residence competition.  Learning this has been wonderful news, adding another degree of excitement to what is going to be an incredibly productive few weeks.

Over the next three weeks I will have work on display in Gallerie M at the InterContinental Hotel as a Pfister AiR finalist, at the Haggerty Museum of Art in Aesthetic Afterlife, curated by Claudia Mooney from the Chipstone Foundation, and at the Bellevue Art Museum, just outside of Seattle, in At Your Service–a traveling  exhibition I am co-cuating with Amelia Toelke.

Basically, life could not be better.

This blog post is dedicated to telling a bit more about the events taking place at the Haggerty Museum of Art and through the Pfister Hotel’s AiR competition here in Milwaukee, WI.  I’ll be following up with information about the upcoming exhibition at Bellvue Art Museum in my next one.  Enjoy!


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If chosen as the Artist in Residence at the Pfister Hotel, I will create a series of six sculptural child-sized bathtubs decorated to illustrate fairytales written by Hans Christian Anderson and the Brothers Grimm.

Fairytales are the earliest narratives that join us culturally to one another.  This body of work re-imagines the bathtub as the place where children go before hear bedtime stories. It is my intent with these sculptural works to create dialogue about earliest stories we come to learn, as well as how daily rituals and self-care shape our everyday lives.

I envision my residency in the Pfister artist’s studio as a professional and inspirational experience, where I am allowed the opportunity to share various aspects of my practice with the patrons of the hotel.  During my 30-hour workweek in the Pfister artist’s studio, I will primarily be working in oil clay, sculpting and carving features for the bathtubs, and drawing detailed sketches for the components of each piece.  As the final sculptures will be made out of cast porcelain, I will be spending additional time in my home studio preparing molds and casting.  To encourage a holistic experience for the patrons, I will keep a few molds on display and will also regularly post photographic documentation of the work I do both on and off site on a digital display that I can talk about.

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In addition to the bathtub portraits, I will produce a line of limited edition commemorative plates to match each of these sculptural pieces. They will be available when I begin each tub, as both an aide to help patrons visualize the direction of the work in progress, alongside the drawings and sketches that will be on view.



Last fall I was contacted Claudia Mooney from the Chipstone Foundation about the possibility of participating in an upcoming show she was curating at the Haggerty Museum of Art.  After a studio visit, we decided upon adding one of my plate based pieces in the the show. I spent the next two months working on a new piece titled Nest Egg for the group exhibition  Aesthetic Afterlife.

It opens to the public on Wedneday, January 22nd and runs through August 8th.  If you’re in town, please come and check it out.  All of the work in the show is great!

nest egg web

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Statement for Nest Egg:

I see this piece as an embodiment of the human desire to nest and place our experiences within the context of a natural world. As humans, we instill our legacies by passing on material items, traditions and stories. Ownership of objects, like lives, pass on. Heirloom objects such as plates connect communities of people together through ritual, tradition and touch.

The imagery in the second ring of plates features silhouettes of birds nesting, mating, grouping and migrating. I chose to alter those plates as a way to tease out the romantic overlay of life cycle behaviors that wild life commemoratives such as these encourage within a domestic setting.

The plates that comprise this piece were found in local thrift shops, a place that a majority of commemorative objects go to when the resonance of their message wanes, or they loose their original owners. This piece unites several incomplete sets of both practical and ornamental plates into one piece, making whole that which was once orphaned.


AT YOUR SERVICE– BELLEVUE ART MUSEUM: February 14th-September 19th

More information to follow soon.

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