Sunday, December 27, 2009

The bone firing was a success!
Beth Kendall, my friend and fellow sculptor, generously fired them over the weekend before Christmas, carving out a path through the two feet of snow to get to her kiln shed to fire them for me! They took two days to cool down and I was able to pick them up on Wednesday the 23rd. She rousted her son, Eli, from bed early in the am and the two helped me carry them into her house for packing and organizing and then to my car for the final delivery to Jane Franklin.
Thanks again, Beth and Eli- I owe you BIG!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Over the past two months I've been working on a bridge of porcelain bones for a modern dance performance by the Jane Franklin Dance Company.  The metal bridge has been fabricated and I've made over 80 thirty inch long porcelain bones that weigh 8 pounds each. Due to the tremendously damp weather the bones had been drying under constant fans for weeks.
I finally couldn't wait any longer and decided to load them into my kiln with a reeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaally long pre-heat cycle. Only to find that the bones had shrunk but not enough to fit into my kilns. Damn you, quarter of an inch!!!

Upon hearing of my dilemma, my lovely neighbors at the Washington Glass School generously offered their long, low kilns designed for firing glass. Thanks guys!

Bisque firing went well minus a few explosions from steam escaping the thick bones.  Good thing I made 20 extra for unforeseen disasters!

I then unloaded the first load, layered them with a black copper oxide wash and reloaded them for their final firing.

Alas, I did not realize that glass kilns only go to about 1700 degrees. My porcelain clay needs to be fired to almost 2300 degrees.  Oh dear! They came out of the kiln fragile, powdery and a really sickening orange where the oxide was in the recesses.

My dear, dear friend and talented ceramicist, Elizabeth Kendall, happened to have given me a ride to the studio  and she VERY generously offered to fire them in her huge gas kiln in Virginia. So, we loaded up her tiny car with 5 layers of 72 huge clay bones and drove the hour and a half to her kiln. And she loaded them in 20 degree weather, like the amazing friend that she is!

She is firing them now as we speak, a three day process. Fingers crossed!

As an artist, we are all dependent on our community of fellow artists in many ways.
For that honest critique, that bit of technical advice, a cup of coffee on a cold afternoon, for showing up on a rainy night during your opening reception, for loaning you ( insert tool/art supply/paint/etc here) when you run out and need it right away, for that support when you need it the most...
I worship at your altar, Beth.

I am so lucky to have all of you- apparently it takes a village to fire a bone bridge!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

I was fortunate enough to be chosen to be part of a a studio tour this past Saturday, 36 Studios in 36 Hours, organized by the Washington Project for the Arts.  Mera Rubell, a well-known art collector, toured 36 studios in DC in 36 hours straight, spending a half hour with each artist and going on through the night.

The studio visits were covered by Kriston Capps in an article for Art in America and my photo was featured!  Please read full article below:

Washington, DC: 36 Artists in 36 Hours

Still shy of 7 AM on a Saturday morning, Adam de Boer had just opened his Chinatown warehouse studio to art collector Mera Rubell. For a young artist like de Boer—a 25-year-old figurative painter and recent graduate of the University of California-Santa Barbara—the attention might have felt as puzzling as flattering.


You could forgive Adam de Boer for his unguarded question for Rubell. "What are you looking for?"

Rubell was visiting Washington, D.C., on a quixotic campaign that can only be described as a massive studio crawl. Beginning before sunrise this past Saturday morning, Rubell began the first of 36 studio visits she would conduct over a consecutive 36 hours, a whirlwind effort to select artists for her section in the Washington Project for the Arts' 2010 Annual Art Auction Gala. Many of the artists she visited might have thought to ask the same question as de Boer (whom Rubell selected for the auction). A slightly different question seemed equally pertinent to de Boer's: Why was she looking here?

In fact, the Miami-based Rubells—Mera and Don—have recently expanded their footprint in the nation's Capital. In 2002, the Rubells closed on a 13-year effort to acquire the Capitol Skyline Hotel, an eclectic seven-story hotel in Southwest designed by Morris Lapidus, the architect responsible for the Fontainebleau Hotel and other Neo-Baroque properties along Miami Beach (and a friend of the Rubells). They filled the public hotel rooms with furniture by Frank Gehry, Eero Saarinen, Philippe Starck, and other design heavyweights. At the same time, the Rubells began admitting artists from a number of D.C.-area galleries into their world-class art collection.

"The reason we even bothered to find a business [in D.C.] is that the art is amazing," says Mera Rubell. "A hotel is a natural place to create a kind of home. I want artists there—it's exciting for my existence here whenever I'm here."

In Fall 2010, the Rubells will bring "30 Americans"—a survey of works by African-American artists from the 60s to the present owned by the Rubells—to the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Sarah Newman, curator of contemporary art for the Corcoran, said the show will be "scaled down and reconceived" to fit the museum, with work by "foundational, seminal figures"—among them Robert Colescott, David Hammons, and Basquiat—anchoring rooms with works by artists influenced by those "Old Masters." The exhibit, which opens in mid-October, is bound to find a profound relevance in Washington, D.C., known locally as "Chocolate City" and host to the nation's first black First Family. (LEFT: LISA GOLD, MERA RUBELL, NOVIE TRUMP)

The WPA received around 200 applications in response to a call for submissions, from which they selected 36 artists at random for visits. "It was not the supposed 'best' I saw," said Rubell, "but I was very impressed. They had to rise to the occasion. There was a tremendous amount of dignity in their professional practice. It was not about a sale."

(One of the best will be included anyway: Dan Steinhilber, the first D.C. artist collected by the Rubells, will enjoy special Rubell alumnus place in the show, which opens on January 30 at the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, before the March 6 auction.)

Rubell's attention was not lost on the artists she visited. The Rubells collect Jeff Koons and Glenn Ligon; collectors of their stature do not troll this city's studios, which are scattered between warehouses in Northeast and Northwest, units in the suburbs, and—to be sure—artists' apartments. "Mera knows how to look at her some art," explained Mary Early—a sculptor admitted into the auction—after she invited Mrs. Rubell into her studio for a bracing 5:45 a.m. Saturday morning visit. "She had more insight than most curators and collectors who've visited my studio in years."


"I think they expected me to reach into the artists' contacts I have," said Rubell, discussing the WPA invitation to curate part of the organization's auction. Rubell acknowledged that she had had little exposure to local artists or their studios before the tour. "When my husband and I travel, we ask ourselves, what goes in Beijing? What goes on in Warsaw?" she explained. "Why can't I come and see what goes on in D.C.?"

A severe schedule meant that Rubell and invited guests—I embedded with the collector, WPA director Lisa Gold, and Corcoran photojournalism student Jenny Yang for the Saturday—sunrise leg of the studio visits-had to get down to business. Twilight studio visits did not always accommodate. Photographer Victoria F. Gait├ín, who saw Rubell well after midnight on Saturday night, noted that a "huge beefy Marine" and a petite woman were engaged in a drunken fight at a party taking place in her Arlington, Virginia, apartment lobby when Rubell arrived.

Minutes after stepping into de Boer's studio, Rubell began a percussive volley of questions that probed matters beyond practice. She asked him about his travels in Nicaragua (the subject of much of his work) and the two discussed his faith-an intimate discussion, given that studio visits typically consider archivability, not eternity. Rubell saw connected his work to the Leipzig painters. De Boer admitted to being embarrassed to work in a representational vein. Rubell sympathized with de Boer's experience with the problem of painting: "Who gives you permission? Who makes it OK for you to do this?"

By hour 37, Rubell had arrived at some conclusions about the art scene in D.C. "I think they're hungry for community. I'm not saying it's unique to D.C., but it's the reason so many artists go to New York." Less prosaically, Rubell offered what she perceives to be the impact of international museums on local artists. "This is a place with some of the greatest museums on earth. But artists aren't part of that family. They're more strangers than the tourists. It makes them feel provincial. If you put a kid down enough, he gets discouraged." (LEFT: ADAM DE BOER AND MERA RUBELL)

The Rubells' collection shares many of the artists who grace the East Wing of the National Gallery. But Mera Rubell's sympathies lay with the artists working to build a scene from hidden warehouses. When the Rubells decided to buy the Capitol Skyline Hotel, located in an area of town that has only just begun to gentrify, her friends expressed their doubts. "Wrong side of the tracks?" she sniffed. "That's the only side of the tracks."

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Onward with our open studio sneak preview series!

I am lucky to share my studio with four other artists . They are uniformly smart, talented and all around great studio mates! I already featured Laurel's work so below are Mila Kagan, Noah Armstrong and  Elena Patino.

Mila Kagan is a mixed media artist working in a variety of media such as glass, rubber, porcelain and reclaimed materials.

In my journey as an artist I have moved from mark making as a painter to exploration of ceramic vessel forms and to sculptural investigations with glass. I utilize soft black rubber penetrated by elongated strands of white glass, icy white transparent porcelain, and metal structures. I am interested in the juxtaposed relationships between these mediums which allows me to examine issues of  transparency, opacity, tensile strength, gravity, brittleness and flexibility.

Noah Armstrong is a painter who creates sculptural paintings on reclaimed wood panels. They are often gouged, etched and scraped back to reveal multiple layers of pigment. These pieces have a massive presence and are imbued with quietude.

I refer to my work interchangeably as paintings and as constructions as they have begun to straddle the two- and three-dimensional plane. My objective is to explore what can happen when a stage is created that allows for limited and semi-intentional control in its manipulation. I want to plan and build and to react and deconstruct. I find great beauty in the balance of the two.

Elena Patino is our newest addition to the studio. Born and raised in Peru, her recent work consists of labor intensive installations of colored tapes.

For the past 2 years my work dealt mainly with different aspects of identity. Gender and race have been examined through materials and questioned through analogies and processes such as my still ongoing work around skin tones "Me by Others, Others By Me". While still interested in this never-ending investigation, I have re-discovered my passion for detail-oriented, painstakingly labor intensive processes. 

My current body of work takes from my previous engagement in the construction of organic structures based on repetition with a strong connection to fiber arts. While not necessarily made with fiber materials, my work borrows from the pliable quality of textiles.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Now that I've shown you a few of our guest artists that will be featured during our open studio on Saturday, its time to give you a peek at one of our studio members.
Laurel Lukaszewski is a gifted sculptor, Flux Studio member and long time friend.

You may have seen her award winning work recently at her current solo show at Project 4 Gallery, which features a breathtaking installation of thousands of porcelain cherry blossoms drifting across the walls, spiraling upwards for two stories.

Below is a description of her work from her website that I thought summed up her work perfectly.

Laurel Lukaszewski creates installations and sculptures primarily from clay—usually porcelain or stoneware. Most of Laurel's works are composed of extruded forms resembling three-dimensional line drawings or calligraphic brushstrokes. Her work is based on line, rhythm and form, playing with positive and negative space. The interrelation of the pieces has roots in Laurel's study of Japanese Buddhist mandalas in graduate school and a habit of incessant doodling. Her works range in size from just a few inches to pieces as large as sixteen feet.

Monday, December 7, 2009

One of the other jewelers who will be participating in our Open Studio this Saturday is my dear friend Tamara Laird. Tamara is an amazingly talented sculptor and jeweler who teaches ceramics and jewelry design at the Corcoran College of Art and Design and maintains her home and studio in Takoma Park, MD.

Tamara will be showing her porcelain jewelry inspired by forms in nature.
Her work utilizes gold, silver, precious gems and porcelain forms that have been gilded with real platinum, silver and gold lustre glazes.

To say I love her work is an understatement. I find her work to be graceful, innovative and oh so elegant.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Continuing in our series of sneak peaks for our Flux Holiday Open Studio on December 12, 2009
 is a look at Gayle Friedman, one of the jewelers taking part in our Ceramic Jewelry Trunk Show.

I love Gayle's work and own two pieces by her (lucky, lucky me!)
I love it so much I asked her to come be a part of our open studio event.
Gayle is the owner of Studio 4903, a very cool studio in DC focusing on contemporary jewelry.

I can't wait to see her jewelry on Saturday- I better bring my check book!

Gayle in her studio at Studio 4903

Saturday, December 5, 2009

As we get ready for our Holiday Open Studio on Saturday the 12th I promised I would give a sneak peak of our special guest exhibitions each day this week.
Wendy Lawrence, the talented UK sculptor who was the artist-in-residence at Flux this spring, will have a small  exhibition of work created during her residency.

Wendy Lawrence is a UK ceramist who is a Professional member of The Craft Potters Association of Great Britain and maintains her home and studio in Denbigh, Wales.
The inspiration for her work is derived from forms, textures and surfaces found in eroded rock, and the landscape of antiquity: architecture, culture and worship.
Making combines a number of hand-building techniques: coiling, slab-building and working from solid lumps of clay.  She works both spontaneously and at other times painstakingly carving leather hard clay, attempting to imbue pattern and a sense of erosion.
Glazing involves layering reactive and eruptive materials, often very thickly, creating rich textural surfaces.  This process of glazing aims to further the sense the eroded antiquity whilst simultaneously providing an exciting element of chance and uncertainty.

Friday, December 4, 2009

We are gearing up for our third annual Holiday Open Studio On December 12th at Flux, which should be really terrific this year.

We will be featuring recent works by all six Flux artists as well as four special guest exhibitions. I will give a sneak preview each day on the blog for the open studio.

One of our special guest exhibitions will be a showing of thirty miniature porcelain figurines by 
Meri Wells, well-known Welsh sculptor. 

These whimsical figurines inspired by myth and fairy tales are delicate and fantastical, each a one-of- a-kind creation.

Meri's work is rarely shown in the US so this is a unique opportunity to add to your collection. Works range in size from two to six inches and will be priced under $100 each.

Meri lives in an enchanting Elizabethan-era stone cottage on a farm in Wales.
Below is Meri in her loft gallery with some of her larger works:

Meri's studio:

Meri's house:

Meri's wood firing kiln, where the porcelain pieces above were fired:

Monday, November 30, 2009

Above is a bridge that I am currently working on for a dance performance entitled Of Bones and Bridges by the fabulous Jane Franklin Dance Company , a modern dance company based in Arlington, Virginia.

Jane contacted me last year, asking if I would be interested in collaborating with her dance company, designing and building an interactive piece for a dance performance.  After much spirited and fun brainstorming, we decided upon a bridge that the dancers could build on stage from a metal framework and porcelain bones, with the building of the bridge comprising the actual performance.
The process has been incredibly challenging, as the bridge needed to:
  • come apart into sections easily transportable by car
  • be capable of being dismantled in 5 minutes by 2 stage hands
  • be light but sturdy
  • still look like my work
After many, many trial and error attempts to build the bridge that resulted in rejected piles of crumpled copper pipes and mangled lumber ( metal is NOT my medium!), I happened to ask my second cousin, John, if he knew of someone  in NC who did custom metal fabrication. Turns out my Uncle Gary currently works for the best one around and they made one in 2 weeks with an ingenious joining method- thank you Uncle Gary!

I then made 90 porcelain bones to make the cross beams, each one measuring 30 inches long and 8 pounds each, which are now drying under 24/7 fans. And of course, the bridge still needs painting and spikes affixed to it.

It all should be ready by mid- December for the dance company to start rehearsals.
I can't wait to see what Jane comes up with.

So mark your calendars now!

Of Bones & Bridges
tension and connection between humanity and the natural world
Source, 1835 14th Street, Washington DC 20009
Feb 27 at 8 pm and Feb 28 at 2 pm
For more information click here

Sunday, November 29, 2009

As many of you know, I had shoulder surgery a few weeks ago and have been in an immobilizing sling ever since, with orders not to drive. Wednesday I went to the doctor and they took x-rays of my left shoulder and generally poked and prodded and mmm-hmmmmed. Turns out, final diagnosis, the surgery was a success!
Now I only have a year of rehab to go. It will all be worth it to be able to lift something in my left hand heavier than a peanut jar. No,seriously, even the small one at this point would thrill me.
It has been greatly humbling to only have one hand. I tend to always have a ton of projects going on at any given time and tend to just muscle through when I encounter a problem or physical obstacle. You're talking to the maniac who once moved an entire apartment's worth of furniture to another apartment with an old Buick station wagon and sheer will power.  Of course, that WAS in college and boy was I sorry later.
The point is, I have a new found appreciation for the small things in life now- like elastic waist yoga pants. And husbands who will help you tie your shoes. And tv remotes, giant cozy robes that fit over a sling and clean hair after not being allowed to take a shower for 4 days.  And a husband who loves you anyway through it all AND brings you take out every night.
I've been given the all clear for light duty in the studio this week as long as I don't take off my sling.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lenny Campello, art critic and writer of the ever popular blog Daily Campello Art News, reviewed my recent solo show at the McLean Project for the Arts. He even included a charming video of the entire show!
To read it please visit his blog at

Or, you can read the text here below:

Novie Trump at MPA

Titled "Uncharted Sky: Recent Sculpture by Novie Trump", the exhibition that just closed at theMcLean Project for the Arts certainly charts a new path for this talented DC area artist and in my opinion can be considered as the breakthrough exhibition by Trump.

At McLean Trump flexes her artistic muscles in 11 works in ceramic, porcelain, glass, found objects, metal, stoneware, cork and an elegant assortment of porcelain bees. She also joins an emerging new movement centered around the Greater DC area that is breathing artistic life into genres of art historically associated with craft rather than high art. It is clear to see that over the years, artists like Margaret Boozer and the various artists working out of her Red Dirt Studio, as well as the wondrous Laurel Lukaszewski have begun to do to clay and to porcelain what the artists of the Washington Glass School, DC Glassworks and others have been doing to glass over the recent last few years. They are all the Alfred Stieglitzes of their genres.

And you can add Novie Trump to that select list of new revolutionaries dragging clay and porcelain away from the "crafts only" realm and erasing the lines that segregate craft from high art.

The exhibition is not only a triumph of technical skill, an inherent part of the genre itself, but sheer minimalism begins to emerge from some of the work as well. In "Out of the Fire," a gorgeous porcelain set of wings installed in a row on the wall, Trump uses the repetitive motif of the wings to set a sense of order to the piece and extend that sense of order and alignment to the rest of the show. It is the key work in the exhibition, the simplest and inherently the most elegant. It was also red-dotted, and so it will soon adorn a collector's home somewhere in the area.

Novie trump, Out of the Fire

Novie Trump. Out of the Fire. Porcelain. 7" x 50" x 2"

It happens again in "The Way Home", a dizzying wall piece of dozens of porcelain bees and a Stoneware hive that makes us wrestle with the visual idea offered in such elegant stylized manner that it allows Trump to marry a traditional piece in the Stoneware hive with a minimal and repeatable bee form that distills the art to its simplest offering. This piece also begins to demolish the Berlin Wall of art between art and craft.

Novie Trump. The Way Home. Porcelain bees, Stoneware Hive. 6' x 6' x 8"

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I spent the past four days in Chicago, attending SOFA, the Sculptural Objects and Functional Art Show, where top galleries from around the world showcase their
Once again, stunning. And thought provoking. And creatively stimulating.

There was a great deal of glass this year, much of it fantastic. And, of course, phenomenal work in clay. Below are some of my favorite works:

My dear friend and talented glass artist Tim Tate, with his new series of Illuminariums. Loved the way the light shone through the delicate glass blossoms and lit up the nest and bird perched on top. To learn more CLICK HERE

Another dear friend and talented sgraffito glass artist, Michael Janis, whose work I simply love.
His imagery is mysterious, delicate and deliciously evocative. His addition of gorgeous handwritten text that is almost, teasingly, legible adds another layer of mystery and unknown meaning to the work. To visit his website CLICK HERE

Cristina Cordova, a studio artist living in NC. Her figurative ceramic sculptures are always emotionally riveting and not always easy to look at. Loved the subtle variations of color on this massive wall piece.
To visit her website CLICK HERE

Marc Petrovic had gorgeous bell jars with delicate glass nests, birds and branches. To learn more visit his website at

Myungjin Kim had stunning ceramic still life assemblages at Ferrin Gallery. The carved detail was just astonishing. To see more images of her work at Ferrin Gallery CLICK HERE

A standing figure covered in crows by Mark Chatterly, a well-known figurative sculptor from Michigan. You can't see it in the photo but at the base there is also a scattering of crows. To visit his website CLICK HERE 

Loved these ceramic figures by Kathy Ruttenberg.  At first glance they seem sweet, like something out of a fairy tale. Then you come closer and realize that they are deliciously dark and slightly bent.
To see more please visit her website HERE

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tiles! Tiles! Tiles!

I was approached a few months ago by Madeline Tyler at Pine Crest Elementary School to donate my time to teach during their A.R.T.S. Day, a day where visiting artists come to the school and teach workshops to groups of kids for a day. I enthusiastically agreed to do it as I was fortunate enough to participate in several similar programs when I was in grade school and I think they are important. I also thinks it is important to pay it forward and give back what you can to the community.
I have to say I had an absolute blast. The kids were funny, polite and totally engaged. It's so great to be around that kind of unbridled enthusiasm and creativity!
At various points in my demonstration, as I would show them how to do different textures with the tools and stamps I brought along, gasps of oohs and ahhs would actually roll through the watching group of students. My favorite, though, was when I showed one of my tiles and a boy pronounced it, "Totally sick, man!" A high compliment indeed....

Saturday, October 31, 2009

I am currently visiting my family in Kinston, NC, a small town in eastern NC dotted with tobacco fields and stands of tall pines.
I spent every summer here on my grandparent's tobacco farm when I was growing up.
I loved the long, hot lazy summers on the farm: sitting on my grandmother's wrap around porch sharing ice cream cones with the hounds, hoeing endless rows of green beans, hauling irrigation pipes, eating ice cold watermelon cooled down in big washtubs of ice after a day in the fields, getting library books from the Book Mobile that came by once a week and parked in the field by the train tracks, sleeping at nights under the tin roof crackling from the heat.
While walking around the farm taking photos I realized where my love of old things came from, especially my love of all things with the patina of age. It was startling to realize that much of the imagery I use can be directly traced to the farm: cool round eggs gathered every morning from the hens, crows scavenging in the mown fields, thorny vines from my grandmother's flower gardens.
Below are some images taken around the farm:

  my grandfather's Ford truck

a side barn filled with old hand tools and oxen traces

my grandfather's favorite tractor

the cart that used to haul burlap sacks of cured tobacco leaves

the pond on the back of the farm