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....