Healdsburg ceramic artist Joann Cassady returns to the Dolphin Gallery for her second two-person show with an assortment of pieces that illustrate the wide range of her ability, not only in form and firing methods but also in subject matter. Her work ranges from the whimsical to the traditional. In this show she highlights more of her colorful raku-fired fish and her environmental yard sculptures.
Using only the most basic tools, Cassady’s work is characterized by her reliance on traditional hand building methods and primitive firing techniques. Instead of molds she hand coils and pinches the clay into the desired shapes. “Not all my pieces succeed, but when they do the magic of the moment inspires me to create others,” she says.
Instead of glazes, Cassady often uses a labor-intensive process of hand burnishing with a polished stone. These pieces are fired in a pit dug in the ground and the colors are created by the swirling actions of the fire. For her, she says, the surface of a burnished piece is far more natural looking than the glossy look of a glaze. Whatever task she undertakes it is a hands-on activity. Because each creation is hand shaped, no two are alike.
Cassady finds relaxation creating her playful fish, bringing personality to each piece. Another aspect of her work is large garden environmental sculptures. To see the full array of her prolific work, visit her website, www.imakepots.com, or find her on Facebook.
Cassady studies under numerous potters, including internationally renowned Mexican potter Juan Quezada, founder of the pottery revolution of Mata Ortiz, where potters are free to develop their own style while reflecting the Casa Grandes tradition of the ancient Paquimé Indians. She has worked with the potters in Mata Ortiz for over 17 years and continues to do workshops in this area to share their techniques.
After graduating from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, Cassady had a career in graphic design on both coasts. In 2001 she resumed her passion for working with clay. Her work has appeared at numerous venues throughout Sonoma and neighboring counties. She has taught workshops at high schools, art centers, community centers and community colleges. Her work can be seen currently in galleries in Graton and Mendocino as well as at the Dolphin.
Photography had been Barbara Johannes’ avocation during a 40-year career in education. In retirement it has become one of her two main interests, as evidenced by this month’s exhibit, which includes a wide range of subject matter and various creative enhancements.
“It is my intent to create art that is both beautiful to look at and that evokes a response in the viewer such as touching a fond memory, giving a sense of security, bringing joy, or nourishing a sense of humor,” Johannes says. She pays special attention to the composition of each picture to bring out nuances of balance and lighting in sharply focused detail.
Johannes purchased her first SLR camera in 1970 and moved to a digital version in 1990. She feels digital art enhances details of placement, clarity, balance and exposure, she says, and the digital art format allows her to explore more imaginative compositions and whimsical framing that differentiates her distinctive approach.
For example, “Salal Creek Falls” captures a familiar setting many Sea Ranch hikers recognize, but the gnomes on the picture’s border add an amusing touch while evoking the magic of the scene. “It is very satisfying to share what I love with others,” she says.
Johannes is no stranger to local shows and participates in the annual Studio Discovery Tour and Art in the Redwoods. Her digital art and photography can also be found at the Discovery Gallery Artist Collective in Gualala.
Her second passion in retirement is playing the accordion, everything from pop standards to Zydeco and folk music. She shares her music at numerous venues including the Oktoberfest at the Surf Market, Art in the Redwoods and the Starcross Christmas Faire.
Visit barbarajanephotography.com to see more examples of her work.