I met Jennifer through a friend. She has an easy-going cheerful personality, she is an Art Instructor at ECC, and she does ceramics. I took the liberty of “stealing” her bio from her website:
“Jennifer Higerd grew up in a small town in Northwest Kansas. She received her BA cum laude in French, Political Science, and International Studies from Kansas State University and a Diplôme d’Études Françaises (Diploma of French Studies) from the Université de Rennes II in Rennes, France. She earned a BFA cum laude in Graphic Design and an MFA in Ceramics from Fort Hays State University.
She has travelled extensively in Western Europe, particularly in France, and taught in the Ivory Coast in West Africa. In the U.S., Jennifer has taught a variety of subjects to high school students, hearing impaired students, college students, and adult learners.”
Meet Jennifer. A talented your artist exploring abstract organic shapes, who resides in Washington, MO. I am sure the students at ECC are happy to have her as a teacher!
This is part of Jennifer’s newest project. In her work she explores the circular shape. The circles resemble plant cells, and carry the symbolic meaning of wholeness and completion.
Jennifer loves ceramics because of the texture, shapes, and forms. She started working with clay back in 2001, and this is her second year as instructor at ECC.
Her work usually consists of many small pieces that come together to form a whole, just like the elements in nature. Jennifer cuts these vessels into numerous circles that later on will form a piece of art.
It is a process with a couple of stages, that evolves on its own, with no strict measurements and direction. A random flow, guided but not manipulated by the artist.
The circles are ready to go in the kiln, and then they are being pieced together with wire.
Work in progress. Fascinating, isn’t it?
One of Jennifer’s other projects are these beautiful shells from her “Settling” series. When she first started making them she used water balloons and made plaster mould around them. Now she uses slipcasting to create the whimsical egg-shaped shells that resemble a half of a seed.
Some of the shells have extra texture, achieved by putting pieces of dried up clay in the casting mould.
Jennifer’s art is very organic, and she prefers to stick to natural, earthy tones. A recurring theme in her work is wholeness vs incompleteness: bringing pieces together to form a whole and taking them apart to show that the whole is formed out of individual parts.
Jennifer likes to work on a couple of project simultaneously, but they all fit in the main theme of her work. For her Mosaic she uses recycled clay mixed with glaze, which makes for different textures and coloring. The Mosaic dries naturally under the forces of the air and the sun, and breaks into pieces on its own.
The pieces come together like a puzzle, another example of incompleteness and wholeness.
I am fascinated by the stages in Jennifer’s work. The clay in the buckets is being collected from the sink where her students wash their hands, and then it is being transformed into a piece of art. It’s the perfect cycle where nothing gets wasted.
I think Jennifer’s artist’s statement sums up her work the best: “My goal is to create space, a sense of repose, an escape from the chaos of the modern world. The viewer is invited into a quiet place to reflect on the work and its meaning. The decoration and patterns are intended to be meditative, much in the same way a labyrinth was used. As the eye circles and examines the patterns of the piece, the viewer slows down and is drawn in. The works are thus quiet and introspective and provide a refuge.”
You can visit Jennifer’s website here. Some of her “Settling” pieces are available for purchase at the Art Center Gallery and Custom Framing in Washington, MO.