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Connie norman words and patterns.

WYOMING CERAMICS ARTIST CONNIE NORMAN recently decided to mix a little work with pleasure when she visited Las Vegas, Nevada, for the first time and graciously conducted several workshops at the Clay Arts Vegas studio in downtown Las Vegas' Arts District. Norman also exhibited approximately 40 pieces of smaller works in the four to nine inc.h range--debuting her latest Bra Bowls collection, which is dedicated to women who have survived breast cancer.

"A friend just survived breast cancer, so these pieces are about how she had to get to know her body all over again," Norman said. "As far as I know, these bra bowls are unique to me."

Two bra bowls featured in the Las Vegas exhibition, Hugs and Kisses and Find Your Voice depict Norman's trademark style of mixing text, patterns, texture and colour. She strives to choose phrasing that strikes a personal meaning with the beholder, while aesthetically melding into each piece's pattern of colour and texture.

The Las Vegas exhibition, Connie Norman: Words and Patterns, was also the first instance where the artist used various underglazes. These segregated areas on the pieces--shiny, satin and matte--fused into different colours not only worked well together, but also were beautiful in appearance and pleasurable to the touch. Norman pointed out that she is using much more layering in her pieces than in the past.

As Dawn Birds Twill is an example of the artist's honed technique of mixing shiny, satin and mat textures, as is Dogs Should Be Allowed In Restaurants. Other playful pieces that stood out at the Las Vegas exhibition included I Get My Email Through My Microwave, two sizes, something cooked up about her own mother; Kiss Slowly, a little motherly advice to her 5 year old son and One Bourbon. One Scotch. One Beer, a cup fitting for any casino venue in Las Vegas.

"I hope that some words might inspire people," Norman said of what drives her passion for ceramics. "I like the idea that pots go home and form a bond with a person."

Norman said she prefers to build each piece utilising a combination of handbuilt techniques, as opposed to using a potter's wheel. She presses each letter of movable type into the clay and cuts out each design from masking tape. Each ceramic piece represents stories and memories from her life. She also likes to use two different types of clay--red and white, admitting that many artists do not do this for fear of cross-contaminating their projects. Norman said she is able to work in the two clays because she has developed a thorough process of cleaning her studio.

Fragrant Sage, a beautiful little vase, was a perfect example of Norman's red-clay technique at the Las Vegas exhibition. "1 like the wording and colour in Norman's pieces," said John Gregg, co-owner of Clay Arts Vegas. "It is unique. We do not have anyone in Las Vegas doing this. Everyone who has seen the exhibition just thinks it is wonderful." Connie Norman is recognised internationally for her fine arts ceramics.

A Review by Art Nadler

Art Nadler is a journalist who lives and works in Las Vegas, Nevada, US.

Connie Norman is represented at the Plinth Gallery, Denver, Colorado; Crimson Laurel, Bakersville, North Carolina; District Gallery, Park City, Utah; The Works Gallery, 303 Cherry St., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and The Artful Home, The Guild (www.theartful-home.com) (www.connienorman.com) (www.clayartsvegas.com).
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Author:Nadler, Art
Publication:Ceramics Art & Perception
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2014
Words:571
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