June 5, 2012

CONTACT: Katie Jahner, 908-887-0768,



‘Pop-Up’ Art Gallery Focused on Birth Makes an Entrance June 13

Media Tour Available June 12, 6 p.m.


HACKETTSTOWN, NJ–Hackettstown’s first “pop-up” art gallery will be popping into reality on June 13  from 4 to 8 p.m. in Patriot Health Care Plaza,  Suite 300 on Route 46 in Hackettstown.


A pop-up gallery operates along the same lines as pop-up restaurants and pop-up stores, an edgy, avant-garde concept in the art scene.  The gallery will show up seemingly overnight, display an art show for a short period of time, and then disappear as quickly as it came without much warning.


The art show, titled “Entrance”, features artwork about birth and motherhood. The opening reception for the show will be held in conjunction with the grand opening of the new Hackettstown Midwife offices also in Patriot Health Care Plaza on Wednesday, June 13th from 4pm to 8pm. 


The show features works from six artists, including Hackettstown locals Jahner and art teacher Dorothy Wasserman.   The other four artists, Laura Reynolds, Elizabeth Simmons Allen, Rebecca Coleman and Aundrea Frahm, are sending their works from studios around the country. Works range from photo collage to painting to sculpture. 


“This show isn’t just for moms.  Any “Entrance” art show viewer will find appeal as each piece makes a very real connection to an experience that each of us, as humans, has experienced,” said Jahner.


Teaming up with the artists are the Hackettstown Midwives. When Jahner approached the Hackettstown Midwives about her idea, they were happy to help out. “It made perfect sense to pair up with them,” said Jahner. 


Art work is available for purchase.  Half the proceeds from any artwork sales will go to the March of Dimes.  Without having to pay the usual 50% of an artwork’s price to a formal gallery, the artists involved in the show decided it would fit with their theme to donate the gallery cut for a cause they all cared about.


The art show will also be available to the public Monday and Wednesday from 9am-8pm, and Tuesdays from 9am-5pm starting the week of June 18th.  How long will the artwork be on display? That’s the fun of a pop-up gallery—you never know how long the work will be there, so pop in right away.




Can’t believe I haven’t posted in so long. But the good news is I’m busy with a new project.


I am curating my first show. I will post a whole blog post about it, but for now, I’m still looking for artists. Do you know any? Share this link.

The details: Show title is “Entrance”. It’s about thresholds a woman passes through from childhood to old-lady-hood…you know, pregnancy, birth, motherhood, all that good stuff. All work needs to be submitted ASAP–my advertisements say May 31st, but I’ll take stuff through June 8, since the opening got pushed back a bit.

If you know of someone whose work you think might be great in the show, email them, email me, post a comment, whatever. I have room for 2 more pieces, so get on it! 50% of proceeds from the show will go to charity, the other 50% will go to the artists. It’s going up in Patriot’s Plaza, near the new office of the Hackettstown Midwives. I’ll post more later…

My laptop is currently perched on the edge of the kitchen table tonight, crowded out by dirty dishes, mail, my sketchbook, our seedlings (we started our veggie garden indoors this year), and a myriad of other things.  There are shoes strewn on the floor, baby D’s toys occupying the living room floor, and laundry in baskets that needs to be folded.

But you know, it’s funny.  While some days I look around my house at 9pm and think, “dang, today I get a D- in house keeping skills”, tonight I’m not bothered by it a bit.  This week, my messy house just confirms that I am a healthy person.  Why is this?  Because when my house is clean, it means I was actually home to clean it.  And when my house is messy, it means I’m spending my minutes playing on the floor with baby, sneaking off to Kath’s for time in the studio, chatting with my husband, devouring mind-stretching books, and building warm relationships with friends.

And those things mean more to me than a clean house.

I have a quote on my bulletin board above my little home studio.  My mom clipped it out of a magazine and sent it to me a few months ago.  It says simply, “Cleaning the house while your children are growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.”

I love having that quote up in my studio, since I usually have to talk myself out of cleaning something in order to find time for the studio.

Ironically tonight, though, I need to clean my studio to make room to make more art.  Off to the studio, I go!



I walked through the door tonight after an evening of throwing at Kath’s to hear my husband exclaim, “it’s been a year since I’ve seen you look like that!”

Most women would take pride in this comment if it was made in reference to their bodies returning to prepregnancy weight after pregnancy and birth. Me? Forget it. I know he meant it about the clay on my jeans, and that means a heck of a lot more to me, anyway!

I have to admit it, I looked down at my jeans after B’s comment and thought to myself, “dang, I look good!”

Clay sure can make a girl look great.

Recently I’ve been reading this great book by Lisa Bloom entitled, “Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World”.  Each page leaves me dumbfounded at things I never knew about the world–like how eating beef contributes more to global warming than any other single factor (like driving, wasting electricity, etc) or how 3 million women are enslaved in sex trafficking.  I am in awe as I keep learning all the things that don’t show up on Google News or NPR (or maybe I just haven’t been listening to enough NPR lately).  Anyway, I feel like the past week I’ve been left contemplating ‘heavy’ things.  The more I read about the extreme poverty that one billion people live in, the stranger it feels to go grocery shopping or do laundry, you know?

So once again I’ve revisited that thought of, “really?  There are starving people out there, and I am going to spend the next hour making…art?”  Thankfully, that thought doesn’t dominate my mind very long any more, although I remember struggling as a teenager when I first fell in love with art.  I wanted to know how it was ‘okay’ for me to devote a life to art when I could devote a life to being an advocate for the poor, a physician for the sick, a voice for the silenced.  I read and thought and prayed about it for, well, years.   

Eventually I realized that these things were not mutually exclusive; being an artist doesn’t mean that I can’t be involved human rights.  I also realized that more important that what you DO is who you ARE.  And more than anything, I felt a divine voice encouraging me and whispering over and over, “keep going!  Be an artist! You can do it and make a difference in the world in the process!”

Now I have the combo of stay-at-home-mom added on top of that, and somehow making a difference in the world seems a lot harder when you can’t even get showered and dressed before noon.  I feed my daughter at dinner and can’t help but think, what can I do with the resources around me to help the other mothers who have nothing to feed their children?  I hop online to check my email and I wonder, what can I do personally to contribute to advancing education among women in developing countries? 

And how can I do it through art? 

I don’t feel frustrated by the thought, just challenged. 

So I’ll start by using the resources around me and ask: How would you do it?


I was never really into sketch books–well, that isn’t entirely true. I was never really into DRAWING in sketch books. Ironically, I always ended up writing.

It’s been a few years since I actually had a sketch book I drew in, but last night I found myself on the floor of our living room pouring over a sketchbook with sharpie markers and ball point pens. The past few weeks have been full of hosting family members here in our little apartment and I haven’t been spending much time in clay. Now that our visitors are gone and the house resembles some type of cleanliness, it’s time to get back to business.

I start on the pages with light colored marker and then switch to a darker color once the page is full….I just keep layering the ideas on top of each other until the ones that survive the evolution are in dark black marker sitting on top of 3 other layers of color.

My baby girl keeps me so busy that it’s easy to loose the momentum I find after a few nights in the studio…I’m hoping that my sketchbook will help me jot down the ideas that come to me between bites as I’m spoon feeding sweet potatos or playing peek-a-boo.

When my husband and I were engaged, he loved to register for our wedding.  Why, you ask?  Because at every place we went, someone would sit us down and a conversation like this would follow:

Employee: “So, since you are registering for your wedding, you’d probably like to take a look at our catalog of china patterns and pick out a setting for your guests to purchase.”

B (my husband): “Oh, no thank you.  We won’t be needing that.”  Big smile at me.

Employee: “Oh, really?  Have you already registered for china somewhere else?”

B: “No.  We don’t need to.  My wife is a potter, and she is going to make our china.”

Those conversations were happening years ago.  Three years ago, to be exact.  And for almost all of those three years, I have been working in porcelain, working on fairly functional pieces, and using mostly food safe glazes.  Now, after almost three years of marriage and a number of shows and countless hours in the studio, would you like to guess how many dishes in our cupboard were made by yours truly?

Yeah.  Like, less than 5.

Ironically, my last show was a show of place settings, but none of them are in my home.  Oh, yes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions…

We ate off of plastic odds and ends for the past two years until we finally broke down and sold our souls by buying some cheap, massed produced dishes from Ikea.  It was painful.

But there is good news. Great news, actually.  Amazing news.

I sent out one email to the right group of potters, and by 5pm found a woman who lives 5 minutes from me down the road who has been looking for a friend to share a studio with. She just ‘happens’ to have two wheels, two kilns, a slab roller, and a space for making things.  Amazing, I know.  This morning I was able to go visit Kathleen at her home to see her studio.  To her, it’s a mess spread between cinderblock walls and crowded by shelves of camping equipment and Christmas decorations in her basement, but to me, it’s heaven.  I am going to help her get things organized and production should start soon.

Now the ideas start to churn.  There is so much stuff flying around in my head I can’t even get it down.  I have already missed the deadline for a show I wanted to enter, and only 10 months left to meet my goal of entering 4 shows this year.  There are galleries I want to contact, a website in shambles that needs updating, and oh, clay, lots and lots and lots of clay….and glazes!  Oh my, glazes to mix and things to make and glaze and oh, oh, I am so excited….

But I think I have a feeling what will be the first thing I work on when I get the studio ready.  Dishes.

For my birthday this year, my mom sent me a subscription to Martha Stewart Living.  Each month features (among other things) a calender of Martha’s plans for that month. Let me tell you what Martha Stewart did today.  Today, January 30th, Martha “Begun forcing more paperwhite and hyacinth bulbs for displays”.  How nice.  And me? What was on my calender today?

I cleaned the bathroom.

I love the irony of looking at Martha’s schedule and kind of laughing that she can plan a whole day to “Take Down the Christmas Tree” (January 2nd), or “Bring a bowl of fresh eggs to the office” (January 9th).  Really, Martha?  That’s all you’re doing, all day?

I think she forgot to “clip coupons and go grocery shopping”  this month, cause I didn’t see it in her plans.

Sometimes I wish I could have a team of experts to carry out my creative wishes just like Martha.  She comes up with an idea and poof, they carry it out.  In some ways, I think that is brilliant.  She’s the classy version of Thomas Kinkade (Brandon and have chatted about how it is that Kinkade gets such a bad wrap by the art community, but Martha’s empire seems to slide by under the radar.  I think it’s kinda like how people who hate Walmart shop at Target, when really there isn’t that much difference between the principle of the two stores).  Sometimes I think it would be nice to pass off my ideas to a team of experts and have them build the rough drafts for me.  I would design my own line of bookbinding papers, functional dinner wear, sculptures, textiles, etc, etc….But then again, I’m so in love with the trail and error, the success and failure, the adrenaline that comes from little break throughs and pushing past the limits that I suppose art wouldn’t be any fun if it was delegated to other people.  If art could be totally delegated it would be about managing people instead of making art, and I’d much rather make art than tell other people what to do.

Tomorrow Martha plans to “clean and organize the potting shed”.  I think I will clean and organize my little potting table.  Potting means two different things to us, but this might be the closest my schedule aligns to Martha’s for decades to come.

(And yes, I did make it into the studio tonight.  30 minutes.  There.  I have accounted for my clay time!)


Be my guest to take that title as a punn.  Just thought I’d post a picture to show the rock forms I was talking about in the last post.

I have discovered the ap for WordPress, which means it is now 100% easier to upload pictures. Hooray !

For me, the whole idea of “arriving” is kinda silly.  But I would say that if I did have to pick a time when I felt like I was beginning to really understand what I was doing with clay, or perhaps gain some small form of mastery over my skills, it wasn’t really getting into a certain show or making a certain piece. I felt like I had “arrived” in some sense of the word when I realized I could work in clay without making a mess. As a beginning pottery student, I often felt that the more clay I had on my clothes, the more “hard core” I was. But as I watched guest artist after guest artists, I realized that the true clay artists worked without ever seeming to get dirty.  This boggled my mind when I was 20 and proved to be an impossible achievement until the age of about 25.

Working in a studio in my bedroom has given me the challenge of working as clean as possible. I sleep about 3 feet from my workspace. Ha, at least ‘sleeping in the studio’ is a lot better now that it doesn’t mean sleeping on some sagging, dusty sofa in B-66.  And now that my life has changed and my studio time is nap time, I have to be ready to hop up at a moments notice to pick up a crying baby. The result? Working cleaner than I ever imagined possible.

Additionally, as I’ve been continuing to make my little rocks (morphed to stacking rocks from stacking mom and baby bird like things), I’ve been trying to think about why I enjoyed natural childbirth so much. I can’t help but think it is linked to why I love clay. I love process oriented experiences. Working in ceramics gives one plenty of opportunity to experience pain and grueling hard work (I specifically think of chiseling shelves, making wadding, loading the soda kiln and bricking up the door in 25 degree weather in the dark), with the promise of success and satisfaction at the end of the labor. I guess clay has taught me that after the hard parts come the blissful parts.  I didn’t feel afraid of the pain in child brith.  I just accepted it as part of a beautiful process and tried to focus on how powerful my body was.

Okay, okay.  I’ll stop with childbirth and bring up something more universal.  Let’s talk about sacrifice in general. I wonder if we focus so much on sacrifice as self-deprivation that we forget that sacrifice has a purpose. Sacrifice is about giving up something good for something BETTER.


Earthworks Studio

Kelly Averill Savino

365 Trinkets

Purging the clutter, one trinket at a time.