Alamance Artisans Guild Art Extravaganza!!!

Posted by on Aug 30, 2017 in Blog, News | Comments Off on Alamance Artisans Guild Art Extravaganza!!!

On Saturday, October 14 and Sunday, October 15, 2017, 25 artists will gather at the Vailtree Event & Conference Center in Mebane, NC for the first annual Alamance Artisans Art Extravaganza.

I’ll be there with my jewelry, featuring new earring designs and bracelets.

The times each day are:

October 14:  10AM-5PM
October 15:  noon – 5 PM


Vailtree Event & Conference Center
1567 Bakatsias Lane
Haw River, NC 27258, USA

There will be a preview exhibition featuring work by the participating artists at Adamance Arts, located at the Captain White House, 213 S. Main St., Graham, NC 27253

Dates for the preview exhibition are Thursday, October 5  – Monday, October 16, 9am–5pm

*Note: Alamance Arts will be closed Sunday., October 15

For more information, visit the Extravaganza website at:

The Arts Business Institute!

Posted by on Mar 15, 2013 in Blog | Comments Off on The Arts Business Institute!


ABI logo


WOW, The Arts Business Institute published an Artist Profile about me today!


Here are descriptions of the mission and faculty of the ABI, from their website:

Since 1994, The Arts Business Institute has provided thousands of successful studio artists with a structured curriculum developed by top creative entrepreneurs, top selling artists, gallery owners and marketing experts. We even offer personalized consulting services to help you apply what you have learned to your own business.

The Arts Business Institute  faculty is composed of nationally known artists, gallery owners, arts management consultants, authors and small business professionals recognized in their field for innovative programming and presentation.


At this site, you can get all kinds of information on the business of art, from marketing, pricing your work, booth design, working with galleries, you name it.  And you can subscribe to their blog, a wealth of information, written by Executive Director Carolyn Edlund.

Carolyn is also the founder and author of Artsy Shark.  Both sites are great resources for artists and collectors.  If you are not familiar with these sites, do check them out.

artsyshark logo


Click Here for  the post about my work.

Thank  you, Carolyn!!!




Keeping Up Appearances – Behind the Scenes

Posted by on Mar 15, 2013 in Blog | Comments Off on Keeping Up Appearances – Behind the Scenes


postcard for 2012 NCECA show Dynamic Narratives


My sculpture, Keeping Up Appearances, is now in Houston for the national conference of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts.  The theme of this year’s conference is Earth and Energy.

Fellow artist and curator, Cindy Billingsley is setting up our exhibit, entitled (in keeping with the theme) Dynamic Narratives.  Cindy has gathered an amazing group of artists from all over the country, including Hawaii, to show in this exhibit.  She has worked tirelessly for a year, maybe more.  I am thrilled and honored to be included in this group.

A couple of images from behind the scenes here in North Carolina:

Jason Dowdle photographing Keeping Up Appearances.  Can you believe all the lights and filters?

Jason Dowdle photographing Keeping Up Appearances by Cindy Biles resized for blog photography

 It’s great to be the center of attention!


Figuring out the correct box size to ship the piece to Houston:

Keeping Up Appearances in box resized for blog

 Gaak!  Don’t fence me in!

Perhaps I have an overactive imagination, but sometimes the work takes on a life of its own!

Just read on the Dynamic Narratives Facebook site that everyone’s art arrived safely.  Cindy and Amber (who traveled all the way from Hawaii) are setting up the exhibit.

Soul Mates

Posted by on Mar 15, 2013 in Blog | Comments Off on Soul Mates

Way back in the summer of 2009, I created a piece, entitled Body Guard, that was inspired by a photo that I found on the Internet.  I was working on a series of sculptures of people and their companion animals. In the photo is a girl, Phoebe Zickefoose, holding the family’s much beloved dog, Chet Baker.  The photo was taken before then, since I think Phoebe was 11 at the time and is all grown up now. Chet continues to be the apple of everyone’s eye, and rightly so.


Phoebe holding Chet-The Picture

Phoebe and Chet

After receiving permission from Phoebe’s mom, Julie (an amazing artist, writer, naturalist, the list goes on), I sculpted the piece and posted about it.

The photo was for inspiration and I was not trying to create a likeness of anyone.  Funny thing, when my brother saw an image of the piece before glazing, he said, “That looks like you in high school!”  So I changed the colors, etc. and the piece doesn’t look at all like the young lady who started it all.

What struck me was the mutually protective stance of the girl and the dog, hence the name Body Guard.


Cndy's High School photo resized for blogBodyguard resized for blog

Me in high school                                            Body Guard

One of the many things I loved about the photo of Phoebe was her gorgeous hair and, for all of this time, I have wanted to create another sculpture based on this photo.  In the new piece, I gave the girl big hair to accentuate this beautiful accessory, and changed other things–filling out her face and altering the dog’s markings.  Not that Phoebe and Chet aren’t wonderful just as they are, but I was not trying to sculpt perfect likenesses of them.  I wanted to capture the essence of the photo, as it spoke to me.

Here are some images of the work in progress:

Kindred Spirits in kiln resized for blog

In the kiln, preparing for first firing.  In the background are test tiles for a future piece.


Kindred Spirits in progress side view resized for blog

First firing a success!


Kindred Spirits back movement by Cindy Biles resized for  blog

I love the gesture (and the big hair!), evident in this photo


Kindred spirits more layers of color resized for blog

More layers of underglaze applied and ready for second firing


Kindred Spirits by Cindy Biles art clay ceramic sculpture dog figurative

Soul Mates

photo by Jason Dowdle

I’ve never met the Zickefooses, hope to someday, but, from what I know in reading Julie’s blog and website, Kindred Spirits seems an apt name.

Houston, We Have an Exhibit

Posted by on Mar 12, 2013 in Blog | Comments Off on Houston, We Have an Exhibit

Keeping Up Appearances by CIndy Biles website sculpture clay ceramic


My latest piece, entitled, “Keeping Up Appearances,” addresses societal pressures and expectations.  It has been in my mind for AGES.  The opportunity to make it real outside of my head came when fellow artist Cindy Billingsley invited me to join an amazing group of artists to show at the national conference of NCECA.  That’s National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts and this year it is in Houston, Texas from March 20-23.  Our exhibit is called “Dynamic Narratives.”

Photographer Jason Dowdle did a brilliant job of finding just the right angle to get every detail in one shot.  Just so you could appreciate the mink’s googly eyes (why did we do this to these poor animals???), here is a detail shot:

Keeping Up Appearances Detail by Cindy Biles for website clay sculpture ceramic

If you visit the  Facebook page for our show, you’ll see some of the other pieces.  I am so thrilled to be a part of this group!

Cindy asked us to write a short description for our work and here is mine (just A LITTLE tongue-in-cheek):

As a young child growing up in the early 1960s, I thought it curious that gender roles were so strictly defined and found some of the “rules” questionable. The woman, as wife and mother, was expected to take sole care of the children, keep an immaculate house, and have cookies baked in case company dropped by. No matter what transpired during the day, she had to look good and be pleasant when her husband came home.  She didn’t leave the house without make up and her purse had to match her shoes. Above all, she had to project to the public an image that all was perfect in her world.

Family and peers strictly enforced these mores, driving one’s behavior and, often, mindset.

My father helped out more than most husbands in our neighborhood and my mother seemed to be happy. Still, I think there were times she felt unfulfilled and without options. (Of course, the same can be said for the men, who were usually the sole breadwinners and expected to be able to adequately provide for their families.)

Today, women and men have many choices, but we still experience pressures that challenge our values and often influence our behavior. This could be to be thinner, purchase all of the latest gadgets, buy expensive cars, enroll our children in prestigious schools, and to push them to participate in activities they don’t enjoy. All to appear more affluent and boost social standing. Peer pressure is ageless and timeless.


If my purse had to match my shoes, I would be in trouble!  And pristine house and cookies? Good luck with that!

Well, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted to this blog, so will try to catch up on the highlights of the last several months.




Arts Access: Arts for All

Posted by on Mar 10, 2013 in Blog | Comments Off on Arts Access: Arts for All


NC Arts Council logo

On March 9, I attended a fantastic all-day workshop in Cary, NC on developing arts programs that provide access to people with all levels of ability.

Here is the official description:

“Arts for All: Including School-Age Children with Disabilities in Arts Education.”

Arts Access, Inc. is pleased to present a one day workshop led by Jaehn Clare on strategies for including children of all abilities in arts education activities. Jaehn is currently employed with the Woodruff Arts Center, as a Professional Learning Drama Teaching Artist and a Georgia Wolf Trap Teaching Artist. She works with the Alliance Theatre’s Institute for Educators and Teaching Artists, teaching in-school residencies with young students, as well as working with the Arts Partners program and the Woodruff Arts Center Professional Learning Initiative.

Topics to be included:

•             Principles of Universal Design for Learning and how to apply them

•             Activity Modification and Inclusion Strategies

•             Breakout sessions for  performing arts and visuals artists

Arts Access is the state organization on arts and disability and is receiving funds from the VSA/Kennedy Center to implement activities to support including school art children in the arts.  This workshop is being presented in partnership with the NC Arts Council and the Department of Public Instruction.

Most artists-in-the-schools probably have little or no formal training as educators (myself included). We just have a passion for our art and for sharing.  There were some hands-on activities and Jaehn and other experts present answered so many questions!   We all left with lots of new ideas and strategies that we can put into practice right away.

Sounds like there will be some follow-up workshops and I’ll be looking forward to attending those as well!

Arts Access in Raleigh, NC, click here.


The Governor Morehead School

Posted by on Mar 1, 2013 in Blog | Comments Off on The Governor Morehead School

Governor Morehead School mask for blog


In February, I had the wonderful experience of conducting workshops at the Governor Morehead School in Raleigh, NC. Students there have varying degrees of visual impairment, including total blindness.

This required me to design programs that would have meaning to people who may have lost their sight some time after birth, as well as those who have never had the gift of sight.  Their fantastic art teacher, Ms. Zincone, also explained to me that incised lines would be difficult to detect for many students, so I created models with raised lines.  (These included insects on leaves.  I gave these models to the school and don’t have photos.)

Students from elementary to high school, some with developmental and learning challenges in addition to their visual impairments, participated.  In some cases, the class focused on counting and shapes of familiar objects.


My model of a pizza–we could talk about the number, shapes and textures of the different toppings.

 Biles clay pizza for governor morehead school for blog

 One student liked seafood, so he made a shrimp and cheese pizza!

Governor Morehead School shrimp pizza for blog



In others, the themes included more abstract concepts, for example, symbolism in masks and their functions different cultures.

This student, inspired by his cat, made a wild, feline-themed mask.


Governor Morehead School cat mask for blog



I had a great time and I think the students did, too.



African Animals – Lions and Rhinos and Apes, Oh My!

Posted by on Dec 20, 2012 in Blog | Comments Off on African Animals – Lions and Rhinos and Apes, Oh My!


AIS lions resized for blog

In addition to a particularly busy fall and holiday season, I had an artist-in-the-schools residency in Raleigh in mid-December.  It went great!  The art teacher fully prepared her students for my visit. This makes a huge difference and I have been very lucky in that regard with most of my artist-in-the-schools workshops and residencies.

The theme was Animals of the African Biomes and it coordinated well with classroom studies and the previous art project, silhouettes of African animals in their biomes.  So students were pretty familiar with the shapes of these animals.  We discussed considerations when working with clay (gravity is a big one), and 2-D vs. 3-D work. Also, now students could provide the viewer with more information about their animals (compared to the silhouettes) by using surface texture during the sculpturing process.  Later they will paint their pieces and can add even more details.

I took a ba-jillion photos–here are a few.

AIS African animals clay aritst-in-the-schools resized for blog

I Coulda Had a V-8!


AIS elephant rezied for blog

There were lots of elephants and rhinos


Sleeping giraffe AIS resized for blog

A very sweet sleeping giraffe


The school kiln was not working reliably, so I brought all sculptures (about 125) home to my studio to dry and fire. This meant they had fit in my van and survive intact the hour-plus drive home.  So we planned to keep the work to a certain size and could not include the biome, as I would have liked.  I figured I could fit half of the work in my van at a time so we scheduled two 2-hour classes each day.  Since these were 5th graders, that worked well–they were able to complete their animals in that time. As it turned out, the pieces were bigger than I imagined so we filled up the van each time.


AIS majestic lion resized for blog

Another lion, very majestic


For 3 weeks I had two 8 foot tables full of African animals.  Although several biomes were represented it looked like the Serengeti Desert to me, if the Serengeti was that organized.

Imagine 16 feet of this!

AIS African Animals artist-in-the-schools Serengeti Biles resized for blog


Two very full kiln loads and many boxes of little masterpieces to return to the school.




Kitty Commission

Posted by on Dec 20, 2012 in Blog | Comments Off on Kitty Commission


California cats all eyes resized for blog


In October, a friend asked me to create a sculpture of her sister’s five cats so she could give it to her as a Christmas present.  First thing was to get a lot of photos of the cats without letting her sister know why.  Next thing was getting photos of these active fur babies from as many angles as possible!

She got enough for me to capture some likenesses and the personality of the kitties.  There are two black cats, so I ordered a second shade of black underglaze.

Juni has most unusual markings and is the smallest cat so I wanted her to be at the top of the pile

California cats close up resized for blog


Keiko always looks (to me anyway) like he is ready for mischief

California cats Keiko for blog

Her sister lives in California and my friend was flying there, so sturdy construction without being too heavy were priorities in designing and sculpting the piece.  I usually build hollow, using coils and slabs.  However, due to the complexity of this piece, I built it solid, then cut it apart and hollowed it out.   After that, I had to reassemble it like a puzzle.

Any part sticking out would be at risk of breaking.  However, the biologist in me just would not allow me to have tails wrapped around the cats’ bodies since cats in a situation like this would need to use their tails for balance.

California cats tails resized for blog

In this photo, the  piece had not been fired yet.


Since my friend  packed the piece well, and was flying first class so was able to store it on the plane, it got to California in great shape!

By the way, surface treatment is mostly underglazes, with glazes on the eyes.  All of the eyes were of slightly different colors and I portrayed that in the sculpture, using 2 or 3 different colors for each eye, not counting the black for the pupil.  You never know what  you’re going to get when the kiln works its magic, but I was pretty pleased with the result.  My friend and her sister were, too!

California cats Moku for blog

Moku has blue eyes.


Photos by Cat Manolis and Cindy Biles.  Thanks, Cat!



The 2012 Saxapahaw Holiday Market

Posted by on Dec 11, 2012 in Blog | Comments Off on The 2012 Saxapahaw Holiday Market

 Saxapahaw Holiday Market 2012 resized for blog

Saxapahaw was a mill town and is still dotted with small homes that have been lovingly renovated.  About 15 years ago, a tornado swept through here–it traveled down our property line, scared the heck out  of our horses, and cut a path to the center of  the village. The mill, which was still in operation, was badly damaged. It took a while, but the Jordan family and others in the community restored the mill and adjacent buildings and Saxapahaw is enjoying a renaissance as an eco-friendly place with both visual and performing arts (Paperhand Puppets and music events), wonderful restaurants serving locally produced food, a pub, art gallery, winery, antique and book shops, and more.  A few years ago, Tom and Heather LaGarde offered to allow local businesses to have a holiday show in their Ballroom, which is what used to be the dye room of the mill.  This year we had more vendors than ever before, and a parade!  Apparently, years ago, Saxapahaw had a holiday parade, so it was nice to revive this tradition.  As before, we had wonderful live music.

Out of the Fire had a booth there, with small sculptures and ornaments.

Pet Peeve business card holder resized for blog

One of my Pet Peeves. This one holds business cards and he sold minutes after I unpacked him!

I made only one–note to self–MAKE MORE!!!!


I always like to have something new for each show and people have noticed.  It was wonderful to have clients visit and get another ornament again this year, saying one of their holiday traditions is to get a new ornament from me.

New this year maiolica snowmen:

Biles Snowman ornament resizd for blog


Below, snowflake ornaments.  Our local gallery, Saxapahaw Artists, carries these colors, so I came up with another color to sell at my booth.  Can’t believe I didn’t get a photo–will have to so that!
snowflake med blue resized for blog Snowflake teal resized for blog

Snowflake ornaments at Saxapahaw Artists Gallery


We also had a clay table and kids (of all ages) could make an ornament.  Even toddlers make an ornament, with the help of their parents, and new parents made an ornament to commemorate their baby’s first Christmas. I took them to the studio, fired them, and people could come and glaze them.

boy glazing ornament class out of the Fire resized for blog

Young artist glazing his ornament


ornaments 2012 resized for blog

A tray of ornaments, glazed and ready for their second firing.


ornaments made by kids Saxapahaw Holiday Market 2012 resized for blog

How cute are these?


snowman ornament mady by baby Saxapahaw Holiday Market 2012 resized for blog

A three year old girl made this lovely ornament.  It is very elegant-the photo does not do it justice.