About Dani Jeffries
Dani Jeffries is an artist living in her adopted home town of Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, and attended the University of Michigan - School of Art, where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1987. After graduation, she moved to Los Angeles, Detroit, Phoenix, and finally, in 2001, to Albuquerque. She has shown her artwork in galleries, art fairs, and competitions in Michigan, Florida, Washington D.C., Arizona, and New Mexico, and she has done a number of commissioned tile mosaic installations. She has won several awards including the Juror’s Choice Award at the 2011 Artprize competition in Grand Rapids.
Artists Statement- Short Version
In my ceramic tile mosaics I incorporate the imagery of the geometric patterns which are created by the use of pivot irrigation systems used in large scale farming. When viewed from an airplane, the patterns created on the ground look like a series of squares containing concentric circles that are bisected by diagonal lines connecting opposite corners of the squares. I have chosen a color palette for each piece that is representative of a specific place, time of day or season that I found to be exceptionally beautiful and harmonious.
In my most recent work, I have further abstracted the grids, circles, and lines by creating ceramic discs that are incised with intersecting lines and circles. The colors are chosen to encourage the sense of interconnection between each piece. This allows the viewer to mentally connect the pieces to each other while serving to move the viewer’s attention throughout the intersecting discs. Although each disc is separate, they begin to appear to be connected as one piece. The overall sensation is that of floating high above the ground and looking down at the patterns created.
Artist Statement- Long Version
When I was a kid, maybe 8 or 9 years old, I started doing this weird thing where every time I saw a square or rectangular thing (like a box or a tabletop) I would draw an imaginary line from each of the corners to the opposite corner. I would then determine where the center point was on each rectangle.
Not only would I avoid stepping on the cracks while walking down the sidewalk, I would also avoid stepping on the imaginary bisection lines that went from corner to corner! I actually realized recently that I still do this weird thing. It’s so constant that I’m usually not even aware that I’m doing it.
At some point while flying across the country I looked out the airplane window and saw thousands of acres of land that appeared to be divided up into squares, each square containing bisection lines and a series of concentric circles. You can probably imagine my excitement! It was deeply satisfying to my mind that had been so obsessed with this geometry. I loved the orderliness of it and the idea that the pattern was only visible from afar.
It wasn’t until much later that I discovered the source of the patterns was the pivot irrigation systems used in large scale farming. Essentially, a water line is attached at pivot point in the center of each square. At the end of each water line is a wheel that reaches to the edge of the square and turns in a large circle. Holes in the water line release a stream to the crops below.
As I progressed artistically, I started to understand that everything in life creates a pattern, and that they become more visible when viewed from a distance. The patterns are all inter-related and dependent on one another. In the larger scheme of things, I understood that everything is connected.
When I'm in between making the mosaics, I also enjoy working on some functional pieces. I find that they give me a respite from the grid. I enjoy playing with shape and color in a variety of ways and really exercising my skills with slip casting and hand building. Slip casting involves making a plaster mold, casting liquid clay (slip) into it, and then firing and glazing the resulting piece. I find it very satisfying to think of new and unusual ways to utilize this technique. My current group of slip cast objects is a series of handmade bowls of various sizes that are both useful and fun to look at.
2019- “Clay Matters” national competition at Epperson Gallery, Crockett CA. Juror Beth Ann Gerstein, Executive Director of The American Museum of Ceramic Arts.
2018- “A View From Above” Two man show at The Harwood Art Center, Albuquerque NM.
2018- “Friendly Fire” Group Show at Radian Gallery, San Francisco, CA.
2018- Group Show at Luanem Gallery, Albuquerque, NM.
2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017- 12x12 Show at The Harwood Art Center, Albuquerque NM.
2015 to 2016- Bright Rain Gallery, Old Town Albuquerque, New Mexico.
2015- “Merge” Solo Exhibition at A Spinal Health and Movement Center Gallery, Albuquerque NM.
2014- “Surface: Emerging Artists of New Mexico,” Harwood Art Center, Albuquerque NM.
2011- ArtPrize, Grand Rapids, MI, Westminster Presbyterian Church Venue- juried competition
2004- “Zing!” Three man show with Aaron Karp and Karen Wening, Coleman Gallery, Albuquerque NM-
2002- Gallery Blu, Santa Fe NM
2002- Jack of All Arts, Madrid NM
2001- “No Canvas, No Board, No Linen, No Paper” Shemer Art Center, Phoenix AZ- juried four man show
1999- Art in the Village, Livonia MI- juried competition
1999- The Art Center, Mount Clemons MI- juried competition
1998- Polk Competition: Art and Technology, Birmingham MI- juried competition
1998- Our Town, Birmingham MI- juried competition
1998- 17th Annual Helen DeRoy Art Competition, Farmington Hills MI- juried competition
1998- Art in the Village, Livonia MI- juried competition
1998- The Art Center, Mount Clemons MI- juried competition
1997- The University of Michigan Slusser Gallery, Ann Arbor MI- alumni show
1997- Botanicals- Sponsored by The University of Michigan, Dearborn- juried competition which traveled to Matthei Botanical Gardens- Ann Arbor MI, The Oakland County Building- Pontiac MI
1992- Artist’s Guild Gallery, Vero Beach FL- group exhibition
1991- Royal Oak Art Fair, Royal Oak MI- juried art fair
1991- Contribution of artwork for silent auction sponsored by Design Industries Foundation for A.I.D.S., Washington D.C.
1991- J. Walter Thompson Corporate Gallery, Detroit MI- two man show
1990- Posner Gallery, Ann Arbor MI- group exhibition
1988- Brownstone Gallery, Ann Arbor MI- group exhibition
1987- Michigan Union, Ann Arbor MI- group exhibition
1987- B.F.A. Show at the Rackham Galleries, Ann Arbor MI
1986, 1985- University of Michigan School of Art, Ann Arbor MI- scholarship competition show
1984, 1983, 1982- Festival of Arts, Grand Rapids MI- juried competition in photography and visual arts
2011- ArtPrize, Grand Rapids, MI, Westminster Presbyterian Church venue- Juror’s Choice Award
1998- Polk Competition: Art and Technology, Birmingham MI- Purchase Award Winner
1990- Festival of the Arts, Grand Rapids- Winner of the annual poster design competition
1989- Festival of the Arts, Grand Rapids MI- First runner up in annual poster design competition
1986- University of Michigan School of Art, Ann Arbor MI- Kalom Scholarship in photography
1985- University of Michigan School of Art, Ann Arbor MI- Dean’s Merit Awards in photography and ceramics
Process for Creating Original Tile Mosaics
The process of making tile mosaics is fairly simple, but very time consuming. The first step is to roll out the clay on a slab roller, which flattens the clay to a uniform thickness. Then I cut the clay into several different sizes of squares, which creates interesting mosaic patterns. I draw the designs into the surface of each tile, and then cover them to let them dry. The drying time can be up to two weeks. Once they are completely dry, I fire them in a bisque firing, which prepares them for the application of the glazes. After I've glazed them, they are fired again, and then they're finished. They are now ready for assembly into the final mosaic.
About Ceramic Handmade Bowls
I find that making easily recognizable functional pieces is a welcome break from working strictly as an abstract artist. In creating my series of handmade bowls, I use a technique called "slip casting." The first step is to hand build a bowl in the desired shape and size out of regular clay. Once it has dried, I make a plaster mold of the bowl, which produces an exact and detailed replica of the original bowl. After the mold has dried, I cast it using a liquid form of clay, called slip. After the bowl is cast, I let it dry completely, fire it in a bisque firing, and then I glaze it. After the glaze firing, it is finished.
Links to info about creating Tile Mosaics and Handmade Bowls
Instructional Information for Ceramic Tile Mosaics
Info about Slip Casting for Handmade Bowls