February 25, 2006

Jane Kaufamann
Raku Potter

and so much more...

The first time I saw one of Jane Kaufmann's sculptures, was when I was in college. My roommate had her "Sunman" finger puppet. I thought it was wonderful. A few years later (in the late 70's) I saw her at the Sunapee Fair. I was in awe. Here was a woman living her art and doing it with a family and doing it daily. I still had not met her as I was way too shy to actually go up and speak with her. But I admired her from afar ... for a long time.

I followed her work and finally late in the 90's I met her! I took a pottery class with Karen Orsillo to learn how to work with mason stains to make colored clay and Jane was there. Finally! I was able to meet the legend. She invited me to stop by her house and so of course I did. Her home is an amazing place. Gardens on its hillside location with beautiful artwork strewn throughout the out of doors and of course into the house. Everywhere is art. Art from many of the artists she has known, inspired, worked with and alongside of. Oh! I forgot to say that when you drive up to her home, you view her raku set up in the driveway nestled into the hillside. I liken the site to the lovely iron scraps in Portsmouth Harbor. It shows beauty in work. The purpose for what goes on in the place. I like that in a city and in a person. Don't hide it under a designer lid. Show what is real. That is Jane.
When we opened artstream we spoke with Jane about carrying her work. At the time it wasn't perfect for her for expanding her gallery base. She works really hard making these labor intensive pieces at very affordable prices. Then the day came when she sent us a letter telling us, yes, she could bring us into her fold and she liked what we were doing enough to have us sell her work. Yea!

How to sum up Jane in this blog ? This is such a small space and is way too difficult - there is far too much depth in Jane's work to show it all here. Please go take a peek at her wonderful website to learn more about this artist, activist, mother, writer and wonder called Jane Kaufmann. Come into artstream and take home something wonderful from her collection. Everyone needs one ... one more short story for this incredibly long entry ...

A family from New Zealand, (who now live in Singapore), were on vacation in New England and stopped into the gallery last fall. They had been touring around New ENgland for a month and looking for an artwork to take home as a rememberance of their trip. They were leaving the next day, sadly empty handed - until they came in and fell in love with one of her huge raku orbs entitled "Yellow Sky". We packed it up and sent it on the plane back with them. A couple of months ago they sent me an email which said it brought delight to them everyday, sparked conversations with visitors at their home and reminded them of the lovely tour of New England they enjoyed last fall. That is how I feel about the pieces I own of Jane's work. They bring joy.

On the technical side of things raku pottery is a labor intensive process. To learn more about it just visit Jane's site... take the tour. The physical nature of raku and the size of these orbs (they run from 5 inches high to 20 inches or more!) make it a mystery to me how this tiny woman works it. But she does it ... and with so much passion. Hats off to Jane Kaufmann - hurray for her art, her ideals and her passion and way of living!

The word for the day is ... juggle ... as in your schedule, your dreams, and your life.

1 comment:

Mary Anne Davis said...

Jane Kaufmann is a wonderful artist, full of esprit and whimsy. Well done, Susan for highlighting her work!