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Jackie Wride: Earthworks Artist

There is an ethereal beauty to the way Jackie Wride works her magic, it's as if she transfers a part of her essence into each and every sculpture no matter the size.  Wride has a very specific way of working that upon first glance seems controlled and organized but every piece she creates is intuitive and carries with it personal meaning.  You don't have to know what that meaning is to know that she loves every minute of making these unique sculptures. 

Not surprisingly at a young age Wride knew, and so did her family, that her path in life would be a creative one.  "Shape and texture from the earth" Wride says that is her vocabulary.   With any ceramic artist there is two paths as options in life, functional or sculptural, Wride falls into the sculptural but I would imagine a moment comes upon her and a functional piece is born.  It's rare but I have seen some beautiful vases that I have never seen anywhere else.  Wride's specialty is objects that have what she terms "embellished patterns" that feel ancient but are uniquely hers. 

Growing up in San Diego, Wride was exposed to the earth from the beginning.  Inspired by the ocean Wride vowed to always live near nature, near the surf and near the water and so she has.  You will never guess what is in her backyard, a creek.  From the moment she wakes up Wride is surrounded by nature and it's not just the botanical environment it's also the societal environment that has helped shape Wride trajectory.  Santa Cruz Wride says "seems more peaceful than Southern California, and the local community is more interested in art here."  

It's the community that has now become such an integral part of Wride's next evolution in her earthworks pieces.  "People like the idea of walking along the beach or a hiking trail and coming across a surprise" said Wride.  Her works are all across Santa Cruz County and nearby towns on beaches, near creeks and all within access to the public.  The goal of this body of work is simply to get the public to interact with her art and to evoke a reaction.  And possibly to change the way people think about the earth, because as news reports keep telling us, it's a fragile environment that keeps getting hit with pollution, illegal dumping and offshore oil drilling to name a few. 

While composing her earthworks installations, Wride takes several elements into consideration ones that do not play into a gallery type environment and which invigorate her creative process.  "I realize that when I am arranging my ceramic art into the landscape, shadows and reflections of the place become part of the composition, says Wride.  In her ceramic work Wride uses patterns in the clay inspired by landscapes and nature so it made sense to start incorporating these pieces, no matter how small, into the organic landscapes of nature.  

Residing in Ben Lomond, CA Wride has maintained a family life, finished graduate school at San Jose State University while welcoming the birth of her first child and accomplished a massive undertaking of uniquely hand built pieces for her Thesis project.  It was all of these challenges in her life that manifested into her art, unknowingly.  In her sculptural work from 2014 one can see tall structures that emphasize a 'balance' both literally and, knowing Wride's life, figuratively as well.  Wride says, "I know how to push myself, to meet my goals and get through it" which one can see in her work.  Determination is usually the backbone of success and when life throws challenges your way it is most likely for a reason.

Another venture to Wride's work is her summer program teaching students of all ages.  "Teaching is very rewarding to me because I want my students to be reminded how magical the world really is and feel positive about life."  Wride has been teaching summer classes in San Diego and has now brought her craft to Santa Cruz County with classes in ceramic sculpture, painting, glass fusing and mosaics.  The best part is that every aspect of creation happens at the same location because Wride has her own kiln, to fire ceramic sculptures, which allows her students to go home with finished work at the end of the weekly session. 

To work with Jackie Wride this summer check out her Summer Arts Program in Ben Lomond, CA.

The placement of each piece in Wride's installations is how she operates, even going so far as to carry jars of specific designs together to make sure they are placed in order.  Photo © Aimee Santos

Surfers wandered into Wride's Davenport Landing installation after a day of surfing.  The interaction of the community is an important element of Wride's installations that truly excites her.  Photo © Aimee Santos

Detail of the organic curves in Wride's work.  Photo © Aimee Santos

Detail of one of Wride's mosaic fountains.  Photo © Aimee Santos

Earthworks Sculpture from January 9, 2015 by Jackie Wride in Santa Cruz, CA.  Photo courtesy of the artist.

Even Wride's smallest pieces hold elements of her balancing theme that travels throughout all her pieces.  Photo © Aimee Santos

In addition to her ceramic and earthwork installations Wride also does commission pieces like this fountain that has thousands of individual ceramic pieces.  Wride plans out these fountains months in advance, knowing the color scheme, and details all in her head.  In the final execution of the fountain it is all intuitive as well as functional.  If you want one click the image and contact her for more information.  Photo © Aimee Santos

'Gaviota'  installation of found organic materials, ceramics, porcelain, and stoneware cone 018 to cone 10, silver and bronze lost cast wax method castings, glass fusings.   Dimensions 14'x8'x10' Photo © Aimee Santos

Jackie Wride adds freshly moulded clay to an arch piece that holds multiple fired clay pieces all created by Jackie's hands.  Photo © Aimee Santos

Earthworks Sculpture from January 23, 2015 in Ben Lomand, CA by Jackie Wride.  Photo courtesy of the artist.

Detail of installation 'Gaviota' that incorporates wood, ceramics, sand, found materials from nature.  Photo © Aimee Santos

Professor Stan Welsh visits with Jackie Wride in her graduate studio at San Jose State University.  Graduate students were required to explain their process to professors both from their committee and faculty auditioning for committees.  The process of explaining one's art is an important part of graduate school and Wride enjoys speaking with everyone about her art and her process.  Photo © Aimee Santos

As a ceramic artist tools can be from everywhere from traditional to conventional.  In this case a rolling pin used to flatten out clay ended up on the beach while Wride creates fresh sculptures to add to her installations at Davenport Landing in Davenport, CA.  Photo © Aimee Santos

A charcoal drawing by Wride hangs in the hallway of her graduate studio at San Jose State University.  Photo © Aimee Santos

Earthworks Sculpture from January 16, 2015 by Jackie Wride in Santa Cruz, CA.  Photo courtesy of the artist.

Wride becomes immersed in her installation at Davenport Landing in Davenport, CA.  Photo © Aimee Santos

Sculptures waiting for glaze are specifically placed in order at Wride's studio.  Every time she leaves for the day she makes sure everything is clean and orderly.  Photo © Aimee Santos

Peering through one archway to view another at Davenport Landing in Davenport, CA.  Photo © Aimee Santos

Organically shaped sculptures flow through the floor of a student gallery at San Jose State University's Art Building.  Photo © Aimee Santos

Wride's shoes fill with sand during her installation at Davenport Landing.  The earth is incredibly important to her art it's an element that puts her at peace and inspires her at the same time.  Photo © Aimee Santos

A detail of a coaster sculpted by Wride shows how every single element has details.  Photo © Aimee Santos

Wride sculpts elaborate pieces that holds detail after detail the closer and closer one looks.  Photo © Aimee Santos

Remnants of branches cast a shadow from the night lights on her graduate studio walls at San Jose State University.  Photo © Aimee Santos