Art Fix Friday: March 9, 2018

The New York Times created an online interactive to address the previous omission of obituaries for 15 remarkable women. “Obituary writing is more about life than death: the last word, a testament to a human contribution,” writes the Times. “Yet who gets remembered—and how—inherently involves judgment.”

The previously overlooked figures include author Charlotte Brontë, journalist Ida B. Wells, photographer Diane Arbus, poet Sylvia Plath, and Bollywood legend Madhubala.

Front-Page Femmes

NMWA’s latest exhibition Women House receives rave reviews from the Washington Post Express, Brightest Young Things, and WTOP.

NMWA writes an article for Hyperallergic about the challenges in collecting data about women artists of color.

Facebook censored an image of 30,000 year-old nude statue known as the Venus of Willendorf.

Laurence des Cars, director of the Musée d’Orsay, discusses gender imbalance in museum leadership positions.

A new book, Firecrackers: Female Photographers Now, features work by 33 contemporary artists exploring various aspects of identity, politics, and history.

Janelle Monáe has taken the concept album to complex heights,” writes the New Yorker.

Google Doodle team leader Jessica Yu says, “A moderate dose of imposter syndrome plus a strong work ethic can actually be quite helpful.”

Google featured 12 women artists to celebrate International Women’s Day. The Standard shares their list of ten artists.

The New York Times profiles Celia Paul

After four decades in the shadows as Lucian Freud’s partner, painter Celia Paul gains recognition for her “soulful and melancholy portraits.”

“[Sally] Mann’s fascinating clinical distance adds another eerie layer to [her] pictures,” says The New Yorker.

Oscar-nominated films with a woman in the starring role are more profitable that those with male protagonists.

NPR defines “inclusion rider” and its relevance in actress Frances McDormand’s Oscar acceptance speech.

Tayari Jones’s latest novel, An American Marriage, “upends all expectations, flipping the reader’s perceptions and offering unexpected moments of clarity.”

Atlantic staff writer Ed Yong writes an article titled “I Spent Two Years Trying to Fix the Gender Imbalance in My Stories.

The Guardian explores the ways in which the male gaze “is ruining our ability to see good art.”

New York Times critics chose 15 remarkable books by women embodying “unexplored possibilities in form, feeling and knowledge” in the 21st century.

Shows We Want to See

Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up, opening in June at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, will showcase more than 200 objects, including the artist’s makeup, clothes, jewelry, and prosthetic leg.

The Main Museum in Los Angeles highlights the work of L.A. native and ceramist Dora De Larios, one the city’s most vital, yet under-recognized artists.

The exhibition Women Artists—1st International Biennial of Macao features works by 132 female artists from 23 countries and regions.

Howardena Pindell’s first major solo exhibition is on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

—Emily Haight is the digital editorial associate at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Art Fix Friday: February 23, 2018

Although the three most popular movies in 2017 were female-driven, a study from San Diego State University discovered that “women accounted for 24 percent of protagonists in the 100 top-grossing domestic films of 2017, a decrease of five percentage points from the year before.”

However, women had more speaking roles in those movies, up two percentage points from 2016. Representation of women of color also improved slightly.

In other news, a recent survey of 850 women in the film industry found that 94% of respondents experienced sexual harassment or assault.

Front-Page Femmes

Peggy Cooper Cafritz, an arts patron, civil rights activist, educator and saloniste in Washington, D.C. passed away on February 18 at the age of 70.

NPR highlights Feel Free, Zadie Smith’s new essay collection.

Janet Echelman suspends a seemingly-weightless net sculpture made of 600,000 knots and 77 miles of twine for the 400th anniversary of Madrid’s Plaza Mayor.

The Katastwóf Karavan by Kara Walker will be on view this weekend in New Orleans on a site where African slaves were quarantined in the 18th century.

“As women in the art world rise up against abuse from collectors and others, will the culture that’s protected predators shift?” asks the Guardian.

Princeton University Press released an expanded edition of Anni Albers’s On Weaving.

Sofia Campoamor is the first woman ever selected for Yale University’s Whiffenpoofs, the oldest a cappella group in the country.

“Art history taught me I have no place in history,” says stand-up comedian Hannah Gadsby. “Women didn’t have time to think thoughts; they were too busy taking naps naked in the forest.”

Paula Rego discusses her path and approach to life-drawing.

The Harvard Library digitized Virginia Woolf’s photo albums, which are now available to the public.

Takako Yamaguchi’s hyperrealistic portraits of her subjects’ clothing “emphasize the elusiveness of identity.”

Actress Danai Gurira discusses the cultural impact of Marvel’s Black Panther.

Nezhat Amiri, Iran’s first-and-only female conductor, led a 71-member orchestra performing at Tehran’s most prestigious concert hall last month.

Pollock, a play by Fabrice Melquiot, “obscures [Lee] Krasner’s own story.”

Jennifer Crupi’s carefully constructed jewelry displays “non-verbal behavior, posture, and gesture.”

Shows We Want to See

Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle’s paper-and-ink portraits at the San Francisco Arts Commission raise awareness about black girls and women who have gone missing due to human trafficking.

Jayne County: Paranoia Paradise features more than 80 of County’s works, spanning 1982 to 2017. County was “punk rock’s first openly transgender performer. . . . but never quite got credit for her widespread influence.”

Women Look at Women, the inaugural exhibition at Richard Saltoun Gallery in Westminster, England, explores sexuality and the female body through a feminist lens.

—Emily Haight is the digital editorial associate at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Can You Name #5WomenArtists?

Can you name five women artists? Did your response include any women artists of color? Women artists, especially women of color, remain dramatically underrepresented and undervalued in museums, galleries, and auction houses. This March, for Women’s History Month, the National Museum of Women in the Arts is relaunching our award-winning social media campaign asking, “Can you name five women artists?”

NMWA began the #5WomenArtists campaign in March 2016. It elicited shock, provided a challenge, and sparked conversation about gender parity in the arts. During March 2017, more than 520 national and international cultural institutions and nearly 11,000 individuals joined the campaign to promote women artists in all 50 states and on seven continents.

NMWA Director Susan Fisher Sterling says, “There is no better time than now to raise awareness that the art world also disadvantages women’s opportunities and advancement, with women artists of color experiencing a double disadvantage in an already challenging field.”

Join NMWA and other institutions, including the National Gallery of Art, Tate, and Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture to share stories of women artists using the hashtag #5WomenArtists.

Here’s how you can get started:

Learn more about women artists through NMWA’s artist profiles

To kick off the month, learn more about five women artists featured in the museum’s programs, exhibitions, and collection:

For more than eight decades, Maria Martinez (1887–1980, San Ildefonso Pueblo, New Mexico) continued and extended the centuries-old pottery traditions of San Ildefonso Pueblo.

Georgia Mills Jessup (1926–2016, Washington, D.C.) demonstrated diverse talent as a painter, sculptor, ceramicist, muralist, and collage artist.

Contemporary painter Li Shurui (b. 1981, Chongqing, China) uses an airbrush to add vibrant color to canvas to approximate the appearance of LED lighting popular in nightclubs and city settings.

Tanya Habjouqa (b. 1975, Amman, Jordan) is one of the founding members of the Rawiya photography collective and documents everyday life and social issues in the Middle East.

Graciela Iturbide’s (b. 1942, Mexico City, Mexico) photographs reveal the daily lives, customs, and rituals of Mexico’s underrepresented native cultures.

Want to help advocate for women artists? Starting March 1, take the challenge and post about #5WomenArtists on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and tag us @WomenInTheArts. Follow along with the month’s highlights on NMWA’s Women’s History Month webpage.

Emily Haight is the digital editorial associate at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Art Fix Friday: February 16, 2018

The New York Times, Hyperallergic, and NPR share the unveiling of the official portraits of former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama on February 12 at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.

NMWA artist Amy Sherald painted the former first lady’s portrait while Kehinde Wiley painted the former president. The New Yorker writes that Sherald “wondrously troubles assumptions about blackness and representation in portraiture.” The Washington Post discusses Sherald’s life battling a heart condition and her recent recognition. The Lily praises both Sherald and Wiley for creating “compelling likenesses without sacrificing key aspects of their signature styles.”

In a Quartzy article, NMWA Chief Curator Kathryn Wat says, “[Sherald’s] work offers a much livelier take on portraiture. It suggests that people are never of a singular personality and much more complex than we might ever imagine.”

Front-Page Femmes

Vogue highlights Lorna Simpson and her 30-plus-year career and her recent paintings.

“In recent months, three museum directors have stepped down from their jobs at major art institutions across the United States. All three resigned amid social justice crises or after championing programming with a political edge. All three are women,” writes Hyperallergic.

Artist Jennifer Rubell allowed visitors to pie her in the face after signing a detailed consent form, bringing to mind issues of gender, power, and sexual misconduct. The Art Newspaper shares the “fraught experience” of throwing a pie at someone.

Former American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Ruth Ann Koesun passed away on February 1, 2018 at the age of 89.

Broadly interviews artist-friends Precious Okoyomon and Phoebe Collings-James about their experiences as immigrant black women and how their identities inform their respective works.

Embroidery artist Cayce Zavaglia creates intricate portraits using cotton and wool thread.

President and CEO of the New York Philharmonic Deborah Borda is committed to programming music by women for the 2018-19 season.

The Bossy collective campaign to buy the Theatre Royal Haymarket in London “with the aim of making it a venue that showcases female-led work.”

In the Atlantic, memoirist Terese Marie Mailhot shares how Maggie Nelson’s Bluets taught her to “explode the parameters of what a book is supposed to be.”

Shows We Want to See

MoMA features more than 100 works by Tarsila do Amaral, a pioneer of modern art in Brazil.

Figuring History, a group exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum, includes rhinestone encrusted works by Mickalene Thomas. The show features three new paintings by Thomas, inspired by sociopolitical issues of the 1960s and today.

In Detroit, Lucy Cahill’s NOW I WANNA… features “surreal, personal, and feminist” drawings, paintings, posters, and T-shirts.

Johanna Breading’s The Rebel Body at Angels Gate Cultural Center revisits the life of the last European woman to be executed for witchcraft.

—Emily Haight is the digital editorial associate at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Nameless but Not Forgotten: Hung Liu’s Portraits

Who defines history? The established historical cannon focuses more on world leaders, and less on the figures who toil in fields, fight in wars, and help drive important social and political movements. Hung Liu In Print, NMWA’s newest exhibition, features works by Chinese artist Hung Liu (b. 1948) that pay homage to the forgotten individuals who influence history.

Hung Liu In Print at NMWA

Liu is widely considered one of the most important contemporary Chinese artists working in the United States. Inspired by old Chinese photographs of unnamed individuals, Liu imbues her subjects with an air of both mystery and dignity. Her subjects often include farmers, prostitutes, mothers, and refugees. Liu says, “We need to remember where we come from; our history is with us and we carry it everywhere. My subjects in the prints are anonymous people—the ones who fight in the wars and provide food for us. They are not remembered for ‘making history’ as world leaders are, but to me they are the true makers of history.”

Hung Liu, Shui-Water, 2012; Color aquatint etching with gold leaf, 47 x 36 in.; NMWA, Promised Gift of Steven Scott, Baltimore, in honor of the artist and the Twenty-fifth Anniversary of the National Museum of Women in the Arts; Photo by Lee Stalsworth; © Hung Liu

One of the works in the exhibition, Shui-Water (2012), portrays a young woman kneeling with her hands resting firmly in her lap. The subtly rendered landscape and the delicately outlined flowers on her clothing reference traditional Chinese painting. Like many of Liu’s subjects, the woman depicted confidently meets the viewer’s gaze. Liu’s subject, though anonymous, exudes power and dignity.

Liu grew up during the Cultural Revolution in China and witnessed mass famine during Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward, an economic and social movement that devastated China’s economy. Liu labored in rice and wheat fields in the countryside for four years. Although she studied painting during the Cultural Revolution in the 1970s, the Maoist regime required that she painted in a realistic style that did not allow for much personal expression. After being denied a passport by the Chinese government for three years, she immigrated to the United States in 1984 to attend the University of California, San Diego to continue studying art. Free from the restrictions of the Cultural Revolution, she developed her own artistic style.

Liu’s distinctive personal style combines naturalism with abstraction. While her figures are rendered with realistic detail, they are often situated in imaginative settings. Her characteristic drip marks are achieved by using a variety of printmaking techniques. For some prints, the dripping effect is created through irregular incisions cut into the wood. For others, she allows acid to drip directly onto the etching plate. Liu simultaneously preserves and dissolves the figures in the images. While the drip marks allude to the fading of old photographs and memories, the vivid colors illuminate her subjects, giving them a voice despite their anonymity.

Visit Hung Liu In Print in the Teresa Lozano Long Gallery through July 8, 2018.

—Kali Steinberg is the spring 2018 publications intern at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Art Fix Friday: February 9, 2018

Acclaimed portraitist Amy Sherald received the $25,000 David C. Driskell Prize from the High Museum Art in Atlanta for her contribution to the conversation about work by black artists.

The director of the High Museum says, “Sherald is a remarkable talent who in recent years has gained the recognition she so thoroughly deserves as a unique force in contemporary art.” Sherald’s portrait of Michelle Obama will be unveiled on February 12 at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Front-Page Femmes

Ariell R. Johnson, founder of Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse, discusses diversity in comics and the upcoming Black Panther Marvel movie.

The New York Times profiles Judy Chicago.

NMWA’s upcoming exhibition Women House makes the Washington City Paper’s 2018 Spring Arts and Entertainment Guide.

The Los Angeles Times and the Atlantic discuss a recent study by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. In a gender breakdown of Grammy Award nominees, the study found and found that 90.7% of nominees between 2013 and 2018 were male.

“I think it would have been nicer to have not felt marginalized and invisible,” says Barbara Kruger. “Invisibility hurts. It hurts subcultures. It hurts your everyday, material life—whether you can get health care, a job, whether you are held in some degree of respect.”

The Cut interviews designer Laura Mulleavy on behalf of Rodarte, the fashion line run by sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy.

The New Yorker spotlights African American composer Florence Price.

Artsy features Shigeko Kubota as a pioneer in video art.

LaToya Ruby Frazier’s series documenting the Flint, Michigan water crisis is currently on view in New York.

Documentary photographer Susan Meiselas chronicles the lives “of ordinary people caught in the turbulent tide of history.”

Artsy shares that POWarts, the Professional Organization for Women in the Arts, launched a new salary survey to bring transparency and data to the industry.

Artsy reviews Baya: Woman of Algiers

Shows We Want to See

Baya: Woman of Algiers is the first U.S. solo exhibition of work by 19th-century Algerian painter and sculptor Baya Mahieddine. The exhibition celebrates the artist’s “multidimensional and brazenly expressive” female subjects.

The Whitney Museum of American Art hosts Too Much Future—an exhibition featuring a new body of work by Christine Sun Kim.

The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College hosts exhibitions featuring the works of Baseera Khan and Chiho Aoshima.

—Emily Haight is the digital editorial associate at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Art Fix Friday: January 26, 2018

Ursula K. Le Guin, award-winning science fiction and fantasy author, died at the age of 88. The New Yorker writes that Le Guin “never stopped insisting on the beauty and subversive power of the imagination. Fantasy and speculation weren’t only about invention; they were about challenging the established order.”

NPR reflects on her career and influence on other writers. The Guardian shares some of Le Guin’s essential novels. The New York Times remembers the author for her “tough-minded feminist sensibility to science fiction and fantasy.”

Margaret Atwood, in an article for the Washington Post, writes, “We can’t call Ursula K. Le Guin back from the land of the unchanging stars, but happily she left us her multifaceted work, her hard-earned wisdom and her fundamental optimism.”

Front-Page Femmes

“Money talks. Whose values?” says Barbara Kruger in an art21 video.

Elizabeth A. Sackler supports artist Nan Goldin’s campaign against another branch of the Sackler family that has profited from the opioid epidemic.

Photographer Lauren Greenfield discusses Generation Wealth, her new documentary capturing the lifestyles of the incredibly wealthy.

Andrea Geyer’s project “Revolt, They Said” represents the accomplishments of over 850 women, each of whom influenced the early and mid-1900s American cultural landscape—but who have since been overlooked.

“You have to learn to do what the picture tells you,” says 90-year-old Australian artist Helen Maudsley.

Conceptual artist Jill Magid wins the seventh edition of the Calder Prize.

Wallpaper interviews South African dancer Londiwe Khoza.

Hyperallergic shares creative signs from the Women’s March last weekend.

The New Yorker explores Alison Saar’s statue of Harriet Tubman, recently adorned with a pussy hat during the Women’s March.

Mickalene Thomas, Shinique Smith, and others create art for Los Angeles’s new metro line.

The Lily shares excerpts from the graphic novel Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World, by Pénélope Bagieu.

Faces Places, a documentary collaboration between director Agnès Varda and street photographer JR, earns an Oscar nomination.

Mudbound’s Rachel Morrison is the first woman to be nominated for an Academy Award for cinematography.

Shows We Want to See

In Her Image: Photographs by Rania Matar, on view at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, trace the development of female identity through portraiture.

ARTnews shares reviews of abstract artist Howardena Pindell’s work from their archives in advance of her exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.

Women’s Point of View at the Saudi Embassy in Washington, D.C. features photography, drawings, motion graphics designs, and clothing by 11 women artists from Dar al-Hekma University.

Renée Cox’s exhibition Soul Culture at the Columbia Museum of Art transmits “a message of oneness and unity through the meshing and interconnection of human bodies.”

The New York Botanical Garden will host Georgia O’Keeffe: Visions of Hawai’i.

—Emily Haight is the digital editorial associate at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Artist Spotlight: Sylvia Snowden

Magnetic Fields: Expanding American Abstraction, 1960s to Today places abstract works by multiple generations of black women artists in context with one another—and within the larger history of abstract art—for the first time, revealing the artists’ role as under-recognized leaders in abstraction.

For more than five decades, Sylvia Snowden (b. 1942, Raleigh, North Carolina) has created vibrantly abstract works. Her palette ranges from dark and earthy to bright and artificial, and she incorporates textures with undulating forms.

Powerfully executed with vigorous gestural brushwork and aggressive pouring, Snowden’s June 12 (1992), on view in Magnetic Fields, conveys the energy of the artist’s own body in the act of making as well as the states of human relationships. June 12 towers over the viewer at a height of ten feet. Thickly applied paint seems to extend off of the canvas and toward the viewer, prompting questions about the artist’s process and how many gallons of paint were used.

This painting is part of a series honoring the artist’s parents, and was previously on view in an exhibition of Snowden’s work at NMWA in 1992. Titled after her parents’ wedding anniversary, June 12 pays homage to their relationship. About her exuberant use of color in the work, Snowden says, “My mother was attracted to color, and I grew up in a home with the use of strong color.”

Snowden’s improvisational painting style “comes from within, not an outside force to change styles,” says the artist. “Although I am able to paint in different styles, as I learned in the thorough training at Howard University, expressionism is my style. It is a communication between the canvas and me, which is governed by the intellectual and emotional states acting as one, a unification; examination of the subject matter and its treatment, figurative or without figure.”

Snowden earned a BFA and an MFA from Howard University in Washington, D.C. She has served as an artist in residence, visiting artist, and instructor in universities, galleries, and art schools both in the United States and internationally.

Visit the museum and explore Magnetic Fields, on view through January 21, 2018. Learn more through the Magnetic Fields Mobile Guide.

Wonderful Words—Exploring Abstraction through Poetry

On Saturday, December 9, D.C.-based poet Danielle Badra led Firsthand Experience: Responsive Poetry at the museum. The day started with an exquisite corpse group activity: Using artworks as prompts, each participant wrote one line of a poem and passed it to their neighbor. As the poems traveled around the room, each person could only look at the most recent line before contributing. The final products of these collaborations were surprisingly true to their inspirations when read aloud.

After the warm up, the group visited Magnetic Fields: Expanding American Abstraction, 1960s to Today in search of inspiration. Badra led the group in creating analytic dictionary poems, starting with an extensive list of words from the exhibition. Participants each selected one that reflected their response to a chosen work, served as the poem’s title, and provided a guide for the other words included.

For the final activity, Badra and participants wrote ekphrastic—descriptive—poems, based on Magnetic Fields. While often deeply personal, each poem resonated with its source material, taking readers on emotional, rhythmic, and visual journeys. Read a few samples of poems from the workshop.

Brenna Youngblood, YARDGUARD, 2015; Mixed media on canvas, 72 x 60 in.; Courtesy of the artist and Tilton Gallery, New York, New York; © Brenna Youngblood

Howardena Pindell, Autobiography: Japan (Shisen-dō, Kyoto), 1982; Mixed media on canvas, 70 1/2 x 70 1/2 in.; Courtesy the artist and Garth Greenan Gallery, New York; © Howardena Pindell; Photo courtesy Garth Greenan Gallery, New York

Mildred Thompson, Magnetic Fields, 1991; Oil on canvas, 70 1/2 x 150 in.; Courtesy of the Mildred Thompson Estate, Atlanta, Georgia; art and photo © The Mildred Thompson Estate, Atlanta, Georgia

Poem: “Red,” by Danielle Badra
Inspired by: Brenna Youngblood, YARDGUARD, 2015

Evokes disaster.
Aura of violet ink
rising over sheetrock.
Elegant Katrina—her
aggressive eye. A spatial,
spattered triptych emerging
as ritual.

Poem: “Moonscape Memoir,” by Deborah Hefferon
Inspired by: Howardena Pindell, Autobiography: Japan (Shisen-dō, Kyoto), 1982

Aerial view of a land afloat
stitched in time and place
pebbled with grit and textile shards,
yet timeless and place-less,
like a lily pad to catch relics
or make room for future landings.

Shoji screens divide my past lunar phase cycles
with opaque paper and lattice of tender bamboo.
Where am I on this island? When was I here?

Am I an astronaut peering at the earth and orbs?
Am I pure memory? Is it like remembering
my walks among the Shinto temple bells,
the white-robed priest who smiled at me
through the fog of incense?
Have I ever returned home?

Poem: “Magnetic Fields,” by Holly Mason
Inspired by: Mildred Thompson, Magnetic Fields, 1991

How the colors all collide in the center:
a carnival, a Ferris wheel.
I hold onto what the docent says,
“not seeing the force, but knowing it’s there.”
How this applies to so much.
How the snow is falling outside the window—
How it decorates your red coat—
How it’s hard to describe family tensions—
How I don’t know exactly why I cried
watching the middle-school girls’ Glee concert—
How we hold onto external narratives about ourselves—
How damaging words take house in our heads—
How we learn that “letting go” looks different than we thought—
How we realize we don’t have to “let go.”

Visit the museum and explore Magnetic Fields, on view through January 21, 2018. Mark your calendar for future Firsthand Experience workshops on April 28 and May 19, 2018.

—Ashley W. Harris is the associate educator at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Modern Makers: Kuzeh Pottery

Inspired by the Makers Mart at the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA), the Modern Makers series highlights local women makers and their diverse companies.

Left to right: Kuzeh Pottery owners Lisa Ramber and Pegah Shahghasemi in their retail space and studio

CompanyKuzeh Pottery
Makers: Pegah Shahghasemi, Lisa Ramber

Kuzeh Pottery, which gets its name from the word “vase” in Persian, is a teaching and production studio owned by Pegah Shahghasemi and Lisa Ramber. Located on the Arts Walk in Northeast Washington, D.C., Kuzeh’s studio and retail space feature white and brown stoneware.

How did you get started?

PS: I’ve always loved doing pottery and I took it a little bit in high school and then in college, but then I left it alone. . . . After I had my first daughter, I needed to do something that was just for myself and outside my regular nine-to-five job, and outside of the home. I found a small studio close to my house in New York City. I started taking classes and I got addicted. I couldn’t stop.

LR: I got started as a potter after a friend of mine convinced me to take a pottery class. I started and I hated it. After about six weeks, I loved it. . . . Then I found a D.C. studio that had a resident artist space. That is where I met Pegah. And one day I said, “Gee, wouldn’t it be great to have a studio?” Four months later this arts walk opened up the studio.

What inspires you?

PS: I really like Middle Eastern designs and I look at a lot of Persian architecture. I like patterns and I like simplicity. So I look at them and try to make them a little bit more modern and apply it to my pieces.

LR: Color is a big influence for me. I love the creative process, taking a lump of clay, trimming it, and then doing something to it that I think makes it look unique.

How do you see your company evolving?

PS: I personally would like to see our company evolve to become a recognizable brand. I think we create a product that is colorful and alive, and we put our hard work into it, and we use our hands to make it. I think it would be so nice to know our work was in people’s homes.

What inspired the limited-edition NMWA product?

PS: I was inspired by Candida Alvarez’s “Puerto Rico” series in Magnetic Fields. I really like the cool colors and bits of red she has in the work. She uses chartreuse and line work in many of her other pieces.

LR: I was inspired by Sylvia Snowden’s work, and the looseness of the brushwork and the bright, saturated colors. It’s not the colors of a traditional landscape, but it felt landscape-y to me still.

Browse the Modern Makers products on Museum Shop’s website, including the limited-edition ceramics by Kuzeh. Browse #NMWAMakers on Twitter to see more creations.