Guest Blog: BEING … an Artist

Residual Memory: Rust is proof of being touched by water" by Marie Gibbons. Life size (approx. 9.5 h x 8w x 6d), hand built ceramic with rust patina

”When I found clay I found more than a new medium – I found my muse.”

Today, I am featuring a guest blog by Denver artist Marie Gibbons.  Marie and I found each other via social media, forming a sort of mutual admiration society.  Last year, to help her generate money for a trip to Japan, I purchased a small wall piece entitled “Nurtured Heart”.  I am happy to have a piece of her beautifully crafted, fascinating work hanging in my studio.  I hope you will find Marie and her art as interesting and engaging as I do!


ART and craft have always been a part of my life in one way or another:  carrying around a sketch pad and drawing family members as a child, macrame and batik in the 60/70’s, incorporating art, fashion and decor in my life in the 80’s.  For a long time, I did art just for myself and my surroundings.  In the 90’s, after the birth of my second child, I made the conscious decision to BE an artist.

I wanted to find out what it was that artists ‘did’.  Not knowing how to get my work out into the community, I simply started visiting art venues.  I learned the “how’s and where’s” by talked to anyone who would listen.  This led me to start applying to “call for entries” in my city.  Accepted in several shows right away, I was in a position to be around more artists, which helped me better understand how this all worked.

“ Researching the Nesting Syndrome” by Marie Gibbons, 34 x 18 x 18", ceramic, acrylic and found wood jewelry box.

I worked on the coffee table in our living room for over 6 years.  Juggling a job, two kids, carpools, keeping house and more, I stayed up late and got up early, creating art whenever I could.

My living room ‘studio’ enabled me to monitor the goings on of a 2 and 7 year old while running loads of laundry, getting dinner started, and whatever else needed to be managed.  I was working in clay and mixed media, building figurative works as large as 30″ tall on the coffee table.  Once completed, I loaded the clay pieces into my car, driving 5 miles to the local art center to get them fired.  Eventually we were able to build a free standing studio in the back yard.

Tide Pools intallation (detail) by Marie Gibbons. Hand built ceramic heads, acrylic, commercial porcelain tile, 5’x5’ - tallest head approximately 18" high. Installation incorporated 5 individual ‘tide pools’. Heads symbolize different “heights” of emotional situations.

Over the years I had gone from simply taking classes to teaching them.  I found I loved teaching, feeling it was a way for me to give back to the art community.  In 2007 I took the plunge and rented a retail space for my studio in a small North Denver neighborhood.  I was excited to have a space separate from my home.  With the kids growing up and having quit my day job several years earlier, I was solely with my art now.  Having a retail space allowed me more visibility as both an artist and a teacher, with a professional environment to run classes from.

It was a conscious decision to quit my ‘day job’ and put all my efforts into my art in 1999.  My intention was to not only produce more art, but also be able to contribute to the family financially.  I knew then that it was not going to be days of lounging on the couch, getting up to play a bit with clay, watching movies, getting free therapy from my work and sleeping late.

“Residual Memory: Boat Walkers” (detail), by Marie Gibbons. Boat walkers was an installation piece - a 2 foot high by 30 foot long pedestal held 500lbs of slip forming a river of clay. The Boat walkers were positioned in this river. As it dried, the slip cracked and resembled a dried up river bed.

There are assumptions about ‘being an artist”…. we are free thinkers, doers, romantics … dreamers.  We don’t have to do the hum drum, day to day, 5 day a week, 8 – 5 gig and for that, we are soooo lucky!  There is an idea that we get to do whatever we want, whenever we want to do it.

I agree, we are lucky insomuch as we have found our true passion and know the importance of honoring it.  We are willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to process our thoughts, visions and messages into a tangible work of art.

the MILAGROseries: From the Heart (installation) by Marie Gibbons. Hand formed ceramic hearts. the MILAGROseries is a body of work that deals with the effects of emotional situations on physical organs (heart, lungs and stomach all represented in series). Organs range from 14" in height to 22" in height. They are each hand formed and created with a flat back to hang on the wall.

I feel that through my art I am multi-lingual … able to converse in a universal language of visual discussion.  Once my personal conversation with the work is complete I turn it loose on the viewing public, hoping to touch a chord in others that may or may not reflect my original inspiration.  Just to touch someone is enough – the interpretation is theirs.  The more varied and diverse the conversations, the better!

I cannot imagine my life without this outlet of creating, and know that I will be doing so till the day I am no longer.  I do it because I have to.  It is my way of breathing, thinking, seeing.  It is who I am … who I was meant to be.

Marie Gibbons (left) teaching one of her "mini shops" (shorter workshops).

Ceramic and mixed-media artist Marie Gibbons was born in 1955 on Long Island, NY.  Exchanging the ocean for the mountains in 1977, she made the move to Denver, CO where she has been creating and exhibiting art for over 15 years. She began showing her work in 1996 and continues to exhibit in national and international venues.  Gibbons’ work has been published in numerous magazines including Ceramics Monthly, American Style, and Crafts Report as well as several Lark Books Publications.  A “ self-directed artist” (preferred over “self-taught”), Marie’s education is inspired and fed by the world around her and the “wonderful pool of creative people around the world”.

For more information and learning opportunities, you can visit Marie’s fine art website,  her studio/teaching website (EvB Studio) and for those unable to attend her workshops in Denver, her online workshop website (EvBStudio Home).

© 2011 Marie Gibbons and Amy Buchheit All Rights Reserved

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About Amy Buchheit

I am a Signature Member of the International Society of Acrylic Painters and an Ambassador for Artist Trust. I earned my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Marylhurst University and have exhibited on regional, national and international levels since 2000. I am committed to connecting with the viewer through my work - stirring buried emotions to the surface for further inspection and introspection. The inspiration for my art comes from direct observations, research of subjects I am passionate about and personal experiences. For more information about my art, workshops and exhibitions, visit my website at http://www.amybuchheit.com. My blog "Fantastic Voyage" can be found at http://www.amybuchheit.wordpress.com, and I can be found on Facebook under Amy Buchheit Art and on Twitter as @AmyBuchheit.
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3 Responses to Guest Blog: BEING … an Artist

  1. Patrick Ross says:

    What a great way to start my day, with this post! Marie, your art is really something, as is your story. Your description of your art-filled childhood reminds me of my 15-year-old aspiring artist daughter (I just ran her to the AC Moore Sunday for more sketchbooks), and I can relate to the leap to full-time art because I just made that leap this year. Congratulations on all of your success and in living an art-committed life.

    And Amy, thank you for introducing me to Marie. You created a possibility for guest posts, and now it’s happening!

    • Thank you Patrick! Great to hear about your daughter, encourage her as much as you can to use her creative mind… it really makes for a different adult – children that have been encouraged to create, they learn early how to ‘think out of the box’!! And all the best to you on your art endevors!! –marie

  2. Amy Buchheit says:

    You are absolutely welcome! I hope to enroll one guest blogger a month if possible – people who’s work I admire and have been in the business of art for 10 years or longer. If you know anyone who fits that description and isn’t a fit for your blog (or who wants to do two different guest blogs), please send them my way! 🙂

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