100 Days of Patterns Late May Update

It’s been a busy month getting ready for two shows, doing the shows and then allowing myself to decompress. Through it all though, I’ve been keeping up with my 100 Days Project that I started on April 4, 2017.

Cindy Guajardo - 100 Days of Patterns Late May Update
Cindy Guajardo – 100 Days of Patterns Late May Update

100 Days of Patterns Late May Update

If you’re just finding this post, I’ll recap my project. For 100 days, I am basically making marks in black and white that I plan to translate to paper clay tiles. I decided to break up the 100 days into 20 day increments. Each 20 days, I concentrate on a different shape or mark. So far, I have done circles, lines and now I’m working on triangles.

Some of the shapes definitely cross over – especially lines. When I was working on lines, it became apparent that lines can make shapes too. See below.

Cindy Guajardo - 100 Days of Pattern 38
Cindy Guajardo – 100 Days of Pattern 38

Here are a few of my favorite triangle drawings

Cindy Guajardo - 100 Days of Pattern 50
Cindy Guajardo – 100 Days of Pattern 50
Cindy Guajardo - 100 Days of Pattern 49
Cindy Guajardo – 100 Days of Pattern 49
Cindy Guajardo - 100 Days of Pattern 48
Cindy Guajardo – 100 Days of Pattern 48
Cindy Guajardo - 100 Days of Pattern 46
Cindy Guajardo – 100 Days of Pattern 46
Cindy Guajardo - 100 Days of Pattern 44
Cindy Guajardo – 100 Days of Pattern 44

It seems like a really simple exercise, and at the same time, it’s challenging to draw the same thing differently for 20 days straight. Some drawings definitely inform new ones. For example, the chevron pattern (drawing 49) evolved from the small triangles (drawing 44). And then the line work in drawing 50 is a direct result of mapping out the chevron pattern.

I’m not quite sure what my next 20 days should be, but I am hoping that inspiration strikes in the next week. 🙂

Next Event

On June 17th, I’ll be doing an in store pop up shop at the West Elm in Cherry Creek.

Where & When: 
West Elm Cherry Creek
2955 E 1st Ave #101
Denver, CO 80206

June 17, 2017 – 12:00 – 4:00 PM 

100 Days of Patterns Update

This is going to be a  short post today because I have been working very hard to make work for the next two sales I am participating in this weekend and next weekend. In today’s post, I’ll be sharing a 100 Days of Patterns Update.

100 Days of Patterns Update

Today is the perfect day to share some of my daily sketches for the 100 Days Project. I am breaking the project into 20 day blocks. For the first 20 days, I concentrated on circles and dots. Currently, I am exploring line work for the second 20 day block. 

Cindy Guajardo LINES 100 Days of Pattern 21-34
Cindy Guajardo LINES 100 Days of Pattern 21-34

Ultimately, this project is an exploration in mark making. By keeping the color palette limited, the project is more cohesive and also takes out a lot of guess work for me. 

After my two shows are history, I plan to start making paper clay tiles using my clay scraps and recycled paper scraps that I’ve been collecting. Then, I’ll begin the process of translating my 100 Days of Pattern sketches to the tiles. I’m pretty excited about this project. It feels ambitious, but at the same time doable since I’m breaking up the project into modules. My next 20 day block will include geometrics. 

Here are a few of my favorites in the line work block:






True confession though…I worked ahead this week on my sketches because I can not see a way for me to draw the daily sketches during the Colorado Potters Guild show. I volunteered to be the show chair this spring and I have to keep too many balls in the air, so to speak. The days are long.  While I love meeting all of our customers and catching up with guild members, it’s also exhausting. I’m not sure if this is considered cheating, but it sure makes my life a bit easier.


You will find me at the Colorado Potters Guild Spring Sale May 4-6, 2017.

First Plymouth Congregational Church
3501 South Colorado Boulevard
Englewood, CO  80113
(Hampden + Colorado Blvd)

May 4 – 4:00 – 8:00 PM (Opening reception)
May 5 – 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM
May 6 – 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

On May 13, 2017, I’ll be sharing a booth at the Horseshoe Market in Denver with Sarah Christensen Ceramics.

Olinger Moore Chapel
4345 West 46th Ave
Denver, CO 80212

9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

I missed last Feature Friday’s blog post. Unfortunately, my guest has a very busy show schedule too and was unable to participate due to time constraints. I hope that I’ll be able to share her work in the near future because I’m such a fan. 

In the mean time, despite my busy schedule, I’ll be sharing the work of Noelle Horsfield on May 5, 2017 for Feature Fridays. My post is already formatted – all I need to do is hit publish. I can’t wait to share her work and interview with you.

Colorado Potters Guild Interview Repost

Cindy Guajardo - Handmade Soda Fired Pottery Bottle
Cindy Guajardo – Soda Fired Bottle

Please introduce yourself:

My name is Cindy Guajardo and I’m an artist/potter living in Fort Collins, CO. I also manage the Colorado Potters Guild website and social media channels. Chances are that if you’ve messaged the guild through our website, I’m the one that responds to your general query.

How many years have you been a member of the Colorado Potters Guild?

I joined the Colorado Potters Guild in 2008 at the same time as Penny Woolsey and Wendy Kochar.

What does it mean to you to be a member of the Colorado Potters Guild?

When I applied to be a member of the guild, I was a recent ceramics graduate and had been taking classes at the Art Students League in Denver to bridge the gap between school and real life. I had set up a home studio in my garage, but missed the interaction and community of being in a group with like minded and clay focused people.

For me, the Colorado Potters Guild is a wonderful community of people from all walks of life who share a love of all things related to clay. I still work solo at home most days, but enjoy firing at the guild on occasion, learning from other members, coming together for our biannual sales (shameless plug – our next sale is May 4-6, 2017) and eating really well at our pot lucks. In short, the guild keeps me connected to other creative clay artists in Colorado.

Cindy Guajardo - Handmade Soda Fired Pottery Planters
Cindy Guajardo – Soda Fired Planters

How many years have your been working with clay?

Short answer: 15 years

Long answer: I always describe myself as a late bloomer. I worked for United Airlines for almost 17 years and attended college part time while working towards a BFA in studio art. I was about half way through my art degree in 1997 when I found out that I was pregnant with my daughter. At the time, I had planned to take a beginning ceramics class, but the instructor discouraged me because of the danger of working with potentially harmful chemicals while pregnant. I was disappointed, because I just knew that I would love clay. I ended up taking a leave of absence from school until my daughter was about 4 years old and in preschool. In 2002, the first class I signed up for was Ceramics 101 and the rest is history.

Do you have a formal education in clay/art or how did you acquire your skills?

Yes, I earned a BA in Studio Art with a concentration in ceramics and a minor in art history from the University of Southern Maine in 2004. The head of the ceramics department at the time was Ray Chen – a fantastic sculptor who is currently the director of Fine Art at the New England Institute of Education in Falmouth, ME.

I have also taken classes with Mary Cay at the Art Students League of Denver and numerous in person and online workshops with Annie Chrietzberg, Diana Fayt and others.

Cindy Guajardo - Sketch to Pot using illustrations to make patterns on pottery
Cindy Guajardo – Sketch to Pot

How do you work (techniques/glazing/firing methods)?

In addition to making pottery, I enjoy dabbling in 2D work like printmaking, painting and drawing. In 2015, I took a series of illustration classes from Lilla Rogers, an artist and director of an art licensing agency, with the thought that I’d like to dip my toes into the commercial art world. At the end of the courses, I didn’t take that path, but the exercises did spark a new graphic direction in my work. In fact, my work changed so much that visitors to our shows asked if I was a new member because they didn’t recognize my work.

Since taking this class I keep a sketchbook and often use some of the icons in my work because I like to add an illustrative touch to my pottery. To translate 2D imagery to a clay surface I employ techniques like sgraffito and slip inlay – I typically hand build my forms for a more organic feel, but also use a pottery wheel. I have also narrowed down my color palette to make my work more cohesive. At home, I glaze fire my work in an electric kiln in oxidation – but about 6 times a year, I enjoy firing in the guild’s soda kiln with a group of women who share similar desired outcomes firing wise.

What does “being creative” mean to you?

I’m not often content to make the same thing over and over, so for me, being creative is a continued desire to improve both technically, but also to push myself to explore new ideas and forms. I think this is why making illustrative work is so appealing to me right now because it keeps my “canvases” fresh.

Currently, I’m exploring sculptural aspects of ceramics and plan on expanding my offerings beyond functional pottery. Scaling up is both a creative and technical challenge for me.

Cindy Guajardo - Handmade Pottery Mugs
Cindy Guajardo – Illustrated Pottery Mugs

What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have?

Because I am a self employed artist, my schedule is my own – like many people, I can get sucked into internet rabbit holes or otherwise waste time. In the past couple of years, I have had to set limits on my internet browsing and to schedule studio time. I treat my ceramic practice like a job.

Typically, Monday – Friday, I allow myself one hour to peruse the internet while I drink my coffee. This allows me to wake up and to catch up with friends, read the news and research a potential glaze or new making methods. After this, I get to work in my studio. My system is not glamorous and involves referring to my planner that I map out daily/weekly and monthly depending on what time of the year it is. I definitely work in cycles and the items I work on in the studio depend on what events are on the horizon. Unless I have a show or other major deadline, I work Monday – Friday so that I can spend time with my family on the weekends.

I allow time for creative exploration which often sparks new ideas and directions in my work. I also listen to podcasts while I work to keep my mind active. Favorites are Tales of a Red Clay Rambler, The Potters Cast, The Moth Radio Hour and more.

How do you overcome obstacles or difficulties working in clay?

Clay is a demanding medium and it can be humbling when things don’t turn out. Bad firings, rushed work, cracked handles, glaze mishaps and ideas that don’t turn out the way that they look in my head make me want to quit some days. During this time, I take a break and do something else. I try to take daily hour long walks with my dog which always clears my mind, I’ll switch to a different medium like painting or drawing, I’ll do administrative tasks like working on my website or book keeping and more to just switch the gears in my brain.

Clay is very process driven which is something that engaged me in the beginning – it’s very much about problem solving which keeps me interested in the medium. By taking breaks, it gives me time to approach the challenges differently. I also brainstorm with other clay people if something is really stumping me. Asking for help can be difficult, but it offers an opportunity to hear about different approaches. Are some of my ideas bad? Yes, but ultimately, overcoming obstacles is about not quitting, just rethinking.

Cindy Guajardo - Illustrated Pottery Dishes
Cindy Guajardo – Illustrated Pottery Dishes

Do you pursue any themes in your art work?

After taking the illustration class that I mentioned above, I have started pursuing more themes in my work. In addition to art, I also have a background in landscape design so I tend to favor plant and animal/bird life in my work, in addition to patterns.

In a sense, I enjoy creating little drawings on my functional pottery. I have a “ground” and an “above ground” area. The ground is often a pattern like stripes, lines, dots, arcs, chevron, or herringbone. The above ground area is flora, fauna and sometimes other things like little homes.

My sculptural work is literal, yet stylized translations of plants, birds and rocks.

Who or what inspires you?

So many activities inspire me – being outdoors, gardening, listening to podcasts, going to the movies, drawing, looking at other art, traveling, cooking all spark ideas.

As to specific artists, I tend to admire a lot of ceramic work that is very painterly and graphic like the work of Craig Underhill, Brenda Holzke, Andrew Ludick, Louise Gelderblom and others. There really are so, so many more….

Cindy Guajardo - Sculptural Ceramic Components
Cindy Guajardo – Ceramic Sculptural Components for Ceramic Totem

Where do you see your work progressing over the next year?

I plan to continue to explore sculptural work and to scale up in size. My immediate goal is to make some prototype stacked sculptures that I plan to install in my garden. I’d also like to work on more ceramic wall art.

Where can people find your work? (websites/social media/galleries?)

I’m all over the place including:

My artist page

Link to original interview.