Monday, May 16, 2016

Spring Update and Events

It's been way too long since I shared news from Katie Ray Arts and Blue Barn Studio- can't believe its May already!

Most importantly, I'm excited to announce that Valley Creates is returning this season with events at three different locations. The first event is coming up this weekend, Saturday, May 21 in Munson! Come join us- Heather Beck Designs, 230am Studio, Lou's Upcycles and Blue Barn Studio- to learn and create your own projects. I'll be melting glass with you, and I guarantee that will be fun!  Register now by heading to!  We hope to see you in Munson this weekend, or in Hadley in June, when I'll be hosting in my blue barn.   The Hadley event will also feature two new makers- Audrey Hyvonen of Big Top Quilts, and Amber Ladley of Happily Upcycled!

In other news,  I had a great time participating in the Take A Seat auction at UMASS Fine Arts Center in January. The idea of this exhibit was that each artist was invited to modify a chair in any way they choose; it was a fabulous exhibit showcasing the creativity and talent of Western MA artists, in support of a great cause.  I had a lot of fun making mine, allowing my old habits of nest building to integrate with new ideas in a very intuitive way. Here are a few images of my crazy creation before it left for it's new home.  

In January, I also shared new sculptural work at my MFA residency at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Conceptually, the installation was a sort of speculative biology lab in which alternate organs are being grown for possible use as transplants or body alterations.  The organs- made of steel, glass, latex, paper, and wax- exist within a connected structure that is almost an ecosystem; the forms are situated in relation to each other and the connective plastic tubing is their life support system.  I've been thinking about bioethics, embodiment and medical technology, and I'll continue exploring these themes as I complete my graduate exhibition for July.

Finally, Blue Barn Studio has an active etsy shop now in addition to the website. All my fine craft work can be found there, while will continue as my website for sculpture and installation work (though its in desperate need of updating!). Check out the Blue Barn Studio etsy shop, and use coupon code NEWSHOP for 20% off orders through June 30!

Monday, November 2, 2015

November News- HAVEN Art Exhibit, Welding Class and Studio Sale

Happy fall! Hope you are enjoying the last bits of brilliant color.  

I'm working hard preparing for my upcoming show, HAVEN, at Western New England University.  I'll be showing a variety of recent sculptural work, including a brand new 30 ft. wall piece made especially for this particular gallery's curved wall.  This piece explores a really different avenue for me- in form, material, and color- and I'm excited to see what you think! Here's a sneak peak of the work in progress.

What is HAVEN?

Donna Beck, Beryl Salinger-Schmitt, and Katie Richardson, working across very diverse mediums, have found a commonality at the heart of their work in themes that often express concepts of haven, however simple or complex, vulnerable or strong, solitary or communal. This exhibition explores the idea of HAVEN, with the suggestion that place-making and space-making are rooted in a primal instinct to provide shelter and sanctuary in order to nurture.

On Black Friday, I'm hosting a studio sale so that you can get great handmade gifts for the holidays and I can clean out my inventory!  From small glass treasures to large steel wall sculpture, everything will be on sale.  Stop by to enjoy a snack and a drink, check out my flameworking and welding studios, and shop for beautiful handmade gifts at your leisure.  


Oh yeah- did you notice the new logo?! It's been a long time coming. I'll still be using my name and website at for my sculpture and installation work, but Blue Barn Studios is the home of my fine craft work. There's a new website and etsy store in the works. The website isn't completely finished yet, but you can take a look anyway. Thanks to Scout Cuomo for all her awesome work on the website. 

Want to make your own art and housewares out of steel? Join my upcoming welding class! If you're interested, but this doesn't work for your schedule, let me know and we can organize a future class at a time that works for you. 

As always, you can find my work in various local shops and galleries this season. Check my website listing here.  I'll also be featured in this year's Hilltown Christmas Place at Paul's Sugarhouse and Snowfarm Seconds Sale- both great venues in Williamsburg for shopping handmade.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Mattoon Street, Art in the Orchard and other News

It's been a long time since I managed to write, and so much has happened.  I'll share what's coming up first, and then fill in the gaps.  This weekend, Sept 12/13 is Mattoon Street Arts Festival in Springfield. This is always my favorite fall festival, and this year it is probably the only one I'll do, (though you'll still be able to find my work in a variety of local shops, and on etsy). Stop by and visit!


Want to melt some glass with me? You can sign up for fall glass beadmaking classes through the Yellow House in Palmer on October 17 and 24th.  Also, please get in touch if you'd like to set up a welding class.  I have a few people interested already and we can work together to schedule it. 

Another event that is definitely worth checking out is Art in the Orchard in Easthampton. I built a large outdoor sculpture- Empty(v)- for AiO, and am thrilled to join a team of 28 fabulous artists who contributed to creating this awesome sculpture trail.  This will be open through October 31, so you have plenty of time to get over there.  

I also completed 2 new projects- one dealing with blood and how we see it, which I showed to its first audience at Vermont College of Fine Arts Summer Graduate Residency, and the other about the historic practice of Water Cures, presented at Historic Northampton, and supported by Northampton Cultural Council.

Blood Imag(in)ed is an interactive installation that uses blood as a site of inquiry into our feelings about disease and the body. The installation offers a playful, interactive space in which people can imagine then create their own blood sample using cast wax cells. As a point of refrence, viewers refer to a blood vessel collaged with blood cell images of varying diagnoses. When complete, viewers document and share their blood portrait, adding to a collective, creative conception of blood imaging. Drawing on the visual language of both art and science, the space incorporates a 'lab' environment with a cell replication station and a specimen collection. 

Water as Cure and Transformation was a show of contemporary artwork at Historic Northampton inspired by water cure treatments popular in the mid- 1800s, especially Northampton's own Round Hill Water Cures. The exhibition included 1850s medical artifacts from the museum's collection, and an homage to the four humors and their associated temperaments. A hanging sculpture of steel and paper incited viewers to consider vulnerability and intervention into the body. Also on display were a series of small resin castings paralleling water cure diagrams, and a large abstract steel sculpture evoking the flow of water through an ailing body. 

Artifacts from the collection
Homage to the Four Humors
Untitled (Flow)
Shower Bath, Wet Sheet Pack, Cataract Bath
cast resin, text from Water Cures Journal

There's lots more on the horizon, but that's all I can wrap my brain around today! Happy Labor Day!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

June Events

I hope everyone is enjoying this beautiful Memorial Day Weekend. I'm off on a hiking adventure tomorrow, but wanted to make sure to get the word out about two June events before I go.

On June 7, you can come to my blue barn in Hadley and work with 4 local artisans to create your own projects. Try your hand at glass beadmaking, papermaking, upcycled fused plastics, or hammered metal jewelry. Each workshop is 45 minutes and you can choose to try 2 or all 4.  Pre-register at  Also, if you know any youth ages 8-12 who might be interested, we have a special morning session just for them, subsidized by a generous grant from the Hadley Cultural Council. This event is also sponsored by Artisans of WMASS.

Secondly, on Saturday, June 13 during Cultural Chaos in downtown Easthampton, I have a three person show opening entitled HAVEN opening at Nash Gallery with artists Donna Beck and Beryl Salinger-Schmitt.  This should be a sweet show in a great location, right in the middle of the street festival. 

The “HAVEN” exhibit will include paintings, sculpture and mixed media works that suggest place-making and space-making as a primal instinct. Many species construct and interweave materials for the purpose of refuge and transformation. For example, this can be seen in nature in the form of a nest, a cocoon or a shell. The three participating artists will interpret and recreate man-made “havens” through manipulations of their specialized mediums.

Hope to see you soon at one of these events!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Spring News

Ok, it's not quite spring, but I'm feeling hopeful.  It's been hard to be motivated to get in the studio in the frigid weather, but I think things are looking up. I have some exciting classes and workshops coming up, and some recent sculptural work to share.

On March 28th, Heather Beck Designs, 230am Studio, Lou's Upcycles and I will be hosting Easthampton Creates, an evening of learning and making with local artists.  Make paper, glass beads, a fused plastic wallet or a stamped metal pendant. This will be a great evening out, and to top off the creative fun, you get to taste a local brew from our friends at Abandoned Building Brewery when you're done creating.  Space is limited and we need folks to pre-register, so head over to the website right now to grab your spot.

I've chosen dates for my spring welding classes.  I'll be running a Welding for Women Workshop on May 16-17, and Welding for Everyone 4 Thursday evenings in June.  

I'll also be teaching glass beadmaking at the Yellow House Community Learning Center in Palmer on March 21, and May 9. 

Donna Beck, Beryl Salinger Schmidt and I have started planning for our show, HAVEN, at Nash Gallery in June.  The opening will happen on June 13th at the same time as Easthampton's big festival, Cultural Chaos.  It should be a great show and a fun event.

Finally, here are a few snapshots of my first semester sculpture installed at the winter residency in Vermont College of Fine Arts. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Holiday Happenings and New Sculpture

We're in the thick of the holiday season, and I have a few upcoming events to share.

On December 17 from 5-8p, I'll be hosting Winter Warmtimes, a last minute handmade gift and beer event at Abandoned Building Brewery in Easthampton. This will be a laid back evening where you can taste some of the delicious brews, enjoy some snacks, and shop the wares of 9 local artists for those last minute gift needs including oodwork, ceramics, glass, steel, jewelry, knits, bags and other accessories, handmade paper, and clothing.  Mention this blog post for a 20% discount at my table during Winter Warmtimes. 

Artisans of WMASS has organized the Happy Handmade Holidays sale again this year which runs for three weeks. This week, get free shipping from participating artists, and next week receive a 20% off coupon when you shop. Check out the website or facebook page to find out more.

While you are in Easthampton, dont forget about the Revolve Pop Up Shop in Eastworks, Easthampton. There is a great mix of handmade wares available and it looks fabulous.
There is also a Small Works Show at Hope and Feathers on display from December 4- January 17. 
I delivered a sweet forged tree wall sculpture for the show. 

I hope you will keep in mind your local artists and artisans when you are shopping this season! Head over to my etsy shop to browse for glass jewelry, bottle stoppers,  and critters, as well as steel candle holders and planters.  (When you do, you might notice that my craft business will be taking on a new name next year- Blue Barn Studios- and its beginning to trickle out into the world ;)

Now if you'll take a little trip with me from "craft" land to "fine art" land,  you can peek at some new sculptures in progress. I've been experimenting with latex, wax, paper and other materials in addition to my usual steel and glass.  I've been reading and thinking about concepts of disease, bodies and modern medicine.  I'd love to hear your reactions- what do you see? what do they make you think about? what do they make you wonder?

I'm also excited to share that I received a grant from the Northampton Arts Council for a sculpture show next summer at the Northampton Historical Society. The show will draw on the historical collection, using artifacts related to illness and disease to inspire contemporary sculptural responses and spark conversations.  

Friday, September 5, 2014

September Festivals

I've been busy preparing for this weekend's Mattoon Street Arts Festival. This is one of my favorite festivals that kicks off the fall season.  Come visit me this weekend in Springfield from 10-5, mention this blog post and get 10% off your purchase!  I'll have a bunch of new steel planters and candlabras, as well as the usual suspects- cute bud vases, beautiful pendants, mesmerizing marble stoppers and fresh veggie earrings.

Next weekend, Kitchen Garden will put on the Annual Chilifest, which is being held this year at Mike's Maze in Sunderland.  Artisans of WMASS is hosting the artisan shop, which will feature a spread of local handmade pottery, glass and steel, upcycled wares, handmade paper, journals and ornaments and more from Malea's Pottery, Sew What Gallery, Katie Ray Arts, JillyMama's, Lou's Upcycles, Moon and Sundries, and 230am Studio.  I'll also be doing a glass beadmaking demo on Sunday at 1:00 pm if you'd like to see some glass melting!

 Mug by Malea Rhodes     


Wallet by Lou's Upcycles

I'll also be making beads all afternoon on Saturday September 20 at Oh So Pretties in Wilbraham. This will be part of the "Taste of Wilbraham Shops" event and I'm sure there will be some good sales at the shop.  Oh So Pretties caries tons of great local artwork by some of my favorite Artisans of WMASS members. Upcoming Classes:  Glass Beadmaking hosted by Hadley Parks and Rec on Sundays, September 21 and 28, 1-5pm and Intro to Glass Beadmaking at 413 Glassworks in Cheshire. on Saturday September 27.