Monday, April 18, 2011


Please join me at the opening, FRIDAY MAY 6th, 5 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Rule- # 3

If you are interested, here is a good discussion on art and artists.  Art21 - Forum:  What Makes It Art?  Use the link above and enjoy.

You can't be a "REAL" artist unless . . .

Rules- #2

You can't be a "REAL" artist until you are dead and gone and people rediscover your work . . .

O.K.  This is ridiculous.  You are not an artist until people discover you after you are dead?  Really?  I feel as if some people try to dismiss the value of living artists and their work.  It's as though there is this strange stigma with some people that artists just simply don't make art.  They make things and then LATER it magically turns into art.  Now, this statement is not about the obviousness of artists' work becoming more valuable after they die.  That goes without saying simply because there is no longer a chance for that artist to make more work-therefore the value of their work is raised. . .  This is about the degrading of living artists.  I will also say, that there are many people out there that DO appreciate living artists and their work.  I am just responding to statements I have heard from more than one person.

RULES- # 1

More often I hear people calling out the rules of being a "True Artist." You're not truly an artist until . . .
    You can't be a "REAL" artist until you have at LEAST 10 shows at venues approved by the "Art    

Well, what art world are we talking about here?  The wealthy people buying our work?  It can be important to the survival of an artist wanting to live off of their work to put it out there in a place where it can be seen; BUT that is up to the individual maker.  I do not believe someone is lesser of an artist because they don't have the same recognition as the next person.  People need to decide a purpose of their work.  Is it just for the maker and people in the social world of that person?  Or, is it for the world to see?   There is an awful lot of work that I find cliche' that is out there in major museums that I feel are more just a concept than an actual physical piece of work... I don't find these people to be more artistic or more of an artist simply because their work made it into a museum.  


Friday, April 1, 2011

Current Artist Statement

Clay, so easily moved from a rough, raw state into a smooth and graceful elegance, has been the vessel through which my work has grown. The allure of the material combined with the reality of my work brings substance and form to my visions.  There is an over-abundance of clay on the earth’s surface; and the potential of what can be created from that material is endless.  What attracts me to this medium is its ability to take on the sharp, concise edges of man-made objects and just as easily merge into the organic softness of the human face.

My work, compelled by the complexities of humanity, is driven by our existence and the ambience we have created for ourselves.  Comparing and merging our humanness to the natural world and the life within that environment helps me describe our connectivity to the presence we live in.  The imagery in my current work relates to the philosophy of body and spirit in relation to our existence.  The questions running through me as my hands work is what urges the development of my sculpture.  Where does the body end and the inner-self or spirit start?  What exactly is existence and how is it possible that we exist at all?  Our world revolves around beginnings and endings.  Our lives start with the expectation that someday we will die.  It is part of humanity to question the nature of life.  Some are simply content with the answers of religion, while others are in constant question.  As my fingers continue to impress themselves into clay, more questions emerge, making their way into the imagery of my work.  Does time contradict life?  If we live in a world with this theory of time while also living with a sense of beginnings and endings and in the grand scheme of things not being able to see a beginning or an ending to time or the universe, then how is existence a possibility?    

Each project brings new challenge and vitality to my creative awareness.  The challenge of creating and the uncomfortable questions of life fuel my work as well as my outlook on the world.  What are the traits of humanity, and what do we assimilate them with?  Question paves the road to my creative self.  


Here is a list of questions handed out in my current graduate seminar class.  Answering these questions, I believe, will help any artist better understand themselves and their work.  I have difficulty in talking about my personal art work, and always have.  It gets a little easier as time moves ahead, and I develop both as an individual and a maker.  There are often so many layers of ideas, philosophies, questions of existence, and personal life observations and experiences that are embedded into my work, that I tend to get so overwhelmed when talking about it that I close up.  Unfortunately, people are then unable to fully encompass all aspects or dimensions of my work.  This is something I need to work at.  It is an issue I am fully aware of, and I am trying to take steps in furthering my ability to verbalize the meaning of what I do.    

Are you an artist / image maker, or something else? If something else, - what?

How do you personally conduct (or engage in) “research” to develop your work?

What artists (or places) do you look to, (go to) for inspiration?

Could you write a list of ten artists (or more) that influence your current work?

How do you edit your work? How do you decide your best work is good, how do you know it for

Where does your best work come from, what is the genesis of your images and ideas?
Examples might be: divine inspiration, the product of internal dialog with a side of your self,
from research and past growth of your work, one image or object, leading to the next, intuition
and emotional reaction to spontaneous image making, etc.

When / how, did your best works originate? Did it ever feel like you could control the process of
creating really good art?

When you look at / (ponder) your best work, do you think about it in terms of art historical
context? Do you wonder if the work will be in museums, or talked about in academic circles?

Do you often think about what your favorite artists or friends or past teachers would think about
your work? If yes, why and is that important? Who do you have mental dialogs with, when
thinking about or editing your best work?

Do you need to be alone to initially design / create or make your artwork? If not, what type of
social interaction is needed to create or support your work?

Most artists have strong egos, do you? Is that good?

When did you first know that you should be a working artist?

Is art making your “life’s work”, will art making be a long-term thing for you? Will you still be
making art five years from now? If you never have critical acclaim and success, will you still make
your work?

Who / what / where / when, is the ideal (or target) audience for your work?

Is your ideal audience small or large?

Is the future success of your work dependent on commercial galleries or on particular kinds of
viewing spaces? What are those spaces?

What level of sophistication or education or art historical awareness, does your audience need to
have, to experience or really appreciate your work?

Does your audience need to understand a particular language to see / understand your work?

Are you an “elitist” artist? Is that good (or not), why? Is art making “ethical” in the modern world?

How important is “competition” to your ability to make better work? Are you driven to get critical
attention and acknowledgement of your intellectual capacity and genius? Why?

Is there some viable way to create or expand an audience for your work? Is the development of
an audience, critical to your work and success? What are you doing to create and connect with
an audience?

What artistic movement(s) are you a part of (if any)? Examples might be: Contemporary artist,
modernist, minimalist, conceptual artist, traditionalist, etc.

Is your work dependent on an existing group of viewers or supporters or an institution(s) or a
particular periodical or social network, or website or anything like that? If yes, what are those?

Consider the following two words, which one is more important to you artwork?
idea or object Can your work function without one or the other? Why?

What past art movements led to your work being created?

What is your best work about, what are your themes and what is the content of your work saying
to others?

Do you owe some allegiance or debt to a past movement or series of movements for your work?

Could your current work exist without past artists engaging in acts of communicating with their
peers, writing critiques, creating social movements, organizing and writing manifestos?

Could you, (should you) write a manifesto? Why? Who would you work with (or organize) to be a
part of a movement? Are “art movements” dead now? Why?

Are we still in the era of Romanticism, Modernism, Postmodernism, or some other era or
movement? Does that affect your work or its perception? Is your work dated or tied to a time
period or style? Is that ok?

What is your main medium (or material) of expression? Why?

If all paint or clay or bronze or paper (insert your main medium of expression here) magically
disappeared, would you be able to keep on as an artist or would that end it for you? What does
that last answer, mean to you?

How critical is “skill” in making your work? Can you / will you get more skilled?

Is movement or choreography or specific body motions, or rituals, critical to your work? What do
you do to work on improving your skills and movements or rituals?

If your hands fell off, would you still be able to make art? Would you still find a way to make art?
Does the answer mean anything to you?

Do you keep a journal of ideas and/or a sketchbook of preliminary drawings? If not, why not?

What do you need to do personally, to improve your ability to make better work (and to edit your
work more aggressively)?

Are you hip or sophisticated or aware or perceptive of the art world at large? Is that important?

Can you name ten important people in the art world, critics, curators or art power brokers? Is that

Can you name five important conceptual artists? Is any conceptual art or artist, viable to you? Is
that important?

Is art theory, and critical discourse, important to you? Should it be?

What is your definition of Contemporary Art?

Contemporary art

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Contemporary art can be defined variously as art produced at this present point in time or art produced since
World War II.  The definition of the word contemporary would support the first view, but museums of
contemporary art commonly define their collections as consisting of art produced since World War II.

- There are many varying perspectives and definitions of Contemporary Art.  Is it up to people today to define
the present, or simply experience the here and now?  Should we leave defining current art to future generations?
Who is responsible for defining avant-garde, or contemporary?  Wealthy art collectors? Museums?  Artists?
The public?  I find it difficult to swallow definitions of Contemporary Art whole heartedly when its course in
history has not yet been completed.  How do we define something fully that has not ended?  When do you think
it will end?

I feel it is important to restrain from trying to fit ourselves and our work into what people believe to be the box
of contemporary art.  It is vital to the life of one's work for the artist to follow their heart when making art.  Only
then will it reach it's fullest beauty and vitality.  The question now is how do we make our work known to the
world?  It is one thing to make work, but an entirely different thing to offer it to the world, and have it be accepted.

Please feel free to comment on these questions to carry on the conversation of Contemporary Art.


Hello Everyone,

Gratia Brown and I will have work in Routes to Art this year.  This group of artists is put together every year by the Cattaraugus County Arts council.  For all of you that will be around next year, check into applying.  I have had great results participating in RTA for the last few years.  Each year it has grown and become more successful.  

routes to art 2011

Studio Tour
On May 21-22, 2011 from 10am-5pm, and a special sneak preview on Friday May 20, 6-9p, 43 artists will open their doors across the Cattaraugus region and Seneca Nation of Indians.
The exhibition is scheduled for April 17, 2011 at Jamestown Community College in Olean, NY.
The 2011 brochures will be available soon- reserve your copy today!
Dig deeper on any of the 43 artists from 2011 by viewing their works, artist statements, and contact information.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Work in Progress

Here is what I've been working on lately.  Each box will have drawings inside.  Also, the wax feet I was working on for my crows have been finished and are attached to the crows in the images below.  

Monday, March 14, 2011


For our exchange project I chose three pieces from three different people.  I have a Jason Stockman mug that I glazed with slips and a reduction red glaze that unfortunately did not get reduced in the kiln.  Gratia Brown is another person whose work I chose.  I finished her sculpture with a variety of mediums including underglaze washes, gold leaf paint, encaustic paint, oil stains, and nail polish.  The last piece I finished was a small Kevin Rhode sculpture.  This was finished with water color washes, paint, encaustic, and oil stain.  Here are some images of the finished pieces . . .

Pieces of the Puzzle

Hello everyone,
  Below are a few pictures of some small pieces I've been making.  These images are of smaller pieces belonging to larger projects.  The red crow claws are carved out of wax and will be cast in bronze.  I also made press molds of monarch butterflies so that I can make an abundance of butterflies for another larger piece.  The little people are actually part of some boxes I've made that will hold some of my drawings.  So. . . .  Here's your sneak peak into my studio.

Monday, March 7, 2011


EXCITING!!!  Right at the end of December, I stumbled upon the possibility that you can Raku copper metal!  I LOVE Raku, you can imagine my excitement at this discovery.  So, here's my silly story. . . I was taking a metals class this past semester as part of my minor, and the last project of the semester had to somehow incorporate enamel.  Well, I have never used enamel, but found that it is quite similar to glazing and firing a pot.  I occasionally have an obsessive personality, especially when I am learning some new technique.  Therefore, instead of doing one piece in enamel, I decided I would make a sculpture that would incorporate about 40 copper pieces.  I actually posted a picture of this sculpture in an earlier post--it's the picture of a face with a bunch of pieces protruding from the neck and forehead.  If you have never enameled before, once you have adhered the powdered enamel onto your metal surface you put it into a preheated kiln at about 1500 degrees F. for one to five minutes checking continually until the enamel is to the point you want it to be.  One thing that is really interesting is that you can fire your metal and build up layers of enamel and keep re-firing until you get the desired effect.  Also, there are three specific enamel surfaces other than simply opaque or translucent.  If you fire it quickly and take your piece out of the kiln before the enamel has matured, it has a rough colorful surface that looks like crystalized sugar, hence the name sugar enamel.  The second looks much like an orange peel glaze, so it's called orange peel enamel.  This is done by letting the enamel just start to mature and removing it before it has fully melted.  The last, obviously, is simply letting the enamel fully melt and mature in the kiln for a smooth glossy surface.  So, for my 40 pieces I couldn't possibly just enamel once.  I had to do each piece twice.  My first layer was fully matured enamel, then, in doing the second layer, I found the magic Raku Copper.  I decided that each little piece needed to have a sugar coating fading out from the base where they are attached to the sculpture.  Ok, so here's the magic--I ended up taking so many pieces in and out of the kiln at a constant pace, that I accidentally laid a few hot pieces just out of the kiln on some dry paper towels.  When I realized what I had done and lifted the piece off, I noticed, with great excitement, that I had a RAKU surface on my copper!!  So I re-fired all of my pieces AGAIN to obtain a similar surface.  This is certainly something I would love to explore more at some point.  If you are going to try this, I have a few suggestions to start.  First, I found that if the piece is over-efired, the results will not be as noticeable.  Next, I found that using a transparent enamel seems to work better than the opaque, and the sugar coating has the best results.  I have not tried this with silver.  I believe the copper is playing a role in this process much like in the ceramic Raku process.  The more I experiment, the more I will share my discoveries with you all.  Until then, happy hunting for those new exciting "Oh wow" moments.

Comments on Current Work

I will post images of pieces I am currently working on soon.  Until then, I will touch on what I've been doing with a few words.  In the past, I have made crows as part of my installations and have always had difficulty making the feet work for me.  Usually, by the time I have them the way I want they are so fragile that they just break or make it through the firing and are simply too fragile for my life style. So, BRONZE is my savior.  I have been carving my crow legs and feet out of wax which I intend to cast in the very near future.  Though a very small portion of my pieces will be bronze, I really believe it will make a huge difference in both the strength and look of certain sculptures.  This is a small, yet exciting step for me.

Teaching Philosophy

Hello Everyone,

   I've had a few people ask to see my teaching philosophy; and although it is always a work in progress, here is my current philosophy for anyone who may be interested, or in need of ideas to write their own.

Anne Mormile

Art is an integral part of the human experience.  Its universal value is established in cultures throughout the world.  Consequently, art and craft need to play an essential role in the education of students.  As a teacher, I integrate critical thinking skills, design, and problem solving while focusing on the practice of art in a contemporary, as well as a historical context.  The challenges posed by an art teacher can greatly enhance a student’s ability to take those critical thinking skills and apply them to many other disciplines such as mathematics, science, and the complexities of everyday life.  Art is one of those special disciplines that challenges us in both manual dexterity and conceptual thinking. The practice of creating enables us to express our emotions, thoughts, and philosophies while requiring us to solve complex problems, keeping our minds probing and inventing.  Art can be a documentation of our history; it can be personal, healing, political, an advertisement, design, or simply a study of our environment.  My enthusiasm for my own creative process and work overflows into my excitement to share that knowledge and drive with my students.

Ceramics is a discipline in which craft is highly emphasized.  Craft is a valid and important part of the historical and contemporary ceramic world.  In my classroom, students learn the importance of both craft and function, and how it plays a role in contemporary ceramics.  However, I also feel it is equally valuable to approach ceramics as an art medium.  Clay is a material with infinite possibilities, and by introducing multiple views on the use of this medium, I believe it prompts students to reach for discoveries found outside the tradition.  

I have many objectives in my teaching. One of my goals is to give students the sound technical training needed to develop work while simultaneously teaching them how to formulate and articulate the ideas behind the objects they are creating.  Having strong foundation skills and a sense of design, thought, and philosophy are important components to any practice in the arts.  By sharing my knowledge of ceramics with my students, it is my hope that someday they will be able to go even further with their own explorations in the field than I have.

It is important for me to present information both with enthusiasm and in an understandable manner that promotes drive and curiosity.  A class needs to be well structured in combination with flexibility on the teachers’ part for the presentation of materials and projects.  I believe that all teachers need to be open to learning from their students, in order to evolve and grow as mentors.  It is important to listen, observe, and respond to the needs of your students.  In presenting information to a class, you must be knowledgeable of both the materials and processes you are teaching, as well as of their history.  It is important to know where an idea came from, how it has developed over time, and how it continues to develop.

Art and craft play an immense role in our world; therefore, their inclusion in education should be pursued wholeheartedly.  They nurture us while giving expression and meaning to our lives, helping us shape our innermost thoughts.  Through my teaching, I hope to inspire students to reach their own creative potential.     

Monday, February 21, 2011


In the Graduate Seminar class that the majority of the ceramic graduate class is in, there has been a lot of discussion pertaining to conceptual art.  There seems to be an abundance of lackadasical objects floating around in the artworld with pages of concept supporting the objects.  My question is, why do people spend so much time trying to prove the worth of an object they spent all of five minutes obtaining?  It just seems to me, that if you are an excellent writer, then why try to pass yourself off as an object maker?  Why not just become a theorist, or a philosopher?  And more so, why are these "artists" being supported by major contemporary museums?  

Friday, February 18, 2011


Hello Everyone!  Please stop by this coming Wednesday and Thursday, February 23rd and 24th, to see our visiting artist, sculptor Magda Gluszek.
She will be demonstrating both days from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and she will be giving an artist talk on Wednesday night in the East Hall Classroom at 8:30 p.m.
We look forward to seeing you all there!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Is Thomas kinkade an artist or a craftsman? Paint versus Clay

I have found that in the realm of ceramics, there is often a stigma attached to clay.  Outside of the people that actually work with clay, there seems to be a popular misconception that clay working can only be craft, and not fine art.  I personally believe that it is not what you use to make your work (artwork), but it is the thought, passion and ideas that lead you to make an object or image that define whether or not something is fine art, craft, or design.  That is not to say that one is better than the other (craft versus fine art); that is an entirely different debate.
Most of us know of the popular paintings of Thomas Kinkade.  Because Kinkades medium is paint, he is often advertised as an artist, but when your work becomes production is it still art?  Perhaps his first original paintings were art because he had an idea or a vision, but now, after they have been mass-produced is it still art, or is it craft? Or, is it something else?  I leave this entry as an opening into the discussion of art versus what?.  Feel free to add your two cents to this topic . . .  

The Allure of the Human Face

I find myself compelled to integrate imagery of the human face into much of my work. A persons face can act as a window into their thoughts.  I look at the physical body, or a persons face, as a shell we can often hide behind; but also as a way to express our thoughts, and emotions.  This is one reason in particular that you will often find faces emerging from sections of my work.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Layers of the Spiral

Spirals have been used symbolically throughout the ages of humanity to represent an abundance of ideas and philosophies of the human spirit, as well as representations of nature and the universe.  A spiral is probably one of the most recognized symbols throughout the world, used and manipulated for what ever purpose we choose. It can represent the the centering, layering, or abundance of one's thoughts or self, while also representing the spiral of life and existence. Perhaps there is a deeply embedded reasoning in the human psyche for our connectivity to spiral imagery.  With the questions, emotions, and ideas that drive my work, I certainly see, and feel, an appropriateness when integrating this type of symbolism.

Why the crow?

This past week I spoke on the phone with an old friend of mine that I haven't heard from in a little over a year.  We talked and laughed for a long time, and toward the end of our talk she asked me how my work was going.  I gave her the typical answer of, " Oh, it's going really well," and not much more was said, but I did tell her to take a look at my website.  She later e-mailed me and said how much she enjoyed looking at my pictures, and the typical kind, supportive words that people say to good friends.  Then, she asked me "What got you into the crows?"  This question is one that I have heard many times from various people about crows and other imagery I have used.  Crows arise in my work quite often, and I don't believe that there really is just one particular answer for me to give.  There are certain symbols that I feel connect to different people.  Crows are one of those symbols for me.  My belief is that each person views the world of symbolism differently, and for one reason or another, we make associations and connections with imagery that we can't always explain fully to others.  Crows have the gift of flight, they are believed to be one of the most intelligent species of birds, and they are as black as the darkest sky.  When you see them, they are rarely alone, and they seem very protective of their crow "families." Even their calls to each other can often have an ominous tone to them.  So, when I am searching for imagery to represent a persons spirit, or a persons thoughts, or a pattern or flow of questions mixed with the carrying of knowledge from one space and time to another, or the death of the body, and lifting of the spirit, crows often fly in and out of my thoughts.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sketchbook Mentality

In general, when you think of a sketchbook, most tend to think of a book filled with blank pages in which a person draws out ideas and sketches images.  Though I have many of these "traditional" sketchbooks, I also consider other pieces of work to be a part of that sketchbook mentality. Drawings, clay test tiles, smaller sculptures etc. . . are all a part of my sketchbook.  In the past, I have shied away from showing people my "sketches," feeling they were private pieces unintended for others to see.  I do, however, believe that it is a significant part of my thought process, and helps to inspire larger pieces.  For my thesis show, I am including a small sketchbook area in which I will compile pieces I feel are significant to display.  I have added some images below of just a few "sketches," or smaller works.

Pencil drawing (left), terracotta with raku enamel on copper (right)                                        


                                Mini shadow boxes made from Whitman's chocolate sampler boxes

My Last Semester

This is the Beginning of my last semester in the Edinboro MFA program.  Three years Fly by incredibly fast.  My recent days feel mushed together in one big blur.  It's exciting, and I am really enjoying my work. Yet, it is also terrifying knowing I am facing that inevitable job search. Currently, my work is focused on developing pieces specifically suited for my thesis show.  I have added a few images of work that has just recently been completed.  
The imagery of much of this work is compelled by my personal questions of existence, human spirituality, and our "sixth sense," (intuition), as well as the way in which different societies and religions might also view humanity.  For instance, why do so many religions throughout the world feel a need to assimilate the traits of animals to the "human spirit?" What are the traits of humanity, and why do we need to assimilate them with anything? (Somehow, personally speaking, comparing humanity to the natural environment and the life that lives in that environment, for me, helps describe the connection between us and the world we live in.)  Where does the body end and the spirit start?  Does it exist at all?  Do we exist at all?  We live in a world of beginnings and endings.  Everyone is born, everyone dies.  Humans by nature seem to be in constant search of the great answers of life.  Some of us are content, or comforted with the answers handed down through religion from one generation to another answering those big questions of where we came from.  Other people take a scientific approach, and yet others question it all.  If life  begins with water, then where did water come from? Where did the world come from? Where did the Universe come from, and in turn, where did the place that the universe come from, come from? If we live in a world with this theory of time, while also living with a sense of beginnings and endings, and, in the grand scheme of things, not being able to see a beginning or an ending to time or the universe, then how is existence a possibility?  Yet, here we are . . . 

The images above are taken of a piece I have been working on for the last few months.  It is a wall piece that is approximately eight feet tall by eight feet wide.  It is a representation of many of my above questions, with life emerging from its crusty beginning spiraling out in layers of life, and questions.