Michigan Made Monday, Solstice Edition! Featuring: Ann Russ's Sacred Ceramics

Let me start off with saying that yes, I know, I'm over two weeks late making a Solstice post. That being said, there is snow on the ground, and I need to remind myself that Spring is, after all, still here, technically speaking.  I saw my first big boat of the spring on my run yesterday evening!

With snow on the ground and sun in the sky today, I'd like to talk about transitions and times of change, and therefore times of growth, whether these times are chosen by us or chosen for us. 

As those of you who are lucky enough to live in the Great White North know, winter can be hard.  Dark, isolating, cold, and long.  Maybe some of you who are former Northerners left for this exact reason, and no one can shame you for that. Winter can be really...difficult...up here. 

Maybe that's the reason that so many artists and creative people find the Northwoods a perfect place to create--we're up-close and personal with the dark and looking at our inner selves nine months of the year. 

Art and life-transitions often walk side by side. Here at the shop, we've been noticing lately how deeply connecting a piece of jewelry can be, whether a custom piece made in memoriam of a special person, a necklace given as a significant gift, a ring as an expression of love, a heartfelt thank you--or something commemorative and personal to celebrate inner milestones.  Art expresses and connects and symbolizes on a spiritual level when words aren't sufficient. 

To continue along this line of thought, 


and this week, we're featuring

Ceramicist Ann Russ

“The world is holy. We are holy. All life is holy.
Daily prayers are delivered on the lips of breaking waves,
the whispering of grasses, the shimmering of leaves.”

--Terry Tempest Williams

"It is out of that holiness and deep appreciation for the precious gift that life is – that I make the work that I do. For me, it is a sacred act to handbuild vessels intended to hold the remains of someone who was loved and existed upon the earth."

--Ann Russ

Ann's work is a meditation on honoring transitions and sacred moments. She mainly focuses on building memorial urns, reliquaries, and Spirit Bowls.   

Memorial Urns:





Reliquaries are holders, either for a portion of ash or for an object of personal spiritual significance for the owner (or gift receiver).




Spirit Bowls are, in Ann's words,  

"...made to bless and amplify the intention of the owner reflected in the objects placed inside the bowl. They can serve…

  • To support personal rituals,
  • To commemorate special milestones,
  • To honor a legacy,
  • To celebrate a life,
  • To hold a wish or intention,
  • To mark a transition or turning point,
  • As a visual reminder to live more fully."

Her work is an ethereal combination of nature, architecture, and sacred symbolism that transcends denomination and touches the root of the human experience.  These works are often custom designed to honor specific aspects of an individual's journey through life.

Ann has an impressive, extensive resume of study and exhibition. She studied at Northern Michigan University, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Wayne State, has an MS in Environmental Studies from the University of Houston...and that's only the start of her biography!

We are so glad she's chosen the Queen City as her nest!  Ann is based out of her studio at 129 Baraga Ave, Suite E, in Marquette--right next to the UP Children's Museum and Dead River Coffee.

Ann is the organizer of the 100 Day Project in Marquette, a challenge to create a new, unique piece of art every day for 100 days in an effort to spark creativity and encourage one another as a community of artists. Starting this project in Marquette earned her the Marquette Community Arts Activist Award!


Her work was recently shown alongside painter Leopoldo Cuspinera Madrigal's handmade paper and mixed-media artwork at the DeVos Art Museum on NMU's campus.  I hope you got to experience this moving exhibit!


Happy Winter-into-Spring,