Featured Artisan: March/April, 2017

Dani Fisher of Clayote Studios

by Ione Lewis and Dani Fisher
Dani Fisher, co-founder and co-owner with Stephane Leon of Clayote Studios in Prescott Valley, has been helping others create art at the studio since it opened in September of 2016. “I like saying that we are Prescott Valley’s First Community Gallery and studio,” she says. (See Clayote’s Home Page.)  She had a Clayote Studios in Boyertown, PA in 2009 but returned to Arizona, and reopened Clayote Studios, this time with her long-time friend, Stephane.

Dani says of her friend and partner Stephane, “We’ve known each other ten years.  I met her at a school in Prescott Valley when I was doing the same thing I do now, and we became friends. When I had my shop in PA and she was in AZ, the whole time all I could say  to myself is, ‘I wish Stephane was here.  She’d understand.’   After many years, I finally have the nurturing, compassionate presence in the shop that I longed for.  Where I leave off, Stephane picks up and visa versa.  It’s teamwork to the max!”

She and her partner offer after-school ceramics classes for grade-schoolers called Mud Puppies, teach adult classes under titles such as Mud Slingers, and offer Mud Mania Wheel Throwing Parties for adults at various locations throughout the Valley. They also teach clay wheel, painting and other arts in their gallery/studio. And if that’s not enough, they offer an Open Mic Night at the gallery/studio on Thursday and Saturday nights.
Come in and make a pot on the pottery wheel, paint, join a class, open mic night, wheel n wine and more! Great gifts!

Dani says her life is about art and children and horses. Here is her family: sons Nathan 16 and Ben 13, and husband Christopher J. Fisher.


And let’s not forget the family animals.
The classes are meant to be both relaxing and healing. “In our classes we stretch, breathe, and learn how to let go of the rest of our day and focus on the hour we have together,” Dani says.
As part of their community gallery orientation, Clayote Studios offers a space for local artists and artisans to display and sell their work. According to Dani, “The classes generate their own revenue and bring in more potential art buyers.  We have been downplaying the gallery  but in reality it’s a fully functioning community gallery and working studio for all ages and abilities.”
Dani discovered at five she wanted to be an artist. When she and her parents first moved to Arizona from Pennsylvania, she says, “I was hot, sweaty and homesick.The art teacher gave me two balls of soft cool red clay and I felt so much better.  I remember how it felt with the sun shining on me as I rubbed my fingers in the clay and I knew then that there was so much power and possibility in this.” She’s been working in clay ever since.
“I have degrees in art ed, art therapy, religious studies, counseling and ceramics.  I have spent my entire life involved in healing art, music, horses and kids.  I never quite realized how much I was healing myself throughout my entire career with helping others find their creative spirit until recently.”
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There are seven basic tenants Dani wants people to know about Clayote Studios and her art services:
  1. We are passionate about our community.
  2. We service any age or ability.  We are healing and knowledgeable about our career paths.
  3. We are well-known functioning artists.
  4. We desire to inspire. If we impress along the way, that’s great, but inspiration is key.  I want folks to be able to use whatever they can to express their inner desires.  Sometimes we have no words for what we are feeling.  Through celebrating the creative spirit, we find new languages to convey and reach out to others.
  5. We do whatever it takes to live our dream.It’s constant growth, relearning and reaccepting.  It’s hard work and humility, but sometimes the success and healing we gain through art is so much love and transcendence, that it feels like I am surfing through the galaxies.
  6.  It gets tough and its ok.  We are all artists.  We can do this…..together.
  7. We are always learning about the arts and it’s many variations in our own community.
Reflective of her collaborative and caring spirit, Dani has also been an online magazine writer and podcast host. She has a Mile High Show podcast, called Kaleidescope with Dani Fisher, where she features and interviews local artists, artisans, gallery owners among others. Her shows are always interesting. (Here is the Mile High Link where you can listen to some of her shows.
 Dani with the amazing artists, Chalk it Up!
Dani with Dave Newman and then with with Melanie Banayat
Again, here is the Mile High Link  where you can listen to these shows.
Dani says, ” I want all members of the community to feel welcome to come collaborate/exhibit/perform/ or create with Clayote Studios.  I’m all about the creative spirit in all of us, art as a way to communicate, and that it has to get out there an be seen.  I refuse to listen to anyone say they aren’t creative.  You don’t have to be a painter or a potter to be an artist.  It’s how we design our entire life.  You can be a number artist, a people artist, a chef, etc.”
Here is some of Dani’s Clay Art:
Her partner Stephane, made this practical planter desert flora and fauna. I couldn’t resist this set for my West Pot that takes all the summer heat, and where nothing will grow!
Dani also teaches painting, and here are four of her paintings:
Dani has been a featured artist in several papers including the Prescott Valley Tribune, and  Reading Eagle-LIFE.

The best way to contact Dani is:

. . . . .

Featured Artisan: February/April, 2017



Dee Dee Woods of Dee Dee Did It

By Ione Lewis

When I first met Dee Dee at Olney Gallery on Roosevelt in January, I thought I’d met a fabulous Fine Art Photographer, and offered, as I do when I see talent, to feature on my blog “sometime.” I had no idea that this photographer was a multi-talented artist and artisan running her own business, nor that she was the daughter of Roosevelt RIP Woods, the acclaimed and revolutionary Phoenix artist. Nor that she was the founder, in 2013, of the RIP Woods Studio project, a project I will cover, along with her father, in another article. I knew that I had barely covered the surface over at Olney, when she handed me her card:


In this feature, I will walk you through some of her many talents as we discover Dee Dee Did It at 934 East Southern Avenue, her venue, in Phoenix.

The Hostess

This coming Friday, Dee Dee will be hosting an exciting band, that I hope you will all come out to see:


The Show begins at 7:34 p.m. Friday night, and will continue to 11:34 p.m. You can see the event on my Events page, and can reserve on Facebook.


Dee Dee hosts many ground-breaking bands, and one can find live music regularly at her venue.

Dee Dee’s Elegant, Full Service Venue

Dee Dee Did It will plan and host your wedding, graduation, or any event where you require “elegant style and impeccable service.” To give you an idea of the beauty of 934, here are some photos:


Evenings at Dee Dee Did It are delightful!


The Chef and Caterer


Dee Dee creates a unique Caribbean, African and Neo Soul Cuisine that is absolutely delicious! She says, “I do it all customizing the menu for clients’ specific palettes. Dinners for two, I will cook in your home.”


The Photographer

Dee Dee is a Fine Art Photographer, having studied Fine Art Photography at ASU and Mesa Community College, and has shown at numerous galleries throughout the Valley, including Olney Gallery this past January, the Tempe History Museum, Herberger Theatre Art Gallery, Burton Bar Library, among many others. She began early on with Commercial Photography at Phoenix Union Vocational School and does commercial photography for clients. Below are some of her portraits, starting with black and white.







And yes, she even does pets!

The Gallery Shop Owner:  The Other Side

Also at 934, Dee Dee also has a shop featuring local artists and artisans. On her website, Dee Dee states,

The Other Side offers a special shopping experience with exclusive Dee Dee Did It finds, designs and creations.

The small but extensive retail space has an abundance of unique, custom and hand crafted items, from pots and plants, jewelry, clothing, furniture, home décor and so much more!

The Front Door reads: Hunting and Gathering and Shopping


To learn more about Dee Dee and to contact her, go to: 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/deedeedidit934/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dee.dee.did.it/ and https://www.instagram.com/shit.i.like_ontheotherside_934/

Email: deedee@deedeedidit.com

. . . . .

Featured Artisan: January/February 2017


portraitMiles Roberts, Southwestern Clay Artist

Miles has been an independent professional potter for the past 9 years, having graduated from Louisiana State University with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Sculpture. He has been working in ceramics since 1987. A native of the Southwest, he has spent most of his life in Arizona, and worked at studios here in the Phoenix area while developing his own unique Southwestern style of fine art pottery inspired by ancient Native-American pottery designs, and our Arizona desert wildlife. Every piece is hand thrown by Miles.

He has several lines of fine Southwestern pottery, and customers across the globe. He is found in galleries and gift shops throughout the southwest. His pottery is carried in venues as far north as Utah, and as far east as Kansas. Here in Arizona, his pottery is particularly popular in Sedona.

Hair of the Wolf

Below are examples of his Hair of the Wolf Collection. It actually came into being accidentally, because of his and his wife’s pet wolf/collie, Samos, who kept leaving his molting hair in Miles’ studio. Miles discovered that when the hair was mixed with Sedona red rock colors and various glazes, it left a natural, earthen texture that spoke to the eloquent ethos of the desert Southwest. Wildly popular with Arizona’s many tourists and Southwest enthusiasts, Miles quickly discovered that he had market for these pieces, and developed his first signature line.

Here are some examples:








Woven Pottery

Currently, Miles is focusing on his acclaimed Woven Pottery. Nowadays, he says, he is doing less giftware and tourist venues, and more galleries and he sees that trend continuing in the future. Here are some examples of this earthy but elegant pottery:






Here are some more interesting and collectible pieces recently shown in Sedona.


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You can see Miles Roberts’ charming pottery at the following locations:

Made in Arizona, Sedona

Stone Creations, Hillside Galleries, Sedona

Oak Creek Arts and Crafts Shows, Outlet Mall, Sedona

Contact Information:

View Miles’ website at Arizona Clayworks

You can e-mail him at: milesclayworks@gmail.com

. . . . .

Featured Artisan: December 16th, 2016 – January 15th, 2017


Alex Ozers of From the Reliquary

In June, Phoenix New Times put Alex in it’s 100 Creatives for 2016, a list of 100 leading painters, designers, dancers, actors in Phoenix who are making a difference.  I learned very quickly since I started this blog six weeks ago, that my readers don’t really like to read that much about someone. They really want to see the artisan’s creations, and figure out where to go to find him or her. So I’m learning to keep it short.

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An archived photo of Alex from Practical Art (I googled it).

If you want to see the Phoenix New Times 2016 feature on Alex Ozers, which has a lengthy interview with him, go to http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/arts/phoenix-jeweler-alex-ozers-of-from-the-reliquary-on-choosing-aesthetics-over-narrative-8409301.

Christmas is just around the corner, so here’s some of his really unique, well crafted and elegant artisan jewelry:









You can purchase Alex’s jewelry from Practical Art  and here’s the link to his page there: http://practical-art.com/alan-voigt-1. I know the name is wrong, but it takes you straight to his page.

Here’s how to reach reliquary

The Website is at http://www.fromthereliquary.com/.

Also see From the Reliquary on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/fromthereliquary/.

Etsy has a From the Reliquary shop at https://www.etsy.com/ch-en/shop/FromTheReliquary?ref=profile_shopicon.

. . . . .

Featured Artisan: November 15th-December 15th, 2016


Karen Olson of Vonciel’s Pies

I am honored to present Central Arts District Blog’s very first Featured Artisan:  Vonceil’s Pies’ Karen Olson, whose Charity Pie Night monthly pie baking for Practical Art, raises both money and awareness for select worthy community non-profits.


Karen says, “Charity Pie Night has become something out of a dream for me.  I am grateful every day that I have the opportunity to make delicious pie that brings people together to talk about and raise money for amazing non profit organizations around Arizona!”

December’s Charity Pie Night is this Third Friday, December 16th, from 7:00-9:00 p.m., Practical Art, 5070 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, Arizona, (602) 264-1414. 

According to Practical Art’s website, donations are only $5 per slice of delectable Vonceil’s pie, “or for $10 you can have as many in-house tastings as you want.  All of your donations, and 10% of all sales that day will be donated to The Art Resource Center.”

Karen bakes 12 to 15 types of scrumptious pies for Practical Art’s Charity Pie Socials each month.  She says, “I always make sure that Charity Pie Nights cater to all different diets, therefore there are always at least a half a dozen gluten free and/or vegan options for pie!” Here are only a few:


Bourbon Pecan


Tequila Key Lime


Bring in your own plate or pick up a handmade one at Practical Art ”to keep things eco-conscious!”

About art-resource-center-logo

The Art Resource Center or The ARC is a nonprofit corporation that collects reusable discarded materials from individuals and industries, and offers them free of charge to non-profits and schools, specifically for the purpose of making art. According to their website, “By recycling art worthy materials for creative minds, THE ARC is filling the ever widening funding gap of nonprofits by providing quality materials to continue the passion we call ART.”

For further information, see their website at: http://www.artresourcecenter.org.

Karen’s Contact Information

Olson is a baker at the 100% vegan Treehouse Bakery, 1348 W. Roosevelt St., Phoenix, AZ 85007. Tel: (480) 560-5233.

Her facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/VonceilsPies/.

The best way to reach her is: piemaker88@gmail.com.

Or telephone: (480)329-0301.


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