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Joy and the Everyman

Studio visit with South Kent ceramicist Joy Brown



Joy Brown sits in the doorway of her throwing studio, where she builds sculptures from a blend of material like Japanese clays she trained with.

Megan Haley

Billy Morrison was like a kid in a candy shop. He’d just discovered a few creatures huddling together beside the subway-car sized kiln at the heart of artist Joy Brown’s ceramic studio. The four-legged ceramic beasts are bigger than cats, but smaller than pigs, with gently rounded bodies and sweetly expressive faces.

“So, what are they?” Brown says. “You know the term ‘Everyman’? Well, these could be ‘Everyanimal’. I’ve been drawing them since elementary school.”

“Let’s bring them to the gallery! What will we title them?” asks Morrison. 

Brown replies, “We can call them Animal 1 and Animal 2 and Animal 3.” 

“We’ll number them as we sell them!” Morrison quips. 

Four of us had gathered for a visit to artist Joy Brown’s ceramic studio in South Kent, our group including Brown, her dealer Billy Morrison, and collector Deborah Foord. Morrison’s childlike enthusiasm for the work, combined with business-savvy thinking, typifies the relationship he cultivates with the artists he represents in his eponymous Morrison Gallery in Kent, which over the past 18 years has become somewhat of an institution for living Connecticut artists. In addition to building a new 5,500-square-foot gallery space and 10,000-square-foot art-storage facility, Morrison has turned his attention to exhibiting large-scale public sculpture in recent years. Joy Brown is the third artist represented by the gallery to be tapped for exhibition in New York by the Broadway Mall Association. 

The appearance of Connecticut Artists on the Broadway Mall in recent years is in large part due to board member Deborah Foord, who is a resident in both Litchfield and New York, and an avid supporter of contemporary art in the Northwest Corner. “Spiritual and serene, those are words I like for Joy’s figures,” says Foord.

Arriving with a fleet of flatbeds one weeknight in May, Morrison, Foord, and Brown worked through the night to find the perfect locations for the work. Beginning opposite the entrance to the subway station at the intersection of Broadway and 72nd, these giant Bronze humans can be found all the way to 168th street. They will populate the Broadway mall for the next three to six months, delighting passersby from 72nd to 168th Streets, crossing diverse neighborhoods and New York City subcultures.

The response has been instantaneous, as the many playful posts on social media will attest. Perform a search of #joybrownonbroadway on social media and you see children and adults happily befriending the newcomers, enfolded in their arms or lounging on their backs.

“People have used the word ‘humanoid’ for my sculptures. It’s a really weird word. You hear it and you think ‘alien,’ as if they’re an empty shell—and I see them as full of spirit. There’s a spirit in there.” 

Built and fired as ceramic sculptures in Brown’s studio in South Kent, the bronzes are enlarged and cast in Shanghai by Purple Roof Atelier, a small studio and gallery dedicated to supporting contemporary artists. The artist’s touch is integral to every step of this process; she travels to Shanghai to work on the foam and plaster molds, adjusting the facial features. She says cutting the eyes and mouth is a pivotal moment. “It pops alive. It’s just like a shell of metal, then at a certain point—it’s looking right at you,” she says. 

Joy Brown has lived between Asia and America all her life, having been raised in Japan by parents of European descent. After college, she returned to Japan to train with a master ceramicist who she credits with “getting her out of her head,” after the more cerebral experience of an American art school. She tells the story of the first lesson she was given: she was handed a sake cup to copy. 

She spent weeks throwing hundreds of versions of this simple cup on the wheel. The lesson was not about making a perfect sake cup. It was about connecting deeply with a process, learning to trust that “your hand and your heart know what to do before your head knows.” This notion is at the center of Joy Brown’s work and practice. 

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July 2018

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Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
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Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
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Cost: Free

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Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
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Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
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Cost: $37-$42

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Sponsor: Landmark Community Theatre
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Hunt Hill Farm
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View map »


Telephone: 860-355-0300
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More information

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Telephone: 860-355-0300
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More information

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Cost: Free!

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Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Litchfield Historical Society
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Cost: $37-$42

Where:
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Cost: $175

Where:
Landmark Community Theatre Production Center
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Sponsor: Landmark Community Theatre
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Cost: $300

Where:
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44 Upland Rd
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View map »


Telephone: 860-355-0300
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More information

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Cost: $250

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Rd
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View map »


Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

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Cost: $100

Where:
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View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farn
Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
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View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
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View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is celebrating the middle of summer vacation with a week of FREE afternoon crafts and games for families at the Tapping Reeve Meadow....

Cost: Free!

Where:
Tapping Reeve Meadow
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View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Litchfield Historical Society
Website »

More information

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Cost: $37-$42

Where:
The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat
1 Railroad Ave.
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View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
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Cost: $175

Where:
Landmark Community Theatre Production Center
9 Center St.
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View map »


Sponsor: Landmark Community Theatre
Telephone: 860-283-8558
Contact Name: Andrea Bingham
Website »

More information

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Cost: $300

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Rd
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View map »


Telephone: 860-355-0300
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More information

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Cost: $250

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Rd
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View map »


Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free and open to the public.

Where:
Gunn Memorial Library
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Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
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View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

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Cost: $100

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Rd
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farn
Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

Join in the fun this summer as we challenge you to OWL Reads! Challenge yourself to read six to nine books this summer! How to participate? Beginning June 20th come to OWL to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

Jennifer paints with vibrant hues in multiple layers, capturing her exuberance and fascination with color and texture. She has developed her own style through many years of experimentation,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is celebrating the middle of summer vacation with a week of FREE afternoon crafts and games for families at the Tapping Reeve Meadow....

Cost: Free!

Where:
Tapping Reeve Meadow
82 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Litchfield Historical Society
Website »

More information

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Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Road
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farm
Telephone: 860.355.0300
Contact Name: John C. Maxwell III
Website »

More information

Take a 2 ½ hour narrated train and riverboat ride through what the Nature Conservancy calls “one of the last great places on earth,” the Connecticut River Valley. The train...

Cost: $37-$42

Where:
The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat
1 Railroad Ave.
Essex, CT  06426
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Landmark Community Theatre will be extending it’s Youth Theatre Education program this July with a summer camp intensive focusing on Acting, Dance, and Voice. The camp...

Cost: $175

Where:
Landmark Community Theatre Production Center
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View map »


Sponsor: Landmark Community Theatre
Telephone: 860-283-8558
Contact Name: Andrea Bingham
Website »

More information

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Cost: $300

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Rd
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View map »


Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

Today it is more important than ever to teach our children where their food comes from and why that is important. During this 5-day cooking series, the students will learn those...

Cost: $250

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Rd
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View map »


Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

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View map »


Sponsor: Ives Concert Park and Promotions in Motion
Telephone: 203-837-9227
Contact Name: Phyllis Cortese
Website »

More information

Summer Concert Series Package includes 4 concerts that will be shown all at Hunt Hill Farm. All concerts start at 7:00 PM to 9:30 PM on the dates below with artist information. For more...

Cost: $100

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Rd
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farn
Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

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View map »


Telephone: 860-542-3000
Website »

More information

Join in the fun this summer as we challenge you to OWL Reads! Challenge yourself to read six to nine books this summer! How to participate? Beginning June 20th come to OWL to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

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Where:
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Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is celebrating the middle of summer vacation with a week of FREE afternoon crafts and games for families at the Tapping Reeve Meadow....

Cost: Free!

Where:
Tapping Reeve Meadow
82 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Litchfield Historical Society
Website »

More information

Take a 2 ½ hour narrated train and riverboat ride through what the Nature Conservancy calls “one of the last great places on earth,” the Connecticut River Valley. The train...

Cost: $37-$42

Where:
The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat
1 Railroad Ave.
Essex, CT  06426
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Landmark Community Theatre will be extending it’s Youth Theatre Education program this July with a summer camp intensive focusing on Acting, Dance, and Voice. The camp...

Cost: $175

Where:
Landmark Community Theatre Production Center
9 Center St.
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View map »


Sponsor: Landmark Community Theatre
Telephone: 860-283-8558
Contact Name: Andrea Bingham
Website »

More information

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Cost: Admission is $7 per person; children 12 & under free.

Where:
Mica Quarry Estate-Garden of Monika & Buddy Nixon
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Kent, CT
View map »


Sponsor: The Garden Conservancy
Telephone: 888-842-2442
Contact Name: Open Days Program staff
Website »

More information

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Cost: $7 per private garden; children 12 & under free.

Where:
Steele Garden
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View map »


Sponsor: The Garden Conservancy
Telephone: 888-842-2442
Contact Name: Open Days Program Staff
Website »

More information

A workshop leading to the creation of a floral piece in the Free Style Arrangement of the Sogestsu School of Ikebana. This includes sketching of the arrangement,  an understanding for the...

Cost: $99/$114

Where:
Wisdom House
229 East Litchfield Rd
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Wisdom House
Telephone: 860-567-3163
Contact Name: Bonnie Mis
Website »

More information

A workshop leading to the creation of a floral piece in the Free Style Arrangement of the Sogestsu School of Ikebana. This includes sketching of the arrangement,  an understanding for the...

Cost: $99/$114

Where:
Wisdom House
229 East Litchfield Rd
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Wisdom House
Telephone: 860-567-3163
Contact Name: Bonnie Mis
Website »

More information

Papermoon Dance & Performing Arts is holding an Open House at 49 Commons Drive (the same building as WZBG) in Litchfield on Saturday, July 21, from 1:00-4:00 PM for the unveiling of their new...

Cost: Free

Where:
Papermoon Performing Arts Studio
49 Commons Drive
Next to WZBG Radio
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Papermoon Performing Arts
Telephone: 203-707-8428
Contact Name: Danielle Eichman
Website »

More information

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Cost: Tickets $20 in advance, $30 at the door.

Where:
Ives Concert Park
43 Lake Ave Ext
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »


Sponsor: Ives Concert Park and Promotions in Motion
Telephone: 203-837-9227
Contact Name: Phyllis Cortese
Website »

More information

Summer Concert Series Package includes 4 concerts that will be shown all at Hunt Hill Farm. All concerts start at 7:00 PM to 9:30 PM on the dates below with artist information. For more...

Cost: $100

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Rd
New Milford, CT  06776
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Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farn
Telephone: 860-355-0300
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Join in the fun this summer as we challenge you to OWL Reads! Challenge yourself to read six to nine books this summer! How to participate? Beginning June 20th come to OWL to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
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Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
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Jennifer paints with vibrant hues in multiple layers, capturing her exuberance and fascination with color and texture. She has developed her own style through many years of experimentation,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
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Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

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The Farm-Fresh Market was created in 2007 with 15 local vendors, and has grown over the years to become a staple of the Litchfield Hills community throughout all seasons. We were so proud to be...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Center School Parking Lot
Woodruff Lane
Litchfield, CT  06759
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Telephone: 860-567-3871
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Take a 2 ½ hour narrated train and riverboat ride through what the Nature Conservancy calls “one of the last great places on earth,” the Connecticut River Valley. The train...

Cost: $37-$42

Where:
The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat
1 Railroad Ave.
Essex, CT  06426
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