PERFECT EXAMPLE OF CHAOS IN MY LIFE LATELY! I wrote this on March 26th and neglected to send it....



Needless to say, we are still unpacking but we do feel like this is home now…..Although our Greenville home has not sold, I believe it will happen soon! We are having lots of lookers and have had one offer from folks in Minnesota! It seems weird to enter our naked house these days yet it is so beautiful this way! I still marvel that Roger could turn it into a master piece both visually and create such a fun, interesting and comfortable place for us to live. We just hope someone who loves the house will be the next owner. The fact that my garden is about to burst forth with it’s ongoing theatrical display of one amazing flower show after another will certainly act as a bonus to anyone who is considering our home.

I also want to take a moment to thank EVERYONE who has supported and helped us in all manner of ways from words of encouragement to packing and lifting and moving boxes, feeding us, providing their extra bedroom as the furniture disappeared from the Greenville home….. I also give thanks for the emails and thank you Dan Hamilton, our amazing Realtor, for your help and guidance as we come closer and closer to selling our home. You have been just wonderful and so patient!!! We can’t leave out our wonderful builder Al Wadell and his subs and assistants. They are incredible and were able to live through the process of “ building for an architect”!!!!!! I know it took the patience of Job….. but we could not be happier in our comfortable, light filled, convenient and stunning new home and studios that have risen out of the earth of our little orchard in Clover, SC!

Two special and HUGE thank you’s also go to my son Ryan, Jen and the GrandKids Lily and Charlie. We could simply have not made this huge move without their love, support and physical help! The other goes to the Stefanie and Max Doering for all kinds of assistance down to helping us move and fix my huge kiln with the added assistance of Elaine Quave for transporting my kiln to Clover!!!!!! What can I say folks, this was enormous but believe me, every tiny bit of the assistance that came our way was appreciated right down to so many of you just wishing us luck……I am dewey eyed as I write this because we are so fortunate and I am so filled with love and appreciation for all of you….

Soon we will have an open house and hope you will come help us celebrate and say thanks to all of you!!!!! Stay tuned!

The following images will help to tell the story of our journey from Greenville to Clover….



THANK YOU!!! to each and every one of you involved with my workshop on SPRING ISLAND, SC for making my recent stay so very special!!!!!

I will mostly let the images tell the story of a fabulous, kind and generous group of people who came together with such openness, curiosity and interest that the resulting week and the work that came out of the week long workshop was extraordinary. I really could not have asked for a better group to work with… The week was about process and new techniques that folks could add to their knowledge of clay… It was also about getting to know the clay and themselves a little better. Along with the focus on using nature as our inspiration, we made simple press molds and slump molds . But it was the pinching session that seemed to resonate with everyone, myself included…. We all seemed to find our way to have a personal conversation with the clay. They learned the importance of using this exercise like a meditation, always remembering that part of a good conversation is listening…

I absolutely must mention the amazing beauty of Spring Island with it’s carefully guarded and cared for old growth forests. Certainly it is a birdwatcher’s heaven and a place of peace, quiet and love for nature and nature’s many gifts…. If only we could all take care of our environment the way they do on Spring Island, we would be closer to solving the devastation of global warming. Let this Island and it’s inhabitants be our teachers. Through their philanthropic causes Island folks are standing behind their causes, not only with funding bur with their knowledge and time…

Special thanks to Pam, Lark, Bailey and the Westerlunds for making all the plans, housing,etc to make sure I was happy and well cared for. They also took care of every detail to make sure this was a special workshop for both teacher and participants….. Their experience, love of art and love of folks who want to add a new dimension to their life through the arts, made this workshop a great success in every sense of the word. For me, I will remember it as one of my favorites!

Special thanks also to Paulus Berensohn, sadly deceased, for his friendship and his book, Finding One’s Way in Clay. Thanks also to Penland and my Middle School students for teaching me how to teach!

With love and respect,


To heaven on Spring Island and back to heaven at home in Clover!


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Major progress on our new home and studios!!! Yipeeeee!!!!

If you have been wondering what I have been up to lately.... I have been busy retiring, going through 22 years of school "stuff", selling one home of 22 years, building another home, trying to work in my studio, spend time with grandkids and currently preparing for a workshop at Arrowmont school of Craft.  I have missed connecting with you through my blogs but want to mention that you might want to follow me on Instagram at aliceballard64 for more frequent posts.  I love telling my story through images so Instagram has been a wonderful way to do this, not to mention all the artists I have connected with around the world. Yes, I do LOVE Instagram!

These images are some highlights that that I hope will tell a story of my life over the past chaotic, challenging, yet wonderful few months.,,, Love and peace to everyone!  

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The last day of school!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Leaving a final creative mark for the year...

To all my students, past & present.

  "The artist in me will miss the artist in each of you..."  I will also miss all the fun, laughter , hugs, smiles and even a few tears.  Your creativity amazed me every day I taught you over the past 22 years... You all taught me such wonderful things and inspired my awe and admiration constantly.  Love and thanks from the bottom of my heart.... Mrs. Ballard and when you finish the Upper School, you can call me Alice!




An Easter Egg hunt in the orchard!!!

Our builder, Al Waddell, was finally able to get the footings and foundation for our home and studios are done between rain storms! To celebrate the reality of our new home and studios in Clover, SC, our family met in the orchard for an Easter egg hunt!  The weather was absolutely perfect, the sky a deep blue, the new grass was a lush spring green and the fruit trees were blooming! 

Roger and I helped my son Ryan hide eggs in the part of the orchard not under construction.  It was such fun looking for just the right places to hide the eggs!  When Jen, our daughter-in-law arrived with Lily and Charlie,  we could hardly restrain them from running full steam ahead into the orchard to start hunting for those bright colored easter eggs containing coins and candy!  I have included a few pictures of the hunt. Mind you, it was hard to keep up!  Of course the "golden egg" was the big find!  Even Jaz and Rosie, our 4 legged family members, joined in the fun and excitement of the moment.  What a memory this will be for all of us and most certainly it will be the beginning of a new family tradition....

The other memory will always be the excitement of seeing the foundation for our new home.  Our dream was suddenly becoming reality and I am so very happy that we shared this exciting experience as a family! 



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Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to One & All!!!

It seems only fitting that we end this year with an image of our beloved home in Greenville, SC with our 22 year old Norfolk Pine Tree at the center.  This Norfolk Pine was only 12 inches tall when I purchased it for my advisees at CCES Middle School, my first year in Greenville, SC as an art instructor.  As you can see, it eventually came home with me to be the tree in our living room that we decorate for Christmas.  This year, it has ornaments from every ornament project I have done with the students over the years, mostly for the tradition of the 5th Grade decorating a tree for the Annual Festival of the Trees.  I have always loved this tree and have felt it love me back.  Now that it has reached the ceiling, it apparently means it is time to move!  With my impending retirement right around the corner, we have hired a builder and will soon break ground for our new home and studio in Clover, SC.  Keep your fingers crossed along with ours that we will be in our new home in the orchard to celebrate next Christmas and New Year.

Roger, Jaz, Rozie and I want to wish all of you Happy Hollidays!  We send LOVE & PEACE to all of our friends, family and anyone who reads our message...



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Time to share my "Swan Song" project at CCES, it's all about a love and respect for MOTHER EARTH with a focus on the importance of TREES to each and every one of us...

The fifth grade at CCES and I started the school year by going outside and observing leaves, not perfect leaves but leaves with character and leaves that tell a story.  Students were to choose 3 interesting leaves that were different in shape and size.  After closely observing the lines in their leaves they did contour line drawings of the shape as well as interior lines showing the patterns of the veins, They started with pencil and then traced their lines with oil crayons.  A watercolor resist followed. When dry, the leaves were cut out and glitter was added for a bit of holiday sparkle.  We call this the day the glitter bomb hits the art room!  The best part is the glitter trail that leaves our art room and creates paths throughout the school, all leading back to the art room.

Lessons learned included close observation, contour line drawing, color theory, refined scissor cutting, not to mention making creative personal choices (we call it having an artist's license).  Once the leaves are finished the students were given a variety of wire, beads, needle nosed pliers and asked to make a creative hanger for their leaf.  With a short demo and a firm instruction to wear plastic eye protection at all times, they were given the freedom to learn through doing and experimenting.  The newness of the the materials was enticing for the students and after a few moments of uncertainty, their creativity took off and the results were truly stunning!!!  

So my swan song, as I am retiring after this year, is making the traditional, but always spectacular Xmas tree decorations with the 5th grade.  CCES Middle School has an entry for Greenville's Annual Festival of Trees each year.  The Middle School Arts Guild is instrumental in making this project possible. The MS Arts Guild plans, arranging parental help in the classroom as well as assembling and finally transports the decorations and other decorations to the Hyatt House in downtown Greenville.  What follows is 2 to 3 days of intense brainstorming about how to put it all together to highlight the student work.  I had the pleasure this year of helping with this part and working with all the enthusiastic and creative parents who want most of all to make the students proud when they see their work on the Middle School  Might I add that winning 2nd place and then 1st last year put the pressure on to go bigger, better, brighter, taller and of course even more creative and eye catching!  Middle School Arts Guild President Allison Spinks and I especially take this project seriously every year and together we put the finishing touches on the tree this year.  As you might imagine Allison and I love this project and have entirely too much fun from working with the excited and enthusiastic students to decorating the tree with the Arts Guild!!!

This year special thanks goes to Diane Talbert who led the 5th grade in a creative writing project on little green tags available for people to pick up and add to their own tree from our tree. Message was student thoughts about the importance of trees along meaning descriptions of their personal thoughts about the meaning and memories of trees and leaves.  Deep thought, creativity, sensitivity, and skill went in this writing project.   The students messages had to be brief and tiny in size but their messages were so mighty, and so profound that they brought tears to our eyes as we read them.  Way to go Mrs. Talbert.  You know the secret to inspiring messages that are so fresh, sensitive and heartfelt that only the purity of the thought process of a 5th grader could have created them.  Congratulations Diane for putting the REAL finishing touch on this project!  Your project was THE MESSAGE and the voice for this special 5th grade project.  YOU are a master teacher and I am always proud to work with you.!

Love and thanks to the 5th grade students, parent volunteers, MS Arts Guild and teachers for your help with this fine collaboration, I also want to thank you for making my last year at CCES the meaningful and memorable year I hoped it would be.



The summer of 2017 has been a memorable one!!!!!!!

It has surprised me to find out how many of you follow my blogs!  It is a lovely and warm feeling to know that folks are interested in both my work and my day to day life.... A huge and heartfelt THANK YOU to each and every one of you!  I feel blessed.....

This summer has been so full of major life changes, an emergency appendectomy, a workshop, family gatherings, friendships, gardening, an eclipse, trips to the orchard and now school has started!!!! What will follow will be images that I hope will give you a tiny glimpse of my life during the summer of 2017!



Our BIG NEWS!!!!!

After more than 2 years of considering the best way to down size, Roger and I are ready to announce our decision....We have looked at renovating a church in Traveler's Rest, fell in love with Tom Flower's incredible home and studio in Dacusville, seriously thought about joining the movement to gentrify West Greenville and build a skinny house on a skinny lot. and everything you can imagine in between!  Finally we looked at each other and realized Greenville has grown too fast and large for us!!  We also agreed that we wanted to be closer to the grandkids who live in Lake Wylie, SC. With these thoughts in mind we set out to look for a smaller, quiet community...  

For 22 years, we have been driving through Clover, SC, 9.5 miles from Lake Wylie, but never thought of settling there but it seemed an interesting place to at least look into.  Roger made an appointment to look at some lots and a few homes so off we went.  One house was inspired by the Frank Lloyd Wright movement so we though we would at least take a look for fun knowing another huge renovation was out of the question... We were amazed anything like this even existed in little Clover, SC so we were curious.  We ended up uninterested in everything else we saw but the Wright inspired house was in the middle of a gorgeous older neighborhood in Clover.  The lots were spacious, the hills rolling and huge trees were everywhere. We met the realtor at the Wright inspired house and were blown away at the property and the layout of the house but knew we this was too big a project to take on.....As we walked out of the house and looked across the street we saw a 2 acre piece of property that was a small orchard with grass and all kinds of fruit and pecan trees.  Well, it was love at first sight!  But there was no for sale sign......

When we got home, Roger played detective and managed to locate the owner who lives in California and asked him if he would consider selling the property.  He said he had had many offers from contractors who wanted to make 5 lots and build 5 houses there.  His wife, however, asked him to hold off selling it until someone wanted to keep the orchard in tact and build a home there.  Well, we were that someone!!!  We now own an orchard in Clover!!!

Roger is completing plans for a small home and studio and has found a builder so In a year to a year and a half, we hope to be in our new home in the middle of this little orchard.  We can't believe it and the entire family is thrilled, especially the grandkids Lily and Charlie!

Anyway, this is a very short version of all we have been through but it is a story with a happy ending!  By the way Greenville friends, it is only an hour and a half away so you can come visit and I will be returning to Greenville often to visit.  

Hope you will enjoy the following pictures of the orchard in Clover!



We always look forward to our visits with the grandkids!!!!

Early morning walks around the lake at Furman, collecting worms and cucumbers in the garden, fun with clay in my studio, along with constructing cardboard swords in my art room at CCES and eating grilled cheese sandwiches, lots of hotdogs & scones at the Swamp Rabbit Cafe were just a few highlights of our weekend together!!!!  

Sunday afternoon, I left Roger and Jaz and Rosie napping when I set off for Lake Wylie. Charlie immediately fell sound asleep in the back seat and Lilly was totally preoccupied with her drawing....and it was quiet!

We are so very lucky.....



May, almost June, in my garden....

The sugar snap peas are coming in and lettuce is turning bitter....  Pole beans will come next followed by tomatoes, cucumbers and eggplant..... Almost forgot that the blueberries are just starting to get blue.  Hope we get more blueberries than the birds and chipmunks!  They should be ready for picking when the grandkids arrive....

Gardening and working in my studio seem to be a symbiotic relationship....The balance of these 2 passions brings me tranquility and joy...They also make me slow down and take time to look inward, all the while being a close observer of nature. My breath slows and I feel connected with the universe..... Everything else is put on hold as time stands still.  I am in another world, at least for a while....


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I cannot end my school year without sharing my favorite project of the year, PERSONAL DRAGONS!!!

When SHREK JUNIOR was chosen for the Middle School play, I decided it would be fun for my 5th graders to create personal dragons in clay for a show in the lobby.  The only thing I knew was that there was a dragon in the play and that I love making dragons with my students...

The 5th graders were asked to create their own personal dragon by naming it, describing it visually (age, gender, size, color,etc) giving it a personality, drawing it, writing about it in writing class as part of an adjective unit and then making it in clay. You will see that each is as unique as each child is unique.  

What amazed and amused me after seeing the play, which was nothing less than extraordinary, was that this project really reflected the message of the play perfectly!  We need to appreciate and love each other for what we have in common but it is our differences and uniqueness that makes our world a rich and fascinating place to live.

Congratulations to ALL of my 5th graders for doing an AWESOME job with every aspect of this project. Each of you has shared the artist within you with the artist in me through your own PERSONAL DRAGON and other art work this year... Thank you for this wonderful experience...

Let me also congratulate all who participated in the creation of SHREK JUNIOR. This was a monumental task by the way with a hundred or so children, not to mention staff and parents. I love to see the arts come together like this...

I hope you will enjoy these marvelous unique creations as they are sure to put a smile on your face...

Last but not least, a special thank you to Bruce Halverson, Marilyn Mullinax, Diane Talbert and Heike Leitner for their help and support.

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April in my garden...

I wanted to take a moment to share the joy I feel each morning when when I venture into my garden to see what's new.  At this time of year the colors appearing in my garden are a new discovery every day! Most  amazing, however, are all those shades of GREEN!!!   

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Meet Kep, the newest member of our family!

Roger, Jaz, Rosie and I are thrilled to add Glory Day Loflin's richly colored and deliciously painted portrait of Kep to our family and to our art collection.  We adore, admire and appreciate Glory as an outstanding emerging artist arriving on the current art scene with a burst of creativity that is astounding and awe inspiring! We will enjoy this energy and colors and patterns of this painting every day as we pass through the house where it hangs at the center of our home....

Thank you Glory for sharing yourself with us in such a special and creative way...