The Time Project

joan schwartz

Recent collages, 2022

joan schwartz is a visual artist living and working in Brookline. She has exhibited in JP Open Studios for more than twenty years. joan’s work is in the collections of many individuals and organizations. She has received commissions from the Boston and Milton Arts Lottery Commissions, the Town of Brookline, the Cambridge Arts Council, and First Night Boston. In 2013 she was chosen as one of the 20 for 20 Artists by Jamaica Plain Open Studios for an installation of her Tea Bowl Project.

I work in stoneware and porcelain, slowly pinching up the pots, and exploring form, volume, and texture.

joan has also exhibited with Studios Without Walls, Brookline Town Hall Walls, First Light Brookline, Transforming Violence, New England Sculptors, UForge Gallery, and Feet of Clay. Her current work includes installations, ceramic vessels, sculpture, and collage.

joan was a founder of the Loon & Heron Theatre in which she performed and designed masks, puppets, sets, and costumes for the company’s award-winning productions of fantasy and fable. She danced professionally in the companies of Kei Takei, Meredith Monk, Barbara Roan and Francis Allenikoff.

Her installations respond not only to their immediate physical environment, but also to the time and space in which we live. Increasingly she uses recycled and recyclable materials to point to the enormous amount of needless consumption in our daily lives.

joan has been a member of The Time Project since the beginning. Here is some of the work that has been possible because of the love and support of her family of artists. You can see more of joan’s work at


The Cloak of Gratitude, 2014

I developed the Cloak of Gratitude,over the course of a year. I made the base of the cloak by by piecing together found crochet with sections I crocheted. I asked a wide range of people to contribute statements of gratitude using the format: I am grateful that . . . or I am grateful for . . .

As a daily practice I chose one gratitude statement I received to write onto a cloth ribbon and tied it into the cloak. I also wrote one of my own and included that as well.

The cloak was exhibited as part of a Violence Transformed exhibition at Roxbury Community College in August 2014, and at Jamaica Plain Open Studios in September 2014. In both cases I invited gallery visitors to add their statements of gratitude and incorporated them into the cloak.

The Tea Bowl Project, 2012/2013

Between April 2012 and February 2013 I produced a series of tea bowls, small ceramic bowls inspired by those used in the Japanese tea ceremony. Each was unique in shape and glaze, and meant to feel good when held in the hands. Each week I took one of the finished bowls and went in search of someone to give it to — someone I didn’t know. In return I asked to take a photograph of the person’s hands holding the bowl. My intention was to break through the barrier that separates us on the street, offer a gift to a stranger, and have some conversation — to truly encounter someone new each week. When I returned home, I printed the photograph, wrote about our meeting, and posted them on a blog (


In February 2013 I had the opportunity to extend the project as part of E/merge, an interdisciplinary arts residency at Earthdance in Cummington, MA. I printed the images of hands and bowls onto fabric, and strung them, like Tibetan prayer flags. These defined a space where 19 people joined me for tea and conversation, choosing a tea bowl that they took home with them.

Again, in September 2013, as part of JP Open Studios, I strung the flags between trees in the garden of Loring Greenough House and invited people for tea. Over two days I had tea and conversation with 63 people, each leaving with a tea bowl.


This year I made the commitment to take photographs each week and to use them as a starting point to make collages. In most cases I incorporated words as well.

The Goddess Project, 2009/2010

For the Goddess Project I created 52 goddesses made of terra cotta and bisque fired. Each Monday a goddess was placed in the world in a different location. I allowed myself to be drawn to the locations rather than planning them out in advance, and spent time with the goddess in each place until words came to me. I wrote the words, placed them within the goddess, and photographed her in place. Each goddess was launched into the world with mindfulness and a wish for our world and the living creatures that inhabit it. The Goddess Project is documented in a book available at and online at