Wednesday, January 18, 2012

16 Weeks and Counting

Best in Show 1991
Chris Gum
Chris Gum
1952 - 2004

To our great sadness, we have lost our friend and fellow potter, Chris Gum.  Chris had been an OPA member for 23 years.  He had been on the Board of both the OPA and Ceramic Showcase and had often been the voice of reason (sometimes to our chagrin) amidst chaos.  Chris died in his home of unknown natural causes on June 29, 2004.

Chris made beautiful pots, and for many years he dug his clay from local stream banks and collected local feldspars and other materials for his glazes.  His work was very careful and methodical.  Efficiency was never a concern for him, he would rather be true to his work and its process.  Chris's work was well known by potters and art appreciators alike, although Chris never wanted to be a famous person.  Chris chose to move through this world quietly and modestly, doing his share of the work without demanding too much of the spotlight.

Chris had a passion for gardening.  He probably felt that laundry sorting and truck washing were overrated, but he always took exquisite care of his plants.  He was a good listener and never hesitated to express his opinions.

In the late nineties,  Chris avoided attending OPA meetings (why deal with petty bureaucracy?) but he almost always came to Portland to visit his friends (the most important part of this group) on the days we held our meetings and thus we could all spend time with him.  He was a wonderful friend and his sudden death has affected the entire pottery community in Oregon.  We will all miss him terribly.

Thank you to Ellen Currans, Janet Buskirk and Anne Stecker, who provided these words, which were published in the August 2004 OPA member newsletter.

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