Thursday, December 29, 2011

19 Weeks and Counting

In 1986,  the OPA was 6 years old and the interest in Ceramic Showcase was so great that there was not enough booth space for every applicant. The OPA Board decided everyone would get only half the space as before (4X8 feet). The people who made that decision were members who had worked hard to see the show grow, yet they gave up part of their own space in order to accommodate new participants.  At the same time, Showcase Chairman Dennis Meiners believed that we needed to buy ads and print a color poster. This was a gamble that paid off and the show continued to grow.

1986 Best in Show
Glenn Burris
(Original piece)
Best in Show 1986 was awarded to Glenn Burris.  When I asked Glenn to tell me a bit about himself and his work, I found out some interesting information.  Glenn had included a picture of the original piece that won Best in Show and a bit of history, this is what Glenn wrote:

"In 1986, I had been making pots for 18 years, 12 of those in Oregon.  I was beginning to tire of what I had been doing and was looking for something new to hold my interest.  I began loading a shino glaze up with clay to make it crawl.  I applied the glaze thicker and thicker to make the crawling the main decorative element.  I was excited and encouraged by my new direction and at Showcase I was recognized with the Juror's award.

1986 Best in Show
Glenn Burris
(replacement piece)
Change, success, recognition.  The timing was perfect.  Without change I don't think I would have received the award. This wasn't my first, last, or biggest award, but it remains the most important because of who it was from and how it directed my way with clay.

The original piece was broken a number of years ago and was replaced with the current one.  The original was a little cruder, a little grittier, and pushed at the bubble a little harder.  I see the internal struggle in the first piece a little more.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

20 Weeks and Counting

The year is 1985 and Ceramic Showcase is in its third year with Jeanne Henry as the Chair of Ceramic Showcase.  1985 brought change to the organization.  Originally known as the Oregon Potters Cooperative, the name was changed to what is now known as the Oregon Potters Association.

Best in Show 1985
Patrick Horsley
Best in Show 1985 was awarded to Patrick Horsley.  Patrick has been a member of the OPA since its cooperative days
and he continues to be active in the ceramics community.  I asked Patrick to tell me about what inspires him and where he draws influence and this is what he had to say.

"My work has always focused on the idea of vessels and containers;  the bowl, the plate, lidded containers.  I also have a strong interest in glaze chemistry, color and texture and its power to engage the viewer and suggest a final function; utilitarian or non-utilitarian.

I have made pottery full time for forty years without a lack of ideas and things I would still like to explore.  The clay and the fire seem endless in their possibilities.  I work from drawings, closer to small scribbles on three by five cards,  that I pile up as ideas emerge from landscape, both natural and manmade, from history, and sometimes even from other potters, both old and new.  Pottery and clay are a much more complicated medium then people would expect.

The challenge of my work is to combine the many elements (handles, feet, spouts and lids) into a work that dances and presents a new view and image of a familiar form.  My primary interest is in the process and the physical dance of making the pots."

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Stories Within - Sara Swink featured article

Sara Swink
Legacy, 2010
photo by Harold Oxley
I was in Powell's the other evening and was thumbing through the pages of the December/January issue of American Craft magazine and stumbled upon a great article on Sara Swink, written by Carolyn Hazel Drake, both are fellow OPA members and I have to tell you I was tickled pink to see Sara's work and read Carolyn's words.  What a beautiful collaboration.  To read the article, follow the link.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The passing of a legend - Malcolm Davis

Malcolm Davis died in the morning of 12/11. He had hip replacement surgery last Thursday, recovered over the weekend...and evidently collasped in PT Mon morning and died instantly."

His wife has requested no calls for a few days.

The following is from the AKAR website:

"I first touched clay at age 40 and knew immediately that I had been a potter all along. I love to make pots! For me, the joy and the challenge comes from making things that will become an intimate part of the daily lives of others - pots that will be held, eaten from, poured from, sipped from and perhaps even licked from. For me the making of pots is a way to celebrate the mundane rituals of daily life and to make them holy." 

Malcolm Davis has been a full-time studio potter since 1984 when he left his previous life as campus minister. He took his first ceramics class in 1974 and since 1985 has maintained his mountaintop studio in Upshur County, WV. He is internationally recognized for his work with shino-type glazes, specifically for the creation of a unique ultra Carbontrap shino-type formula with a high concentration of soluble soda ash, which encourages the trapping of carbon in the early stages of the firing.

He is the recipient of numerous awards, including four grants from the District of Columbia Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and was a finalist in the 1995 Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation/NEA Visual Artists Fellowships. Other awards include the Purchase Award at the Ceramics Monthly International Competition (1999), First Place in the 1996 Strictly Functional Pottery Show, Feats of Clay XIII and XIV Merit Awards, Orton Purchase Awards in 1994 and 1996, Crosscurrents All Media Award at the Stifel Fine Arts in Wheeling (1990. 1996), WV Juried Exhibition Merit Award in 1996, and Awards for Clay Cup VII and Clay Cup IV.

He has exhibited at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, the Smithsonian Craft Show and the American Craft Council Craft Shows. He has been an artist-in-residence at Artpark in Lewiston, NY; Baltimore Clayworks; Greenwich House Pottery (NYC); The Clay Studio in Philadelphia; Red Star Studios in Kansas City; Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis; Waubonsee Community College in Illinois and the Lee Arts Center in Virginia.

Malcolm’s work is included in collections at the American Crafts Museum; The Schein-Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art, Alfred, NY; the Everson Museum, Syracuse, NY; Mobach Collection, Utrecht, Holland; Orton Permanent Collection; Arthur and Lillian Weiss Collection; Bailey Ceramics Collection; Old Church Cultural Center in Demarest, NJ; Highwater Clay Permanent Collection, Asheville, NH; American Art Clay Collection, Indianapolis, IN and the Twentieth Century Collection, Sarah Lawrence College in NY.

He has been featured in over 15 books and publications, he has published articles in American Shino by Lester Richter and Stayin’ Alive by Robin Hopper; and curated an issue of The Studio Potter Magazine on carbon trapping. The December, 2003 issue of The Studio Potter Magazine featured an extensive interview: “Malcolm Davis, Shino Warrior.” His work with carbontrap shinos was recently featured in Ceramica (Spain) and Ceramic Review (England).

Malcolm has taught and lectured widely throughout the United States and Canada, and has conducted Masters’ classes at Penland School of Crafts, Peters Valley Craft Center, Touchstone Center for Crafts, and others. Recent exhibitions include AKAR, Iowa City, Iowa; Blue Heron Gallery, Deer Isle, Maine; Blue Spiral 1, Asheville, NC; Santa Fe Clay and “Our Cups Runneth Over” at the Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston.

Malcolm recently curated a national exhibition of work with shino-type glazes, “Endless Variations: Shino Review 2005,” featured at the 2005 NCECA Conference in Baltimore. In 2007 he juried the 15th annual Strictly Functional Pottery National and was one of three presenters at the 20th annual NC Potters’ Conference in Seagrove. He also taught a two-week carbontrap shino workshop at La Meridiana in Tuscany in 2007 and 2008.

Here are a few other links to info and images:

Monday, December 12, 2011

21 Weeks and Counting

In 1984, Ceramic Showcase was in its second year and it was continuing to grow.  The community of potters known as the Oregon Potters Association had grown to 150 members by 1984.

Richard Rowland-
Best in Show 1984
In 1984 Best in Show was awarded to Richard Rowland.  I contacted Richard several weeks ago and asked if he would provide me with a little bit about himself and what inspires him to do what he does.  This is what Richard has to say on the subject -

"During the late 1970's I was naturally uncovering ways to create ceramics using organic materials like seaweed, ferns, dead birds, salt, integrating form, color and context-always finding unique relationships that created certain resonance and open atmosphere.  The Anagama process helped me continue developing the atmosphere that provided intimacy and a genuine way to connect community.  The community was made up of passionate and diverse people.  The rare model of diversity continues to grow.

In the late 1990's I started teaching at Clatsop Community College in Astoria, Oregon.  I was given the opportunity to go back to school to study, make art and received my MFA from University of Tasmania in 2005.  After studying abroad, I returned to my home in Astoria.  I started the Bowl Project with the Clatsop County Women's Resource Center and the Tillamook Women's Resource Center and I have continued making bowls for them for an annual fundraiser.  The women help collect and cut the wood, fire the kiln and take part in every part of the project.  With other potters and students we are focused on quality, making for example, 1000 bowls and picking the best 500 to give to the Women's Resource Center project.  The rest of the bowls and recycled into the hammermill and crushed up for grog to add to the new clay body for use the next year.  I have dug tons of local clay for this years bowl project.

I received the Oregon Governors Art Award in 2005, which was awarded for my work in the community.  I continue to work in projects related to utility and ritual that can benefit their needs.  Currently I am helping develop a Plain Tree model of holistic health care at Columbia Memorial Hospital.  This process includes art, both for the patients in the new Cancer Center and the rest of the hospital.

In the unfolding and integration of community and art, my vision is to match the character of the material process to the unique character of the community.  It is a wonder that I have been given my life's responsibility as an artist in such a way that is reciprocal in nature.  This accountability has encouraged me to build a second-generation Anagama kiln for the future."

Monday, December 5, 2011

22 Weeks and Counting

1983 Ceramic Showcase Best in Show award winner
We are starting a new series on the blog this week (well, to be honest, this should have been started 7 weeks ago, but I am hoping better late than never!)

In 2012, Ceramic Showcase will be celebrating our 30th Anniversary and to kick off the celebration, we are going to be highlighting the winners of the Best in Show Award.

In 1983, the first winner of Best in Show was Ruri.

About the artist

Since the time I came back from Japan as an apprentice under master potter, Tatsuzo Shimaoka, Mashiko, in 1977, my goal was to focus on establishing my own anagama because I was so intrigued by the whole process of wood firing, and also the transformation of the work when it came out.  Although it took me 27 years, I finally made it happen with the help of dedicated friends in 2005.
Now I feel like I am finally starting in the direction of participating intentionally in the alchemy happening inside anagama, where all the natural elements (earth, water, wood, fire and air) and artist’s spirit all come together to give birth to a new life: claywork transformed and transfigured.
Whether it is a clay sculpture or a functional claywork, I have been always trying to express the Unseen through the Seen coming from Nature and all kinds of relationships, reflecting the state of my consciousness at the time.  I play with forms and contouring lines and curves, which give positive and negative contrasts with surrounding outer space.
I use a coiling and pinching technique for my clay sculpture, and lots of thrown vessels are so often altered after throwing.
The name of my anagama is FuuKooGama (pronounced foo-koh gah-mah, meaning "wind and light kiln" in Japanese), which expresses itself eloquently the kind of work I continue to search, pursue and explore.

Ruri has been a member of the Oregon Potters Association since 1980.

Mark your calendars to see more of Ruri's work at Ceramic Showcase - May 4 - 5 - 6, 2012 at the Oregon Convention Center in Downtown Portland, Oregon.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Stephen Mickey's anagama kiln - Soulgama

A recent article on Stephen Mickey's anagama kiln - Soulgama in The Columbian.  Click on the link for some great insight into the amazing community of wood-fire potters and to read the full article.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Downtown Artistry: Opening Day November 9th 2011

Downtown Artistry: Opening Day November 9th 2011: The 2011 Downtown Artistry Pop Up Gallery is almost here! Please join us November 9th from 11-7 for opening day. We've got a great line-up of local artists.  Visit the calendar for a list of all of the events around this year's Pop Up Gallery.

Organized by Art Scout, Art Consultant, Bridget Larrabee featuring work by the Oregon Potters Association, Oregon Glass Guild, Made Craft Boutique, and local individual artists.

A collection of over 70 local artists with gifts ranging from artistic holiday cards to original paintings
Pop-up shop partners include downtown’s Clean & Safe District, Portland Business Alliance, Portland Development Commission, Downtown Retail Advocate, Downtown Marketing Initiative, City of Portland, Vizwerks, Stevens-Ness, and Bill Naito Company.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011


This is Sarah Chenoweth Davis's show to celebrate her term as ceramics technician at MHCC. She'll be showing with sculptor Dan Alley for the month of November.She hopes you'll be able to come to our opening reception, Thursday November 3, 6-9 p.m.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

First Thursday turns 25!

Tonight is First Thursday in the Pearl and it is sure to be a very festive evening as First Thursday celebrates 25 years!
Get out tonight and see art and help celebrate this vital part of the arts community here in Portland, Oregon.  Some of the Galleries that will be open tonight:
     Laura Russo
     Attic Gallery
     Camerawork Gallery
     Portland Art Museum
     Annie Meyer Gallery
     Butters Gallery
     Augen Gallery
     Bullseye Gallery
     Guardino Gallery
     Museum of Contemporary Craft

and so many more - have a great evening exploring the Galleries or The Pearl!


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What's New at Disjecta

Disjecta Interdisciplinary Art Center is accepting proposals for a curator-in-residence for its 2012-2013 exhibition season. The curator-in-residence will present a series of five to six exhibits from September 2012 through August 2013. At least three of the exhibits must highlight regional work from artists living and working in the Pacific Northwest.

Disjecta developed its Curator-in-Residence program to allow emerging local and national curatorial talent the opportunity to develop and expand the scope of their practice through a series of exhibitions in Disjecta’s dynamic 3,000-square-foot space. Rotated on an annual cycle, the program seeks to provide a nationally recognized curatorial opportunity in the underserved state of Oregon, stimulate significant contemporary discourse that is able to cross disciplines, engage new artists and patrons, and raise the visibility of Portland’s art scene.

Jenene Nagy, Disjecta’s first curator-in-residence, selected six artists for solo shows during the 2011-2012 exhibition season, including Iranian-American artist Tannaz Farsi. Farsi’s first solo exhibition in Portland, “Losing Themselves in a Distance to Far Away Heights," opens on Oct. 8 (see below).
Proposals for the curator-in-residence position are due by Friday, Nov. 18, 2011. For details about the position, visit or click here for the PDF.

Losing Themselves in a Distance to Far Away Heights

A New Installation by Tannaz Farsi

Opens Saturday, October 8 from 6 to 9pm
October 8 – November 5
Gallery Hours: Fri – Sun 12pm – 5pm

What does it mean to live the dream?” This is the question artist Tannaz Farsi asked Iranians this past summer in preparation for her first solo exhibition in Portland, Losing Themselves in a Distance to Far Away Heights. In gathering information, Farsi – herself an Iranian-American – sought answers from Iranian immigrants, those living in exile, refugees and those still living in Iran. Her conversations, conducted via email, focused on breaking through the American cliché of “living the dream” and engaging her participants in a discussion focused on issues of nationalism and cultural identity as it relates to the individual.

Farsi attempts to conflate civic and devotional space in an effort to better understand the systems that both bind and loosen us from our geographic locations and cultural identities. The objects in the exhibition – simple, pared down forms acting as icons – together with the use of documents and drastic shifts of scale are reflective of Farsi’s larger body of work that continuously situates the personal as political. The installation seeks to inspire conversation around tensions created between the actual space of the gallery and the psychic space of the work.

Tannaz Farsi is the Assistant Professor in Sculpture at the University of Oregon in Eugene. Her work has been exhibited nationally at venues including the Tacoma Art Museum, the Urban Institute of Contemporary Art Grand Rapids, Mich., Ohge Ltd., Seattle, Wash., and Sculpture Center, Cleveland, Ohio. She has participated at residencies at Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Neb. and the MacDowell Colony in N.H.

Her work has been acknowledged with an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Oregon Arts Commission, and this past year, Farsi was a finalist for both the Brink Award offered through the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle, Wash. and the Portland Art Museum's Contemporary Northwest Art Award. She received her BFA summa cum laude from West Virginia University (2004) and her MFA at Ohio University in Ceramics (2007). Farsi’s show at Disjecta is made possible through the University of Oregon Faculty Research and Creative Work Grant and the MacDowell Colony Fellowship.

Michelle Liccardo & Ralph Pugay

Opens Saturday, October 8 from 6 to 9pm
October 8 – November 5
Gallery Hours: Fri – Sun 12pm – 5pm

Object Lessons by Michelle Liccardo and Ralph Pugay is an installation that captures the many absurdities associated with functioning in a world of ever-present uncertainty and relativity. This collaboration capitalizes on the artists' sense of humor and imperfect sculptural styles to create a large scale diorama that operates as a sort of alternate version of The Myth of Sisyphus. In Object Lessons, the small figures that must tumble down a large staircase while trying to avoid the many obstacles in their path arrive at the bottom injured, yet jubilant. Find out more at:

Monday, October 3, 2011

OPA Holiday Guide

Hi All You OPA Members!

It's that time again.... Time to participate in the 2011 OPA Holiday Guide. If you want to find out more about it, check out the registration form attached, or give me a call/email. The reg forms/checks/digital photos are due by October 14th or the sooner the better. Thanks and good luck with your holiday sales this year!


Holiday Studio Sale Guide Application
Please provide:
(If sale includes more than one person, use a separate sheet of paper)
MAP: Please provide either a digital file or drawing of a map to your sale location. It can be the immediate area and main streets around your location.
If sale includes a non-OPA member, include name and 5-word description of work (to be included if space allows)
FEE: Please make checks payable to Jennifer Lakeman
$40 for one person (100 flyers allotted)
$75 for two people (200 flyers allotted)
$95 for three or more people (300 flyers allotted)
If you will need more flyers, tell us now. There will be an additional charge for extra flyers.
PHOTOS: PLEASE INCLUDE A PROFESSIONAL COLOR OR BLACK & WHITE PHOTO OR DIGITAL IMAGE OF YOUR WORK. Digital files must be 200 to 300 dpi at final printed size (approximately 2” x 2”). Please do not send postcards, computer printouts or color photocopies.

Please mail this form and a check to: me! I'll send my address if you are interested.
Printed flyers may be picked up at the November general OPA Meeting.
Please contact Jenny Lakeman at 503-413-0641 or to make other arrangements if you will be unable to attend.

Thanks all!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

Upcoming workshop - Social Marketing

Are you new to social media scene? Don't quite know the difference between a tweet and an update? Can't figure out how all of this comes together to help you build your business and get your name out there?
Well, this might be just the answer!


Social Marketing 102: How to be Interesting Without Being Overwhelmed
Instructor: Diane Gilleland
11:00 am - 1:30 pm
The Lab at Museum of Contemporary Craft
724 NW Davis St.
Register today ($10 per person, non-refundable, includes light snack, coffee and tea)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Summer creativity and community service

See you at the Empty Bowls Booth at the Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival

It's summer time and I'm done with teaching till August. It's time to change my direction for a few months. I plan to do many things this summer but on the top of my list are three things to do with creativity and community; increasing my clay studio time and darkroom time (yes - I mean as in film photography darkroom), donating to and working at the Empty Bowls Booth at the Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival, which benefits the Oregon Food Bank; and lastly to take a digital sabbath (as it's referred to by a friend).

It's kind of funny to think of a digital sabbath as I am sitting here blogging, when my intention is to not use this very thing. I think that most of us get so involved in our relationship with the internet that we forget to take a break from it and have life without it for an evening, a day, or even a week. The internet helps in many ways, but for so many it also has become a time consumer. Time that used to be used in other ways, like taking a walk... alone, without the phone or emails, or time to just sit, and day dream, or in my case- work in the studio uninterrupted, is spent on the computer or other technologies. I had my first digital sabbath last week, four days of no technology. It was hard to come back.

As for community and the Empty Bowls, read on: Oregon Potters Association coordinates an annual fund-raiser at the Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival to benefit Oregon Food Bank. OPA collects hundreds of pottery donations of all types, sizes and shapes throughout the year.OPA members then sell the donated pottery—often at bargain prices—at the Empty Bowls booth, near the main gate, at the Waterfront Blues Festival.

I am looking forward to helping raise money for the Oregon Food Bank, greet the many people that come back year after year to buy our bowls and to have a great time with my fellow potters - all while listening to some of the best blues in the country. I'll be at the Empty Bowls Booth on Saturday eve! Hope to greet some of you!

This years event is July 1st – 4th at Portland’s Waterfront Park.

I have come to the studio and the darkroom issue. With the weather being just the way I like it, it's going to be hard to be disciplined to stay indoors. I have so many ideas and sketches from the past two months of not working in clay and about 10 rolls of film to develop. I start tomorrow - my summer job - wedging clay, forming armature, rolling slabs, and sketching. I look forward to the feel, the smell, and the sound of the work.

As for working in the darkroom, I think that will have to wait for one of our famous summer rainy days.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Fundraising Event Tonight to benefit Japan @ MoCC

It's Juneuary in Portland, again.

So we're heating it up with a party!Come celebrate your craftivism! Join us next Friday, June 10 for an Etsy Global Craft Party! We've teamed up with Quilts for Quake Survivors and Mercy Corps' Japan Relief Fund to help out some folks in need, while we craft up some fun.

During the day, visit the Museum of Contemporary Craft during regular business hours, 11 am - 6 pm. Stop by the "Lab" to lend your hand to the Quilts for Quake Survivors quilting bee, courtesy of Susan Beal (author of Modern Log Cabin Quilting), and Modern Domestic. We'll also have a host of craft activities scheduled throughout the day.Then at 6:00 pm, the museum doors close and we transform the space into our crafty party land. We've lined up a DJ, food, beer, wine and a bunch of give-aways to keep the party rolling. It's a sliding scale "ticket" ($5-$25) so give what you can. All proceeds go directly to Mercy Corps' Japan Relief Fund.

We hope to see you there!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

A word from NCECA

Dear NCECA Members -

It's the night before our May Board meeting and I thought I'd share some thoughts with you as the team is about to go forward with budgeting, and programming for Seattle, etc. (These are my favorite meetings because we get to talk directly about ceramic art and work to craft the best program we can from the submissions we have received from our members.)

I haven't written you since before the Florida conference. Like all conferences there were strengths and struggles. What I heard about the exhibitions was generally very good although I also heard they were spread out too far. (Each city has its own unique challenges.) I heard good things about programming, but it was a bit of a walk between the hotels and the convention center. We will break down our survey results regarding the conference during the May meeting.

There was some talk of the attendance being down for the 2011 conference. This was certainly the case. Although I had thought that Florida would be a conference destination that would draw many attendees due to its East Coast location and sunny climes at the end of what has been for many a long, hard winter. These predictions did not pan out and our registration numbers were down significantly. While this made the feel of the conference a bit more intimate to my mind, a lot of people missed seeing many of their friends who have regularly attended the conference.

There are other ramifications of having low conference registration numbers, not the least of which is budgetary. This is your organization and I want to reassure you that we are healthy regarding our fiscal status. We estimated pretty wrong on our conference revenue numbers. Although the cost of participating in NCECA's conference is a great value compared with those produced by other similar organizations, the cost of travel, lodging and food make the decision to attend the conference a difficult one in challenging times. This Board is acutely aware that the earned revenues derived from this annual event represent our major income for the year. When our numbers are down the organization can suffer, but this year we also managed to control spending in a few areas and we have also done very well with our investments. The Board and staff's fiscal discipline combined with the good fortune of the market have effectively enabled us to end the year with a balanced the budget. We ultimately strive to respond to membership interests and provide the best programming possible as this would enable us to achieve our budgetary goals through high levels of conference attendance. The reason is that this guiding principal best meets our educational mission to have our clay people experiencing our clay programming.) [We'll project more conservatively for next year.]

Finally, I am happy to report that we will be budgeting in direct response to our new Strategic Plan. Often budgeting simply echoes how money has been spent in the past, and certainly our traditions and historic patterns will continue to influence our budget, but with a Strategic Plan in hand we can really choose to put our money where our values are.

Enjoying my work on NCECA's behalf,
Keith J. Williams

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Major Success for Clay in Education

Congratulations to everyone for another successful OPA Showcase!

We are thrilled to share with you that the Installation Gallery raised approximately $3,200 for Clay In Education due to YOUR generosity of ware and commitment to this project. We had less than 20 pieces remaining (which we donated to Empty Bowls) on Sunday from a total of 300 artist contributions. It was simply wonderful for us to have you checking in on our progress throughout the weekend and for donating more ware as we ran out.

Being the first display inside the main doors gave us an exquisite opportunity to act as “the welcome wagon” for all artists, wax poetic about your work, and direct customers to your booths. Often we looked up your work schedule to direct customers wishing to immediately find you, where to go. And most importantly, we spoke about Education in our communities and imparted OPA’s commitment to keeping the arts alive and well for future generations.

We feel tremendously blessed to have had our helpers Ana Quinn, Jason, Kirstin McNamera, Lon Jones, and Kevin Khari who were always in the spirit of fun - from set-up to greetings customers to tear-down. What an energetic, royal team to work with!

In our creative meetings we refer to ourselves as the “Three Of Cups” because we are always on the same page to the clarity point that we can easily complete each others sentences. Now that’s a committee! We truly hope other committees enjoy this kind of repartee and shared vision – it makes the tasks at hand so joyous and productive. And for us, lifetime friendships have resulted – the best blessing of all.

The Three Of Cups wish to thank you so kindly for partnering with us to take Clay In Education to new heights. They say “It Takes A Village” to nurture a vision. We say “It Takes OPA” !

Jen Tonneson – Chayo Wilson – Renee Shearer

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Meet an OPA Member: Frank Gosar

Three things about Frank that have nothing to do with clay.

1. Was a children's musician with two albums out.

2. Hosts the KLCC Saturday Cafe radio show for the past 20 years.

3. Editorial cartoonist and rubber stamp designer.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Remember to Play!

I remember one of my first conversations with Nils Lou. I knew he had a vast amount of knowledge and experience in the ceramic world, and I wanted to elicit some invaluable advice. I was trying to explain to him what I wanted to do with my ceramic work. I wanted to do something fresh and new; I wanted to do things that hadn’t been done. This can be a difficult thing to achieve in an art form that has been around for so many thousands of years. At that point, I was unable to properly explain what I wanted to do with my work, and Nils thought that perhaps fame, or making a name for myself was what I wanted.

Time went on as I continued talking with Nils at whatever chance I had; and I caught wind of a new book that Nils had recently written entitled “The Art of Play”. I bought it as quick as I could, and within a few days had completed the book. As I read I fell more and more into the book, realizing that this was in fact (though perhaps an unintentional) the answer I was seeking to the question that I could not even properly formulate.

I’ll cut straight to the point. I had come to a place in ceramics where I could no longer ignore the line between work and play. I could make plenty of mugs, plates, or whatever, but it started to feel like work. I would think to myself, “I don’t want to make mugs right now”, and then that is exactly what I would do. I wanted to create my own work from a place within myself, and be concerned more with the act of creation than the end product.

“The Art of Play” speaks directly to this issue. Nils explains the importance of creative play, as well as how so many of us may have forgotten to do so. By focusing on the creative activity of play, we no longer become blocked by an end product we have already envisioned in our mind. We free ourselves from normal constraints we might carry into our creative lives. Nils is conveying a message that many of us may benefit from, myself certainly included.

This is of course, a meager attempt to summarize an inspirational concept Nils conveys. If you wish to get to the meat of “The Art of Play”, I suggest giving it a read. I also understand that as creative artists we cannot simply do away with making products that will be well accepted by the public, or by making series of mugs and so on. I suggest rather (and am still searching for), a balance between the two. A balance between creating a genuinely unique piece of art that is playful and functional. I suggest that we see the importance of taking some time to play while forgetting the rules and ideas of salesmanship, that we take a risk and start to make something that we have no idea of how it will turn out.

If it strikes your fancy, give it a try. It might be neat to see what happens, or even to share it with others.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ceramic Showcase highlighted by Alaska Airlines

Ceramic Showcase has been highlighted in the current issue of Alaska Airlines in-flight magazine featuring the work of OPA Member Colleene Little. Talk about friendly skies!

Friday, March 25, 2011

In the Press

This month's Ceramics Monthly has a blurb about Ceramic Showcase 2011 and features the work of OPA member Scot Cameron-Bell.

If you are in Portland or will be traveling to the Portland area the weekend of April 29 - May 1 make sure you stop by the Oregon Convention Center and checkout Ceramic Showcase which is part of the Gathering of the Guilds.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ceramic Artists Respond to the Crisis in Japan

I recently received this post from NCECA and thought that I'd share what the ceramic community is doing in response to the needs of the people in Japan.

The astoundingly destructive events that occurred along the Northwest coast and inland communities in Japan to which we awoke on the morning of March 11, 2011 fill us with grief. The images coming to us via television and internet are so vivid, devastating and heart-wrenching. Our hearts go out to the survivors even as they stoically deal with days on end of uncertainty and confusion. Many of us involved in NCECA and the broader realm of ceramic art hold a special affinity for Japanese culture. Of even greater and more intimate impact, many of us also have dear friends and/or family there. The scale of this event has and will continue to affect thousands of people, and survivors in Japan are likely to need our assistance in the months and perhaps years ahead.

NCECA has received a number of e-mails following the terrible events that have transpired as a result of the earthquake and tsunami. NCECA includes great numbers of engaged and responsive individuals that do remarkable work in their communities every day. It is not so surprising then to observe the speed, tenacity and creativity that have emerged in the hours and days following the disaster.

In response to inquiries and calls to action received from our membership NCECA reached out to CERF+ to see if they could provide any guidance on charitable action and giving. One resource which they hoped to share with NCECA's membership is the Network for Good's list of first responders. CERF+ has also put feelers out to the arts community in Japan about artists and cultural workers who could use our support further down the line and NCECA plans to keep membership informed about what they uncover.Through personal e-mails from friends in Japan and following the mainstream media and blogs, a great deal of confusion persists on how those of us far from the loss and damage can best provide assistance to the people most affected. At this time, many of the agencies and NGOs collecting donations are not yet authorized by the Japanese government to provide aid where it is needed. For this reason and at this moment, although some members have suggested they would like to see NCECA launch a new initiative at the upcoming conference, it has been determined that it would be too late to do it well and too soon to provide adequate clarity about how the money would be put to appropriate use.

NCECA does want to call its membership's attention to Handmade for Japan which is a project launched last week by Ayumi Horie. She, Ai Kanazawa Cheung, and Kathryn Pombriant Manzella have mobilized to solicit, promote, and auction handmade pieces of art generously donated by talented artists throughout North America and Japan to raise money through an online auction on March 24-27 for relief efforts to assist the victims of Japan's catastrophic earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear emissions. Previews of the auction items will are available in English and Japanese through Facebook pages and Twitter updates. All inquiries in either language should be sent to handmadeforjapan@gmail.comThe initiative received some wonderful coverage last week through a New York Times blog. Handmade for Japan states that 100% of all net proceeds collected via the auction will be donated to Global Giving's Earth and Tsunami Relief Fund. The auction will begin on eBay on Thursday, March 24th and end on Sunday, March 27th. Auction items will be listed under the "Handmade for Japan" seller ID, and NCECA encourages its members and followers to view and bid generously.NCECA will continue to update its organizational Facebook page with a links to ceramic-centric events like Handmade for Japan that have the goal of providing resources for Japanese disaster relief.

Additionally events developed by NCECA members can also be posted on the NCECA website so long as sales are geared towards charitable relief.

Additionally, following the event in Tampa, NCECA will donate a percentage of proceeds from the conference onsite merchandise sales to a relief effort.This crisis is not one that will soon be resolved. The people of Japan, including those working in ceramic arts and education are likely to be in need of kindness and support for the foreseeable future. Given the nature and scale of the concerns, NCECA's board will consider additional efforts following the conference in Tampa, possibly for the 2012 conference in Seattle. Thank you to all whom following this event, shared ideas and information about how NCECA can respond in the midst of this critical time.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Craft Perspectives Lecture - Tonight @ MoCC

Elissa Auther -
Fiber Over Time: From the Sixties to Now

March 17, 6:30 pm
The Lab at Museum of Contemporary Craft
724 NW Davis St.
Free and open to the public. Doors close at 7 pm in consideration of the speaker.

Museum of Contemporary Craft and the MFA in Applied Craft and Design host Elissa Auther for a public lecture titled "Fiber Over Time: From the Sixties to Now" providing insight into Laurie Herrick: Weaving Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, which opens the same day.Drawing on her recently published String, Felt, Thread: The Hierarchy of Art and Craft in American Art, Elissa Auther will discuss how Laurie Herrick's weavings fit in historically with the decades in which they were made. Auther is the founder of Feminism & Co.: Art, Sex, Politics, a program at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, that explores feminist social, political and artistic issues through creative forms of pedagogy. She is Associate Professor of Contemporary Art, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.Learn more about Elissa Auther and Laurie Herrick: Weaving Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

OPA General Meeting this Friday

Don't forget the General meeting this Friday, 3/11 at the Multnomah Arts Center. Potluck dinner will start at 6pm and the meeting will begin at 6:30pm. Bring a dish to share and don't forget to bring your own plate, bowl & cup - help us cut down on waste!

It is time to pick your booth for Ceramic Showcase, meet up with fellow potters and have a great time. It is always one of the most attended meetings of the year, so come on out.

Bill Sanchez, the Empty Bowls chair, is organizing an OPA group photo and would like everyone to bring a piece to hold up and then if you'd like, donate to Empty Bowls. Bill, Renee and Jeanne will be accepting donations. Donations are also being accepted for the "Queen of Cups" installation that will benefit our Clay in Education fund.

Ceramic Showcase takes place at the Oregon Convention Center April 29th, 30th and May 1st, 2011.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Workshop at MHCC

Mt.Hood Community College is proud to host Yoshihiko Yoshida a master potter from the Mino area in Japan. He will present visual images in the Visual Arts Theatre on the evening of May 27, 7:30. Yoshida will demonstrate his work in the ceramic studio on Saturday May 28th from 9:30 to 4:30. Contact to make a reservation for this one of a kind workshop. Yoshida was a student of National Living Treasure Arakawa.Prices are $35 Students and OPA members. $50 non member or non student.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Meet an OPA Member: Mary Huels

Three things about Mary that have nothing to do with clay.

1. Is a Forester for main income and fights wild fires

2. Avid gardener

3. Tall because she had to out grow three older sisters to avoid hand me downs

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Era Messages: Selections by Garth Johnson-MoCC

January 27, 2011 – July 09, 2011

Curated by: Garth Johnson

Museum of Contemporary Craft invites artist, writer and educator Garth Johnson to curate an exhibition drawn from the Museum’s collection. As Johnson’s curatorial debut in a museum environment, Era Messages focuses on works from the 1960s to 1980s that exemplify particular moments in the history of craft. As Johnson explains, “This exhibition seeks to examine work that is timely rather than timeless – craft that is evocative of its era rather than existing in the netherworld of timelessness.”

Garth Johnson is an Assistant Professor at the College of the Redwoods in Eureka, CA. He writes about craft, blogs at and is the author of 1000 Ideas for Creative Reuse. His DVD, ReVision: Recycled Crafts for Earth-Friendly Living, was released by Eyekiss Films in 2009. His artwork was also recently featured in a solo exhibition at the Clay Studio in Philadelphia, PA.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

100 Plates at Mary Lou Zeek Gallery in Salem

Mary Lou Zeek Gallery

Click on the link above to check out the submissions by OPA members - so many great plates for such a great cause!