Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Local Art Shows

Many OPA members hit the Art Show circuit in the Summer and this year is no exception.

This weekend you will find quite a few of our members showing and selling their work at the Lake Oswego Fine Art & Craft Faire.  The Faire opens Friday, June 22nd and will run through Sunday.

OPA members participating are:

Debra Nelson

This is a great show with great art, live music, food & drink.

I've heard that there is a chance of rain this weekend but don't let that stop you!  We'll start our rain dance now to keep the drops away.

Good luck to all of our fellow members - we hope you have a great show!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Three Days and Counting

The Year is 2010 and Margaret Synan-Russell is the President of the OPA and Brenda Scott is the Chair of Ceramic Showcase.

And the Best of Show 2010 is Jim Koudelka.

Best of Show 2010
Jim Koudelka

"My work is ultimately a reflection of my creative response to materials and processes, images and ideas.

I have an interest and involvement with a vessel format that is influenced by architectural, mechanical and industrial images.  The pieces I create display the actual or implied function of containers or devices extracted from primitive to contemporary times.  My intent is to interpret and display the essence and qualities of these images through my art work and create a dialogue to the viewer through it.

Process and materials also play an important role in the development of my work.  I allow the ceramic, glass and or metal materials and their processes to maintain a voice in the choices of design, physical construction, surfacing and final viewing of the pieces."

In 2010, the OPA family experienced the loss of one of our founding members, Dave Enna.  Dave served as the President of OPA in 1983 as well as serving as the first Chair of Ceramic Showcase.  Dave committed many years to the OPA Board and served on many committees for Ceramic Showcase.

This was written about Dave in the Sandy Post

“Not many people have the courage to think they can make a living with their hands,” said Sue Enna. “He wanted to encourage that.” ... Enna might have been the typical “hippie-dippie” artist of his day return- ing from military service in during the Vietnam War, growing a scraggly beard and sitting in a dirt-floored Gresham garage to make things out of clay. “His father said, ‘That’s nice, but how will you make a living?’” remembers his wife. But the Ennas did make a living and a name for themselves as potters. In the mid-70s they moved from Gresham to Brightwood, not to dropout, but to be community members. Enna served 13 years on the Sandy High and Welches school district board, now the Oregon Trail School District. He was a founding member and president for two years of the Oregon Potters Association and for 13 years was an active member of the Gresham-Ebetsu Sister City Associa- tion. The latter cause took the Ennas to Japan 11 times, where they were partnered with the family of an Ebetsu pot- ter. “It (Japan) was our adopted home,” Sue Enna said. “Two weeks before Dave died the family came from Japan to see him.”
In the last few days of Dave's life, his family was able to bring the wedding ceremony of their son to the hospi- tal. He very much enjoyed being a part of the wedding and also the recent visit of the Kanai family from Hokkaido.

This year we will honor the memory of Dave as well as all of our OPA members that are no longer with us, in a special Memorial Tribute adjacent to the Lobby Display. 

The 30th Anniversary Ceramic Showcase opens its doors on Friday, May 4 at 10am.  

Come join the celebration!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Nine Days and Counting

The Year is 2009 and Victoria Shaw is the President of the OPA and Beverly Curtis and Brenda Scott are the Chairs for Ceramic Showcase.

In 2009 the International adventure continued with OPA members traveling and exhibiting in Hokkaido, Japan.  Many members took side trips throughout Japan.  One side trip found Jim Johnstone and his wife in a tiny village that literally was closed but thanks to the kindness of strangers, found a room for the evening and a small pottery where Jim was surrounded by the works of Shoji Hamada.  Jim recounted this story at an OPA General meeting, and to hear the tone in his voice and the sparkle in his eye, you knew that he had experienced a life changing moment.  And when he unwrapped his little treasure, his delight was as evident then as it must have been in that tiny village pottery.

And the Best of Show 2009 was Penelope Dews.  I asked Penelope about the evolution of her work and this is what she wrote:

Best of Show 2009
Penelope Dews
"The idea for this piece evolved over a number of years.  I would make changes to the bird and the energy of the piece, but, the feeling I was searching for kept eluding me.  What ultimately made this idea come alive were two things, we adopted a cockatiel and having a live bird in the home changed my way of looking at birds, and I had seen an image on a calendar of a small bird singing its heart out.

The piece was made using a modified coil method.  Short fat coils, flattened into short slabs about 2 - 3 inches tall, and attached to a slab base.  The bird was added last and is hollow, using clay "flying buttresses" to hold it up until it was stiff enough to stand alone.  Then the supports were cut away.  The piece was anagama wood fired on a top shelf about a third of the way back in the kiln.  Placed with its back to the firebox, so not too much ash would fall on the birds face, and potentially obstruct it's features. The added bonus was the shape the flame made up the back of the piece during the firing."

The 30th Ceramic Showcase opens on May 4, 2012 at 10am and runs through Sunday, May 6.  This year's Ceramic Showcase will celebrate our 30th Anniversary with a weekend full of art, music and camaraderie.  We hope you will join us as we welcome back many of the artists that participated in the 1st Ceramic Showcase.  Live music will happen Friday and Saturday evenings featuring Lynch Mob, Mo Mac and Mood Area 52.  There will also be live music throughout the weekend performed acoustically by local area high school students and musicians.  Our Demonstration Stage will be busy all weekend, Adult and Children's Clay areas if you feel the urge to get your hands dirty, local beer,wine and spirits featured at our no-host bar and last but certainly not least the ceramic work of more than 200 local ceramic  artists.  Find that beautiful cup to enjoy morning coffee, a bowl to grace your table, sculpture to enhance your home and come meet and talk to the artists that have created this amazing work.

We hope to see you in just 9 short days.

(Can you hear the kilns of the Northwest just fire up?)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Three Weeks and Counting

The year is 2008 and the OPA President is Larry Nelson and the Chair of Ceramic Showcase is Beverly Curtis.

2008 was a very international year for the Oregon Potters Association.  We welcomed a delegation of potters from Hokkaido, Japan who participated in events at Ceramic Showcase as well as the Japanese Garden.  The 15 Hokkaido potters brought with them a breadth and diversity of clay techniques and styles which they shared through demonstrations during Ceramic Showcase.  An integral part of the OPA's mission is to provide public educational opportunities in the art of clay.  Although many did not share a common verbal language, the dialogue through clay was extensive.  Through this exchange, 28 OPA members were juried into a show in Sapporo, Japan.

In addition to the Hokkaido exchange, 3 OPA members traveled to El Salvador in February on a volunteer mission to teach art to children.  Artists taught paper making, mask making, book making, weaving and textiles.

And Best of Show 2008 is Karen Washburn.

Best of Show 2008
Karen Washburn

Poster Award 2008
Alan Higinbotham

And The Poster Award for 2008 is Alan Higinbotham

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Four Weeks and Counting

The year is 2007.  Natalie Warrens is the President of the OPA and Ginger Steele and Beverly Curtis are the Chairs for Ceramic Showcase.

And Best of Show 2007 is Dennis Meiners.  You may recall from an earlier posting, that the Best of Show award was bestowed on Dennis in 1993.

I asked Dennis about his creative process and the evolution of "Crashing Horse Teapot" and this is what he had to say:

Best of Show 2007
Dennis Meiners
"Crashing Horse Teapot"
"Prior to making 'Crashing Horse Teapot' in 2007, I had been painting or drawing falling or fallen horses, mostly on clay, for several years, after noticing how interesting an upside down horse is to me both aesthetically and metaphorically.  Horses have been used in painting and sculpture, mostly right side up, as metaphors for humans and our strife and striving going back to the caves, it can be argued, and I've always been fascinated with them.  I've never owned a horse or even had much of a relationship with one, but they seem so mysterious.  Why some of them allow humans to run their lives is beyond me.

In the early 'aughts' I had also made a few stump teapots with horses in one predicament or another, mostly having fallen, and serving as finials on lids.  The stump teapots were, and still are to some extent, my main outlet for my thoughts and feelings about social and political issues, but in the winter and spring of '06-'07, I decided to take a stab at using only the horse, still as a teapot, and see what might happen.  The 'Crashing Horse Teapot', which was the 3rd or 4th attempt in that series, came about when I had the horse fall into a ring of upside down and jumbled houses, the houses having been an image I had used for about 20 years previously in many different ways, and which I haven't used much since.  Neither have I used the fallen horse much, and I wonder about that.

Given the chaos which seems to be rising all around us, it seems like the falling, fallen, crashed, jumbled, upside down images would be everywhere in my recent work, but they are not.  Perhaps, paradoxically, I've reconciled myself with the world somehow, and found a kind of peace.  It's intriguing and humbling to look back on my work and find out things have been happening to me which I hadn't noticed despite the fact the changes have occurred literally right in front of my eyes.  Not the first time for that realization.  As a person who daily tries to make art, I get to learn once more that the work I produce is a record of where I've been and who I am becoming."

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Countdown to Ceramic Showcase continues

The year is 2006 and the Chair for Ceramic Showcase is Ginger Steele and the President of the OPA is Mark Heimann.

2006 was a big year for the ceramics community in Oregon as it played host to NCECA.  The entire arts community opened its doors and welcomed ceramic artists from around the world.

And at Ceramic Showcase, we opened our doors to Habitat for Humanity as a special guest. Leading the way in efforts to create affordable housing both along the devastated Gulf Coast and here in our own city, Habitat for Humanity conducted a pottery auction to raise money to complete a home for New Orleans, and raise awareness of their national and local efforts.

Best of Show 2006
Hsin-Yi Huang

And Best of Show 2006 is Hsin Yi-Huang.  As you remember, Hsin-Yi also received this honor in 2002.

Hsin-Yi Huang’s ceramic work is motivated by the need for self-examination. It is a tool she uses to visually express the encounters she has had with people and the events that occur around her. Huang draws references from organisms found in nature. She is attracted by their fragility as well as their strength; for example, “flowers are about the most delicate objects I know, yet I find the life they portray to be unquestionable. I use such contradictions to represent different possible perspectives of truths in life. As I form my work, every decision I make clarifies for me who I am and why I chose one path over another.”  Her preferred medium is porcelain. Enamored by its whiteness and translucency, she is also intrigued by its strength even when worked to paper-thinness. The use of dark glazes on the porcelain body creates a contrast that helps accentuate textures and edges, joints and intersections, overlapping layers and even the shallowest of recesses.   

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Five Weeks and Counting

The year is 2005 and the Chairs of Ceramic Showcase are Natalie Warrens and Ginger Steele and the President of OPA is Larry Nelson and this little nugget of wisdom was written in the member newsletter:

"An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck. One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.

After 2 years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, the cracked pot spoke to the woman one day by the stream: "Old Woman, I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house." The woman smiled and replied, "Cracked Pot, did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on Perfect Pot's side? I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house"

-Author unknown

And Best of Show 2005 is Babette Harvey.  I asked Babette her process and where she drew her inspiration and this is what she wrote:

Best of Show 2005
Babette Harvey
"My art is an expression of thoughts and feelings regarding the relationship of humanity to nature.  I suppose it is an environmental statement.  I believe we need to make serious changes in how we live on this planet and how we think about the natural environment.  Through my art I hope to add a voice for envirnomental stewardship of this beautiful planet.

This figural piece was made at a time when I was exploring the idea of morphing the human figure into something which shows our kinship with other creatures in the natural world.  This human is shedding her skin and becoming the nature bound creature hidden under her human facade.

Her legs are joined in a spiral of shell, feathers, and dragonflies.  One shoulder becomes a nautilus and the other is beginning to take shape of a bird.

Maybe she'll find that she has wings to fly!"

Monday, March 26, 2012

Six Weeks and Counting

The year is 2004 and the Chair for Ceramic Showcase is Natalie Warrens and the OPA President is Anne Stecker.  2004 proved to be a year of loss for the OPA; longtime member Chris Gum past away and this beautiful remembrance appeared in the newsletter:

CHRIS GUM: 1952-2004

To our great sadness, we have lost our friend and fellow potter, Chris Gum. Chris has been an OPA member for 23 years. He has been on the board of both OPA and Showcase and has often been the voice of reason (sometimes to all of our chagrin) amidst chaos. Chris died in his home of unknown natural causes on June 29th. A Memorial Potluck was held at the home of Linda Owen and Craig Martell on July 18th.

Chris is survived by his father, Robert, and his sister, Karina, both of California. Just as importantly, he is survived by Patty Cirello and her children: Sally, Angie and Joseph of Corvallis, who from his college days together made him a part of their family. He is also survived by his good and close friend, Nancy Hart, who will perhaps miss him most of all.

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 recent years, 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, who presided over the Memorial Service, and to Anne Stecker, both of whom provided some of these words)

And Best of Show 2004 is Ron Linn.  This is what Ron had to say about his process:

Best of Show 2004
Ron Linn
"Our lives are systematically constructed from repetitious moments both unique and mundane. In isolation they may seem remarkably unremarkable and easily dismissed. Tethered by time, they teach and transform, creating who we are and who we are becoming. This notion that our lives are bound by an underlying geometry, hidden patterns, and layered meanings, is a recent preoccupation that informs much more than just my work.

My process, in rhythm with these materials, creates artifacts whose intention is to emphasize and place into foreground the consequence of daily living, stand as metaphor of events planned-for and unsolicited. Drawn into this collaboration the objects become a secondary witness to all contributors, a testament, a reflection of their inspiration and existence."

Friday, March 23, 2012

What We're Jammin' Too

This week's top 5 courtesy of OPA member, Steve Sanchez.

As Steve stated, "It is a mix...anything from Japanese Shakuhachi music to Pearl Jam...lately I have been listening to Laura Veirs "July Flame".

But the playlist I use the most includes:

ok, so this is more than a top 5 but I was so intrigued by the list, I included them all!

Monday, March 19, 2012

7 Weeks and Counting

The year is 2003 and the Chairs for Ceramic Showcase are Natalie Warrens and Margie Adams and the OPA President is Michael Fromme.  The OPA took a huge step organizationally in 2003 by being awarded non-profit 501(c)(3) status.  As a non-profit organization, the goal is to continue to offer the membership community and the general public as many educational opportunities as are possible.  Besides the educational opportunities that are offered, the most powerful validation for the non-profit status is that the OPA is an all volunteer organization.   And these musings on life and art appeared in the OPA newsletter:

"For art to become universal and free, one must be God to create it, a King to pay for it, and a slave to make it."  Constantin Brancusi, Sculptor, 1876 - 1957

"The jurying process is not impartial.  As someone said, 'There is nothing fair in life and this is an example.'  Juries are but the sum of their parts.  Maybe someone is in a bad mood.  Maybe they're recovering from rich food at lunch.  Maybe your slides are sandwiched in between ones that are better or worse.  Strange things happen when people are in a room together."  public forum

"There cannot be a crisis next week.  My schedule is already full."  Henry Kissinger

And Best of Show 2003 is Kathryn Finnerty.  Kathryn writes about her process, early influences and how she and her work have grown and what influenced that growth:

Best of Show 2003
Kathryn Finnerty
"I am drawn to the historical traditions of European decorative ceramics.  My work is ornately decorated with surface patterns and images integrated in the form of each piece.  Earlier work focused on patterns and ornamentation that defined form with this decoration.  My concentration was with a close-up, intimate, and confined sense of space much like the spaces that I physically inhabited living in a city.  Moving from an urban center to acreage in central Oregon has expanded by perspective and presented me with the opportunity to discover a natural world outside of my previous daily experience.  From my studio windows I witness a pastoral landscape particular to the Northwest, lush and green, wet and moist.  There are quail living in our hedge-row, starlings nesting in the eaves of our barn, hawks that soar over our pasture and the owls that hoot from the woods at dusk.  I see the coyotes cross the fields on the edge of our property, hunting for vermin, hummingbirds flutter in our garden in search of nectar and a Great Heron resides in our pond in the summer months.  All of this delights and nourishes me daily and I have found it impossible to resist the tug to draw on this abundance for inspiration in my creative process.  This landscape has found a way to impose itself into the existing framework, drawing my attention and the viewer's eye deeper into the pieces."

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What We're Jammin' Too

This week's top 5, courtesy of OPA Member,  Barbara Haddad.

"Voodoo Chile Blues" by Jimi Hendrix
"Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zepplin
(I was wondering if this was going to appear on someone's list)
"Harlem Nocturne" by Danny Gatton

Nothing like being transported back in time, taken there by some amazing riffs and guitar licks.

Monday, March 12, 2012

8 Weeks and Counting

The year is 2001, Sandy Brown was the OPA President and Sumi Wu and Margie Adams were the Co-Chairs of Ceramic Showcase and this was published in the June/July member newsletter:

An Ode to the Sales Tags Workshift
or Them Sticker Pickers
by Frank A. Gosar

How 'bout them sticker pickers, ain't they slick?
Pickin' them stickers off, that's the trick.
Picking off little stickers, pickin' off bigger
Pickin' them slower, pickin' them quicker.
Stickers on the boards and the books on the table
Stickers outa every kind of Avery label.
Nit pickin' sticker pickers, ain't they grand?
Pickin' off the stickers, addin' them twice by hand
Addin' them stickers, addin' them twice.
Squintin' and peerin' jes to read the price.
Stickers for a sawbuck, stickers for a dollar
Stickers that go home on Terry's collar.
Alla them stickers gettin' stuck in books
Potters pushin' shovin' jes to get a look
Hair trigger sticker pickers, off the rails
Tryin' to pick stickers outa under the nails.

And the Best of Show winner in 2001 was Natalie Warrens.  I asked Natalie to describe her process and this is what she wrote:

Best of Show 2001
Natalie Warrens
"I started making a body of work based on some low fire sculptures and decided to use cone 10 porcelain, Klieber from Clay Art, in preparation for a wood firing at Hiroshi's in 2001.  I struggled at first trying to manipulate the large slabs like I had done with my earthenware and while I stood the vessel upright, it totally slithered back to a horizontal position.  This was Porcelain 101 once again, since I had not used cone 10 porcelain for twenty years.  Once I got a handle on the short window of the leather-hard stage, I was then able to build geometric forms and stack them together.

This piece was fired in the Spring of 2001, only the second wood firing I had ever participated in.  Instead of making round forms that are more traditional in a wood firing, I chose to make the flat, angular pieces and chose not to glaze the work to see what kind of results I would get.  This particular piece was stacked in the third row back from the front of the kiln and was fired for about 100 hours.  It was placed next to a figurative sculpture of a Buddhist monk to the point of almost touching which resulted in the beautiful halo effect.  I was especially thrilled with this piece and several others because they all had flashing, carbon trap, crystals and veiny ash running down the sides.  We fired primarily with alder and with a mix of fir and oak."

Monday, March 5, 2012

9 Weeks and Counting

The year is 2000; doomsday predictions have come and gone and the world as we know it still exists.  The OPA, along with the world has moved into the 21st century.  And with that, the Oregon Potters Association celebrated its 20th Anniversary.  In 2000, Rhoda Fleischman was the OPA President, Margie Adams was the Chair of Ceramic Showcase and this was overheard at the May General Meeting:

"You don't want to get too technical because then you have to buy too much stuff."  by Craig Martell

And Janet had this to say in the OPA newsletter:

A conversation the newsletter editor has with herself: "I think it’s the Wednesday after Showcase, or is it Thursday morning? It might be, and the anagama kiln is heating up. It’s gotta be about 3am, I hope it is, then I’d be about half way through this shift. This kiln is pretty easy to fire, it only needs stoking every 5 to 10 minutes. Speaking of which, I’ll be right back... Where was I? Oh yeah, I think I can read the board minutes before the next stoke... When I saw those ads for sport utility vehicles where the guy is sitting in the woods with his fax machine, cell phone, laptop computer, etc, I thought that guy must be a pretty sorry person, out in the woods with his computer? But here I am with the laptop next to the anagama firebox. Kinda like a dweeb potter, I guess. Oh well (oops, the kiln’s getting quiet again. Gotta stoke). It’s the middle of our weird mid-May cold snap and my hands are cold. I wonder how much closer I can get this computer to the firebox? Speaking of weird, what is that lumpy stuff in my tea? Maybe I should have used fresher milk, but this is the last cup of tea in the thermos and I’ll drink it anyway. I should have brought some strong coffee, but I drank too much coffee during Showcase. I wonder how much soot I can imbed in my computer and still have it function? The battery won’t hold a charge, but I can always run an extension cord from the light fixture...Gotta go fill the wheelbarrow with wood now. Wow, the mouse that lives under the extra kiln shelves just hauled off a quarter slice of bread (it’s a tiny mouse). This kiln must be getting hotter, it sure is burning wood faster. I’ll bet we run out of wood for the side ports sometime tomorrow night. And people wonder why this newsletter doesn’t always make sense..."

I asked Craig about his process and how his work has evolved over time and this is what Craig had to say:

Best of Show 2000
Craig Martell
"The covered jar that won Best of Show 2000 really began it's evolution in 1994 when I started doing all the slip decoration with ash glazes.  Prior to that I'd been doing some very "quiet work" with an emphasis on form and glaze.  I liked the work and was happy making that stuff but it was selling slowly and since I'm full time at making pottery I needed to plump the bottom line.  So I started doing some work in my sketch book and came up with some geometric sorts of designs and worked on them for a few years with an idea to abstract them a bit.  They were sort of stiff and stodgy at first.

What really helped soften the final result and abstract the designs was using ash glazes which can be very fluid, resulting in a lot of bleeding and moving of color.  So things were moving along OK and I started working with a lot of color tests and different methods of applying the slips.  What I finally came up with was a many staged approach to doing the decorating.  First, I sprayed large areas with colored slips and then brushed designs were painted over and finally I would add white and black lines, spirals, etc, with the aid of slip trailers.  This was all done when the pots were green (unfired).  The work was then bisque fired, given a liner glaze inside and then sprayed with ash glazes.  Finally firing the work to cone 10 in my gas kiln.

I'm still doing this kind of work but not exclusively any longer.  After all, the whole gig is really discovery as well as making sure you have enough in the bank.  Some of the newer work still employs slips and a lot of the old technique but with some different approaches to form, surface and glaze.  Hopefully, I'll be seeing some new light thru an old window or something like that.  The journey is more satisfying than the destination from what I've experienced, so we'll see where it goes."

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What We're Jammin' Too

This week's Top 5 courtesy of OPA member Denise Krueger - take it away Denise!

"No New Tale To Tell" by Love and Rockets
"Lotus Flower" by Radio Head
"Antenna" by Sonic Youth
"Peaches" by The Presidents of the United States of America
"Don't Wanna" by Skerik's Syncopated Taint Septet

Denise said she loved a good beat as well as long, spacey, obscure jams.

Are you adding any of these to your playlist?  I listened to "Don't Wanna" on MySpace but couldn't find a video link.


Monday, February 27, 2012

10 Weeks and Counting

In 1999, Cynthia Spencer was President of the OPA and the spirit of cooperation and collaboration seemed to be going strong.  Members were organizing majolica workshops, Cone 6 roundtable discussions and contributing to the Empty Bowls program.  The annual OPA picnic was held at George Wright's and members came prepared to make stepping stones, participate in a bountiful potluck meal and let off some steam with the pot-smash.

I found this note in the August 1999 newsletter and thought I'd pass it along.  

"After Empty Bowls was over, my son Luke a I took a trip to visit Lynn Berry and her husband Richard in St Thomas. Lynn has a working studio/gallery in Tillet Gardens, a complex of about 20 small shops off the beaten path. The vision I want to share with you is what I found in her home. At first, I did not think much of her array of pots, until one day I was riding in her car, drinking from a mug that I had brought from her home. I asked her where she got the mug, and she said Glenn Burris made it. Later that day I took a long look at all of the pottery Lynn and Richard have in their home. In the bathroom I found two cups and a soap dish made by the Shapiros. In the kitchen were cups made by Sumi Wu. I also found pieces from Craig Martell, Janet Buskirk, Steve Mollering, Chris Kienle, Dennis Meiners, Ben Yang, Richey Bellinger, Tamae Sawano, and many other potter friends.
"When I go to other potters home and am offered a drink, I often have more trouble figuring out which cup I want to use than figuring out what to put in it. It is always a treat to use a new piece of work, and I always enjoy my visit just a little more because so many people live in those homes through the pots which reside there.
"I know I treasure all of the pots I have bought, traded or been given by my friends in OPA. Each time I use one or see one placed in a very special place I have the memory of the person who worked the clay and glazed and fired it in order for me to treasure it" -Mary Walyer

And in 1999 the Best of Show award winner was Vern Uyetake and this is what Vern had to say about the piece:

Best of Show 1999
Vern Uyetake
"The piece entitled 'Kinship' which won the Best of Show award in 1999 is very special to me.  It was of course a great honor to receive the award, but it also foreshadowed life-changing events in my personal life.  Like a lot of my work, I did not start with any drawings or preconceived idea in mind.  I began by putting together coils of clay and watched where it took me.  It actually came together over a period of months.  I kept it covered and would periodically come back to it until it was finished.  The final result clearly represented to me the joy of family.  

At the time I was not married, but shortly after I met my wife, Kari, and we now have a 3-year-old boy, Isa.  Together they are the absolute joy of my life."

Thursday, February 23, 2012

What We're Jammin' Too

This weeks top 5 provided by OPA member Richard Sanchez:

"This Year" by the Mountain Goats
"No Key No Plan" by Okkervil River
"Sound of Sunshine" by Michael Franti & Spearhead
"Missed the Boat" by Modest Mouse
"We Are Nowhere and It's Now" by Bright Eyes

I've just added two of these to my playlist - Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

11 Weeks and Counting

The year is 1998; the OPA President is Mary Walyer and Mark Heimann is the Chair for Ceramic Showcase.  Empty Bowls was another great success at the Blues Festival and added a donation of over $13,500 to the Oregon Food Bank, Clay in Education had been involved with some great projects which included classes with the Native American Summer school program, Children's Club, Portland YMCA day Care and the Kids Play area at Art in the Pearl.

and this was published in Ceramics Monthly, in February 1998:
"Contrary to popular opinion, form does not follow function.  Form follows forlorn hope."

I asked Patrick about his process in creating the piece that was awarded Best of Show 1998 and this is what he had to say:

Best of Show 1998
Patrick Horsley
"1998 Best of Show piece called 'Large T-Pot/Purple' grew out of a thrown oval lidded casserole that I made a few years before I turned it into a teapot.  The body of the teapot was thrown with no top or bottom, then floated on some water and altered.  When leather hard I cut the profile of the image of what I wanted it to be and reassembled it and made a new top and bottom from thrown slabs and added that to the body.  The knob is thrown like a child's toy and trimmed and plugged into the lid.  The handle and spout were extruded.  The spout was a hollow extrusion and the die was made from washers and a u-bolt.  The parts were then laid out on a ware board to stiffen up.  Holes were then cut into the body and the parts were plugged in.  A solid piece of clay was sculpted as an extension of the body like a tail.  The T-Pots take about six to eight hours to make.  

This T-Pot was sprayed with a copper slip and then sprayed with a high clay, high barium matt copper carbonate glaze.  I like my work to absorb the light not reflect it.  

I see my pots in profile; more two dimenstional rather than three dimensional. 

 I have a number of teapots in both private collections and in museums and have been awarded Best of Show in other venues."

Sunday, February 19, 2012

West Coast Teapots 2012

Want to see what some OPA members have been up to this winter?  Take some time in March to visit the Columbia Art Gallery in Hood River, Oregon.  James Diem, OPA member and board member for the Columbia Center for the Arts, has curated a showcase of teapots and teabowls, to be held March 2 - April 1.  West Coast Teapots 2012 features over 20 potters, 40 teapots, and 160 teabowls from some of the most renowned ceramists in the country, including many members of the OPA.

Check out a preview of the show here .  

The gallery will host an opening reception, Friday March 2, 6-8 p.m. with beer and wine available.  In addition to the art, the Columbia Art Gallery will be serving tea from Steven Smith Teamaker during the month of March. Steve Smith is the co-founder of both Stash and Tazo Tea and is now producing high quality hand-crafted teas under his own label.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

What We're Jammin' Too

By the responses that came pouring in, I've learned that many of our members don't listen to music at all and I was fascinated by what they do listen to.

I listen to John Wayne movies while glazing pottery.  I know all the lines from his movies!

Sorry, Kris, I am not hip.  I listen to talking books or the radio (progressive talk)

Sorry, no music.  I'm an NPR addict, especially Saturday morning!  'Wait, wait don't tell me', 'What do you know', 'Car Guys', 'Radio Lab'

If I've planned ahead, I have a book on tape.  If not, OPB...or KLCC to hear some NEW music (and some old).  Did everyone know that our own Frank Gosar is a Sat AM DJ there?  I'm never allowed to subject good CD's to all the muck in the studio
...Cynthia Spencer

I've been inspired to rethink my studio play lists and include some of my favorite books and radio pod casts. 

Have you been inspired?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

12 Weeks and Counting

The year is 1997; Deb Shapiro is the OPA President and this was overheard at Ceramic Showcase:

     Father:  "These pots are made out of clay and then they were fired."

     Young Daughter:  "Does that mean they couldn't do their job anymore?"

     "We do not simply 'expose' children to the arts.  We instruct them in life skills through the arts.  The arts are inseparable from daily life and are essential tools for understanding each other and our environment.  Of course it is important that all children learn to read, but it may be even more important that there are artists producing something worth reading."  E. Rutenkroger

Best of Show 1997
Michael Fromme

I asked Michael what she drew upon for her inspiration while creating "Raven" :

"Raven was part of a series inspired by an exhibition called Boxes and Bowls of the Haida and Tligit.  The carved wooden bowls were such wonderful forms; animals and birds, that I felt compelled to create my own, in clay and fire them in an anagama where the fire and ash played with the bas-relief.  They were a merging of my animal sculptures and the anagama firing that I studied in Bizen, Japan."

Sunday, February 12, 2012

13 Weeks and Counting - Continued

Best of Show 1996
Carol Lebreton
Carol writes about her passion for clay -

"I can trace my love for this material to a single event at age eleven; I touched a vein of soft yielding clay on the side of a freshly cut dirt road.  That early encounter evolved into a consuming passion which, enriched by a childhood lived in the tropics, continues to fuel and guide my creative expression.

My work is original in design.  It reflects a dynamic, yet simple style that seeks to balance the practical with the aesthetic and celebrates pattern, form, texture - even sound.  A quote by Arts & Crafts designer William Morris further informs my philosophy about working in clay: 'have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful'.  I find great satisfaction in creating a piece that is finely crafted, has enduring beauty, enough humor to spark a smile, and will last indefinitely when well-cared for."

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What We're Jammin' Too

OPA Member David Dahlquist's playlist:

David wrote - "I rarely listen to the radio while in the studio, I plug my iPod into speakers and jam.

anything by Wilco

anything by Tom Waits

anything by White Stripes

"Garden Grove" by Sublime

"Creosote" by Son Volt

David went onto say:

"But, somewhat interesting, I like to use studio time to listen to new music, to get accustomed to something new.  It is how I got into Waits, Wilco, White Stripes, Beck, etc.  Years ago I was really into Cake.  I had a coffee mug which had these really nice cakes on it.   It was a one off.  Because Cake had inspired me so much in the studio, I sent the mug to their main songwriter and singer.  He mailed me a post card thanking me for it and explained why he liked it so much.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

13 Weeks and Counting

Best of Show 1995
Tamae Sawano

"The tray of river rock teapots was inspired by a driving trip I made to Montana several months prior to creating this work.  Along the way I stopped at Lolo River in Idaho and saw beautiful, smooth pebbles resting on the river bank.  Although each pebble had a different shape and color, they all suggested the passage of time that they had gone through to be shaped and polished by the flow of the river.  Through the passage of time and with the help of water, they appeared to have been stripped down to their essence.  There is something intrinsic about these river rocks that touches us.  My intention was to create something with clay that somehow conveys the same emotional resonance we fell when we see those river rocks."

Friday, February 3, 2012

14 Weeks and Counting con't

Back in 1987, Catherine Wygant had predicted that by 1994 Ceramic Showcase would exceed all previous year's sales and would grow more than anyone would believe.  Well, she was so right!  Ceramic Showcase sales exceeded expectations and the show had grown to include 200 members in booths plus another 60 members participating in 'Gallery Only'.  Again, the OPA and Ceramic Showcase were at a crossroads.  The organization was getting lost amidst the success of the show.  New members were in conflict with the points systems, older members did not want the show to grow any bigger and the core values of the OPA were becoming lost because members were only joining to participate in the Show.

Out of turmoil and conflict came change.  Both within Ceramic Showcase as well as the OPA.  A Group Booth was added to accommodate those members that had not yet accumulated enough points to be able to have a booth, the Steering Committee was expanded to not only make more jobs available to also to help organize such a large show and the points system was revamped to make sure that those that volunteered for a position within the organization were rewarded for their contributions.  Within the OPA a new round of goal setting was begun.  The OPA President was sent to NCECA, investments were made in computer equipment, subsidizing inexpensive workshops for members, establishing an OPA phone number and the start of our Clay in Education program which sends members into the community to teach.

Through it all, the organization and Ceramic Showcase flourished.  Which leads us to the Best of Show 1994, Jim Koudelka.

Best of Show 1994
Jim Koudelka
I asked Jim for his thoughts and this is what he had to say:

"My work is ultimately a reflection of my creative response to materials and processes, images and ideas.

I have an interest and involvement with a vessel format that is influenced by architectural, mechanical and industrial images.  The pieces I create display the actual or implied function of containers or devices extracted from primitive to contemporary times.  My intent is to interpret and display the essence and qualities of these images through my art work and create a dialogue to the viewer through it.

Process and materials also play an important role in the development of my work.  I allow the ceramic, glass and or metal materials and their processes to maintain a voice in the choices of design, physical construction, surfacing and final viewing of the pieces."

Jim Koudelka recieved his M.F.A. from Indiana University. He is a  Professor in Ceramics at the Oregon College of Art and Craft, Portland, Oregon where he has taught for the past fifteen years. Jim has been an Artist in
Residence at The Archie Bray Foundation , Helena, MT, and the Bullseye Glass Connection, Portland OR. He has maintained an involvement throughout his career in both functional and  sculptural work. His work has exhibited in numerous national and regional shows receiving honors and awards. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

What We're Jammin' Too

This week kicks off a new weekly post -

What We're Jammin' Too

I put the question out to our members,

"What are the top 5 songs on your playlist?" 

and the response was tremendous.  The idea came from fellow OPA member, Jamie Anderson, after a day spent in the studio jammin' to music.  Jamie and I agreed to swap our our Top 25 and it just made me wonder, what are other artists listening to in their studios.  What music inspired them, got them moving and creating.  For some it wasn't music but NPR programs or books on tape.

Where possible, I've included a link to the song.

Maybe you'll find something to add to your playlist!


The first OPA member to respond was Kristy Lombard-Wright

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

14 Weeks and Counting

The year is 1993 and a major change took place for Ceramic Showcase; the newly built Oregon Convention Center became the new "home" of Ceramic Showcase and to this day continues to be held there.  With the move to the convention center, the show was able to expand, more members could participate and attendance and profits grew.  And the Best of Show winner in 1993 was Dennis Meiners.

Dennis grew up on a wheat farm in Walla Walla, Washington and attended Washington State University where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.

Best of Show 1993
Dennis Meiners
"The act of making things is a magical privilege for which I have made and will make many sacrifices.  I have found that the objects that result from the act of making are secondary to being in the process of bringing those objects into existence.  Whether the act of making results in a coffee cup, a sculpture, a drawing or a poem, the immersion in the process is a journey through an imaginative landscape where possibility reigns supreme and taking advantage of what is there is a chimerical game.  I have compared this experience to riding a horse at night.  The objective is to trust the horse, not fall off, and be awake to see where I have arrived when the light returns."

Friday, January 27, 2012

15 Weeks and Counting

Well, I just squeaked in - with two days to go - this week's story is ready!  

In 1992 the Oregon Potters Association starting taking on new projects. The OPA launched a project making mural tiles with homeless teenagers in Portland. We also began publishing a well-received annual map to potters holiday studio sales in Oregon. By the end of the year, membership had soared to almost 300 people.

I didn't have much information about Best of Show winner of 1992, Ellen Fager, and it took a considerable amount of time to track her down.  Ellen is no longer a member of the OPA and as I learned, does not reside in the Pacific NW any longer.  Ellen graciously agreed to write her thoughts and I held the presses, anxious to learn more about her and what inspired her work.

Best of Show 1992
Ellen Fager
"I was already making the fish teapots when Ed Thompson and I came to Portland in 1987.  I had always been drawn to ceramic traditions (pre-Columbian Western Mexican, Iron-Age Iranian) in which function and representation are bound together in perpetual negotiation.  After flirting with a variety of creatures, I found in these fish a rich, varied, contemporary (read:saleable) form with which to continue the discussion.  A fish effigy that did not pour or store something would have been of no interest to me; at the same time, I would not have been satisfied with a teapot that was simply a "fish".  This pot is one very particular species among the unglamorous little bottom-fishes living off the northern Pacific coast; anyone with a good guidebook should be able to identify him.  Always a wheel-worker, I built these fishes from thrown sections, and that was important to me, too:  underneath all the extravagant elaboration, there remained a core utilitarian craft.

The year after my fish won Best of Show, Ed and I moved back to San Diego.  Ed went on to considerable renown in the local clay community, but, after a couple more years of struggle, I dropped out.  I had taken the fishes as far as I could go with them, and, with two small children to tend to, I had neither the time nor the focus to develop something new.  As the kids grew, I got involved with other things, and, though old potter-friends would prod me sometimes, I felt no inclination towards the work I used to do.  It is only in the past year, since Ed's death, that I have returned to the studio, and found clay, after all this time, still ready to resume the conversation where I last left off.  Once again, I am throwing, paddling, cutting and pasting, although it is now geometry, rather than the natural world, that is in dialog with use.  Clay is the most wonderful material:  it waits for you; it is humble and expendable; there is no end to the things you can do with it, up to that point where it quietly, steadfastly, asserts its limitations; it accepts the mark of your hand, and in that mark you see yourself and the path you have travelled. 

What could be better than that?"

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.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

17 Weeks and Counting

The years are starting to fly by and we are up to 1990.  The OPA and Ceramic Showcase continued to experience growing pains throughout the 90's.  An organization that started out as a small potters cooperative continued to grow and with growth came change.  Although necessary, change was not always well received.  In the end, members came together and realized that no matter how big the organization got, they were still that small cooperative - holding true to the values and ideals that were set forth by the founding members.

In 1990, the Best in Show was awarded to Michael Scrivens.  Michael provided a bit of insight into how he found himself to be a potter.  What he has written is so humble and I hadn't remembered his piece until I uploaded it for this post.  The image that is shown and the way Michael describes the process makes it seem so ordinary but all you have to do is lay eyes on this piece and it is anything but.

Here's what Michael has to say:

"I was introduced to pottery in high school around 1969 and bought my first wheel in 1970 and worked in the basement of my parents home.  I studied some ceramics in college at both Mt. Hood Community College and the University of Oregon - GO DUCKS!

Best in Show 1990
Michael Scrivens
For many years to come I worked primarily with Cone 6 white clay with a "dunk & brush" glaze technique.  In 1989 I decided to do a complete change over and began using a beautiful terra cotta clay body.  I was also developing a technique of spraying and masking glazes and underglazes.  The resulting patterns were at times unpredictable and sometimes images would start to appear.  One of these images was the image of a fish.  The colorful fish image on a black background was chosen as Best of Show for the 1990 Ceramic Showcase as well as Best of Show 1990 Artquake.

Today, now 22 years later, with some breaks away from my pottery career, I'm still using the same beautiful terra cotta clay body and the glazing techniques with my pottery.  I've shifted my focus lately to include a fairly new line of high relief tiles, which have been well received.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

17 Weeks and Counting

The Year is 1989 and both the OPA and Ceramic Showcase were at a crossroads.  The success of Ceramic Showcase became overwhelming and the vision that the OPA had built itself around was being blurred.  No one realized at the time that success would come at a price.  How could the OPA maintain its vision and dedication to its members while being all consumed of time and energy to hosting a successful show?  It was decided that a separate committee would be formed that would take on the challenges of hosting Ceramic Showcase so that the OPA Board could dedicate itself to building the organization and the membership.  Thus, the Ceramic Showcase Steering Committee was born.  Today that committee has grown to sixty-two members, all volunteering countless hours.  It is truly a labor of love and one in which I am proud to say I volunteer wholeheartedly in.  But enough about the organization for now - onto our award winner.

Best in Show 1989 award winner Marianna Crawford writes about her wonderful journey in clay and where is has taken her -

"Even though I have not been working in clay for almost 12 years, people still introduce me as a potter, regardless of what else I've been doing with my life.  I can't say that I mind this.

In 1989, Ceramic Showcase was held at Montgomery Park.  It was the first or second year that I participated in the show.  I was a newcomer.

Before that, I had attended PNCA for a couple of years.  My teacher, Frank Irby - who still teaches there - was tremendously supportive and influential to me.  When it became clear that all I wanted to do was ceramics, he allowed me to use the studio at PNCA to my heart's content.  When this gig reached the end of its feasibility, I rented my first little studio space at Thurman Street Pottery.

Frank helped me see that my work was about the inner space contained by a vessel.  This simple understanding was like a compass that guided my career as a ceramic artist.

While I was at PNCA, a visiting potter from China came to work in the ceramics studio for an extended period.  Apparently he was accustomed to having assistants do his production work.  This, on top of the fact that he did not speak English, and a translator had not been provided, made him a sullen, unapproachable presence in the studio.  However, I became fascinated with the way that he constructed his pieces.  I could see how it was possible to build complex shapes, and my ideas about what I could do with clay suddenly expanded.  Even though my work had little in common with his traditional Chinese vessels, the techniques that I gleaned from him catapulted me forward.

Best in Show 1989
Marianna Crawford
The piece that won the award in 1989 was one of the early pieces that evolved out of this new found inspiration.  Needless to say, winning the award provided yet more wind under my wings.

One of the things that I love about clay as a medium is how it adapts itself to an almost infinite myriad of artistic expression.  We make an impression on the clay, physically and metaphorically, every time we touch it, every time we make contact with it.  My particular personality is inclined towards obsessive perfectionism - I fuss, experiment, try and err and try again, work a piece to the brink of disaster, get exhausted, give up, and eventually have a breakthrough, or come to accept what is there.  As much as I admire and, at times, yearn to be someone whose work is loose, spontaneous and immediate, that is not who I will ever be.  I like to think that everything that goes into my process becomes part of the beauty of the final piece.  Inherent in each of my pieces is how it has been carefully shaped, handled, worked, considered, and loved, really.  Clay has its rules, but it also seems to make room for all the unique and particular ways that we are.

Oregon Potters Association is a little that way too.  It is a generous, democratic, inclusive organization whose members do not withhold their support for one another's success.  Over the years, I have seen the Best in Show award given to newcomers, as well as old-timers.  No particular style or technique is favored.  There are no weird politics about who receives it.  It is given by an honest group of potters to one of their own, out of pure and exuberant love of clay.  For these reasons and more, it remains one of the greatest honors that I have been given in my life, and I am proud to be counted as a potter, still."

Thursday, January 5, 2012

18 Weeks and Counting

This week we are featuring Best in Show award winners from two years.  Earlier in the week we covered 1987 and we now move onto 1988.

Best in Show 1988 was awarded to Dave and Boni Deal.  Dave and Boni are an inspiration who have been collaborating not only in their art but in life.  Here's a bit more about Dave and Boni:

Best in Show 1988
Dave & Boni Deal
"What an honor, having our raku "Cord-wrap" pot voted "Best in Show" by fellow potters at Showcase '88!  Back then, pottery had been our family's livelihood for over a decade, and we were totally into raku, with Dave focusing on LARGE.  This "Cord-wrap" piece is 27 inches wide.

Most of our artwork was then, as now, natured-themed.  This was a natural outcome from meeting in a mountaineering club, and discovering a shared passion for the outdoors and for art.  We eventually settled at our rustic mountainside home where kids were raised amongst pots.  We strive to reflect the glory of our surroundings, God's creations, in our work.

The Deal kids
We are also motivated and inspired by those who purchase our work, our patrons, the angels who support us and keep us going.  We've been blessed by those who have acquired our work over our 30 years of exhibiting at Ceramic Showcase, many who come back and tell us how much they enjoy their pieces.  Thank you!

The work is still evolving, sometimes literally going 'round a circle past the beginning and 'round again, like recent "Batik Raku" pieces that hark back to Boni's fabric batiks of the 1970's.  Dave continually explores clay forms, Boni pursues the imagery, both work on the glazes, and Dave carefully choreographs the final raku firings.

More info about Dave and Boni and dramatic photos of their firings can be found on their website, Dave and Boni Deal.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

18 Weeks and Counting

In this weeks post, two Best in Show award winners will be featured.  We are running short of weeks until we open the doors to Ceramic Showcase 2012.  Look for another addition of "Weeks and Counting" on Thursday.

Maria Simon
Best in Show 1987
The year is 1987 and the Best in Show award winner was Maria Simon.  There was an article written on Maria by Dennis Meiners, OPA Member and Best in Show award winner in 1993 and 2007, for Ceramics Technical entitled "Bas Relief Tableaux".  I've included a bit about how Maria described her process and what drives her to create.

"The first time a person uses clay to make an object and shepherds that object through the drying and firing process, one receives a new take on the meaning of transformation.  If the clayworker is truly aware, he or she notices it is not just the clay that changes, there is a change in oneself also.  Magic happens.  For some of us who persist in the endeavor of clay work, that magic happens again and again; that is why we put ourselves through such a torturous process, and the objects we make leave our hands to transform the experience of others, also again and again, on through the years.

Artists that work in clay are like poets in that neither usually makes large noisy things like symphonies or epic films.  They provide us with discreet things that work quietly and steadily like a beating heart.  Clayworkers and poets typically are not out to knock down walls, or to extend a hand to invite their audience to rise and participate in the dance.  If walls are removed, they are taken down grain by grain.

Maria doesn't use complicated tricks or artifices designed to impress the viewer with what an accomplished craftsperson she is.  Her excellent craftsmanship is unobtrusive.  She is not waving her arms to point to her virtuosity.  Simon is depicting, with elegance and simplicity of form, a psychic and emotional landscape that opens vistas for the viewer.  In her quiet work there is much disquiet and, in the sureness of her pieces, much doubt.

To read the article in its entirety, please visit Maria's website, Maria Simon Studio.