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Potters bring talents to showcase


by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Oregon City's Michael Moulet II displays some of his colorful ceramic pieces, fitting in with the ceramic showcases theme of Celebrating All Things Food.If “Celebrating All Things Food” sounds like a restaurant extravaganza in downtown Portland, think again.

Instead, the title is this year’s theme for the Oregon Potters Association’s 31st Annual Ceramic Showcase, April 26 to 28 at the Oregon Convention Center.

This three-day event showcases the talents of nearly 200 Potters from Oregon and Southwest Washington, and for the first time highlights the functional, hand-crafted pottery for the table and kitchen.

Local chefs will put in an appearance throughout the weekend, participating in cooking demonstrations, and artists will also demonstrate ceramics techniques, both for veteran potters and newcomers to the art.

Although the free event is billed as “the largest show and sale of clay in the United States,” it also includes the Gathering of the Guilds, and visitors can check out work from the Creative Metal Arts Guild, Oregon Glass Guild, Guild of Oregon Woodworkers, Northwest Fine Woodworkers Guild, Portland Bead Society and the Portland Handweavers Guild.

Clackamas County potters

The Clackamas County area is represented by a number of potters, including Jean Chapin, Michael Moulet II, Karen Peters and Brenda Scott.

Chapin, from Oak Grove, owner of Greenware Pottery, characterizes her work as hand-built stoneware that is food-safe and suitable for use outdoors.

“I live right on the Willamette River, surrounded by herons, eagles and jumping fish, so I am inspired by nature; where we live is so beautiful,” Chapin said.

She encourages people to come to the ceramics event, because it will be “a fabulous show, put on completely by volunteers.”

Moulet, of Moulet Pottery in Oregon City, noted that his work fits right into the theme of the show, because visitors will primarily see kitchenware, mixing bowls, dinner plates and platters in a variety of colors. Also on display will be handmade pottery candles, filled with a hand-poured soy-based wax.

The showcase is “a great place to see hundreds of artists’ work in ceramics and clay, for free and all in one place,” he added.

Peters, a Milwaukie resident who is also the vice president of the Oregon Potters Association, calls her company Impressed Pottery & Tile.

“I make functional and decorative pottery for the home, office or garden. This year I’ve tried to concentrate more on items that would be for food preparation or display, such as bowls, mugs and platters.  I also do lots of garden art for the spring, such as birdbaths, repurposed glass in bird feeders and regular bird feeders, Ikabanas (Japanese flower arrangement vases) and your typical hand-thrown vases,” she said.

Peters added, “People should attend the Ceramic Showcase for the variety of clay artists that we have; there are raku pots, wood-fired and pit-fired pottery, and soda or salt-fired pieces that are fired in special kilns, besides the high-fired or low-fired items.”

Brenda Scott, of Muddy Fish Studio, takes great pride in living in Damascus, a town that was supposedly established by a wandering potter.

“This guy was looking for a place to settle, as the story goes, and he came to a crossroad and noticed a lot of clay. So he started making pottery here, but I have never met anyone with his pottery,” Scott said.

It does not matter if the legend is true or not, Scott is excited to produce her work in a place associated with the clay arts.

“My pieces are functional work for use every day in the kitchen or setting the table. I also make individual coffee mugs, because when people pick up a mug, they should relate to it,” Scott said.

The showcase has something for everyone, she said, including sculptural pieces that can be large for the yard or small and intimate.

“There is also a children’s area where they can play with clay and take something home with them,” he added. “Teachers will be there guiding them and can tell them where they can get their pieces fired. There is an adult play area, as well.”