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Former Lakeridge ceramics instructor shows off art

Terry Hutchinson invites public to open house

SUBMITTED PHOTOS:  - Artist Terry Hutchinson poses with a variety of his ceramic lusterware vessels.

Want to see what former Lakeridge ceramics instructor Terry Hutchinson has been up to for the past four and a half decades? Head to his Flashfire Ceramics studio Sept. 12 and 13 and see for yourself. Hutchinson will showcase his ceramic lusterware vessels at an open house, and all are invited to attend.

Hutchinson’s ceramic pieces are known for their unique glazes, something he has been working on for the past 45 years.

“I began seriously testing glazes with my first teaching job in Lake Oswego to prove to my students the excitement I felt with a well-glazed pot,” he says. “My lifelong passion with luster glazes started after compounding some formulas from Herbert Sanders’ book, ‘Glazes for Special Effects.’ The results of the low-temperature glazes were not exciting, but there was just enough of a luster to pique my interest. With little technical information available, I began a journey of trial and error to understand this elusive surface.”

Hutchinson says he had always wanted to be a classroom teacher and began his teaching career at Lake Oswego Junior High, then spent a year teaching in Germany before returning to take up the helm at Lakeridge High School, where he remained until 1997. His career as a ceramics instructor gave him the opportunity to experiment with many factors.

“Not only is the glaze itself important, but the type of kiln, the temperature and the firing times are all critical,” he says. “In my view, ceramics is the most complex of all the arts. There is lots of chemistry, of the clay, of the glaze, temperature, everything — elevation, water, all make a difference.”

After what he considered “a very long apprenticeship of college, several years of teaching and constant testing,” Hutchinson says he finally found his own voice in ceramics. Like painters have a unique style of painting, ceramicists can be recognized by their signature glazes.

When he retired from teaching in 1997, Hutchinson devoted himself full time to his art.

“The ideas began to flow with never-ending glaze testing,” he says. “I always have at least one or two glazes I am working on at any time. When I perfect one so that it comes out consistently every time, then I move on … It’s a slow process. I’ve tested so many ideas I have to keep reaching for new ideas at this point of my career.”

In his artist’s statement, Hutchinson says that his intent is to “frame on clay vessels the myriad gem-like surfaces found in rocks and minerals.”

“Thousands of different glaze combinations have been tested,” the statement says. “Some of the materials include bismuth, tungsten, silver nitrate, gold chloride and platinum chloride, all of which are very expensive and unusual in ceramic glazes. Currently, the work is high fired and reduced on cooling to produce gold, silver and copper surfaces. Some work is developed further with a fuming technique, which produces a rainbow effect or an iridescent blue over the luster surface.”

He says he wants to use his own process to create “brilliant abstract glaze on a three-dimensional surface.”

“As the glaze becomes more complex a simplification of form has emerged while still using a great variety of shapes,” Hutchinson says. “One key element is always proportion with subtle changes that make each piece individual.”

The open house will be held 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 12 and noon-4 p.m. Sept. 13 at Flashfire Ceramics, located at 12040 S.W. 11th Ave. in Tigard. All are welcome to attend.

Hutchinson says his glazes do not fade and even withstand exposure to Oregon winters.

Contact Hutchinson at flashfireth@gmail.com or call 503-521-1232.

Contact Barb Randall at 503-636-1281 ext. 100 or email brandall@lakeoswegoreview.com.

#6 Rainbow Bottle