How long have you been a part of Artistic Portland, and what appealed to you about joining the Co-op?
I joined Artistic Portland just after it moved into its new location on Taylor – about 3 months ago. I'm pretty new to Portland and was looking for a place to show my art and more importantly, connect with the art community here. I have not been disappointed.
Where are you from?
Well, I've moved around a lot, but I call Huntington Beach, California home.
My husband and I have spent the last 20 or so years living in various rural communities and moved to Portland from Angels Camp, Ca.
What jobs have you had other than being an artist?
Well, I spend about 12 of the last 20 years earning my keep as a computer technician, and though not a paying gig, operating a purebred dog rescue organization. And I was a zoo keeper for a number of years.
How would you describe your work in three words?
Animals as mirrors.
What do you love about working with clay?
It’s funny. I spent most of my life and formal art training drawing and painting. When I took my first ceramics class, I could not even stand the feel of clay. Now that I've been working in clay a number of years, particularly since transitioning to sculpture, I love working in 3D! I rarely draw anymore because I just don't think “flat” anymore. And I love that clay is always the teacher. There are no failures in clay – just new lessons learned. And the clay community! We are a messy, muddy bunch. Fingernails trimmed to the nubs, clay on our glasses frames, maybe a singed eyebrow here and there, and we are so unprotective of our techniques, and so eager to talk and laugh about our “failures”.
What frustrates you about working with clay?
The drying time. I'm not very patient, and I am the ultimate control freak. Clay is a wonderful medium for control freaks like myself because the Clay is the boss. It will do just about anything you want it to, but on its own terms. And if you try to hurry it, it will come back to bite you. But while that can be frustrating, I love it.
What inspires you?
Animals, Politics and the Interesting Times we live in.
Tell us about “Little Free Pottery.”
I absolutely love the concept (and executions) of the Little Free Library! We have one on our street. Three things brought the Little Free Pottery about: a desire to connect with my neighbors and community, my interest in interactive art, and a fair amount of the above mentioned “failures”. And by “failures," I don't mean broken pots—just pieces that were not up to my standards, something that just didn't sell, or things I could make just because. So I built and installed a little station to offer bits of clay to those who would happen upon it. It’s been great fun! I love sneaking looks out my front window and seeing someone handling a piece and realizing they can just have it. And I think it adds to the already abundant goodwill in my neighborhood.
What do you like to do when you aren’t creating with clay?
My husband and I are big consumers of live music. It’s one of the things that led us to give up country living and become urbanites again. Portland has so much music to offer! We're big fans of both jazz and punk rock, and both are pretty plentiful here, so we spend a fair amount of time in music venues.
Other than that and art events, we spend most of our time at home catering to our dogs' and cats' whims.
If you could wake up tomorrow with a new skill, what would it be?
Oh – easy. I'd like to master my kiln.
I fire a large propane kiln, and I'm pretty new to it. Successful firings are a little hit-or-miss. While that provides more gifts for the Little Free Pottery, it can really put a damper of my artistic growth. The good news is that I know I'll get there eventually. If learning new things keeps you young, then potters must live forever.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself.
Hmmmm… Well, I'm kind of a Golden Girls superfan. I wonder if Golden Girls cosplay is a thing? Because I am so Dorothy Zbornak.