How long have you been a part of Artistic Portland, and what appealed to you about joining the Co-op?
I’ve been a member of Artistic Portland since we opened in 2013. I wanted to sell not only my own, but other people’s art, as well. When I saw the opportunity to join the co-op, it seemed like the perfect way to fulfill this desire.
Where are you from?
I grew up in Tigard, Oregon and moved down the road to SE Portland in 1992.
What is your background?
I’ve worked in fast food, big box retail, and as an office assistant. I’m a bit of an underachiever. I don’t have a college degree and I have always worked jobs solely to support myself, not to follow a career path. My mother is an artist, so we painted and colored all the time at home. I took a ceramics class my senior year in high school and wanted to have my own studio some day. I’ve been seriously exploring making my living as an artist in the last two years.
What prompted you to start making ceramic pods?
I took a hand building class at Georgies, the local pottery supply company, and we learned to make hollow forms by attaching two pinch pots together. I experimented with this for years, trying to figure out what to do with this form and pods were born. Originally, pods were garden ornaments on a stake. They felt too precious to leave out in the yard, so they came into the house and mounted themselves on walls, so the cats couldn’t break them.
How has your practice changed over time?
I started by making wheel-thrown mugs and bowls in 1999 out in the garage. Other than making a room in my house my studio, I feel like my practice hasn’t changed. I’ve been making pods in my home studio for about ten years now and I don’t know where to go next. I’m ready for a change and some growth.
What do you love about working with clay?
The best thing about clay is the endless opportunity for design. It is an earthy, raw material that you can use to form your intentions. I like the many steps in the process – designing different forms, forming wet clay, adding details after it firms up, drying it, firing it, glazing it, and the many steps involved in selling it. After I make pods, I have to find out how to get rid of them, so I can make more and hopefully make a living. I also love the fragile nature of clay. It can break at any step, so I need to be able to let it go when it’s time.
What frustrates you about working with clay?
I do get frustrated with my lack of time management when I can’t get into the studio to finish something before it dries out. The other thing I have problems with is my messy studio. I don’t mind getting my hands dirty, but my work area is always a disaster. I try to be neat, but I get sucked into the process and then I have to stop for something and boom! There’s a mess. I can’t blame the clay for either of those problems, though. I would probably be a slob no matter what art I was making.
What inspires you?
Nature is my entire inspiration. I love observing the lush gardens of Portland through the four seasons. Taking trips to the coast at low tide is my favorite, where you can see tide pools full of sea stars, sea anemones, chitons, barnacles and snails. The last time I was there, I saw an amazing tiny cave full of baby anemones. There was also a bright purple sea star, a color I’d never seen before.
What do you like to do when you’re not creating?
I like to make people laugh, listen to music and take walks.
What is one thing that you’ve never tried, but would like to??
If you couldn’t be an artist, what would you do instead?
I would be a barista or a succulent farmer. I would probably be a successful accountant if I hadn’t been distracted by art since birth.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself
I took a belly dance class a few years ago and I love to shimmy.