If you go
• What: Ceramic Showcase and Gathering of the Guilds, an art show and sale of pottery, sculpture, garden art, home accessories and other work. Includes clay technique demonstrations and children’s activities.
• When: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
• Where: Oregon Convention Center, 777 N.E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Portland.
• Cost: Free.
• Information:Ceramic Showcase or 503-222-0533.
Clark County Potters at the Ceramic Showcase
• Patrick Lawless
• Sandra Lauser
• Rhea Bohlin
• Robin Hominiuk
• Sandra Kvalheim
Linda Kliewer only has to step out into her backyard to find inspiration for her pottery.
An avid gardener and nature enthusiast, her work often expands on shapes she sees in the plants around her home and in the greenhouse that’s attached to her Battle Ground studio.
“Everything I do is nature based, and most of it is botanical based,” said the 57-year-old, who’s been a professional potter for 20 years. “From an artist’s point of view, I just love the simplicity of it.”
Kliewer’s work has a unique flourish, but she’s far from the only ceramic artist expressing her creativity in Clark County.
There will be at least 19 potters from our area participating in the largest ceramic showcase in the region this weekend, the 30th annual Ceramic Showcase and Gathering of the Guilds in Portland, said Kate Kauffman, who is promoting the show.
“Considering the show includes all of Oregon and Southwest Washington, Clark County has one of the largest representations,” Kauffman said. “That’s a great turnout from your area. Portland is the biggest, of course, but after that we have Southwest Washington, Eugene (Ore.) and then Corvallis (Ore.).”
About 150 to 175 potters display their work at the show each year, she added.
For Kliewer, who has participated off and on in the past 10 years, the show is a great opportunity to meet other artists and talk about their work. But it’s also a great place to shop, she said.
“It’s always fun to see how others approach things. You always learn something new,” Kliewer said. “For me, one of the best parts of the show is just being with other potters, the camaraderie.”
One of Kliewer’s newest projects has been a series of ceramics based on sea anemones. It plays on her love of the natural world, and there’s just something about the water-dwelling, predatory animals that fascinates her, she said.
“I saw an article on them in National Geographic, and I just thought, ‘I want to do that,’” she said. “Every one of the tentacles I add is attached by hand. It takes a lot of work, but people just love them. There’s something about the way they feel.”
Debbie Dean, a Woodland potter, said she and her husband, Jay Seibert, also a clay artist, have seen the Ceramic Showcase grow since it began 30 years ago. The couple sell much of their work in Wyoming, but have lived in the Pacific Northwest for most of their lives, she said.
“The showcase started off with just a handful of potters,” Dean said. “It was primarily more for full-time potters, but it grew and grew, and attracted a lot of people who wanted to get special prices.”
Now, the show includes potters from all skill levels. Some are in high school and just starting out. Others, such as Dean, 58, have been creating works for decades.
“The biggest fun is Friday night, because there’s live music, there’s wine tasting, and they give out awards to a lot of the young artists,” she said.
On Saturday night, the event is a little more relaxed, and on Sunday, the serious buyers often arrive, looking for larger pieces of art, Dean said.
“There are some great buys,” she said. “Also, there’s a group booth for folks that just haven’t produced enough work yet, and that’s really popular, because you get to check out a lot of up-and-coming artists.”
The show also includes several hands-on demonstrations by professional artists and pottery classes for kids. It can be a great place to find inspiration, no matter what your skill level, Kliewer said.
“There are just so many things you can do with clay,” she said. “For me, I just ended up with an afternoon free when I was in college, and I decided to take a class in it. I fell so in love with it that I took every class I could find after that. It was the start of a 20-year journey for me as an artist.”