Museum of Contemporary Craft Showcases Portland Open Studio Tour Artists

Museum of Contemporary Craft
Showcases Portland Open Studio Tour Artists
March 3 – April 4, 2009

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Above, the Community Showcase on the second floor of the museum.

Come and marvel at a wood-turned cowboy hat, fused glass, woven and ceramic vessels, a hand-printed art book, knitted wire and bead choker, and sculptures made with aluminum screening, wood, clay and crocheted copper wire at the Museum of Contemporary Craft. This community showcase features just a few of the wide range of talented artists from the 2008 Portland Open Studios Tour.

Over 90 artists were juried into the 2008 Studio Tour which is held on the second and third weekend in October. This unique self-guided tour gives you the opportunity to watch artists at work in their studios. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to do a demo for studio or museum visitors, you can ask the artists, like I did.

Here are a few responses from last week’s artists, Wendy Dunder, Bonnie Meltzer, Susan Gallacher-Turner and Careen Stoll.

Wendy, what were your feelings about doing demonstrations during the studio tour and/or at the museum?

“I thought it was a perfect chance to meet my neighbors, who must have been curious about what I was doing.”

Bonnie, do you enjoy demonstrating your art to the public? Why?

“Actions speak louder than words. It is so much easier for some artists to show what they are doing than to tell about it. Although those of you who know me, know I do talk a lot. I find that there is real communication when I demo. More questions than when they are just looking at finished artworks and people are more at ease. It is also easier for me to find which subjects to bring up.”

Careen, how do you decide what kind of demonstration to do? Or what part of what you do as a demo?

“I pick something that is as dramatic as possible without being inaccessible… larger bowls, taller vases. I try to blend the “exciting parts” of seamless pulling with the slow careful decision-making aesthetic decisions like spouts and handles, to give people as accurate a picture of my process as possible.”

Susan, do you find that your demo piece becomes a finished art piece or is it just an example for demonstration purposes?

“Last year, I would’ve said, a demo is just a demo. But since I’ve been doing these demonstrations, all of my ‘demo’ pieces have turned into 2 finished masks, 1 sculpture and a copper repousse’ landscape. I’m amazed at that.”

Any other comments/ideas you’d like share with other artists out there?

Wendy: “I had done a winged man piece that was less than perfect, but that had lots of hours in it. A 10 year old boy really loved it. The price was $60. He asked his mom if he could buy it. She said “You have your Christmas Money.” I sold it to him for $40. And I am sure he has become an artist or at least an art collector.”

Careen: “In a crowd of people watching me, I focus on the kids- “here, do you want to play”, and I hand them a ball of clay.”

Bonnie: “At first I didn’t think anyone would be interested in seeing someone crochet. Boy, was I wrong. They want to touch the wire, touch the pieces. We are so used to our processes we forget that it isn’t second nature to everybody.”

Susan: “I always share the fact that I was fascinated with the hardware store as a kid and I’ve found out many people share that fascination with me.”

This month, you can see some of our artists at work every Saturday from 1-4pm doing demonstrations of fiber, clay, wood and more in The Lab on the second floor of the Museum.

The Museum of Contemporary Craft showcase features 16 artists: Maggie Cassey, Nanette Davis, Wendy Dunder, Nicky Falkenhayn, Susan Gallacher-Turner, Jerry Harris, Gwen Jones, Ken Forcier, David Kerr, Morgan Madison, Bonnie Meltzer, Gene Phillips, Tom Soule, Careen Stoll, Sara Swink, Jan Von Bergen, and Shu-Ju Wang.

The exhibit is open Tuesday-Saturday 11am-6pm through April 4, 2009. For more information about the community showcase program at The Museum of Contemporary Craft visit their website at http://contemporarycrafts.org/programs_community.php.

Below top, Wendy Dunder talks to a museum visitor about her art; bottom: details in the showcase.

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