By Alec Clayton
As long as there has been Arts Walk in Olympia, Childhood’s End Gallery has been one of the most popular galleries to visit.
In the past the gallery has featured works by no more than three or four popular area artists. This year it presents “Carved Wood & Ceramics,” a themed show with seven artists: Sara Gettys, carved wood; John and Robin Gumaelius, carved stoneware sculptures; Linda Heisserman, carved porcelain; Julia Janeway, carved, illustrative ceramics; Megan MacClellan, carved maps in porcelain and Richard Roth, floral porcelain.
Gettys says, “For this show I’ve drawn inspiration from around Washington — from the Kittitas Valley to the depths of Puget Sound — to create pieces that celebrate the natural beauty of our state. I begin my work by painting the medium I’m carving, wood or expanded PVC, and then I remove areas of the surface to create the image.”
When asked about her favorite part of her process, Getty’s said, “I love the physical process of creating my work, and the finished pieces offer viewers a connection to that process. From far away, the viewer sees a bird in flight or a writhing octopus, and if you move closer the texture reflects every dip of my carving tool through the surface.”
The husband-and-wife team of John and Robin Gumaelius sculpt animals, humans and animal-human hybrids that are funny, strange and wondrous.
Heisserman uses porcelain clay when she throws, as its whiteness and smoothness become a canvas for carved images. She uses dental tools and razor blades to carve into each piece. Finally, she uses blue-green Celadon glazes, which pull off high points and fill deep scratches to highlight the carvings. She’ll show pieces that highlight her interest in the natural world: flowers, ocean life, trees. She and her son spent a lot of time at an aquarium in San Francisco watching jellies float through their own space. It took her three years to produce a jellyfish vase that she felt “captured the fluidity of those jellyfish.”
This will be a first showing in Olympia for MacClellan of Oxbow Ceramics, who says, “I’m excited to be at Childhood’s End since it’s such an institution for Olympia.” Her works at Arts Walk will explore how bodies of water carve paths into the earth, how those paths change over time, how we play a role in shaping them and our relationship with the water around us. She makes maps of coastlines and rivers in porcelain, using a technique called water etching.
Roth, who lives at his studio, Grand Prairie Designs in Whitlock, has been working in pottery for more than 50 years. He says, “My work includes a variety of stoneware, clay pieces that are designed with botanical, slip-cut carvings. These items are both functional and decorative, one-of-a-kind, and are intended to be used hand-to-hand for many generations.”
Carved, Wood & Ceramics
Childhood’s End Gallery,
222 Fourth Ave. W, Olympia
5-10 p.m. Friday, April 26;
Noon to 8 p.m. Saturdays, April 27 – May 31