We want to Meet Our Members!

The WCA is excited to promote our members! if you would like to be featured on our website and in the newsletter, please take a few minutes to fill out the information below. The top set are required, then choose at least one full set of additional questions to answer. You can fill out more than one set if so inclined. Submit all of the information, along with two shots of your work and a head shot to info@washingtonclayarts.org

Required questions
Name: 
Years working with clay: 
Type of work made (sculpture, pottery, etc): 
What region of the state do you live in? 
Describe your process and materials: 
What is your favorite tool? 
Please share your favorite clay tips or trick:

Please choose at least one set to answer: 
Background focused: 
When and/or how did you get started working with clay? 
How has your practice change over time? 
What jobs have you had other than being an artist? Did this influence your work at all? 
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given working with clay? 
What’s the best advice you ever gotten about creativity or being an artist? 
What inspires you?

Maker focused: 
How do you prepare to make your work? Drawing, research, etc. 
Where do you feel most inspired? 
What is your favorite tool? 
What are your favorite forms to make and why? 
What’s the best advice you ever gotten about creativity?

Business focused: 
What venues do you use for sales? Which are most successful? 
Was any of your work inspired by a custom order or a special request, or has customer feedback played a role in the development of any of your work? 
What social media platforms do you use and which are your most successful/favorite? 
What is your best marketing tip? 
What is your most popular item or what is your favorite item to make?

Meet a Member: Anita Feng

Welcome to our second installment of "Meet a Member!" 

One of the perks of being a member of the WCA is being promoted through our association.  We love being able to highlight our wonderful members! If you would like to be featured on our website and in the newsletter, join our Facebook Members Only Forum & Classifieds Group! Find the questionnaire in our pinned post. Fill it out & send it to us at info@washingtonclayarts.org. We look forward to hearing more about you! 

Meet Anita Feng! 

Name: Anita Feng
Years working with clay: 42
Type of work made (sculpture, pottery, etc): sculpture, musical instruments
What region of the state do you live in? King County, Issaquah


Describe your process and materials: Nowadays I specialize in raku fired sculptures.  I use either a combination of thrown and altered and hand-sculpted parts, or entirely hand-formed. I used the traditional technique for pulling handles to create clouds and waves. For skin surfaces I use either a terra sigilatta or a raku patina.

What is your favorite tool? Direct contact (i.e.- hands!)


Please share your favorite clay tips or trick: 1) I like to make a mix of 50% sawdust and 50% clay slip to make wonderfully textured hair and beards.  


When and/or how did you get started working with clay? One day, in 1974, I went to a friend's apartment in Cambridge, MA for tea and as we were sitting there I noticed a handmade clay fish on her kitchen wall.  It wasn't a matter of seeing a handmade object for the first time--I had grown up accompanying my mother to art shows where she exhibited her work. My life had been surrounded by creative works of all kinds. Yet that one clay fish triggered such a passion in me that I abandoned my studies in Russian Literature, signed up for a beginner's class in wheel-throwing. Within the space of a year I gathered my meager savings, moved to Maine, set up my own studio and began a career of making musical instruments out of clay (ocarinas, drums and horns mainly). 


What jobs have you had other than being an artist? Did this influence your work at all? 

I have two other jobs, writer and Zen teacher, both of which have earned me very little in terms of income, but have provided enormous richness in terms of quality and purpose. As a writer toying with shape and symmetry in language, I'm able to explore expressions without the physically exhausting work of clay.  The creative discoveries I make in writing directly influence, whether intended or not, the sculptures that I make in my studio.  And visa versa. Both are expression of momentary reality.  

 

As a teacher, the encouragements and reminders that I offer my students are also, necessarily, applied to myself. As a teacher of meditation, all of the tools I offer to develop presence of mind help me in the studio as I confront those daily doubts and quandaries of working with and listening to clay.  In fact, I feel that my work with clay has probably taught me more about Zen than the other way around sometimes.  


What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given working with clay?  This will probably sound completely Zen-like, but it would be patience, paying close attention to what the clay, the world and the heart is saying.

To see more of Anita's work, visit her website http://anitafeng.com/

Meet a Member: Jennifer Yates

 Welcome to our first issue of "Meet a Member!" 

The WCA is excited to promote our members! If you would like to be featured on our website and in the newsletter, join our Facebook Members Only Forum & Classifieds Group! Find the questionnaire in our pinned post. Fill it out & send it to us at info@washingtonclayarts.org. We look forward to hearing more about you! 

Meet Jennifer Yates!

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Name: Jennifer A. Yates

Years Working in Clay: 26 years getten’ dirty

Type of Work Made: Functional Wheel thrown, sculpted Anagama Fired Porcelain "Form with Function"

Where do you live? Island County, Whidbey Island

Favorite Tool: Kiln is my favorite tool - atmoshperic (I love firing with a group of women at the big butt Anagama)

Trick/Tip: Love it or Leave it

How did you get your start? I started in eighth grade. Fell in love with clay.  Majored it in college, learned about industry through a summer apprenticeship. 

Art jobs:  Studio Assistant for six full time potters, Ceramic technician at a college, Substitute teacher for pottery instructor at a college, Fired kilns for a few businesses, Taught wheel throwing, tile making for a business, running my own fine art business and teaching pottery/metals for over 16 years.

Advice:  Gotta love doing it or you won't be happy. A costly medium

Inspiration: Mother nature, boats, food service, kids I teach

Most inspiration comes on the water boating or in the forest or looking at things under a microscope or loupe

Favorite forms: Thrown on the potter’s wheel then cut and sculpt. Meditation with throwing and creating one of a kind work from that, showing/creating fine art is important to me. I realized I did not want to be a production potter since I felt like a factory worker, was losing my inspiration by trying to survive and I really missed people. I made a major change and became a full-time teacher where I get a lot of inspiration from others and I could go back to the studio creating what I wanted instead of what I had to survive.

I always tell my students to create from what inspires them in life.  Likes interests.  What you live for, symbols that reflect that.

Many pieces are inspired by custom orders and shows with a theme.  It makes me think outside my box and I like this!  In the past few years I began studying mycology and that has had a major influence on my designs.

Marketing?  The smartest thing I've ever done is bridal registration.  I was getting checks as I was creating and many times with full dinnerware sets the order became bigger than intended.

Other marketing tips:  Either make your work for others/orders or make it for yourself and try to sell it.  Figure out how you want to make your income and what makes you the happiest.

Most popular items are bowls and cups, everyone wants one.  My favorite are to create boats and bowls. I've learned from living in different parts of the country that potters on the west coast are significantly under-appreciated and valued by the general public, which in my professional opinion stems from lack of art education with the public through k-12 public school art programs

To view more of Jennifer's work, visit her website: http://www.yatesfinearts.com

A Survey of Selling Your Work

WCA member Chris Nielsen sent us this message containing a survey about selling your work.  This looks like it could gather some interesting data, check it out below! 

 

Dear WCA members—I’m curious how other people market their work and how they’re doing. I’ve put together a short survey and would appreciate responses. It’s obviously self-selecting and unscientific, but it could still be interesting. I’ll compile responses in an anonymous, numerical way and share the results. If I only get a few it won’t be informative, and in that case I’ll just report that without going into the details. Note that I’d also like to know if people do not sell.

By way of background to this, I moved to Shoreline in 2005 after having been in the Oregon Potters’ Association for ten years. OPA’s annual Ceramic Showcase was a big focus of its work, and involved a lot of very professional potters. I’m only semi-professional, probably like most of us. I’ve had work in a number of galleries in this area and Portland, and in several regular sales. Both galleries and sales have come and gone over the years, and my sense is that selling opportunities aren’t what they used to be. I’ve even wondered if pottery is going out of fashion—maybe it’s a boomer-hippie thing? What’s your impression?

Please email your response to chris@cwnielsen.us .

Survey questions:

 Do you sell your work? (If not, please say so and respond, and skip the rest of the survey)

Where do you sell your work? Note all that apply.

o   Galleries (details optional)

o   Sales sponsored by organizations or other businesses (details optional again)

o   Studio sales

o   Online

o   Other (__________)

  1. Which of these generates the most income for you?

  2. Do you consider pottery sales to be an important source of your income?

  3. Have your sales been increasing, decreasing, or staying about the same over the last few years? Say if you don’t know.

  4. How about your sales venues?

  5. Have you made efforts in the last few years to expand your selling opportunities? How?

Thanks for participating,

Chris Nielsen

Please email your response to chris@cwnielsen.us .

Project Canary

Have you heard about Project Canary?  It was originally one of the Socially Engaged Craft Collective's projects for National Clay Week, and the organization had hoped to call attention to these issues and the real life people affected by them, before the election, and they have decided to keep going with it since the election.

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What Project Canary is About: The extreme and misguided decisions politicians make have real life repercussions. From "bathroom bills", twenty week abortion bans to laws that make justice nearly impossible for victims of police brutality, people’s lives are gravely impacted.  Media coverage might tell part of the story but often the stories of those whose lives are negatively impacted by these policies don’t have the privilege of telling their story. Project Canary honors the experience above the rhetoric by connecting people to each other through their individual untold stories.

On their website projectcanary.org they are collecting stories of real life instances of injustice.  Each story is stored on the site with an individual number.  Artists can then go online, read and make objects inspired by the stories.  They ask that you inscribe the story number and tag with a Project Canary tag before abandoning your art to be found by a stranger.  The tag will lead them to the website, ask that they read the story that inspired the object, read other stories and maybe even leave their own.  They can then upload a picture tagging #projectcanaryfind on social media.  

Next action: January 20, Inauguration day

Many of the objects being made for Project Canary are ceramic, and we hope to organize a small hands-on object making session, potentially at our Winter Social.


Find out more by checking out these links:
Our Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/projectcanary  and Instagram: @projectcanary.
Website: projectcanary.org

SECC Blog Wrap Up of Project Canary: https://sociallyengagedcraftcollective.org/2016/10/24/project-canary-wrap-up/