Fill the Vessel
Art to hold on to
WHAT: “Pitcher Perfect 2”
WHEN: 11am-5pm daily through June
WHERE: Good Earth Pottery, 1000 Harris Ave.
WHAT: “Cup Show”
WHEN: Through Aug. 26
Wednesday, June 9, 2021
According to Jen Allen, the pieces in “Pitcher Perfect 2” are much more than vessels meant to contain drinks, sauces, syrups and flowers. They’re also contemporary works of art.
As the juror for the exhibit being featured through June at Fairhaven’s Good Earth Pottery, Allen was responsible for sifting through the numerous applications she received from across the United States and Canada and choosing the approximately 40 works that are now on display—including one of her own pieces, an elegant white pitcher with a curved handle and leafy etchings along its circumference.
The West Virginia-based ceramics artist notes pitchers are her favorite form to both make and use, and says she loves that the handle and spout signify that they’re meant to be utilized. However, Allen looked beyond the vessels’ functionality when considering her choices.
“Included in this exhibition are works that exemplify a mastery of techniques and materials as well as works with a certain naiveté, showing promise in their level of ingenuity and fearlessness,” she says in her juror’s notes. “As a maker who has a fondness for texture, process and color, I was driven to create an exhibition with a diversity of firing processes and surface techniques. Taking the above factors into consideration, my ultimate goal was to choose work reflecting an individual’s unique creativity and perspective. What came from the process is, what I believe to be, a strong cross-section of pitcher forms.”
She’s correct. Among the works for sale are a yellow pitcher resembling an unearthed archeological treasure from Seattle Krista Cortese, a creatively angled modern masterpiece by New Jersey ceramicist Brian Chen, a tall pitcher festooned with pomegranates created by Maine’s Emily Armstrong, and a piece with a wide-open lid and decorated with vines by Indiana’s Sarah Anderson (among many others).
For those intrigued by utilitarian art such as that found in “Pitcher Perfect 2,” consider mixing and matching your newfound purchase with works from the ninth annual “Cup Show,” which can be perused virtually on the Jansen Art Center’s website through August.
This is another exhibit with a far-reaching roster of clay creators. Although many of the juried pieces chosen were from Whatcom County artists—including Lonnie Schang, Debra Stern, Dan Stockwell, Linda Stone, Michael McClun, Janis Taylor, Levi Van Straalen, Ruth Hess, Lynn Giuliani, Jesse Rasmussen, and Good Earth Pottery owner Ann Marie Cooper—the exhibit also features creative cups by artists from around Washington state and British Columbia, New York, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, and Montana.
Another resemblance to “Pitcher Perfect 2” is that the works are more than vessels meant to hold a cup of coffee or a bouquet of wildflowers. The selections run the gamut from austerity to humor, small to large, and patterned to pristine. They are a wonder to behold—while also being meant to hold on to.