Pottery Northwest is an esteemed non-profit institution that provides classes and workshops in the ceramic arts to students of all ages while also also supporting established and emerging ceramicists with their Artist in Residence program. The residency provides materials, facilities and time for ceramic artists to explore and hone their skills.
While much of Pottery Northwest’s operational funding comes from class fees, the annual Salad Bowl event financially supports the Artist in Residency program. Held on Thursday, August 14 this year, the Salad Bowl event was a cheerful celebration of Seattle artists and art patrons.
Upon entering the Pottery Northwest space, visitors were engulfed in the creative energy of the actual work spaces of students and artists. Artwork by featured artists and students was on display at every turn, and as visitors explored the winding space, each chose one of 200 unique bowls made at the school. Live music filled the space (courtesy of The Man Band) as each participant found their way to the dining space outside of the facility and filled their bowls with a variety of salads loaded with colorful, yummy ingredients. Once the bowls were brimming with deliciousness, the main event of the party got rolling.
The event featured both a silent and live auction to raise money for Pottery Northwest’s residency program. The silent auction included dining sets, bowls, sculptures and other items created by the artists in residence, and took place before the dinner began. The live auction, led by art dealer Catherine Person and pro auctioneer Laura Michalek, offered twelve platters decorated by prominent Seattle artists. Each platter was brought out and displayed for all to see.
Some were delicately patterned and abstract, while others were playfully narrative. Two of my favorites were the pieces by Robert C. Jones and Patti Warashina. Jones’ platter displayed his traditional abstract style, but the simple color palette, roughly painted edge, and ceramic medium brought new light into Jones’ artwork. The platter created by Patti Warashina, a long time ceramic sculpture artist, turned to a more two-dimensional representation of her whimsical figures.
The twelve participating artists selected by PNW were Deborah Schwartzkopf, Robert C. Jones, Barbara Robertson, Meg Holgate, Cappy Thompson, Dick Weiss, Jeffry Mitchell, Patti Warashina, Faye Jones, Tip Toland, Phoebe Toland, George Rodriguez and Akio Takamori. While not all of the artists chosen for the event were ceramicists, they each provided a different flair and personal style. I was lucky enough to sit next to Fay Jones. It was wonderful to discuss the event and other artworks with someone who has been a fixture in Seattle’s arts community, and also one of the featured artists of the auction. The work she created was a bright, floral vision, a favorite of many of the guests.
Beyond a method for fundraising, the “Salad Bowl” provided a chance to celebrate the powerfully creative figures in our community. The guest of honor, Akio Takamori, was awarded with the PNW Arts Fellow Award. Takamori is a widely acclaimed ceramicist who recently retired from the UW School of Art. In June, at my graduation from the School of Art, he was also awarded for his achievements in education (as well as gifted gold Dansko clogs—a favorite of the artist). Takamori’s work is held in the collections of the American Craft Museum, Carnegie Institute Art Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, National Museum of History in Taipei, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Overall, the event was an exciting celebration of a longstanding institution—deserving of its acclaim and the support of the community. It’s also an ideal summer party, so look forward to it next summer.