Gualala Arts logo


Gualala Arts

Promoting public interest and participation in the arts since 1961.

Archive of past events: 2004 through 2014

Dolphin Gallery logo

Buzz Owen, photography &
Miriam Owen, driftwood sculpture

Opening Reception: Saturday, August 3, 2013, 5:00 p.m.
Exhibit remains through September 4
Dolphin Gallery

The August 2013 exhibit at the Dolphin Gallery features Buzz and Miriam Owen. It is called "Complementary Lives: A 40 Year Collaboration." The opening night reception is on Saturday, August 3 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. and the show runs through Wednesday, September 4.

Miriam Owen

Odd Fellow, by Miriam Owen Heavy Heart, by Miriam Owen Miriam Owen is a popular artist whose work is frequently seen at the Dolphin, Art in the Redwoods, the annual Studio Discovery Tour and other venues. She established a pottery studio, Pescadero Creek Pottery, in 1974 shortly after leaving UC Santa Cruz where she worked with Al Johnson.

She is best known now for her use of found materials, especially kelp and driftwood, to create a variety of sculptures. This show represents twenty years of her work with found materials, including some new items made from her urban "beachcombing."

"My driftwood work began after 25 years as a studio potter," Owen explains. "In 1993 I made a conscious shift to begin making art from found materials, beginning with using what I could find locally. I began by beachcombing on local beaches to find natural materials: driftwood, kelp, shells and stones.

Miriam Owen The first figures I made I called Kelp People. They are my idea of a regional artifact. They are pairs, anatomically correct under their skirts, made with dried kelp heads and driftwood and designed to hang on the wall. I also make freestanding figures I call Guardians. I embellish them with parrot feathers and natural reeds, which I purchase.

I also have an extensive bead resource to draw from for further embellishing my figures. Critters are the animal figures I make. They are whimsical and they are their own creatures, resembling nothing in the real world. More recently I have developed a fondness for embellishing with objects I find walking the streets of San Francisco, my first and now my part-time home. Rusty metal objects, bent nails, CO2 cartridges and beach plastics from Aquatic Park all find a place on quirkier figures I call 'Oddfellows.'"

Many examples of Owen's work can be found on her web site,

Haliotis queketti
This abalone species was named after the town of Gualala by Smithsonian malacologist Richard Stearns in 1899. The abalone, called Haliotis walallensis, ranges from central Baja California to Oregon.

Buzz Owen

Buzz Owen, husband of the other artist featured this month, is a recognized authority on Haliotidae, commonly called abalone, which are found so abundantly along the Mendonoma coast. His show consists of artistic photographs from the 65 species of abalone found worldwide.

Owen's interest in the species has led him around the world in search of this mollusk. The website Of Sea And Shore features 40 published articles Buzz wrote for that publication on various species of abalone.

As a teenager diving in the Pacific Ocean, Buzz began a lifelong focus on abalone. During the late fifties he was a commercial diver in the Channel Islands off Santa Barbara.

He was the first person to discover that different species of abalone were able to hybridize. In 1965 he helped start the first commercial shellfish hatchery near Pescadero.

In 1979, shortly after moving to Gualala, Buzz was invited by the Organization of American States (OAS) to research introducing the red abalone to Chile. After a six month study, it was determined that the abalone could thrive there, but the project was never pursued.

Buzz Owen In 1990, Buzz began collecting world wide abalone species for comparative study. He was able to correctly identify many species that had been misidentified. He also found six new species and subspecies previously unknown to scientists. One he discovered while on a vacation to Greece and named it Haliotis mykonosensis after the island where it he found it.

Owen collaborated on a book, Abalone Worldwide Haliotidae, that was recently published by Conch Books of Hakenheim, Germany. It is the most authoritative book on the subject ever printed. It will be available for purchase during the show. It can also be ordered on-line from

The Dolphin Gallery is located at 39225 Highway One in downtown Gualala, CA
(behind the post office on the south side). Open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Please call (707) 884-3896 for more information.