Miriam Owen - Flame-painted Pottery
and Driftwood Sculpture
All of my adult life has been spent in pursuit of refining my artistic vision. I established my first pottery studio, Pescadero Creek Pottery, in 1974, after studying with Al Johnsen at UCSC.
After 25 years making contemporary functional pottery, I wanted to understand basic Indian pottery making. I worked with a Santa Clara Pueblo potter, Dolly Naranjo. I learned Native American pottery skills from finding the clay in nature to hand coiling and primitive firing with wood and dung.
Back in my own clay world, I fused my wheel throwing skills to make pots and incorporated my own primitive firing technique. In sawdust, with rock salts and earth elements, I fashioned an open pit wood firing. The resulting pottery is what I call flame painted pottery.
This year, I am making pottery again so in addition to my driftwood sculptures, I will also be showing pottery. Some of it will be traditional cups, bowls, and vases. Some of it will be flame painted pieces that I have burnished and embellished.
My driftwood work began with a conscious shift to making art from found materials, using what I find locally. I beach comb on local beaches to find natural materials.
Kelp People are made with dried bull kelp for heads, their bodies are driftwood. They are pairs, anatomically correct under their skirts. I embellish them with beads, shells and talisman such as bone or stone carvings. These figures were reviewed in a juried show at the Mendocino Art Center, as 'shamanistic and playful.'
Guardians are free standing driftwood figures. Some are solo and some have have morphed into multiple figures that share a base.
I also make mermaids and merangels. A kelp head on a piece of driftwood with a sassy curve evolves into a spirit of the sea.
When you visit my studio you also visit my flower garden, a 35 year work in progress. September is dahlia time, very colorful. I look forward to sharing my personal creative space with you.
© copyright 2010 - all rights to the images are retained by the artist