(Photo above artwork by Helen Bommarito)
Helen Bommarito met clay while in college. She received her art degree from University of Washington in Seattle and spent two more years studying ceramics and jewelry design at the University of Texas, Austin.
She practiced her art but eventually life intervened: and pottery was put on the back burner. “I never ever thought of it as quitting pottery. It was a part of me and I knew I would come back to it eventually. After about 20 years of operating my own music agency managing and promoting Irish musicians I decided I was finished enabling other people’s art. Now it was time to get back to my own.”
When she moved to Bend, Helen found a studio space and became a founding member, and eventually president of the Clay Guild of the Cascades. And she made pottery. Lots of pottery.
“Growing up in Seattle, there was plenty of Asian influence all around. I’d spend hours at Seattle Art Museum and was especially moved by the Japanese art there.”
It comes through into her pottery, in the elegant simplicity of design, the use of Asian style Shino and Celadon glazes and in her jewelry with the use of pearls and other natural materials.
“I believe that when you reach a certain level of skill in your work, you need to pass along your knowledge to others.” She now teaches community learning pottery classes at COCC and both adult and children classes at the Art Station. These endeavors have allowed her to explore more whimsical objects in earthenware and terra cotta.
Helen’s art is meant to be used. “Life is always better when you live with art around you,” she professes. “It is my hope that the users of my art pieces will enjoy them often and that they come to regard them as warm and familiar friends to return to again and again.”
Helen’s pottery and jewelry can be seen at Red Chair Gallery in Bend. She is a featured artist for December.