Celebrating Three Decades of Creativity & Collaboration

What begins as a simple lump of earth, mixed with water, meets air and fire, at the hands of the artist/craftsperson becomes a vibrant vessel or stunning wall hanging. It can be made on the pottery wheel or built “by hand,” or sculpted. The possibilities reach as far as the artist’s imagination.

The Raku Club of Central Oregon (RACO) originated three decades ago with a group of hobby potters intrigued with the Raku firing process. The spectacular process involves pulling a glowing red-hot pot from the kiln and placing it into a container of combustibles such as dry leaves or paper. The result produces the distinctive raku crackle finish, often with metallic colors or embellished with carbon trailings of horse hair or feathers. RACO has since evolved to include the wide-ranging work of many members of the Bend pottery community, and includes everything from decorative pieces to whimsey to pottery for daily use, in colors that can range from earthy to bright and colorful.

The members of the group are as varied as the work they produce. It is no longer just a hobbyist group. The club now includes professional artists, clay instructors and skilled recreational potters. They come from disparate backgrounds, but with a common passion for clay. Among them:

Diane Miyauchi, a retired art teacher, specializes in useful forms for everyday living in her signature blue and green splash glazes: platters, mugs, bowls and more.

Alan Werkman, a clinical psychologist, and active potter for 30 years creates stunning earth-toned vases, cups and bowls.

Helen Bommarito, with art degrees from the universities of Washington and Texas, teaches pottery classes for adults and kids at Bend Parks and Rec and COCC. Her work is as diverse as her students: tableware, utilitarian, sculptural or whimsical pieces.

Moe Carolin, head of the Ceramics department at COCC brings colorfully decorated mugs, trays, vases and more.

Peter Roussel, a former building contractor with an art major from San Francisco State U led an art program for autistic children in Mendocino California. His recent work focuses on the “crawl” glazed surface that separates into patterns when fired in the kiln.

Susan Yokoyama, retired nurse dedicated to furthering her fine skills in ceramics.

Alex Gnefkow, head ceramics technician at COCC creates contemporary decorated functional ware.

With a combined 200 years of experience in clay and in life, they come together to compliment and inspire one another.

The group’s work will be on show and sale April 27 and 28 at the Environmental Center, 16 NW Kansas Ave, Bend.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *