Get the Fire Ready: Fire Pit Competition Draws 20 Artists

firepitCold February nights, WinterFest February 13-15 and a fire pit competition…sounds like a winning combination, right? The third annual event will draw cold hands and chilly cheeks to the banks of the Deschutes River where 20 artists have shaped metal, fabric, wood and ceramic to create the perfect fire pit. by Renee Patrick


The judges this year include Ann Gardner, a sculptor from Seattle; Eric Gerding, an architect and developer from Portland; and Greg Shoffner of Diversified Products Incorporated, the largest laser cutting fabricator in Central Oregon.


The first female participant in the competition, Jennifer Ellsworth, said she wanted to take part because fire can bring out an entirely different side to her art. Look for some old shovel heads in her design; Ellsworth likes to use found objects and give them a second life.


Sisters artist Ken Scott has been creating imaginative fire pits for over 20 years, and loves the challenge. “[The competition is an] enchanting idea with the substance and potential to awaken the stodgiest of hibernating creatures… When I moved to Sisters almost two years ago, perhaps hoping to be the big fish in a small pond, it became quite apparent that would not be the case. I’ve enjoyed meeting numerous metal workers and some I would consider fellow artists…There’s room for everyone but originality is the key factor…those displaying at WinterFest will be jury selected, and consequently, will have paid their dues.”


The fires will be lit on 5pm on Friday, February 13, and will remain stoked until the close of WinterFest on Sunday at 6pm. After a day of judging, prizes will be awarded Saturday night: $2,000 for first, $1,000 for second and $500 for third. (Take note: some will be available for sale!)


Artists this year include: Jennifer Ellsworth, Andy Wachs, Doug Wagner, Bruce Conkle, Ryan Beard, Orion Forge, Stuart Breidenstein, Whit Poor, Gustav Sculptor, Richard Cawley, Ken Scott, Ponderosa Forge, Allen Bighaus and Jay Nielson.


Don’t miss this unique line-up of artists all determined to create stunning fire pits to warm even the coldest of nights on the scenic Deschutes in the Old Mill District.


February 13-15 in the Old Mill District.,

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