2017 Poster Contest Winner Announced

“Ladder Creek” by Karen Bakke


Thank you to everyone who completed their registration before July 9 in time to have their work considered for the 2017 poster. This year’s poster winner is Karen Bakke for her beautiful painting “Ladder Creek”.

Registration for the Beauty of the Northwest Exhibit continues for just a few more weeks. Be sure to complete your entry before registration closes on August 10!

We look forward to seeing your representation of the Pacific Northwest. 

Get more information here.




How I Make my Dragons


I am often asked how my dragons are made. Folks also want to know how long it takes to make one. I’ll answer the latter question first. Making a dragon takes between 10-12 hours depending on its size and complexity. Once it’s made it must dry very slowly or it will crack–at least 2 weeks, most of the time under plastic. Then it is fired once, glazed and then fired again. So the entire process usually takes at least 3 weeks.

As for how I make them, I’ve taken photos of my process and will go through it step-by-step. I will show how I make a dragon teapot but the process is the same for all my dragons.

Melinda O’Malley

Melinda discovered she enjoyed working with clay when she served as nurse at her children’s school camps and assisted with pottery classes there. She took a year of ceramics at Shoreline Community College and was able to build a studio at home.

She makes some traditional pottery but specializes in sculpting dragons. Most of her dragons have a job, such as serving tea, hiding treasures, or holding flowers. Each dragon takes about a month to make from start to finish. 

Melinda has always loved fantasy, especially dragons. The dragon appeals to her because of its strength, but she also endows them with personality, warmth, and playfulness.  


A Step-By-Step Process For A Teapot

Step 1: The body and neck are thrown on the wheel.

Step 2: The head is sculpted and hollowed out.

Step 3: The head is put back together and holes are made through the nostrils for the tea to
pour. The other components are assembled.

Step 4: The body is placed on a flat surface while still slightly damp to flatten the bottom
for sitting. A hole is made in the top for the opening and a lid was thrown on the
wheel (previous photo). I used the orange cap as a guide for both the opening and
the lid. The hole in the front was created when the body was thrown.

Step 5: Some of the components are placed on the body.

Step 6: And then I begin the job of scaling. I cut a roll of clay into diagonal pieces and smash
them before placing them on the dragon. I begin at the back and work forward.

Step 7: When the scaling is done, the piece is sponged off during the time it is drying to eliminate rough spots and to refine the details.

Step 8: After drying completely for at least 2 weeks, the dragon is fired to 1926° F over 13 hours. When it is done, it has changed color and is much less fragile than when it went into the kiln. This is called bisque and it is very porous at this stage.

Step 9:  Glazing is next. The clay’s porosity is really important because the piece will soak up glaze like a sponge.

Step 10: Once glazed, the piece is fired again to 2165° F. During this firing the glaze components melt to create the color and the glassy surface. 

And now I have a functional dragon teapot.


Joan Bowers – Photography With A Pinhole Camera

I found this scene to be a calm and inviting image on a bright sunny day. I like the combination of trees and water in the composition.

This was my second time out with my new Zero Image (6×9 Multi Format) camera, pinhole version. The format was set a 6×7,using Delta 100, exposure 3″. Film was processed by commercial lab, darkroom printed, minimal post-processing using Photoshop Elements 9.” — Joan Bowers

The photographs of Joan Bowers are contemporary examples of Pictorialism, an approach which emphasizes the beauty of the subject matter, rich and subtle tonality, soft focus, strong composition, and attention to process. The Pictorialism movement began in the late 19th century in opposition to Industrial Age demands for sharply-focused and impersonal pictures. It demonstrated that a photograph could be much more than just a scientific record of reality. Pictorialism established photography as a respected form of art and raised the role of the photographer from technician to craftsman. Through the use of silver gelatin prints, Bowers demonstrates many of the historical processes that emerged in the early nineteenth century and how they continue to evolve with new technology.

You can view Joan’s work at Gallery North which is open daily.

What is a pinhole camera?

Gallery North member Joan Bowers has used a variety of cameras to capture poignant images for professional display. Currently, she is working with a pinhole camera.

A pinhole camera is not a new invention. It has been around for centuries and its mechanical structure is simply a light proof box with a pinhole on one side and film or photo paper on the opposite side to capture the image that light brings through the tiny aperture.

This type of camera does not have a lens and the image is actually inverted when it reaches the back of the camera. It is, in fact, called a camera obscura and not unlike the devices used by artists and scientists in the 17th century.


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