Pottery Abounds at Holiday Market

Give something festive, useful and beautiful

Ceramics by Denise Davis
Ceramics by Denise Davis

Saturday Market’s annual Holiday Market has long been the place for arts and crafts aficionados, and among the eclectic mixture of creative gift ideas is an array of potters with their own spin on ceramics. David Parry, Denise Davis and Ziggy Blum all have a singular journey into the world of clay in addition to unique styles, adding to the zest of the festive, welcoming atmosphere.

Parry, owner of Whistle Post Potter along with his wife, once gave up pottery and became an arborist while living in England, but he rediscovered his love for ceramics upon moving to Portland. Parry is now entering his fourth year at the market, creating beautiful bowls, plates, teapots and mugs with lively, smooth colors and vibrant imagery.

Whether he’s making a plate or a teapot, Parry strives to give the illusion of movement in his work through the design of windows on each piece. “On a mug, for example, I’ll have three little windows going around the mug,” he says. “On the first window, the shapes will be kind of straight. The next window it will be the same shapes and same colors at a slight angle. In the final window, they will be totally tilted and almost disappear.”

Admitting he tried too hard to impress in Stoke-on-Trent, England (capital of England’s pottery industry), he has since found that the simpler, the better. “I’d put it out on the shelf and they’d say, ‘That’s a bit over the top, I can’t use that, I’ll break it,’” he says, laughing. “Keeping them beautiful but functional is the trick.”

While windows are a recurring theme to Parry’s work, leaves are at the heart of Denise Davis’. Owner of Karmadillo Clayworks, Davis lives on 5 acres in Dexter and is inspired by the beauty in her backyard. “There’s such a variety of trees and wildflowers, and I started pressing them into clay and imprinting them in, and then go back and hand-paint it.” The result is a wide array of plates and bowls, and other ceramic creations include individual, decorative leaves. Everything from lavender and fern to willow, poppy and maple finds a place in her work. “I go by the seasons and try and capture similar colors to where the leaves are,” she says. “In the spring and summer they are green; in the fall, they are yellow, or some of them turn red. I try and capture the different stages of the leaves in my glazing technique.”

For Parry and Davis, originality is key. The same could be said for Ravenland Arts’ Ziggy Blum, who does pagan- and fantasy-themed pottery, while incorporating gods, goddesses, dragons, gargoyles, frogs, robots and, yes, ravens into her assortment of cups, mugs and bowls. With a particular desire to work with earth tones, Blum focuses on producing something new each time she dabbles with clay.

“I like things to pop a little bit,” Blum says. “I tend to use underglazes in spots to bring out the eyes of the frogs or lips of the vampires. It’s my goal to make no two of them look alike. That way I don’t get bored and express more creativity.”

Creativity: the staple of the Holiday Market, a place that has a little bit of everything within the art world, satisfying your wants and desires this holiday season.

Lane County Fairgrounds, 13th Ave. Nov. 23-24, Nov. 29-Dec. 1, Dec. 7-8, 14-15, 21-24; 10 am – 6 pm, and 10 am – 4 pm on Dec. 24.

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