I have been on the OPA Board and the Ceramic Showcase Steering Committee off and on for many years, and have held positions including OPA President, Newsletter Editor, Empty Bowls Chair, Showcase Publicity Chair. I am hoping to bring my past experience and history of OPA to the Board as we move forward into a very exciting future.
I have been a full time potter for 30 years. Over the years I have experimented with many clay techniques: for a time making humorous sculptures of animals; then using low-temperature clays to make plates featuring humorous cartoons; then becoming involved with high temperature wood fired ceramics. I now make functional pottery, both thrown and handbuilt, fired in a gas kiln. I love clay.
My first pottery experience was during a summer school ceramics course during my high school years. I made a couple really awful coil pots. Purple and yellow glazes. A bowl and a vase. Both leaked. It was fun but I didn't really get it. I didn't have a conversation with the clay. It wasn't until a couple decades had passed that I picked up a pot my girlfriend had made. There was this beautiful and durable object that had her finger marks, brush strokes, and signature. This was once an amorphous lump of clay. I was fascinated. One thing led to another and I signed up for ceramic classes at Portland Community College where Igot thoroughly hooked.
I became an OPA member in 1999 and have since held many positions in the organization including President and Ceramic Showcase Co-Chair. I've sold my pots at Showcase and other shows and galleries in the area. I've sold pieces at invitational shows and had my work displayed in Japan.
As VP, I'm looking forward to contributing again to our organization's ongoing success. I'm a firm believer in the fresh energy brought by new members and the lessons learned by our long-time members. I'm energized by the success of others and looking forward to discover how I can assist in their successes.
Though she has been in love with clay from an early age, Anna Mac only recently returned to serious clay play. Anna has served on non-profit boards and as an officer in various organizations. She is eager to support OPA. Her ceramic work focuses on the fanciful and organic.
I’m Samantha Bullis and I retired early from teaching science & math to become a full-time potter in my home studio, OakShire Pottery, in Cheshire. I’m a texture junkie and a slab-builder firing to cone 6 in my electric kiln. I sell my functional pottery on an ETSY store but my 2024 goal is to open a website. My husband and I also have a 4-acre hobby farm with a blueberry nursery, apple orchard and small vineyard. I have two adult daughters and a brand new grandson! I’m very excited to join OPA to converse with fellow artists (otherwise I’m a lone artist in my basement), learn more about ceramics processes and share growth experiences with passionate potters. I’m happy to serve as the new Membership Director.
My name is Jeff and I bring a pretty diverse background to the communication director role.
My journey into the world of ceramics is relatively recent, but it's a world I've come to absolutely love. Glazes, in particular, hold a special fascination for me. I enjoy the process of experimenting with color and flow, treating each new project as an opportunity to challenge myself and to continually strive for bigger and better results. My ultimate dream is to open a community studio someday with lots of custom glazes! Besides my ceramics studies at PCC, I also serve as the vice-president of the clay club. I'm also pursuing my Business Degree at the University of Oregon. I used to work as a private chef, a role that instilled in me an appreciation for functional ware for eating. Also, I should mention that I'm one of the ceramics lab technicians at PCC, Sylvania campus.
Dennis Portz, ceramic artist/potter. I create functional, handmade, cone 6, electric work under my business known as Portz Pottery. I live in north Portland and have a studio in SE Portland. My time is split between my two businesses, which are pottery and small fruit farming. Through most of the summer and fall, you will find me working just east of the Sandy river on a small rented acreage growing strawberries, raspberries, and other fruit crops. On weekends and through the rest of the year, I focus on my ceramic work and participate in many regional art shows. As an OPA member, I have been co-leading the fall fair, holiday fair, and other small sale events. I value membership retention and providing opportunities for OPA members to work with each other in sales and collaborations. I have been a member of OPA since 2018, but have been more of an active member since 2021.
As a high school art educator and fellow OPA member, I want to support student learning in the ceramic arts by providing access and opportunity outside the PDX area. I support OPA not only as a ceramic artist but as an educator. OPA allows educators opportunities to connect students to artists and fellow clay lovers. I have been teaching for eight years and currently am The Art Department within the Amity school district. I teach 7th and 9th-12th Grade Visual Arts & Ceramics. I have served as an Art Conspiracy West Valley Board Member for two years and Amity Education Foundation member for two years. I am constantly looking for opportunities in building relationships with fellow art/ceramic educators in my county. I will be sharing the Clay in Education Director role with two other people, in this role I hope to expand and welcome the OPA into schools and rural communities outside of the Portland area. My ceramic work, either wheel thrown or handbuilt, combines the rural mountainous landscapes of the Pacific Northwest with the iconic silhouettes of the douglas fir.
My clay journey started as an act of rebellion - coming from a family of artists, I wanted a medium that was my own! I started ceramics in high school and fell in love, and then went on to get a Bachelor's in Fine Art, with an emphasis in ceramics, from Western Oregon University. After graduating I returned to Portland, my hometown, and started working at the YMCA after school programs, based at schools around the city. I found myself drawn to students needing more individual support, so I ended up going back to school to get my Master's in Art Therapy Counseling from Marylhurst University. During my career in therapy, I have focused on school based positions because I love being able to provide mental health support to students and families who have barriers to accessing these resources outside of school. My interest in being on the OPA board as the Co-Director of Clay-in-Education is a culmination of all of these interests - my love of ceramics, working with youth in a school environment, and being able to provide students experiences with clay that they might not get otherwise. I'm excited to bring my skills and connections to grow the Clay In Education program!
There was never a time in my life when I wasn't involved in art. I draw, I paint, I block-print, I do stained glass, and I like to sew. When I went to college I tried a not to go into art, but (I know it sounds cheesy), the pull was too strong.
Though I love all mediums, the world of pottery is where I found "home". My ceramics professor was the first person who really embraced me and encouraged me to be myself, and my clay classmates became my family. I graduated from Colorado Mesa University with a BFA in studio art, emphasizing in ceramics and bronze sculpture.
Though I still dabble in all of the arts, I will always be drawn into the community that is built around clay.