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kneeling woman green ceramic pottery figurative statue collista krebs

What’s Important? Then Do It — Pottery by Collista Krebs

cowboy bull important pottery ceramics western collista krebs

The texture, the feeling, the form of the pottery work is as important as its visual presence. Cowboy and Bull, original pottery sculpture by Collista Krebs.

If something is important to us — really REALLY important — we somehow find time for it. Given that we are human and not omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent, this commitment means that something else has to go by the wayside, but the exchange, we feel, is worth it.

For Collista Krebs, the choice came during nursing school, when one of her classmates announced that she was leaving the program. The colleague had just taken a ceramics class and decided to pursue pottery instead of nursing.

kneeling woman green ceramic pottery figurative statue collista krebs

In a state of gentle repose, a seated woman is graceful and relaxed. Original pottery sculpture by Collista Krebs.

“Right then and there I made up my mind: ‘I am going to do that too, only I am going to become a nurse first,’ and so I did,” the Colbert, WA, pottery artist says.

“After getting a BSN, I enrolled in a community clay class, and depending on my job, children, injuries and travels, I have always carved out time for clay.”

Time and Practice Are Important

That time has not always been a wild foray into creativity, along the lines of what we would see glorified in a movie. In real life, Krebs has worked as a ghost potter and “clay slave,” both experiences important to honing her skill through hard work and repetition.

“A ghost potter is someone who throws someone else’s shapes and signs the work as coming from that gallery,” Krebs explains.

A clay slave, she adds, loads and fires kilns, makes glazes, and does “other unglamorous jobs that only a true clay junky would find exciting.”

cows daisies flowers important time collista krebs pottery ceramics

An important part to the day is sitting and thinking, as do these ceramic cows with daisies, by Colbert potter Collista Krebs

Years of this work developed her skill with both handling clay and designing, and she now runs her own business, Jupiter’s Clayworks. She specializes in high-fire stoneware that is reduction fired, a technique that her husband dubs high stakes gambling for potters.

“I will take three months’ worth of work and put it into the kiln and cross my fingers. I’m hoping that the bottom of the kiln reaches the correct temperature before the top of the kiln overfires and destroys the glaze.”

When you fire clay up to temperatures of 2,400 Fahrenheit, she adds, things stick to the shelves or get bumps or pockmarks — “all sorts of things.

“I have come to love these blemishes. They are texture, stories, experience gained by fire.”

Unique and Individual Are Important

Each piece is unique, as is the creator. And this is important, as it should be, Krebs believes, because art, like its creator, reflects the individual — his or her outlook on life, experiences, likes and dislikes, interpretation of the world surrounding. To elucidate, Krebs described an experience that “rocked her world,” one that now permeates her work as a potter:

ceramic pottery bats wall hanging collista krebs artist

A series of ceramic bats by Colbert artist Collista Krebs hangs on the wall

While at Boston University Hospital, Krebs interviewed a young, suicidal blind woman and asked her to describe something that she was proud of. The woman responded that she was proud of her ability to dress well, going into great detail about her fashion talent.

“I was thankful that she could not see my face, because my first thought was, ‘Man, someone is really messing with this woman because she looks terrible!’

“But with further exploration, she revealed how she had been totally blind since birth, and how she dressed for sound and texture. How she ‘looked’ to people with vision had absolutely no influence on her decisions.”

Different textures rubbing together made distinctive sounds — bells on her purse and crumpled up chip bags sewn into her pockets warned of pick pockets.

“Ever since that encounter, I have asked myself, Would a blind person like my work? Does it feel good and balanced? Is there texture? Could one conjure up a tale after holding it in their hand?

“Personally, I think that even sighted people should ask themselves these questions.”

New and Innovative Are Important

She is always trying new things, Krebs says — both in how she thinks, and what she does. Success is determined by an assortment of factors, most of which, ironically, can’t be seen.

“If my work feels good and rings true when flicked with my finger, I consider it a success.”

That’s important. Important enough to take time to do.

Wenaha GalleryCollista Krebs is the featured Art Event at Wenaha Gallery from December 1 through December 31, 2020.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday through Friday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

 

 

Bronze, silver, ruby, and moonstone necklace by Rachelle Moore, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery

Bright, Shiny Jewelry — The Corvidae-Inspired Art of Rachelle Moore

Bronze, silver, ruby, and moonstone necklace by Rachelle Moore, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery

Bronze, silver, ruby, and moonstone necklace, jewelry by Rachelle Moore, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery

Crows, ravens, jackdaws, magpies — while members of the Corvidae family are notorious for raucous dissonance, they also possess a captivating charm that invites jewelry maker Rachelle Moore to their fan club:

They like shiny things.

Bracelet incorporating bronze and hessonite nuggets by Rachelle Moore

Bracelet incorporating bronze and hessonite nuggets, jewelry by Rachelle Moore

“I love shiny things!” the Kennewick artist exclaims, explaining why she named her business Corvidae Fine Art, reflecting a lifelong enthrallment of birds with their refinement and intelligence. “Sparkles and elegant jewelry and gem and mineral specimens of hematite, selenite, and quartz are always trying to take over the surfaces of my work space.

“I can lose countless hours to the joy of crafting in silver or bronze metal, making mini enduring wearable sculptures to combine with sparkling gemstones. I like to imagine these will exist and be enjoyed for many years,” Moore says.

Because like many humans on the planet, Moore does not find herself with actual countless hours, she efficiently juggles the ones she has, incorporating a full-time job as a nurse and subsequent 90-minute commute back to her rural studio space/apartment on Weston Mountain with her art business.

Grey Faceted Hawks Eye Drops earrings by Rachelle Moore

Grey Faceted Hawks Eye Drops earrings, jewelry by Rachelle Moore

Creativity with both time and physical materials is a skill she learned young, from a child homeschooled in the mountains with her siblings, and refined in her late teens, when she started crafting earrings, beaded hair pins, and accessories to help pay for college.

“This was so successful and enjoyable that I started my own small business in 2007 selling my jewelry,” Moore says.

“I have been artistic for as long as I can remember.

“I suppose what started it was wanting to capture and save some of the beauty around me.”

Feeding her appreciation of beauty was a voracious appetite for reading, and Moore spent (and still spends) hours consuming “marvelous stories” such as Treasure Island, The Count of Monte Cristo, and the Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, and Narnia Chronicles series.

Fine silver vine chandelier earring with phrenite bunches by Rachelle Moore

Fine silver vine chandelier earring with phrenite bunches, jewelry by Rachelle Moore

“These books among others helped inspire my love of adventure, travel, and trying to capture those fantastic images in my imagination to share in one form or another,” Moore says.

“Many of the pieces I have made, I picture in my head as part of a bigger, fantastic world.”

Moore sells her work on her etsy shop, under the name CorvidaeFineArt, and has participated in ArtSquared, ArtWalla’s annual fundraiser benefiting area arts education, and the Walla Popup Juried Art Show, as well as kept a booth at the Walla Walla Farmer’s Market. She also creates customized commissioned pieces, which she describes as her most rewarding, yet stressful projects.

“I remember a custom commission I did of a bronze sculptured and carved dragon necklace with many rubies and sapphires. I wound myself up wondering if the customer would like the character of the dragon as I created the layers and the dragon came to life.

Rectangular pounded pendant necklace with sapphire roundels, jewelry by Rachelle Moore

Rectangular pounded pendant necklace with sapphire roundels, jewelry by Rachelle Moore

“In the end, my customer loved the piece, and I have seen her wearing it so many times. It makes me happy to know she enjoys wearing it.”

Moore makes a point of not replicating or repeating her designs, because she values the individuality and uniqueness of something that is handmade. And while this is time consuming, the end result is something both she, and the wearer, feel incredibly good about.

“If someone owns a piece of my jewelry, it will be something special and a little different than what anyone else has.”

Working with precious metals and components that require torch firing or time in a kiln at 1200-1600 degrees is a lesson of rolling with the unexpected. Holding her breath upon opening the cooled kiln, Moore never knows if a piece will emerge as planned, not quite as planned — “There’s always a risk of random inclusions . . . having caused a small explosion or microscopic cracks” — or better than planned, the artist’s equivalent to Christmas morning, any time of year.

This is a fitting analogy, because to Moore, art is a gift that is part of her life, no matter where she lives, and no matter what else she does. It neatly compliments her career as a registered nurse, in which each patient requires a balance of time, energy and dedication.

“At the end of each work day I take home a sense of connection and peace in knowing I worked hard to make a positive difference in another human’s life while they were in a challenging part of their life.

“Having art to make on my days off is a welcome change of pace and a different kind of challenge.”

Wenaha GalleryRachelle Moore is the featured Pacific Northwest Art Event artist from Monday, February 27, through Saturday, March 25.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit the gallery today!