Karen Rycheck's colorful ceramic bowls are a new direction for the artist.

2013 Clayfolk Show

More than 60 Oregon artists convene this weekend for the 2013 Clayfolk Pottery Show. The 38th annual show will be from 4 to 9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22-24, at the Medford Armory, 1701 S. Pacific Highway.

This year's event will feature a variety of decorative and functional ceramic works, including sculptures, tiles, jewelry, dinnerware and more, as well as live music by a South Medford High School jazz ensemble on Friday, and pottery-making demonstrations and hands-on clay crafts for kids on Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free.

Look for gifts for everyone on your list. Options include sleek bowls and vessels by Tea Duong of Junction City; horse sculptures by Amy Segovia of Medford; inlaid plates, platters and lamps by Faith Rahill of Eugene; whimiscal bowls by Cheryl Weese of Winston; mugs and pitchers with animal figures by Jim Keith of Oakland; "cartoonish" sculptures by Shirley Usher of Grants Pass; hand-painted bowls and ceramic animal sculptures by Penelope Dews of Phoenix; and beautiful handcrafted items by numerous other artists.

Featured artist Karen Rycheck of Talent gives us a peek at what she'll have available this year.

What will you be showing at this year's show?

"Primarily, I'll be showing dishes — bowls mostly — and tile plaques. Some of the plaques say things like, 'Welcome Home,' and others are more silly and irreverent. I'll also be showing five little mosaic buildings. I call it 'mosaic town.' Each building has its own character, color and place in the town. They are made with a combination of handmade tiles and commercial glass tiles. I originally created them for a garden setting, but they could definitely be placed indoors as well."

How do you create the intricate designs on the outside of your bowls?

"The technique is called 'sgraffito.' It's an Italian technique which basically means 'to scratch.' When the clay is still damp, but leather-hard, I apply a couple layers of slip (clay mixed with color) to the top of my bowl. I let it sit a couple hours, and then carve away the color. It's like producing a negative and creates a high-contrast image. I use a lot of leaves and natural imagery that is somewhat abstracted. Most of the design is on the outside since the food goes in the bowl."

What else characterizes your work?

"I've always gravitated toward really bright colors. I'm particularly fond of chartreuse, which some people hate, but it's a color that has always seemed really alive to me. Most of the colors I use are naturally occurring ones, such as turquoise, red, yellow, and the oranges you find in California poppies and fall leaves."

Where did you learn this new style?

"I was drawn to it through woodblock printmaking. I was assisted in the process by Julia Janway, another member of Clayfolk, who gave me the recipe for the slip I use. Penelope Dews taught me the basics of throwing, and then I took it from there."

What can people expect to pay for your work?

"The price ranges from about $3 for smaller tiles to $50 and $75 for mosaic pieces."

See www.missmosaicgirl.com to view more of Rycheck's designs.

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