Arts and Entertainment

'Fire and Imagination' opens at The Island Gallery

'Spirit Bird Feasting at the End of the World' by Jenny Andersen.
— image credit: Steve Sauer photo

The Island Gallery presents "Fire and Imagination - Sculptures of the Earth," featuring the art of Jenny Andersen and Steve Sauer, from Aug. 3 to Aug. 31.

An artists' reception will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on First Friday, Aug. 3.

Jenny Andersen’s elegant wood-fired ceramic vessels and sculptures evoke a feeling of mystery and the ancient past.  Her ceramic chests are fully functional and as beautiful inside as outside.

She was recently awarded one of two Island Treasure awards by the Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities Council to recognize outstanding contributions to the arts and humanities. The award notes her contributions to ceramic artistry, her role as an arts educator and her work as coordinator of the Empty Bowls Project, for which local school children make bowls that are auctioned with a meal of bread and soup to raise funds for local charity. Through her art and her teaching, Andersen “has touched countless lives, inspiring people to live more creatively and artfully,” according to the nomination on her behalf.

Andersen lives and works on Bainbridge Island, and fires with Sauer at his kilns in Port Orchard and Seabeck.

Sauer, of Port Orchard, has been working with clay for more than 30 years. An oil painting and art history student in college, he was inspired to concentrate on ceramics after taking a class taught by Patrick McCormick; beyond that he is largely self-taught, having had no other formal education in clay.

His evolution as an artist can be traced to contacts with many potters and artists of all media, his personal experiences, and his travels, including well-known ceramists Ruth Duckworth and Hiroshi Ogawa.

His tea bowls in particular are gaining renown in collector circles, and one was recently featured in the catalog book American Shino.

"I have chosen the concept of 'wabi and sabi' for the subtle beauty of the natural surface," Sauer explained.

"The simplistic beauty produced by fly ash, and flame, time, and temperature in the anagama is the most appropriate for my sculptural vessels. It can be achieved no other way."

"At this time I see myself dedicating the rest of my life to wood fire," he added. "Not only in the making of my own pieces, but in the promotion, education and maintenance of the tradition of the anagama kiln, the oldest style of kiln in the history of Japanese pottery. It has stood the test of time and for me is the most inspirational, for its ware is unmatched in its subtle beauty, organic and true-to-life processes. The community that the kiln gathers is ever-changing and soulfully engaged with one another to produce the works of its fire and artistic impulse."

Original acoustic blues will be provided by Peter Spencer and Jonathan Green in a concert on the plaza.

The Island Gallery is located at 400 Winslow Way E.


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