Masterpieces made on dinnerware

Community members paint plates created by local potters for fundraiser

Bunnell Street Art Center’s annual fundraising Plate Project turns 30 in 2024. The gallery offers the opportunity for community members to take plates home and paint on their own time or to paint in the gallery during normal gallery hours. Bunnell is also holding plate-painting workshops the first two Saturdays in March with Kendra Harvey, whose own work is on display at Bunnell this month.

The gallery provided 325 pounds of clay to nine local potters to construct the plates. Potters include Lisa Wood, Maygen Lotscher, Marie Herdegen, Jeff Szarzi, David Kaufmann, Ahna Iredale, Ruby Haigh, Carl Bice and Chris Story. Each took various amounts of clay and returned different quantities of plates for painting. Once the plates are finished being painted they’ll be fired by Ahna Iredale, who was also the potter who fired the preliminary set of plates in the first year of the project.

The Bunnell website states that Harvey will demonstrate and instruct “how to turn your clay canvas into a masterpiece. Participants will learn how to apply underglazes and glazes using a variety of painting techniques. Discussions will surround illustrative narratives on functional decor and the unique qualities of ceramic surfaces.”

On Saturday, eight people attended the gallery workshop with Harvey. It was a quiet, casual and accommodating effort with each artist working diligently on their project. Each plate is as unique as the painter.

Mitchell Hedrick worked on a design based on the music scroll sheet for the Super Mario Sunshine game published by Nintendo. Kathy Smith sketched a bear on her plate and received some paint suggestions by gallery staff member Brianna Lee and from Harvey as she prepared to paint. Ryan Harvey worked on a smaller plate with a blueberry plant theme.

Lee said that as of Saturday, 40 plates were in the process of being completed, five were finished and they’re hoping for a final total of about 100 for the full fundraiser showcase.

There will be a second workshop offered Saturday, March 9 at Bunnell as well as a workshop and open studio time available at the Nave in Anchorage from 11-4 p.m. The Nave is located at 3502 Spenard Road in Anchorage.

That evening the Nave will also be holding “PechaKucha at the Nave,” a presentation featuring eight Anchorage storytellers during Spenard’s second Saturday art walk. The event is hosted by Bunnell Street Arts Center and will start at 7 p.m. in Anchorage.

Bunnell’s Adele Person says plates are due back to the arts center roughly around April 1. The plates will be displayed the week after Homer’s annual Kachemak Bay Shore Bird Festival in May, which also coincides with the Homer Pottery Tour. Plates are competitively purchased by new and renewing members of Bunnell. The Bunnell website states that members who renew at $250 levels and higher may choose their commemorative plate before the opening.

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