Clark County Open Studios tour offers insight into the workspaces of local artists
Camas artist Claire Bandfield didn’t want to create the unique moss-attracting stone planters she is known for. In fact, Bandfield, a Portland native who moved to Camas in 2014, was just experimenting with concrete mixes she might be able to use in her garden beds.
Before creating a garden bed from the special concrete mix she hoped would turn into a moss and lichen-covered wonder, Bandfield wanted to create something smaller.
“I poured the first pots in my grandmother’s old Kitchenaid and Tupperware blender,” Bandfield said,
The experiment may have worked a little too well.
“I had so much fun making the pots, I ignored the garden,” Bandfield recalled with a laugh.
His new art experiment – in which Bandfield would use household items such as Tupperware cups, glass yoghurt containers and recycled paint buckets to mold frost-resistant flower pots made from a mixture of cement, sand and organic materials that will eventually, if left outdoors, attract an abundance of soft green mosses and lichens — fascinated the self-taught artist.
Soon, Bandfield found herself selling the unwanted possessions of her own home on Craigslist to make more money for her new art project. When Craigslist customers started asking about the Bandfield home’s unique flower pots, the artist decided she might be onto something.
Instead of selling household items to support her pot-making hobby, Bandfield decided to switch gears and sell her flower pots. Using recommendations she picked up from a book by Kari Chapin on the art of selling handmade goods, Bandfield reached out to buyers at Portland-area markets and nurseries. Her first buyer was the New Seasons Market near her suburban Portland home. Soon, Portland-Vancouver Nurseries were racing to get their hands on Bandfield’s beautifully designed and unusual planters, which the artist says walks a fine line between antiquity and the space age.
“One person told me that they had worked in the nursery for over 20 years and had never seen anything like it,” Bandfield said.
In 2014, after moving to Camas with her then-husband and their son, Gus – now a junior at Camas High School – Bandfield registered his new business name, A Pot Spot, built a website, created several channels social media and continued to push himself as an artist, incorporating more upcycled and sustainable elements into his hand-cast stone pots; casting stone forms inspired by modern architecture and Japanese gardens that would look just as cozy in an upscale art gallery as in a vast bed of native plants; and struck a deal with a California-based company that creates custom concrete-grip paint colors for some of the country’s most recognizable companies – Home Depot, Target, Dick’s and Holiday Inn, to name a few – to that she can add splatters of highly pigmented color paint to her flowerpots while recovering leftover paint that would have gone to landfill.
Bandfield jars tend to sell out quite quickly. Her Instagram page and website (apotspot.com) show how many of her designs have sold recently and nurseries can’t stock them fast enough, but potential customers in the Camas-Washougal area who hope to score a flowerpot A Pot Spot are with luck. This weekend, Bandfield will join 49 other Clark County artists at Artsta’s annual Clark County Open Studios event and plans to sell a wide variety of color-infused pots as well as moss and lichen-covered pots from his own collection.
The free, self-guided Open Studios Tour will feature 50 artists from Clark County, including six from Camas-Washougal, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, November 5 and 6. Printed studio guides are available at the Attic Gallery in Camas as well as Art at the Cave, Aurora Gallery and Vancouver Art Space in Vancouver. Visitors can also download a user-friendly Google map showing all 50 art studio locations on their mobile devices.
According to non-profit organization Artstra, which hosts the annual Open Studios event, the juried art tour is “designed to increase community awareness of talented local artists while enriching the cultural life of neighborhoods across the county. from Clark.
Bandfield’s “A Pot Spot” art studio is located at 2536 NW Quartz St., Camas. Other Camas-Washougal artists on the 2022 tour include:
- India de Landa (829 NE Sixth Ave., Camas) – In her statement posted on the Open Studios website, artist Camas India de Landa explains, “I design and create contemporary modernist jewelry using non-traditional materials , including plexiglass, resin, rubber and aluminum. Because I couldn’t find jewelry that reflected my style, I started creating my own. I think jewelry should be art and reflect the personality of the wearer. Bold designs, abstract shapes and bright colors are my signature. As a child of the 1960s, Twiggy and Op Art influenced my aesthetic. The abstract artists Mondrian, Calder and Kandinsky are a source of inspiration. I use micro screws as cold connections and all the filing, sanding, polishing, drilling and building is done by hand. My jewelry is not for the faint hearted. My pieces are for individualists who want to make a statement.
- Tamara Dinius (814 SE 357th Ave., Washougal) — “Art has been a stabilizing force in my life. It brought me comfort and gives color and shape to my emotions. I am inspired by everyday life and the impact of global issues on each of us,” Dinius, the only Washougal artist on this year’s Open Studios tour, says in her Open Studios online statement. “I enjoy creating art that sparks conversation and paves the way for acceptance and understanding. Many pieces of my art have messages written on them, embedded or hidden beneath the many layers. As mixed media artist, I use hand sculpted stamps, stencils, textures and mark making tools in my works I use a wide assortment of acrylics, inks, watercolours, charcoal, graphite, pastels and other mediums to create my paintings.
- Lesleyanne Ezelle (28228 NE Reilly Road, Camas) — “I work in two mediums, handmade ceramics and fiber. I am an alpaca herder and use all the produce I harvest each year from my herd to produce woven scarves, knit hats and scarves, felt scarves, woven rugs and braided rugs,” says Ezelle in his Open Studios “About the Artist”. statement. “We harvest the fiber once a year, shearing and then sorting the fiber into grades. I dye the fiber by hand and send it to a local mill to make into yarn or carpet yarn. From this product I make a number of wearable or usable pieces of art. I am also a ceramist working from clay slabs creating functional and decorative pottery. I love texture and all of my pieces, whether woven, braided or constructed from clay, have movement and texture. I mainly sold products from craft fairs or fiber festivals. Recently, I converted the garage of my house into a studio and a small store where I sell my products. »
- Cheryl Mathieson (2520 NW Cascade St., Camas) – “Once I discovered plein air (en plein air) painting, my enthusiasm for landscape painting took over everything,” Mathieson says in her statement “to About Me” on the Open Studios Tour website. “A morning spent watching the sun and clouds change the landscape before my eyes and working to capture some of it with paint is exciting, satisfying and poetically peaceful. This experience continues in the studio. use my plein air studies as guides to express a statement in a larger painting studio.I use oil paint or gouache for plein air studies….While plein air paintings are usually created quickly to capture an interesting light pattern, object relationship, or feeling, my studio paintings are an opportunity to explore and interpret a view, object, or figure. There I clarify what I try to communicate to the viewer.
- Liz Pike (26300 NE Third St., Camas) – In her description of Open Studios, artist Camas Liz Pike describes herself as “a self-taught artist” who “started working in oil on canvas at age 22” and said she paints her art studio at Shangri-La Farm in Fern Prairie, where she “continues to be inspired by the beauty of the Pacific Northwest and the lush gardens of her organic farm.”
There will be a preview exhibition and artists’ reception prior to the two-day tour from 5-8 p.m. on Friday, November 4 at Art at the Cave, 108 E. Evergreen Blvd., Vancouver.
For more information on the Clark County Open Studios event, visit artstra.org/open-studios.