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Inspired and Fired

Ceramic Show a Hoot


Artist Kathleen Mendes poses with one of her hand-built ceramic owls at her gallery opening. Photo by Jessica Ahles

A lively mix of music, talk and laughter radiated from The Molokai Arts Center (MAC) last Saturday night as artists, art lovers, friends, and families gathered to celebrate the opening of MAC member Kathleen Mendes’ first solo exhibition of ceramic works entitled, “Inspired and Fired.” Live jazz music as well as hors d’oeuvres and a wine bar set the stage for the warm evening.

The exhibition, which features an array of ceramic techniques and subject matter, will run from Oct. 5 through the 18 at the He `ike Lihi Showroom, behind Coffees of Hawaii. Mendes’ work will also be available for purchase until the last day of the exhibition. This is the first show by a member of the MAC to be presented at this gallery and all proceeds go towards the artist and the MAC

Mendes, whose passion lies in hand building ceramics, showcased a variety of techniques including coil, slab and pinch. Much of her work also features intricate textures and patterns created with these disciplines. Additionally she is a master of the pottery wheel and presented numerous functional ceramic pieces such as mugs, bowls and plates.

However, her hand built sculptural pieces stole the show. Outside the showroom a large majestic ceramic owl sat perched on a stump to welcome in guests. Inside, beautiful slap sculpture-faces and smaller delicately textured owls watched over the gallery and other works exhibited.

“Nature and people around me are the inspiration,” said Mendes, adding that she has a strong connection with the most prevalent subject matter in her show–the owls.

“I have an affinity with owls,” she said, “They are intelligent creatures and are curious about people. They will look you right in the eyes.”

Mendes first began working with ceramics in 2007 under the guidance of local artist and teacher Dan Bennett. At the time, Mendes didn’t foresee an exhibition of her own work being displayed, but knew she had found a new love and a medium she would continue to work with for a long time.

Bennett was eager to share his happiness for the artist.

“She’s learned in five years what it took me to learn in 40,” said Bennett. “She really has a passion for it.”

Mendes said she is looking forward to the future and is already thinking of her next project.

“I hope to get more into functional sculpture,” she said. “I’m thinking once I start accumulating more work, this might have to become an annual event.”

Molokai Arts Center’s next event will be the 2nd Annual Members Art Show held at the Molokai Public Library on November 13. For more information on Kathleen Mendes or upcoming events please call 567-9696 or email Molokaiartscenter@gmail.com.


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