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Corvallis Arts Walk Spotlight: Diana Ryan

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Name: Diana Ryan

Occupation: “I am a teaching artist. I have spent the last 10 years teaching various art classes in the community through The Corvallis Arts Center, the OSU Craft Center, the Corvallis Public Library, Jackson Street Youth Shelter, Cornerstone Inc, and as an artist in residence in the Corvallis, Philomath and Albany school districts. I currently teach community clay classes at my home studio in South Corvallis for kids, teens and adults.”

Hometown: “I was born in Aurora, Colorado and my family moved to Oregon shortly after the unexpected death of my father when I was 8 years old. After living on the Oregon coast for a time and finishing my last two years of high school at Crescent Valley High School in Corvallis, I moved to Eugene for college. I earned my bachelor of arts from the University of Oregon (with a focus in ceramics), worked for a year in Eugene and headed back to Corvallis. I have now lived in Corvallis longer than I have lived anywhere else and am very rooted here in my community.”

Exhibit: “Feathers and Fishy Tails.”

Location: Voices Gallery, in the Jefferson Plaza at 301 SW Fourth St., Suite No. 160.

Medium(s): “Clay (low-fire, mid-range and paper clay) and acrylic paint.”

About the exhibit: “This show features mostly new work that has been created this year. My ceramic art explores the marriage of functional vessel and whimsical sculpture. I start most of my pieces on the potters wheel and throughout the drying process they are altered and sculpted.

“Through the process of creating for this show I have explored mid-range clay bodies and paper clay and allowed myself the freedom to refire my artwork multiple times until I get the glazes just so. I will also put the work through a final low temperature luster firing to achieve to gold in many of my pieces.”

Inspiration: “I am at the whim of my imagination. Inspiration is everywhere from fairy tales, children’s books, surrealism, and the natural world around me. Sometimes the shape of the vessel guides the work or it starts out as one thing and morphs into something totally different.

“I have a very fluid style and am always able to spontaneously shift gears. I strive to always be learning, trying new techniques and materials and pushing myself a little out of my comfort zone.”

Impact on viewer: “My purpose is to connect with the viewer in an emotional realm, inspiring joy, wonder and fancy. Sometimes there is also a darker undertone in my work creating tension much like bittersweet tensions in nature.”

Previous Exhibits: “I have exhibited locally at the Corvallis Arts Center, the Fall Festival, Voices Gallery, and I usually have some skeleton mugs for sale at Interzone Coffee.”

What should people know: “I have two children ages 5 and 2 1/2 that keep me delightfully busy and filled with wonder. My husband and I are in the process of building a new studio for my personal artwork, community studio clay classes, special workshops and a stop on the annual South Corvallis Art Walk."


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