f you walk into the Coastal Arts League Museum between now and
Sept. 8 and your eyes glaze over, that's appropriate.
That's because CAL is currently presenting a show of works by 27
Bay Area ceramic artists who are members of the Silicon
Valley-based Orchard Valley Ceramic Arts Guild.
On stands, on tables and on the walls, this specially juried show
includes an array of functional and decorative pieces from vases or
platters to much more, in a rainbow of colors and displaying
fascinating explorations of textures.
There is a tall ceramic sculpture of a boy. There is an arrangement
of colorful, hanging shapes dangling like a ceramic curtain. There
is humor and whimsy, like the ceramic "sheep family." There are
pieces which seem to capture motion in contrasts of textures and
colors, and many pieces which simply seem to be freeze-frames of
the ceramicist's art.
The Orchard Valley group has included Coastside ceramicists, like
Randall Reid and Becky Maddalena. But in the room directly
preceding the museum, which is filled with the varied work of other
CAL members, viewers will see examples of work by Moss Beach
resident Pat Dailey, another Orchard Valley ceramicist.
A four-year member of Orchard Valley, which has been in existence
for six years, Dailey describes the group as an "up-and-coming"
enclave of ceramic artists which, in contrast to more exclusive
groups, is encouraging of potters of all levels.
"They'll take anyone interested in pottery," she enthused.
But having been a student of pottery for 18 years and calling
herself semi-professional for about 10 years, Dailey is hardly a
On display in the outer room is a large platter in blues and deep
purples, decorated with carved patterns. Elsewhere is a large bowl
in rich copper tones, that seems slightly metallic, with figures
that look almost mythological. Nearby on a shelf is a small bowl
that looks like it is made of shining copper.
The metallic look to the ceramic is a deliberate technique that
Dailey says she specializes in. With the little bowl, it involved
using actual copper in the glaze.
She also experimented with different firing techniques. She fired
the larger bowl at a relatively low temperature, in her oven in her
kitchen at home.
Her style of giving ceramics a metallic look, she said, is
patterned after that of late, noted ceramicist Beatrice Woods of
Southern California, who started working with pottery in her 40s
and enjoyed a 60-year involvement with it until her death at age
For Dailey, ceramics is an artistic balance to the intensely mental
work in her everyday life as a psychiatrist. She maintains a
practice in Palo Alto and a small practice on the Coastside.
"I always wanted to do something artistic," she said. "I took a
class with Randall (Reid) and got hooked."
Working with pottery combines both sophisticated artistic technique
and basic, down-to-earthiness - literally.
"It is fascinating because I am creating something out of a very
primitive substance, earth, and making it into something useful,
beautiful, jazzy," she said.
Though her work is not formally included in the Orchard Valley
exhibit, she says she's glad to be showing ceramic work in tandem
with the CAL exhibit.
Both nonprofit groups, CAL and the Orchard Valley guild, share a
common denominator of fostering the Bay Area's creative arts
community. The guild follows a mission of engaging those passionate
about ceramic arts, and publishes an award-winning newsletter,
"Greenware," to which Dailey is a contributing writer.
The CAL museum is located at 300 Main St. in Half Moon Bay. It can
be reached at 726-6335.