MAIN GALLERY: artist Liz Quakenbush


Artist Statement:

Over time I’ve developed a non-hierarchical vocabulary of imagistic inventions that embrace the salient features of many stylistic languages. In the midst of these I’ve found that it is my profound and personal immersion in nature that allows me to discover oddly familiar truths in each. I believe that I’m able to move between these languages easily, and without affectation, because the visceral realities of the natural world exist for all of us equally and may, if one is able to embrace them fully, serve as an interpretive bridge of great depth and resonance. Embellished functional pottery forms remind people of their proximity to the remarkable world of plants and animals.

-Liz Quackenbush






My years have been cyclic.  Autumn, winter and spring have been spent in State College, PA, teaching at Penn State University and working in my studio.  I summer in Vermont, mostly living outside. Friends, food, outdoor physical activity, and art are important.  I have a full studio in Vermont. I like visiting a place over and over.  It allows me to learn an environment, intimately.  The natural environments I have grown to know are the ones that feed my ceramic work.  

A lineage of women makers precedes me.  My great grandmothers, grandmothers, and mother all made objects that decorate my home. Waste paper baskets, key rings, wooden pocketbooks, knitted and crocheted garments and blankets, lace linens, cut lamp-shades, sewn clothing, holiday ornaments, hand-cut wooden jigsaw puzzles, gardens, and good food were just a few.  Beautifying the home was a result of keeping the domestic hands and mind active.  Gifted handmade objects were valued by loved ones.  I learned to appreciate the importance and intimacy of the decorative arts at home.


I make all sorts of things but pottery is my main stay.  A love of food and people gives pottery meaning.  My love of the earth and all of its bounty becomes decoration on the surfaces of my pots.  I hope my work reminds people to take a closer look around.  


I have traveled to Morocco four times.  Developing countries inspire me with awe and deep respect. I have always been a practical person. In Morocco people have very little, so what they need they make.  Everywhere you look, people are making things with their hands.  Need has necessitated the skills required to make things.  The Muslims consider decoration and beauty, a reflection of Allah. Allah is beauty. Beauty is rendered as decoration. The Moroccans elaborately decorate their objects and surroundings.  Time is slow in this part of the world. People take time to make objects very special.  There is so little excess yet hand hewed decoration is abundant. The decorative translation of devotion is abstract.  Somehow I relate to this conversion.


Selected Collections:

Collections (limited selection) A.I.R. Vallauris Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art Schein-Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art at Alfred University Barbara Friedell Collection The Huntington Museum of Art Aberystwyth Arts Center NCECA Permanent Collection George R. Gardiner Museum Islip Art Museum, Islip Tullie House Museum, Carlislle,UK Arizona State University Ceramics Collection John Michael Kohler Arts Center Collection Ann and Harry Wollman, David and Sara Leiberman Collection Archie Bray Foundation Louise Rosenfield Collection 


Exhibition view of two earthenware trays from 2019

MAIN GALLERY: artist Mark Pharis


Mark Pharis is known for wheel-thrown stoneware high-fired functional pottery in his early career and from the early 1990s onward for slab-built low fired earthenware utilitarian objects. Pharis uses paper templates to develop components of slab-built works. The surface technique is minimal, in early work Pharis used earth-toned glazes and later work often features contrasting brightly colored geometric shapes.

Pharis’ formative years as a student at the University of Minnesota with Warren Mackenzie inform his studio practice. 


From an interview with Dan Carter / The Red Clay Rambler

"I had been making some teapots and covered jars that were altered on the wheel, and then I shaved them completely so that there wasn’t a throwing mark on the outside. Once I started to make those a little bit larger, I thought, “There’s no evidence of throwing here, visually, except on the inside.” They weren’t pots that were about insides. They were pots that were all about outsides and form, not necessarily decoration or surface or painting.

I very gradually started to work with slabs and tried to figure out a way of measuring and holding form. That led to making things with patterns or using patterns as a means of making shape and volume."







Public Collections

Alfred Ceramic Art Museum, Alfred University, Alfred, New York

American Museum of Ceramic Art, AMOCA, Pomona, California

Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona

Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, Arkansas

The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii

Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit, Michigan

Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania

Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York

Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, Missouri

Ken Ferguson Teaching Collection, Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City Missouri

Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, California

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California

Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minnesota Museum of Art, St. Paul, Minnesota

Mint Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas

Racine Art Museum, Racine, Wisconsin


University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado

University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota

University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee

University of Wisconsin River Falls, River Falls, Wisconsin

Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England

Viterbo University, La Crosse, Wisconsin

Weisman Museum of Art, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut


Brown, Glen R., “ Mark Pharis: Geometry of Experience,” Ceramics Monthly, September 28, 2015, https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/ceramics-monthly/ceramic-art-and-artists/functional-pottery/mark-pharis-geometry-of-experience/.

Carter, Ben. “Mark Pharis on Embracing the Edges of Utility”. Tales of a Red Clay Rambler. Podcast audio, October 15, 2015 http://www.talesofaredclayrambler.com/episodes/mark-pharis-on-embracing-the-edges-of-utility

Cooper, Emmanuel. Ten Thousand Years of Pottery. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000.

Digeros, Mark, Mark Pharis, Alison Reintjes, and Peter Sundquist. Plane & Solid: the Geometrics of Mark Digeros, Mark Pharis, Alison Reintjes, and Peter Sundquist. Chicago, IL: Lillstreet Art Center, 2013.

Eden, Michael, and Victoria Eden. Slipware, Contemporary Approaches. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999.

Mark Pharis. VHS. Directed by Mark Pharis, Jeanne Quinn, and Suzanne Foster. Boulder, CO: University of Colorado Boulder, 1998.

Marks, Graham and Wayne Higby. Useful Pottery: Eight Artists: William Brouillard, Bruce Cochrane, Time Crane, Andrew Martin, Walter Ostrom, Mark Pharis, Paul Rozman, Michael Simon. Rochester, NY: Pyramid Arts Center, 1985.

Pharis, Mark, and Catherine Fuller. Mark Pharis: Themes and Variations. Concord, MA: Lacoste Gallery, 2005.

Detail: Princess and two dogs

CENTER GALLERY: artist Cappy Thompson


Cappy Thompson is an internationally recognized Seattle artist known for her mytho-poetic narratives on glass using the grisaille (or gray-tonal) painting technique and for her collaborative ceramic projects with Dick Weiss . 


Heavenscape Statement

There was an image from the Cuban film Strawberry and Chocolate that left an impression in my mind…a collection of saints and Madonnas, with candles lit in the entry of an apartment, an invocation to the realm of spirits for blessing.

I also love the motif of clouds in Indian paintings, sometimes presented as a frieze along the top of an image, from which celestial beings are perched dropping flower petals onto the scene below.

I made Heavenscape to evoke such a mood. I am really interested in the connections between heaven and earth. I have lived with this votive wall for a few years now and when I light the candles, a starry world is right there.


For me, as a narrative painter, the issue has always been content.  The issue wasn’t glass, the material that I chose some 37 years ago.  Nor was it the painting technique—grisaille or gray-tonal painting—that I taught myself to use.  My work—which spans several decades and a variety of scales from the intimate to the monumental—has always been driven by content.

Early in my career I was drawn to the images, symbols and painting of the medieval period—but not just the Christian tradition of Western Europe.  I loved the content of Hindu, Pagan, Judaic, Buddhist and Islamic painting as well. 


These were images created before the invention of “art” as we know it—before painters controlled the content of their work.  These were works decreed by religious and political authorities to depict the magnificence and beauty of the natural and divine order.


What I loved was the naïve naturalism and devout simplicity of that period—like the folk art of any period.


I started by designing and painting glass panels based on the narrative content of mythology, fables and folktales, drawn in oblique projection, with transparent jewel-like colors.  Later I painted similar narratives on glass vessels.


About fifteen years ago I found myself moving away from mythological narrative and toward compositions on vessels that drew upon images and themes from my personal life.  Elements would drift up and assemble into picture-poems that seemed to have a life of their own.


I began to understand these works as reflections of the spiritual and psychological issues in my life.  I painted members of my family and myself in a kind of autobiographical fantasy, working with the mythopoetic materials of my life.  I cast myself into scenes from various spiritual traditions.

This began an autobiographical exploration of world culture and spirituality that continues to the present.

I see now, after more than three decades of work, that I am like those medieval painters striving to express magnificence and beauty.  But my expression focuses on the human experience of goodness, of hope and of love.


—Cappy Thompson 





Selected Exhibitions


2019: “Metaphor into Form,” Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, Washington

“BAM! Glasstastic,” Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue, Washington

2018: “Narratives in Glass,” Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, California

2016:     “Fired up: Women in Contemporary Glass," Mint Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina

“All Together Now,” Vashon Center for the Arts, Vashon, Washington (solo)

“The Beauty of a Shared Passion," Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, Washington

2015: “Flourish: Selected Jewelry from the Daphne Farago Collection," Asheville Art Museum, Asheville, North Carolina

2013: “Telling Tales,” Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue, Washington (solo)

“Northwest Artists Collect,” Museum of Glass, Tacoma, Washington

2012: “Playing with Fire,” Museum of Arts and Design, New York, New York

“Pilchuck: Ideas,” Museum of Northwest Art, LaConner, Washington

2011: “Seattle Collects,” Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington

2010: “Eyes for Glass: The Price Collection,” Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue, Washington

2006: “Cappy Thompson: Stars Falling on Alabama,” Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, AL (solo)

2005: “Cappy Thompson: Glass Vessels for a Dream Voyage,” Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, New York (solo)

2004: “Transformed by Fire,” Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington

2002: “Contemporary Directions,” Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

1998-00: “American Glass: Masters of the Art,” Smithsonian traveling exhibition, USA

1997: “Glass Today by American Studio Artists,” Boston Museum of Fine Art, Boston, Massachusetts

1996: “Breaking the Mold: New Directions in Glass,” Huntsville Museum of Art, Huntsville, Alabama

1995: “Holding the Past,” Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington

1994: “World Glass Now ‘94,” Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art, Sapporo, Japan

1992: “Australian International Crafts Exhibition,” Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, Australia

1989-92: “Craft Today U.S.A.,” American Craft Museum, international touring exhibition

1987: “Thirty Years of New Glass,” Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York


Selected Public Art Commissions


2019: Salk Middle School, Spokane, Washington. Design, fabrication and Installation of 8 painted glass windows. Commissioned by Washington State Arts Commission in partnership with Spokane School District.

2010: Tukes Valley School, Battle Ground, Washington. Design, fabrication and installation of 2’ x 100’ frieze of painted windows. Commissioned by Washington State Arts in partnership with Battle Ground School District.

2008: Covington Library, Covington, Washington. Design and fabrication of 6’ x 8’ reverse-painted glass mural. Commissioned by King County Library System.

2006: The Evergreen State College, Daniel J. Evans Library, Olympia, Washington. Design, fabrication and installation of 10’ x 66’ art glass window wall. Commissioned by Washington State Arts Commission. Fabricated at Derix Glasstudios, Germany.

2005: Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Alabama. Design, fabrication and installation of art-glass triptych with central 22’ x 10’ arched window and two 12’ x 11’ side window/door surrounds. Commissioned by Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. Fabricated at Derix Glasstudios, Germany.

2003: Museum of Glass, Grand Lobby, Tacoma, Washington. Design, fabrication and installation of 12’ x 15’ reverse-painted glass mural. Commissioned by Museum of Glass.

2000-03: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Seattle, Washington. Design and fabrication of 33‘ x 90’ art glass curtain-wall. Commissioned by Port of Seattle. Fabricated at Derix Glasstudios, Germany.



Selected Bibliography


2019 Metaphor into Form: The Rebecca and Jack Benaroya Collection, by Catalani, D-Souza, Hushka and Oldknow, Tacoma Art Museum

2016 Glass Art: 112 Contemporary Artists, by Barbara Purchia & E. Ashley Rooney, Schiffer

2013 Best of the Northwest: Selected Works from Tacoma Art Museum, by Margaret Bullock and Rock Hushka, Tacoma Art Museum

2011 “Collaborative Vitreography,” by Cappy Thompson, Walter Lieberman and Dick Weiss, Glass Art Society 2011 Journal

2010: Masters: Blown Glass: Major Works by Leading Artists, by Susan Rossi-Wilcox, Lark; Glass Art from the Kiln, by Rene Culler, Schiffer

2006: 500 Glass Objects: A Celebration of Functional and Sculptural Glass, by Susan Keifer (ed.), Lark; 25 Years of New Glass Review, by Tina Oldknow, Corning Museum of Glass

2005: Dual Vision: The Chazen Collection, by Nancy Preu (ed.), Museum of Arts & Design; “Sea-Tac Public Art Projects: The Glass Commissions,” by David Wagner, Stained Glass Quarterly (Winter)

2003: International Glass Art, by Richard Yelle, Schiffer

2002: “Whatever Happened to Stained Glass?” by Geoffrey Wichert, Glass 86 (Spring)

2001: Contemporary Glass: Color, Light and Form, by Ray Leier, Jan Peters and Kevin Wallace, Guild

1998: Glass: From the First Mirror to Fiber Optic: The Story of the Substance that Changed the World, by William S. Ellis, Bard

1997: “Cappy Thompson: Narrative, Mythopoesis and the Vessel Form,” by Shawn Waggoner, Glass Art (January-February)

1996: Pilchuck: A Glass School, by Tina Oldknow, U. of Washington

1992: “Cappy Thompson’s Fabled World,” by Ron Glowen, Glass 47 (Spring)

1991: Out of the Fire: Contemporary Glass Artists and Their Work, by Bonnie Miller, Chronicle; Living with Art, by Rita Gilbert, McGraw-Hill

1989: Contemporary Glass: A World Survey from the Corning Museum of Glass, by Suzanne Frantz, Harry Abrams


Selected Collections


Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, Australia

Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, Alabama

City of Seattle, Seattle, Washington

Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Virginia

Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York

Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art, Sapporo, Japan

Huntsville Museum of Art, Huntsville, Alabama

Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, Washington

Montgomery Museum of Art, Montgomery, Alabama

Museum of Arts and Design New York, New York

Museum of Glass, Tacoma, Washington

Racine Art Museum, Racine, Wisconsin

Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, Washington

Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio

Toyama City Institute of Glass Art, Toyama, Japan

Washington State Arts Commission, Olympia, Washington




2005: Libensky Award, Pilchuck Glass School

2002, ’09, ‘15: John Hauberg Fellowship, Pilchuck Glass School

1997: Washington Artist Trust Fellowship

1990: Visual Arts Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts