Fine Arts Month – Week 4

Location: Our tasting room
Date: Saturday, November 28, 2009
Time: 1:00-7:00pm

Paintings and Pottery by Melanie and Benjamin Steffl Thompson

Using their different mediums, Benjamin, a wood-fire potter, and Melanie, an oil painter, create work with similar themes.

09fam4-potteryBenjamin, who is from the Pacific coast of Oregon, creates wood-fired pottery with a steady, focused patience resonating of his home. He was trained to search out and incorporate local materials into all aspects of the process of making his work. Wood-fired work involves a long, intense process and originated in Korea, Japan, and China. The last 50 years have seen a new movement in the western areas to practice this very old art form with a new voice. Locally, there is an abundance of clay and wood. Since moving with Melanie to the area, he has been intrigued by the faded presence of the old pottery industries along the Ohio River and in the hills. More of his work can be seen online at

09fam4-paintingMelanie, whose home is the Ohio Valley, creates oil paintings that tell stories about the hills, creeks, hollows, fields, and woods here above the Ohio River. She has a BFA in Fine Arts, but is certain experience has taught her more than classwork. Melanie also pursues the process in her art: she chooses to always work on-site (plein aire painting.) Inspired by those who work with the land, she attempts to mimic their ethics and dedication to physical labor by hiking with her paints and easel to each location to paint. Locally, Melanie has always been fascinated by the complexity of the landscape in our area and all the possibility it seems to contain.

They spend half of the year here near the Ohio River and the other half next to the Columbia River in Astoria, Oregon.

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