top of page

​​Virtual Opening Reception & Artist Talks

June 3, 2021  6pm

Join us on Facebook Live!

See more virtual events for this exhibition below!

Mandy Stigant


Up the Bottom


June 1-26 2021

This is a show about drinking. 


Alcohol and bread seem to be ubiquitous to humanity. Every culture that could grow some kind of grain figured out how to bread it, and every culture that realized old food could have intoxicating effects figured out how to ferment for imbibing. It’s a staggering range of commonality for humanity: from Irish whiskey to Italian wine, Greek ouzo to Russian vodka, Japanese sake to Korean soju, Ethiopian mead to Mexican tequila, and many, many more. We’re all human, we all have food that goes bad, and we all drink. Whether part of sacred rituals, or for medicinal purposes, or for conviviality and celebration, or spilling over into the trials of excess and addiction, spirits have potently manifested themselves as inherent to our cultures. 


These bottles and cups hearken to a sense of ritual, not so much high and lofty and religious so much as vessels intended to house one’s spirit of choice and wait for the moment of sharing and imbibing. Each bottle and cup is unique, thanks to the hell they went through in the wood kilns. Stigant isn’t picky about what kind of spirit these vessels house - though her personal bias is for bourbon. To be picky would negate her interest in the variety of both spirits and the people who use them. Whether you fill Stigant's vessels with whiskey to share with a friend, or keep it as a bedside water bottle to quench your midnight thirst, the real point is: which one is the right one for you?

Medium Bottles 4_5e.jpg
Small Bottle 45d.jpg

Top: Mandy Stigant, Medium Spirit Bottles with Cup Lids 4 & 5, porcelain, wood fired and Reduction Cooled, 2020, (ea) 14 x 8 x 7"

Bottom: Mandy Stigant, Small bottle, wood fired porcelain, 4"X 5"X 4", 2019

Mandy Stigant grew up in Houston as a theater kid, a pursuit which stuck through college at University of Dallas where she earned her BA in Drama in 2002. During her senior year she fell over backwards into ceramics, and that has stuck ever since. She earned her MA in art from UD in 2008 and her MFA in ceramics from Utah State University in 2011.Then she got the hell out of Utah and moved to Portland, where in astoundingly short order she found her job as a ceramics lab technician at PCC, joined Blackfish Gallery, set up a studio practice and joined the vibrant ceramics woodfire community in the PNW. She has participated in wood firings at East Creek Art, Pleasant Hill Pottery, Portland Community College, Mt Hood Community College, and Six Ponds. In 2019 she and Careen Stoll led Firing While Female, an all-women anagama firing hosted by East Creek Art, and is looking forward to participating in the NW Woodfire Conference in 2022.

fishnet lunch, 2006, 5x7x7, porcelain, $

Above:  Careen Stoll, Fishnet Lunch, porcelain, 2006, 5x7x7

Careen Stoll  .........................

Top the Over

Much of Careen Stoll’s earliest childhood was aboard a sailboat, and ever since she has found great pleasure in elegantly useful knots.  As a potter on-the-go, Stoll came to using rope as a definitive closure for covered bowls. Then she discovered Kinbaku, a form of ancient Japanese rope bondage whose original application was the effective rapid capture of prisoners on the field of battle. Stoll finds it fascinating that thin flexible rope can so effectively control the vessels of the sea and body.  To her there is no distinction between my creative enjoyment of the materials at hand and the questions of who is a vessel and what is control. 

Stoll’s exhibit is also a collaboration with Michael Becwar: a playful reference to maritime history, in which sailors formed ever more intricate knots that built on themselves into a sturdy fender.  Such a mass would become a bumper located at, for example, the bow (front) of a tugboat as it needs to push up against another vessel.  Michael

has done restoration work of this nature at the Center for Wooden Boats located on Lake Union in Seattle, and has very much enjoyed his time spent on the docks there. Gallery sale of this work will benefit their educational programs for young people. With strong roots in experiential education, Careen Stoll has traveled extensively around the globe and within her experience of self.  She attended Carleton College and then Utah State for her BFA and MFA degrees as well as learning from studio potters Linda Christianson and Silvie Granatelli. Stoll developed her ethics around studio practice and ecological impact in conversation with Linda, CSA farmers, and friends at her carpentry job.  These ethics translated into the creation of the Tin Man kiln upon establishment of a studio in Portland, OR.  This innovative round- chambered kiln used wood and waste vegetable oil as fuels in a nearly carbon- neutral footprint. The Tin Man kiln gives a rosy warm ash and reduction-cooled surface decoration and will be rebuilt, as well as structures that aim for a net-zero energy consumption.

Virtual Events

Thursday, June 3, 6-7pm

Virtual Artist Reception

Livestreaming on the Blackfish Gallery Facebook Page. 

Saturday, June 19, 2pm

Up the Bottom/ Top the Over

Join us for a more in depth artist talks by Mandy Stigant and Careen Stoll.

Artist talks airing on youtube June 19th 2pm!


Gallery Tour

Back Room Gallery

Jerrold Martisak

This collection of wood fired ceramic work highlights the twenty-two years of experience that Jerrold Martisak has utilized to perfect his skills.

Click through for all images in collection

bottom of page