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Artists turn their homes into galleriesPage: 1B

Author: Jody Lawrence-Turner, Staff writer, The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, WA


Artists welcomed the public into a few Spokane Valley homes Saturday to show what they can create with imagination and inspiration.

Valley residents Dennis and Shelley Runolfson planned to visit all four homes, showcasing 15 artists, on the first Spokane Valley Artist Studio Tour.

Before heading out on the tour, the couple agreed on an art spending budget of $500 to $600. The Runolfsons said they have a lot of African-influenced art in their home, so they were looking for pieces that wouldn’t clash.

Liz Bishop’s "The Lost Earring" was one of them. "All women have stories about their lost earrings," Bishop said. "Some have stories of ones they found."

The large, teardrop-shaped, dangly earring was fashioned out of raku-glazed clay and copper. The price: about $125. The Runolfsons’ minds were made up. The piece was right for them. A purchase made it final.

Bishop’s mixed media work was displayed at Sami Perry’s home on East View Ridge Lane.

Spokane Valley News Herald - Friday, May 14, 2004

Sculptor carves out unique niche in art community

By Craig Howard; Staff Writer

Liz Bishop wants to make sure the clay realizes that she cares.

Spinning the potter's wheel in her spokane valley studio, it doesn't take long for Bishop to transform an inconspicuous gray lump into a smooth, stylish plate.

Artist and substance working together - the way it's supposed to be.

"One thing about clay - it teaches you patience," Bishop said. " You have to be pretty open, because it will let you know. The clay knows if you're not focusing on it."

The fruit of Bishop's handi-work - from freestanding sculptures to mixed media wall art - can be seen throughout the Inland Northwest. On the North Side, at William Grant Gallery, manager Jan Juday says Bishops art has always been well-received.

"her work sells well." Juday said. "Liz is really an awsome artist. Her work doesn't stay stagnant - it's always evolving."

Bishop recently contributed her talents to a unique project at Liberty Lake Elementary School. Students submitted drawings that were translated into painted tiles. Bishop oversaw the eventual construction of seven elaborate murals which incorporated the tiles and reflected different aspects of the community from outdoor recreation to patriotism. Dennis Olson, Liberty Lake Elementary School principal, said the murals "have graced our halls with some beautiful fine art." He added that Bishop's flexibility and positive attitude propelled the project to fruition.

"I can’t say enough about Liz," Olson said. "She's truly an artist and was really dedicated to getting this done."

Bishop is familiar with academic environments. She studied interior design at Spokane Falls Community College before earning her bachelor's degree in arts from Whitworth College. She has been an instructor at Spokane Art School for the last eight years.

Despite a series of what she calls "detours," Bishop maintained an interest in pottery that began when she was a high school student in Ohio in the early 1970s.

With a knack for hobbies requiring keen eye/hand coordination, Bishop worked in needlepoint and, over time, began to immerse herself in pottery. She studied under Rudy Autio, a well-respected hand-builder and sculptor at the University of Montana, and later bought her first pottery wheel.

"I think you realize it takes a lot of energy to do this," she said. "You have to have the focus."

After graduating from Whitworth, Bishop worked as an apprentice in a production pottery shop. For three years, she crafted functional pieces like plates, mugs and bowls. Eventually, Bishop developed a distinctive style and forged out her own.

Last October, Bishop celebrated the 10-year anniversary of her graduation from Whitworth by holding an exhibit at the school's Koehler Gallery. The show, titled "Evolving Truth," featured fused glass, metal and raku-fired ceramic wall pieces.

"Her work is unique because she creates beautiful abstract designs with fired and glazed ceramic pieces," said Scott Kolbo, assistant professor of art at Whitworth. "They are almost like paintings, but they have a tactile and three-dimensional feeling that makes them unique."

These days, Bishop's work is on display from Olympia to Sandpoint. She has been focusing recently on abstract pieces consisting of more copper metal and fused glass.

As for the future, Bishop is hoping an application to the state Arts Commission will translate into opportunities to show her art in a variety of public places.

Despite branching out in a variety of directions with her art, Bishop never tires of making clay come alive.

"I think it's the process," she said. "I enjoy making things. I like working on the wheel, seeing the clay change from a little ball into a bowl."