Gallery-9 showcases art from local photographer, ceramic artist

Leader News Staff
news@ptleader.com
Posted 8/17/22

Photographer KarenLee Eaton and ceramic artist Mike Middlestead are the featured artists for August at Gallery-9, home of the North Olympic Artist Cooperative.

Eaton was born and raised in Port …

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Gallery-9 showcases art from local photographer, ceramic artist

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Photographer KarenLee Eaton and ceramic artist Mike Middlestead are the featured artists for August at Gallery-9, home of the North Olympic Artist Cooperative.

Eaton was born and raised in Port Townsend, and has been taking pictures since she was 7 and discovered her father’s old 35mm Pentax camera, and begged him to show her how to use it.

She spent many years in the realm of film photography before shifting to digital. In 2017, she completed the University of Washington’s Certificate in Photography program where she began a deep love with photographing the night sky.

For her featured artists show in August, she will share new night sky images and some stunning photos of the Northern Lights taken right here on the Olympic Peninsula. 

Eaton credits Robin, her 17-year-old toy poodle, for waking her up in the middle of the night last October to see the Northern Lights above Mount Baker. 

“Robin is nearly blind, but he somehow knew the lights were dancing, and he wasn’t going to let me miss it,” Eaton recalled.

She will also be showing some new black-and-white/sepia toning work with images from Fort Worden, one of her favorite spots.

“I am excited to be returning to black-and-white work, as it was a style I shot a lot when I was still using film,” Eaton noted.

Eaton seeks to create images that produce a sense of wonder, joy, reverence, peace, and a call to stewardship for the natural world.

Middlestead finds inspiration is the outdoors and people connecting with art. He makes functional ware (bowls, mugs, oil decanters), artistic pieces (vases), and sculptures. 

After 25 years in the Coast Guard, he discovered clay while taking an intro to art class at Peninsula College.

“I became a ceramic artist because of the feel of the clay,” Middlestead recalled. 

“I have a visceral response to the sheer tactile nature of working with clay. I love the feel of it in my hands and being able to create something amazing,” he explained. “Once I found clay, there was no turning back.”

One of his favorite ways to fire pottery is using a Raku kiln; Raku is done by firing pottery at a relatively low temperature and then moving the piece while hot to a closed container with combustible materials, such as paper or sawdust, that ignite and create colors and patterns in the pottery’s surface. 

Gallery-9 is located at 1012 Water St. and is open six days a week (closed on Tuesdays). Masks are optional. Visit the gallery online at gallery-9.com.

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