ART

ISHLER%2C+DAN

ISHLER, DAN
ISHLER, DAN
WASHINGTON
My first experiences with clay, watching and feeling its reaction to my touch, happened in the 4th grade. I was basically hooked then, but did not realize it until my college years when I was reintroduced to clay and its magical qualities. I’ve always enjoyed building and creating things, from model racecars, airplanes and backyard tree houses to working with wood and metal in my dad’s shops, but was intrigued by clay and its intimate responsiveness to the touch of my hand, rather than a grinder or saw. This intimacy plays itself out with every piece I create today, using only my hands and a potter’s wheel. I work with a small series of similar forms, concentrating on and exploring the subtle aspects of each emerging piece, actually feeling the shape, as much as seeing it.

The pieces are then surrendered to the fire, where they are transformed again. The clay and glaze combined with heat, interact and produce another variation of what I made. Opening a kiln is always a surprise, good or bad it is never exactly what you had envisioned. That is the hook and what drives me to make just one more thing and get it exactly right.

WORK HISTORY
Over the last thirty-plus years my life has revolved around designing, producing and marketing pottery. I began my pottery career by working part-time in my basement and expanded over the years to a separate studio with as many as 8 employees under my supervision. My studio produced a wide variety of utilitarian art pieces of my design, using numerous production methods ranging from wheel thrown and hand built to jiggering and ram pressing. I designed and built the molds and dies for the production equipment in addition to formulating the glazes for cone 6 to cone 10 ware. We successfully marketed this work in galleries and art shows throughout the United States as well as through wholesale outlets covering 12 states nationwide. As time permitted, I also taught private classes to beginner to intermediate students with interests from functional to abstract art pieces.

In 1995 we closed our production studio in Montana, selling all of our manufacturing equipment except a potter’s wheel and an electric kiln, choosing to focus on one-of-a-kind pit fired pieces and developing my crystalline glazes for shows and galleries.

Still participating in art fairs nationwide, my wife and I moved to Whidbey Island, WA in 1999, rented a studio space and continued making crystalline glazed and pit fired work. We relocated to our present Oak Harbor home in 2003, where I have my studio and gallery on site. Each Spring, beginning in 2005, I give a workshop and throwing demonstration at Oak Harbor High School for their student ceramics department and occasionally allow students to work with me in my studio, giving them valuable experience. In addition, I offer private workshops at my studio on pit-firing theory and techniques. In 2010 I returned to my sculptural roots in clay by concentrating on producing characterizations of classic cars, with an eye to marketing through regional car shows and rallies (as opposed to extensive traveling to out of state art shows/festivals). This, along with my website, allows me to spend more time in my studio developing a local gallery following and online presence, and the opportunity to take part in wood firings with other local potters.

I have taken an active role in developing and promoting the Whidbey Working Artists Studio Tour since 2004, whose main objective is the support and promotion of local fine art/artists. The spring and summer tours average 30 separate studios and over 40 artists, drawing attendance from the greater Pacific Northwest. A non-profit organization, Whidbey Working Artists awards an annual scholarship to a local high school student pursuing a career in the visual arts.

EDUCATION
1974-1975
Alfred University, Alfred, NY
1970-1974
Rio Hondo College, Whittier, CA

AWARDS & EXHIBITIONS
2011
Solo Exhibition (Pitfire), Museo Gallery, Langley, WA
2008-2010
Tea Pot Show, Missoula Clay Gallery, Missoula, MT
Christmas Exhibit, Museu Gallery, Langley, WA
2010
Three Person Show, Penn Cove Pottery Gallery, WA
Two Person Show, Open Door Gallery, Bayview, WA
2009-2010
Three Person Exhibit, Northwest Craft Gallery, Seattle, WA
2008
Two Person Exhibit, Northwest Craft Gallery, Seattle, WA
Two Person Exhibit, Museo Gallery, Langley, WA
2007
Best Ceramics, Art By The Lake, Excelsior MN
Two Man Show, Northwest Craft Gallery
Group Exhibit, Museo Gallery, Langley, WA
2006
Trade Publication, Clay Times Magazine, November/December
Group Exhibit, Museo Gallery, Langley, WA
Three Man Show, Northwest Crafts Gallery, Seattle, WA
2005
Group Exhibit, Museo Gallery, Langley, WA
Three Man Show, Northwest Crafts Gallery, Seattle, WA
Best Ceramics, Cincinnati Summer Fair, Ohio
Best of Show, Krasl Art Fair, St. Joseph, MI
Best of Show, Chagrin Falls, OH
2004
Best Ceramics, Art by the Lake, Excelsior, MN
Purchase Award, Art by the Lake, Excelsior, MN
Best Ceramics, Valley Art Fair, Cleveland, OH
2003
Purchase Award, Inland Craft Warnings, Spokane, WA
Best Ceramics, St. George Art Festival, St. George, UT
2001
Purchase Award, St. George Art Festival, St. George, UT
1996
Personal Exhibit, Sutton West Gallery, Missoula, MT
1994
Jurors Award, Art in the Park, Great Falls, MT
1993
Jurors Award, Art in the Park, Great Falls, MT
First Place, Ceramics, St. George Art Festival, St. George, UT
1992
Best of Show, St. George Art Festival, St. George, UT
1975
Student Exhibit, Alfred University, Alfred, NY
1972-1974
Student Honors Exhibit, Rio Hondo College, Whittier, CA