PUBLISHED: 4:13 PM on Wednesday, October 4, 2006
Ceramic sculpture by Carla Potter featured
Alaska State Museum
Pendulous strands of oversized octopus eggs transform the Alaska State Museum North Gallery into an undersea fantasy with the Oct. 6, opening of "Shaping Desire," a solo exhibit of ceramic sculpture by Alaska artist Carla Potter.

The exhibition, featuring about 25 sensuous, sea-inspired sculptures, will open Oct. 6, and run through Nov. 18. An opening reception will be held from 4:30-6:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 6, as part of the first Friday gallery walk. Admission is free. The artist will meet the public and the Friends of the Alaska State Museum will provide refreshments.

Potter's imagery is strongly influence by a lifetime near the tidal zone. Tentacles caress the air or wrap themselves around anemones. Mussel-encrusted pilings hold up the layers of a 4-foot-high wedding cake. Colorful glazes gleam as if moist from an outgoing tide. Potter said she uses underwater images as subtle symbols of the conflicting desires to attract others and protect oneself, and commentary on societal expectation.

"The wedding cake is kind of a metaphor for the way traditions and images sell us and pull us into certain ideas about how we have to live our lives," said Potter, who included a remote control in the calliope of images embedded on the cake. "To have it speak it more to the whole entity of being married and that it's not just one pretty little moment."

Potter grew up in Ketchikan and returned after earning a BA in studio ceramics at Humboldt State University in Northern California. She taught there for 10 years as an artist in the schools and at the University of Alaska, Southeast.

Her fanciful ceramics have been featured in solo, group and invitational exhibitions across Alaska and in California, Oregon and Montana. She twice received Jurors' Awards for her clay sculpture in the statewide Earth, Fire & Fibre exhibits. In 2005 she was awarded a Rasmuson Foundation individual artist fellowship. Her work is in many private and public collections, including the Tongass Historical Museum, the Anchorage Museum of History and Art, the Decker/Morris Gallery Permanent Collection, the Sandy Besser Collection, and the Sara and David Lieberman Collection.

"Shaping Desire" is Potter's homecoming show to Alaska, after a two-year residency at the Archie Bray Foundation for Ceramic Arts in Helena, Mont. After the exhibition closes in Juneau it will travel to Ketchikan and then Homer. Potter will also teach two workshops for youth this winter.

The museum is currently observing winter hours, which are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, except holidays. General admission is $3. Visitors 18 and under are admitted free of charge. An annual pass that allows unlimited visits to the Alaska State Museum and the Sheldon Jackson Museum in Sitka is available for $15. Assistance is available for visitors with special needs. Please contact Visitor Services at 465-2901 before the visit.