Our PBAA featured artist for March is versatile member Maryjane Carlson—potter, woodworker and occasional two-dimensional artist. And as many know, Maryjane is also member and instructor of our hand-building pottery group, The Mudslingers.”
But pottery is far from the early direction of Maryjane’s career. When she earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Baltimore’s Goucher College back in 1989, it was for studies in biology.
Though Maryjane started out in academics, art has always been an interest. Over the years she went from being a NMFS fisheries observer to spending more time working hands-on. For the past 14 years that involved the meticulous work of remodeling high-end homes, including everything from demolition to finish painting.
One of her jobs included helping to remodel Poncho’s Mexican restaurant, where she made the new myrtlewood bar and counter, installed trim details and refinshed tables. Along the way, she attended painting, pastel and drawing classes from local artists and has independently studied wood carving, as well as taught it at SOCC. For years she has sold her woodwork at craft shows along the coast and in the Bay Area.
Now, there’s Maryjane’s business, Whistling Fish Pottery. In addition to her work (and play) with The Mudslingers, she designs, creates, fires, markets and sells her work internationally on the Internet, as well as at local craft shows.
As she describes it, “My work tends to have a bit of an oriental style, although I’m also fond of textures and the way diﬀerent finishes high- light and break on the textures. At this moment, I’m mostly making small plant pots for bonsai and succulents. I also make larger pots and orchid pots. I’ve started to introduce functional plates and bowls to my line, and I occasionally work on sculptural and decorative pieces.”
Those who know Maryjane’s work—which often wins prizes in our Azalea Festival Art Show—are quick to recognize and praise it. One of her clients puts it this way, “Maryjane is an innovative pottery artist and a meticulous crafts person; she is capable of accomplishing any ‘artistic’ task presented to her.”
So much for mud.