Barbara Chen

Sure, Barbara Chen’s smiling, dancing women are plump and cast of heavy bronze, but these fleshy figures look decidedly light-stepping. The Richland, Wash., sculptor credits that to a freewheeling imagination (she pictures poses in her mind rather than using plus-sized models) and a constant stream of music (“I listen to everything from ballet to reggae, world music to opera, and that inspires the feel of their poses,” she says). But more than anything, Chen’s work is a product of happiness. “For me, making art is like making music,” she says. “I want it to be something that I enjoy and that other people can enjoy.”

Christine Clark

Christine Clark’s metal-and-concrete sculptures are indescribably intriguing: Their materials are both solid and soft; the curved shapes seem somewhat familiar yet are unrecognizable; a small blip of color catches your eye. And that’s exactly what the Portland sculptor intended.

Ben Carpenter

Imagine crafting a piece of art without being able to really see what you’re creating, only having the vision in your mind to go on. That’s exactly what Portland woodworker Ben Carpenter does when he carves his vessels and sculptures. “After I’ve turned the basic vessel shape on the lathe and hollowed it out, I sit down in a chair with my hand-held power carver and start carving away at it,” says the 23-year-old. “But during the whole process it looks really rough and you can’t see the grain until you put the finish on, so you have to be confident that it will turn out the way you want it to.”

Gilles Neuray

After metal artist Gilles Neuray worked with resin for the first time, it became a fundamental element in his work. “Five years ago, I was making a fish and I needed something for its eyes, so I made them out of resin,” says Neuray. “I was so happy with the way the material catches the light that I began to use resin more and more.”

Andi Kovel and Justin Parker

ImageWater drops. Tree roots. Antlers. Soap bubbles. Everything from organisms to human organs serves as inspirations for glass artists Andi Kovel and Justin Parker, the partners behind the Portland-based esque studio. “Esque is a suffix—as in picturesque or burlesque,” says Kovel. “We wanted a studio name that acknowledges that everything that surrounds us influences us.”

Wendy Dunder

When Wendy Dunder constructs one of her illuminated sculptures, the piece gives her direction. “The material tells you what you can do,” she says. “If you bend it too far, it’ll break. It’s a very Zenlike and meditative process.”

Helga Winter


Growing up in Germany, Helga Winter never imagined becoming an artist of any kind, much less a woodturner. “When I was a child, I did a lot of knitting and crocheting, but it wasn’t considered art because it was practical,” she says. “When I left school, I worked as a doctor’s assistant.”

Elyse Bunkers


When artist and jewelrymaker Elyse Bunkers discovered metal, she knew she’d found her medium. “It’s nice to work with such a stable material,” she says. “But I also like that I can manipulate it.”   

Bonnie Meltzer


Mixed-media artist Bonnie Meltzer likes to joke that she was born to create works of art from disparate materials. “I like to say that I came out of the womb with a purple crayon in one hand and a crochet hook in the other,” she says.