Michael & Michele Gwinup / Blue Spruce Pottery
Michael Gwinup’s journey with clay started while attending Western Oregon University in 1974. Michael was an art major focusing mainly on painting and drawing, until one day when he was invited to visit a professional potter. Seeing the kiln at full temperature, with flames and black smoke pouring out the portholes, he was hooked and began taking pottery classes. Upon graduation in 1976, He and his wife, Michele, moved to Bend and started their pottery business, Blue Spruce Pottery.
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Teamwork has always been key to the success of their business and a true “family affair” with daughter and son-in-law now part of the team. From bakewear to decorative raku, Blue Spruce Pottery is well recognized and pieces can be found in many ceramics books and magazines.
Michael is well known for his Raku fired, vases, lamps and wall plates. The pottery is hand-formed using a potter’s wheel or slab roller. It is glazed and decorated by hand and then fired in the Raku process. Each piece is fired to a temperature of 1800 degrees. It is then pulled out of the kiln and placed in a bed of sawdust, and after a few minutes, cooled rapidly with water. The sawdust brings out beautiful metallic lusters in the glaze, while the rapid cooling creates the crackle patterns typical of Raku. Throughout the years Michael has given workshops and taught the process of Raku.
His work has been displayed in invitational shows, northwest art galleries, and is in many private collections.