Richard Lawson focuses on one aspect of the flower in “Backyard Dahlia.”

Richard Lawson focuses on one aspect of the flower in “Backyard Dahlia.”

Ceramics, photography on display at Gallery 9

PORT TOWNSEND — Ceramics and photography are featured at Gallery 9 this month. Featured artists for March are Mike Middlestead of Circle M Ceramics and Richard Lawson of Richard Lawson Photography.

Both Middlestead’s and Lawson’s art can be seen in the window at Gallery 9 at 1012 Water St. Their full displays are at the front of the gallery.

Gallery 9 hours are from noon to 4 p.m. Thursday through Monday. It is closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Visitors are required to wear face masks.

Middlestead has worked with clay for six years. He makes functional ware, artistic pieces and sculptures.

After 25 years in the Coast Guard, he discovered clay while taking an introduction to art class at Peninsula College.

“I became a ceramic artist because of the feel of the clay,” he said. “I have a visceral response to the sheer tactile nature of working with clay. I love the feel of it in my hands and being able to create something amazing.

“Once I found clay, there was no turning back.”

A favorite way to fire pottery is using a Raku kiln.

“When you Raku, you are intimately involved with every step of the firing process,” Middlestead said.

“You watch the temperature every step of the way. When the kiln reaches 1,600 degrees, you open the kiln, remove the glowing pot and immerse it in sawdust, which immediately ignites, creating a one-of-a-kind piece of art.”

Lawson has been photographing landscapes, seascapes and flowers for 30 years.

“I strive to capture the essential qualities of nature,” he said. “When I photograph, a communication takes place between my heart’s aesthetic sensibilities and my mind’s technical craftsmanship, resulting in images that can convey deep emotional impact.”

Lawson said that he has been influenced by Asian art, in particular the concept of “less is more.”

“I attempt to capture the totality of a scene or flower by focusing on one small aspect that is the essence of the larger composition,” he said.

”This can engage the mind to imagine the whole, often resulting in a more meditative experience. My passion in life is to touch people’s hearts through creative expression.”

For more information, see

Mike Middlestead’s favorite way to fire pottery is Raku.

Mike Middlestead’s favorite way to fire pottery is Raku.

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