The Artists:   John Benn & Colleen Gallagher

John Benn and his pots    John Benn and his pots
Colleen Gallagher                                   John Benn with some of his large vases        

In a converted boatbuilding workshop on Harstine Island in Puget Sound, John Benn and Colleen Gallagher make woodfired pottery and sculptural tiles. They dig several local stoneware clays and fire their wood kilns longer and hotter than is considered wise.

John and Colleen have been professional potters for 37 years. Their work has won awards in the US and internationally and can be seen in private collections, museums and public art projects.

JOHN BENN built his first wood kiln in 1976. He studied with F. Carleton Ball and Ken Stevens at the U. of Puget Sound in Tacoma, and with Howard Shapiro and Sandra Simon in the MFA Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

COLLEEN GALLAGHER studied ceramics with Ka Kwong Hui at Rutgers University and studio art in the MFA Program at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. She earned her MFA from the University of Puget Sound, where she met John.

"The compulsive and inefficient nature of the woodfire process connectsus closely to the earth. We dig local clays. We fire using trees from our forest.We submit the work to our kilns to be reborn as a permanent object that recordsthe touch of our hands and the fire and ash that have transformed it.We control choices of clays, shapes, glazes, kiln structure, type ofwood, stacking method, duration and temperature of the firing. But we mustalso give up control to violent forces of nature. The wood kiln is not a tamebeast. It gives us accidents and blessings. We find beauty in imperfection.Our commitment to woodfiring is obsessive and non-intellectual.We discover our pots in addition to creating them."


© Colleen Gallagher & John Benn   •   Website Design by Mary Benn   •   photos by C. Gallagher
bennpottery@gmail.com • (360) 426-3918

Colleen Gallagher

E D U C A T I O N
MFA, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA, 1978.
MFA program, Pratt Institute, New York, NY, 1974-75.
BA, Douglass College, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, 1974.

P R O F E S S I O N A L   E X P E R I E N C E
Associate Professor, South Puget Sound College, Olympia, WA, 2008 to present.
Adjunct Professor, Olympic College, Shelton, WA, 2004 to present.
Workshop Leader, Harstine Island Woodkilns, Shelton WA, 1998 to present.
Workshop Instructor, Tacoma Community College, WA; Evergreen State College,
    Olympia WA; Clatsop Community College, Astoria OR, Arbutis Folk School, Olympia WA.
Studio Potter, Seattle and Shelton, WA, 1979 to present.
Workshop Instructor, Green River Community College, Auburn, WA, 1982.
Instructor, Moshier Arts Center, Seattle, WA, 1982.
Resident Potter, Lill Street Studios, Chicago, IL, 1978-79.
Artist in Residence, Orcas Island Pottery, Eastsound, WA, 1978.
Graduate Teaching Assistantship, University of Puget Sound, 1977-78.

S E L E C T E D   E X H I B I T I O N S   A N D   A W A R D S
"Pots from Harstine Island" 2 person show, POTS Gallery, Seattle WA, 2017
"24th Annual Strictly Functional Pottery National" Market House Craft Center, Lancaster PA; 2016;
"University of Puget Sound Alumni Show"; Clatsop Community College,Astoria OR; 2014;
Second Place Award "21st Annual Strictly Functional Pottery National" Market House
Craft Center, Lancaster PA; 2013
"Artifacts From the Fire" juried by Jack Troy, Baltimore Clayworks, MD; 2013
"West Coast Woodfire Conference" panel presenter: "Terroir of a Woodkiln";
Chehalem Cultural Center, Newburg OR; 2013
"Artist's Ikebana Containers"; Bainbridge Arts; Bainbridge WA 2013
Potter's Group Award "20th Annual Strictly Functional Pottery National"; Market House
Craft Center, Lancaster PA; 2012
"IKEBANA-GAMA -- Ikebana Arrangements in Containers Fired at Harstine Island Wood Kilns";
curator C. Gallagher; NCECA Shows at Seattle Design Center 2012
"100 Wood-Fired Cups" invitational; POTS Gallery, Seattle WA 2012
"Centered on the Northwest" invitational; Clay Art Center, Tacoma, WA 2012
"Bridging the Gap"; Art Not Terminal Gallery, Seattle WA 2012
"West Coast Wood-Fire" invitational; Fire Arts Center, Arcata/Eureka CA 2012
"Wood Fire Kiln Show: Eight NW Wood Kilns"; POTS Gallery, Seattle WA 2012
"DIRECTions: Native Clay Invitational" Meridith College, Raleigh, NC 2010.
"Tattooed Clay", Solo show, Eleven O' 49 Gallery, Portland OR, 2010.
"Northwest Woodfired Ceramics", Clatsop Community College, Astoria, OR, 2010.
Faculty Art Show, South Puget Sound Community College, Olympia, WA, 2009
"South Sound Fire: Ceramic Art from the Benn/Gallagher Harstine Island Woodkilns",
Curated by Colleen Gallagher and John Benn, Island Gallery, Bainbridge, WA, 2008.
"Strictly Functional Pottery National," Market House Craft Center, Lancaster PA, 2008,2009.
"Painting with Fire: Woodfired Invitational," Lakewood Center, Lake Oswego, OR, 2008.
"A Path of Flame: Contemporary Woodfire," Gallery Madera, Tacoma, WA, 2008, 2009.
"Behind Shoji," Japanese Garden Society, Portland OR, 2007, 2008, 2009 2011.
"Mingei Tradition in the NW," Glenn Richards Gallery, Seattle, WA, 2006, 2007.
"Prairie-Plains-Pacific," Island Gallery, Bainbridge Island, WA, 2006.
"Woodfire," Form Space Light Gallery, Seattle, WA 2006.
"Saltglaze Ceramics 2006: 7th International Competition" at Galerie Handwerk Koblenz, Koblenz, Germany, 2006.
Juror's Award, "Strictly Functional Pottery National", Market House Craft Center, Lancaster, PA, 2006.
"Form & Function: The Teapot" at NCECA, Portland, OR, 2006.
"Decade: Potters of Hikarigama," at NCECA, Portland, OR, 2006.
Solo Show, Northwest Craft Center, Seattle, WA, 2004.
"Ancient Fires", Invitational Woodfire Exhibit, Astoria, OR, 2002.
"Full Circle", Invitational, Kittredge Gallery, Tacoma, WA, 2001
.Washington Potter's Association Juried Shows, NW Craft Center,
Seattle, WA, 1985-2001, Juror's Awards 1986 and 1999.,
Best of Show Award, Salem Art Festival, Salem, OR, 1998.
Best of Show Award, Cheney Cowles Museum Show, Spokane WA, 1999.
NW Designer Craftsmen Show, Bellevue Art Museum, Bellevue, WA, 1990.
Solo Show, NW Craft Center, Seattle, WA. 1989.
"Northwest Crafts '88," Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, WA, 1988.
Solo Show, NW Craft Center, Seattle, WA, 1987.
"Contemporary Teapots 200", Springfield Art Association, Springfield IL, 1987.
Solo Show, Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY, 1987.
Pacific Northwest Art Fair Booth Award, Bellevue, WA, 1986.
"A Spot of Tea", Invitational, The Clayhouse, Santa Monica CA, 1985.
"Dining Pleasues", Apropos Gallery, Cambridge, MA, 1984.
"Inlaid Porcelains", Solo Show, PANACA Gallery, Bellevue, WA, 1985.
Solo Show, Earthenworks Gallery, La Connor, WA, 1985.
Solo Show, Fireworks Gallery, Seattle, WA, 1984.
Group Invitational, The Artisan's Gallery, Great Neck, NY, 1983.
Solo Show, Childhood's End Gallery, Olympia, WA, 1983.
"2nd National Contemp. Crafts Invitational", Perf. Arts Center, Tulsa OK, 1983.
Art in Public Places Tile Mural, Washington State Arts Commission, Holmes Elementary School, Spokane, WA, 1982.
"Crafts '82", "Crafts '80", Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, WA, 1982, 1980.
"Selections '78", California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA, 1978.
"37th Annual Cedar City National Exhibition," Southern Utah State College, 1978.
Solo Show, Carbon Core Gallery, Seattle, WA, 1978.
"Marietta College Crafts National '77", Marietta College, Ohio, 1977.
"Raku", Juried Show, Peter's Valley Craftsmen Gallery, Layton, NJ, 1975.


JOHN BENN

E D U C A T I O N
Washington State University, Pullman, WA, 1774-75.
AA, Green River Community College, Auburn, WA, 1975-76.
BA with Honors, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA, 1978.
MFA Program, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago IL, 1978-80.

P R O F E S S I O N A L   E X P E R I E N C E
Artist in Residence, Orcas Island Pottery, Eastsound, WA, 1978.
Head Glazer and Moldmaker, Pyromedia, Seattle, WA, 1980-81.
Workshop Instructor, Green River Community College, Auburn, WA, 1982.
Juror, "Best of the Northwest", Seattle, WA, 1999.
Studio Potter, Seattle and Shelton, WA, 1979 to present.
Workshop Leader, Harstine Island Woodkilns, Shelton WA, 1998 to present.
Instructor, "Throwing Large Pots" workshop, Shoreline College, Shoreline WA, 2008.
Exceptional Faculty Grant Workshop Instructor, South Puget Sound CC, Olympia WA 2011
"West Coast Woodfire Conference" panel presenter: "Terroir of a Woodkiln";
Chehalem Cultural Center, Newburg OR; 2013
Adjunct Professor (Ceramics, Drawing, Painting & Design),
Olympic College, Bremerton, WA, 2015 to present.
Workshop Instructor, “Ceramic Forms and Decoration and Firing the Woodkiln”,
The Evergreen State College, Olympia WA, 2016.
Woodkiln Firing Workshop, Evergreen College at Harstine Kilns, 2016.
Panel Presenter, "Future Flux (NCECA)", Olympic College, WA, 2017.
Washington Clay Arts Association Workshop Instructor; Arbutis Folk School, Olympia WA, 2017.

C O L L E C T I O NS
Nottingham Center for the Arts ; San Marcos Ca.
Bailey Ceramics Supplies & Pottery Equipment Corporation; Kingston NY.
King County Public Art Program ; Seattle Wa.

S E L E C T E D   E X H I B I T I O N S   A N D   A W A R D S
"Pots from Harstine Island" 2 person show, POTS Gallery, Seattle WA, 2017
"24th Annual Strictly Functional Pottery National" Market House Craft Center, Lancaster PA; 2016
"University of Puget Sound Alumni Show"; Clatsop Community College, Astoria OR; 2014;
"Artifacts From the Fire" juried by Jack Troy, Baltimore Clayworks, MD; 2013
"21st Annual Strictly Functional Pottery National" Market House Craft Center, Lancaster PA; 2013
"Kansas City National Teabowl Show", Kansas City MO, 2012 & 2013.
"West Coast Woodfire" Chehalem Cultural Center, Newburg OR; 2013
Best of Show Award; Bellevue Art Museum Fair; WA 2013
"13th & 12th Annual Glenn Richards Mingei Pottery Show"
Glenn Richards Asian Antiques, Seattle, WA
"The Contemporary Art of Chawan: An International Invitational"
Cavin-Morris Gallery, New York NY; June 28-Aug 17, 2012
Aug 17 -Sept 28, 2012; "Teabowl National"; Kansas City Clay Guild, KC MO
"Daze -- Chocolate & Sogetsu"; Trax Gallery, Berkekey, CA, Feb 2012
"Strictly Functional Pottery National",Lancaster, PA, 2012 & 2013
"IKEBANA-GAMA -- Ikebana Arrangements in Containers Fired at
Harstine Island Wood Kilns"; NCECA Shows at Seattle Design Center 2012
"West Coast Wood-Fire" invitational; Fire Arts Center, Arcata/Eureka CA 2012
"100 Wood-Fired Cups" invitational; POTS Gallery, Seattle WA 2012
"Wood Fire Kiln Show: Eight NW Wood Kilns”; POTS Gallery, Seattle WA 2012
"Centered on the Northwest" invitational; Clay Art Center, Tacoma, WA 2012
"Strictly Functional Pottery National", Second Place Award (Vase Form 1) + Bailey
        Purchase Award (Vase Form 2), Lancaster, PA, 2011.
Carol Duke Award for Excellence, Bellevue Art Museum Fair, WA, 2011.
"Behind Shoji," Japanese Garden Society, Portland OR, 2011.
"Northwest Atmospheric Ceramics" Jundt Art Museum, Spokane, WA 2011.
"NW Wood Fire Exhibition", POTS Gallery, Seattle, WA 2010
Best of Show Award, Art in the Pearl, Portland OR, 2010.
"DIRECTions: Native Clay Invitational" Meridith College, Raleigh, NC 2010.
"Northwest Woodfired Ceramics", Clatsop Community College,Astoria OR 2010.
"Pottery for Pyros", Solo Show; Eleven O'49 Gallery, Milwaukie OR, 2009
Solo Shows, Northwest Craft Center, Seattle, WA, 2008, 2009, 2010.
"South Sound Fire: Ceramic Art from the Benn/Gallagher Harstine Island Woodkilns",
Curated by Colleen Gallagher and John Benn, Island Gallery, Bainbridge, WA, 2008.
"Painting with Fire: Woodfired Invitational," Lakewood Center, Lake Oswego, OR, 2008.
"A Path of Flame: Contemporary Woodfire," Gallery Madera, Tacoma, WA, 2008, 2009.
"Mingei Tradition in the NW," Glenn Richards Gallery, Seattle, WA, 2006,2007.
"Prairie-Plains-Pacific," Island Gallery, Bainbridge Island, WA, 2006.
"Woodfire," Form Space Light Gallery, Seattle, WA 2006.
"Feats of Clay XIX"; Lincoln Arts, Lincoln CA, 2006.
"Decade: Potters of Hikarigama;" at NCECA, Portland OR, 2006.
"Ceramics 2005", North American Clay Biennial, Guilford Handcrafts, CT, 2005.
"Clay Invitational", The Art Spirit Gallery, Coeur d'Alene, ID, 2005.
"Strictly Functional Pottery National", Lancaster, PA, 2005.
Carol Duke Award for Excellence, Bellevue Art Museum Fair, WA, 2004.
Solo Shows, Northwest Craft Center, Seattle, WA, 2004, 1989, 1987.
"Strictly Functional Pottery National",Lancaster, PA, Jury Award, 2004.
Oregon College of Art & Craft Biennial 03, Portland, OR, 2003.
"Strictly Functional Pottery National", Market House Craft Center, Lancaster, PA, 2002, Juror's Choice First Place Award.
"Ancient Fires", Invitational Woodfire Exhibit, Astoria, OR, 2002.
"Full Circle", Invitational, Kittredge Gallery, Tacoma, WA, 2001.
Washington Potter's Association Juried Shows, NW Craft Center, Seattle, WA, 1985-2001, Juror's Awards 1986 and 1999.
Best of Show Award, Salem Art Festival, Salem, OR, 1998.
Best of Show Award, Cheney Cowles Museum Show, Spokane WA, 1999.
NW Designer Craftsmen Show, Bellevue Art Museum, Bellevue, WA, 1990.
"Northwest Crafts '88," Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, WA, 1988.
"Contemporary Teapots 200", Springfield Art Association, Springfield IL, 1987.
Solo Show, Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY, 1987.
Pacific Northwest Art Fair Booth Award, Bellevue, WA, 1986.
"A Spot of Tea", Invitational, The Clayhouse, Santa Monica CA, 1985.
"Inlaid Porcelains", Solo Show, PANACA Gallery, Bellevue, WA, 1985.
Solo Show, Earthenworks Gallery, La Connor, WA, 1985.
Solo Show, Fireworks Gallery, Seattle, WA, 1984.
Solo Show, Childhood's End Gallery, Olympia, WA, 1983.
"Second National Contemporary Crafts Invitational", Tulsa, OK, 1983.
Art in Public Places Tile Mural,Washington State ArtsCommission,Spokane,WA,1982.
"Crafts '82", Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, WA, 1982.
"Twelve Artists/Twelve Hours", Randolph St. Gallery, Chicago, IL, 1980.
"Crafts '80", Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, WA, 1980.
"Chicago Clay", Arbutis Gallery, U. of Indiana, Bloomington IN, 1979.
"New Things out of the Same Old Stuff", School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 1979.
"Arts Southwest King", Midway, WA, Juror's Purchase Award, 1979.
"37th Annual Cedar City National Exhibition," Southern Utah State College, 1978.
Solo Show, Carbon Core Gallery, Seattle, WA, 1978.