Flower tiles handmade by Marion available at the Olympia Farmers Market.
About Marion Pollmann
There is an exquisite moment in the act of creation when we realize the true power of our imaginations. That we can use our hands to mold and shape inert materials into living works of art — works that convey thoughts, feelings, and insights — is wondrous. That I get to do this every day is pure bliss.
I did not start out as a ceramics artist. As a child growing up in Vienna, Austria, I had all sorts of plans for my life. As a young adult, I studied to become an herbalist, using native plants for healing. Even then, I enjoyed playing with the colors, shapes, and textures of nutritious foods to seduce the eye and the palate into healthy living.
My travels throughout the world exploring exotic and ancient cultures fed my curiosity and my desire to create. I especially enjoyed the time I spent in the South Pacific, and I remain deeply moved by the people there. Eventually I settled in a delightful town at the southernmost inlet of Puget Sound — Olympia, WA. It was here, in this place where the sky, the water, and the mountains converge, that I discovered my true passion: ceramic arts.
It happened innocently enough. I signed up for a simple, entry-level mosaic class — nothing more than a sweet way to pass a leisurely afternoon. By the end of the class, my life was changed forever. Like a school girl with a passionate crush, I could not get enough. I signed up for one class after another, including a pottery class where I watched in amazement as a wet blob of clay transformed before my eyes into a thing of beauty. And that is when I realized I was home.
After many years of exploration, I became an art teacher, sharing my love for clay with students at the Open Arts Studio of Tacoma, WA. There I helped people of all ages discover that they are capable of creating great beauty. I was particularly fond of teaching children. Children are not limited by their beliefs, so they can push the boundaries of what can or cannot be created. I marveled at the solutions they came up with. Over time, however, I found myself longing for my own studio. After two years of teaching, I returned to my passion — creating beautiful art made of clay.
Today, I work in my well-equipped studio located in the countryside north of Olympia. I still take in the occasional student, but my true love lies in the creation of clay murals, sculpture, mosaics, and pottery. Some of my work consists of large installations, although I also create many smaller commissioned works. Selling my work alongside local farmers and artists has been part of my vision since I first embarked in clay and in 2011, this became a reality. I always aspired to join the Olympia Farmers Market as a vendor - I wanted to be part of the vibrant blending and buzzing of community. Having the farmers market as my storefront for the last 14 years has allowed me to connect with neighbors and travelers that value art and good food as much as I do.
Even as I debuted at the farmers market, I worked behind the scenes to found a cooperatively-owned and managed gallery with other local artists. To say that opening an artist co-op is difficult is an understatement. But, growing a culture of artistic expression was important to me. I wanted to celebrate and encourage my fellow artists’ work instead of harbor competition. I, along with ten other founding members, opened Splash Gallery on a sunny August day in 2011; I am proud to have supported numerous up and coming local artists along the way.
Over time, my line of clay art has evolved and changed many times. My functional pieces are food and dishwasher safe and all my work is weather-proof. In 2015, I introduced a new line of large pots to adorn foyers, garden spaces, and entryways. I like to capture the beauty of the elements and local surroundings to make one-of-a-kind pots that can withstand exposure to cold, hot, dry, and tropical climates.
Through my love for clay, my life has transformed into pure, joyful expression. My life’s mission is to bring beauty to the world - looking back on my life, I’m not certain whether I made these choices, or whether these choices made me. Does the artist mold the material or does the material mold the artist? Is the creator also that which is created? Perhaps it does not matter, because, in the end, we are one.