Not long ago, I took a stroll downtown to see what I could find in the way of inspiration. I stopped into Red Chair Gallery and found artist Alisa Looney's sweet enamel sculptures that are rich with storytelling, humor and a love and respect for nature.
Looney doesn't just work with small enamel sculptures; she also creates large fabricated pieces, bright in color and lively in shape. It is easy to understand, when looking at her work, that Looney has a background in both dance and design.
"Overall, my work is about bringing people into connecting with nature and finding joy, because things are so difficult right now in our world," shares Looney. Her large sculptures can be found in Oregon in Cannon Beach and Portland, and even in Washington and Idaho.
This desire for joy shows up in Looney's work, whether large metal sculptures or her smaller, more whimsical enamel sculptures filled with enticing illustrations that beckon with their stories. Her connection to nature is noticeable, too, with her large sculptures containing swirly cut-outs that represent our connection to water.
Currently her smaller enamel metal work is on display at Red Chair Gallery in Bend, but her work is also included in Alchemy 5, an international juried enamel exhibition, opening Nov. 23 at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington. The exhibition highlights the best in contemporary enamels produced in the last two years.
Looney and her husband, artist Wade Womack, moved to Bend about a year ago after many years in the Portland area. The artistic couple found their perfect spot in the woods (just south of Sunriver) where they built their studio and made a space they hope to share with other artists, art lovers and those curious about finding their own creative process, called River Art Adventures.
In November, Looney will offer two intro-to-enameling classes—including a day-long class where attendees make a pair of earrings, and a four-day intensive where attendees explore enamel metal sculpture and create their own wall relief sculpture, as well as some smaller test pieces. It seems like a rich opportunity for people to find their own story with a master of the craft.
River Art Adventures
Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect the correct spelling of Wade Womack's name. We regret the error.