Art lovers perusing the works at on display at the 34th annual Bethany Beach Boardwalk Arts Festival this Saturday, Sept. 8, will be able to see Mea Rhee and her “Good Elephant” pottery for the first time. Rhea, from Silver Spring, Md., said that, while she does about six or seven shows per year, this is the first time she will visit Bethany Beach for her art.
“I had been looking for a show to do at the beach this summer and had heard good things about this one,” said Rhee, a former graphic designer who has been a potter for about 20 years — the past 10 years professionally. She described her work as “functional pottery,” foodware pottery that is dishwasher and microwave safe.
According to her Web site, her inspiration comes from many things.
“I am guided by my Korean heritage, Maryland upbringing and graphic-design education. I care deeply about functional designs, always thinking about the balance and movement of my pots in action. My work has a minimal and rustic style, meant to appeal to those who appreciate the natural world, even if they live modern or urban lifestyles,” she said.
A special thing that artists can get at a festival is the face-time with potential customers that galleries might not offer, explained Rhee.
“I like to see the people who are buying my pots,” she explained, “and I think it’s fun.”
Rhee said she found that pottery was her “life’s obsession” after taking pottery classes in 1994. She had started a graphic-design firm and said that, while she has enjoyed that career very much, pottery was her true passion.
“I consider myself ‘self-taught,’ because I am not formally trained in ceramics, though I have had many wonderful teachers along the way,” said Rhee.
She explained that she established her own pottery studio, Good Elephant Pottery, in 2002 and her pots have gained a strong following in the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore areas, and now can be found in galleries throughout the country. Her work has appeared in Ceramics Monthly and NICHE magazine and on Home & Garden Television (HGTV). She still occasionally works as a graphic designer, but her pottery business is full-time. She also teaches pottery classes at the Greenbelt (Md.) Community Center.
To view samples of her work, visit www.goodelephant.com online or visit her on Saturday at the Bethany Beach Boardwalk Arts Festival in downtown Bethany.