Kurumi Conley - Kiln formed glass
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Where EAST meets the Northwest
From The Asian Reporter, V19, #39 (October 6, 2009), page 11.
ARTISTS AT WORK. Area artists will open their studios this month during Portland Open Studios 2009, a behind-the-scenes glimpse of artists in their workspaces. The tour, held during two weekends, features the work of 100 artists.


Moving in new directions
By Josephine Bridges
Some of the Asian and Asian-influenced artists participating in Portland Open Studios — a self-directed tour of 100 artists’ workplaces in metropolitan Portland — this month may be familiar, but their work might not be. Part of being an artist is moving in new directions, especially when it’s a bit of a risk because your previous work was very popular. Don’t miss this year’s risk takers.
Kurumi Conley
Kurumi Conley, new to Portland Open Studios this year, grew up in Kyoto, Japan and studied at Joshibi University of Art and Design in Tokyo. A move to Portland 15 years ago was a fortuitous new direction for the fused-glass artist, bringing her close to the source of the sheet glass she uses in her sculptures.
"People in Japan use materials from Portland," she points out. Kurumi makes all sorts of things out of glass, but it’s her glass chairs that seem to define the artist, at least just now. "I like glass, its color and translucency," she says, "and I also like chairs, the feeling that a chair is for somebody to sit on." Even in an empty chair made of glass, "you feel the presence of somebody, because a chair represents a place for a person."
"The thing that entrances me about a glass chair, though it’s a chair you would never want to sit on, is that it makes you think about what a chair is and what glass is, and the pairing emphasizes the attributes of both," says publicity coordinator and participating artist Bonnie Meltzer.
Wondering what happens to all the pieces of glass that don’t make it into chairs or bugs or jewelry? Kurumi Conley recycles every bit: All scrap is used as is, pounded into coarse glass, or sifted into powdered glass. "I’m focused on not wasting material. It’s like trying to make fried rice with whatever vegetable you have in the fridge," she says.

Inteview 自分らしいライフ・スタイルを確立する女性達



ultra arts portland

There are two memories, a tapdancing saxophone player, and a coincidence at work here. Memory #1 involves the blue glass candy jar my Grandpa always kept filled with colorful, beribboned hard candies…the kind you don’t see much of any more. Memory #2 involves being taken by a friend on my first trip, years back, to NE Alberta, spotting a little glass dish that knocked my socks off, and months later receiving said dish as a gift from said dear friend.
The dish was unfortunately broken and I’d forgotten about it until…I saw the CD cover of Michael “Shoehorn” Conley’s latest release. Turns out the glass artist who made the dish that reminded me of the candies in Grandpa’s jar (This Is the House That Jack Built), is Conley’s beautiful Japanese wife, Kurumi Conley, whose work is available at Guardino Gallery (NE Alberta & 30th). Her modern work with its super- fresh palette is at its best in these striped and tiled pieces. It’s a wonder these little treasures aren’t in the window of every home shop in town.