POSTED: Sunday, April 12, 2009

Left brain/right brain tendencies notwithstanding, four ceramists demonstrate with a flourish that it's possible to use both hemispheres to great success.

Diane KW, Joel Park, Cory Lum and Daven Hee have each built solid reputations with their own ceramic work. Since 2005 they've also had great success in the collaborative group known as Lavaflow Ceramics. Park, Lum and Hee—whom KW affectionately refers to as “;the three boys—they're younger than I am”;—throw pots at the wheel, and KW carves into them breathtaking, intricate designs. Then “;the boys”; do the glazing.

Some of their collaborative and individual works are showing at the Louis Pohl Gallery in “;Contained,”; which runs through April 25.

KW's skill speaks to her former life as a neurologist (she carves with a scalpel) and her physicianlike obsessive-compulsion for detail. Her partners hold day jobs as an electrician (Park), photographer (Lum, a former Star-Bulletin staffer, incidentally) and teacher (Hee). KW says their work at the wheel is indicative of their “;attention deficit disorder”; tendencies.

“;They don't want to sit for a long time with a piece. It's over and done with in less than an hour,”; she says. In contrast, KW spends a day or more carving a piece.

Yet for all her left-brain habits, KW revels in the creative opportunity presented by the untouched pot.

“;The designs are spontaneous. I never know what they're going to throw, so I respond to the shape, the form of the pot, and it depends on my mood that day. ... So they're really, truly one of a kind,”; she says.

“;My whole life had been very regimented and precise. As a physician, you do everything by the book. The day I retired, I stopped wearing a watch.”;

KW says that following her retirement in 2002, she and her sister-in-law ended up in a clay class after the jewelry one they had tried to get into was filled. “;She eventually went back to painting, but I found I really liked clay.”;

The Louis Pohl Gallery, 1111 Nuuanu Ave., is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays and by appointment. Call 521-1812.