Housed in an historic 1866 log cabin, Richard Schneider and Bud McBride opened what was then called the “Crow Valley Craft Shop” back in 1959, on unspoiled Orcas Island. With their experience from the well known Klee-Wyk Studio in Nisqually, Washington, the two became popular for their ceramic wind bells, pendants, pie plates, and other designs inspired by Northwest tribal art.
Richard and Bud personally operated Crow Valley through 1994. During the early gallery years, Orcas Island was still very much a summer retreat and Crow Valley Pottery, like so many other Island shops, was open only from Memorial Day until Labor Day.
Crow Valley Pottery today continues under the second generation of family ownership; nephew Jeffri Coleman with partner Michael Rivkin. The two keep the studio alive with new work and the shop appealingly filled with dynamic and original artworks. Heavily influenced by the American potters of the early 1900′s, Crow Valley’s signature works feature the soft glazes of that period combined with designs inspired by Orcas Island and the Pacific Northwest.
Earthenware, stoneware, handmade tiles and tile mosaics (or tile murals), are the focus at the studio. Everything is hand thrown, slab rolled or carved, just as it has been for over forty years!The shop is still housed in it’s historic cabin, where potter Jeffri’s mother was born during a cold nor’easter a while back. More recently, the shop has evolved into one of the Pacific Northwest’s most original and inventive art galleries, featuring the works of over seventy artists.
Considered by many to be a focal point of Orcas Island, visitors often stop just to enjoy the carefully maintained historic cabin and the surrounding gardens filled with their own fun art! .
Pottery, of course, as well as a diverse selection of art glass, metalwork, yard art, watercolors, oils and pastels, sculpture, jewelry and other media make up the gallery’s offerings. The artworks at Crow Valley always vary, (sometimes from day to day!) ensuring that every visit will yield new treasures. In the summer, the grounds of the cabin become host to the areas most imaginative art shows