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Katy McFadden molds sculptures dedicated to the former city councilor and supporter of the arts

PMG PHOTO: COREY BUCHANAN - Katy McFadden sits next to the sculptures she made dedicated to influential Lake Oswego resident Heather Chrisman.

Heather Chrisman was a key member of the Lake Oswego arts and history communities, as well as the city's political scene.

She was past president of the Arts Council of Lake Oswego, served on the Preservation Society Board and was elected to Lake Oswego City Council, among other roles.

To honor Chrisman — who died from cancer last year — and her lasting contributions to the community, the arts council, preservation society and city of Lake Oswego commissioned custom-made sculptures located at the Historic Iron Workers Cottage at 40 Wilbur St.

Local artist Katy McFadden — who was previously commissioned by Heather and her husband Dick to create pieces at their Lake Oswego home — created the two sculptures and they are available for public view.

"I think it was a great collaboration between both the preservation society, the arts council and the city, as well as the family, to bring something to the city that really honors all of the important things Heather did throughout her life," said Nicole Nathan, the executive director of the arts council. "She loved the preservation society, loved artists and artwork, and was heavily involved in all aspects of that throughout Lake Oswego. She was instrumental in keeping art alive and preservation alive throughout Lake Oswego."

McFadden said she's worked with clay for over 30 years and has taught ceramics in the United States and Mexico during that time. Her installations reside at Lake Oswego City Hall, the West Linn Public Library and at the Oregon Education Association headquarters.

PMG PHOTO: COREY BUCHANAN - Katy McFadden created these pieces, which she hopes people will sit with and reflect upon.

She said she likes to show more abstract, less realistic representations of the human figure. And the sculptures at the museum — which feature two human faces supported by oval-like bodies — are no different. Creating the piece involved shaping slabs of clay and clay coils and building the sculptures on palettes.

"I like to leave the actual pattern that was used to create the forms as opposed to smoothing it over. It's an integral part of the piece," McFadden said.

One of the figures has a bird atop its head, which McFadden said represents the cycle of life and the spirit's transition from one being to the next.

"It's elemental and more like a gesture drawing than anything," McFadden said. "I don't think everything has to be articulated. I love to have an audience come to the work and be in communication with it, dream with the pieces."

McFadden felt that the pieces represent Chrisman's quiet but joyous demeanor and hopes that viewing them will provide locals with tranquility.


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