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Alchemy Art Center Artist Talk Series at SJIMA: Alisha Merrick and Paula West

Alchemy Art Center, in partnership with the San Juan Islands Museum of Art, is hosting an artist talk series featuring visiting and local artists. The talks take place every last Sunday of the month from May-October in the upstairs workshop area of the SJIMA, located at 540 Spring St, from 5:30-7:30 pm. These free events can be attended in person or via Zoom - visit for more information.

On July 30th, accomplished and beloved island artists Alisha Merrick and Paula West will share their creative trajectories, processes, and inspirations in this highly anticipated installment of the Artist Talk Series.

About Paula West

Paula West, San Juan Island's most celebrated studio potter, moved to San Juan Island from the East Coast in 1990. In 1993, she set up her small, home-based ceramic studio. Paula works in porcelain and stoneware clay to create handmade vessels that merge function, craft, and art, imbuing each piece with a look and feel that is totally unique and instantly recognizable. Currently, she is exploring soda firing to introduce a brand new (very exciting) look to her work.

About Alisha Merrick

San Juan Island artist Alisha Merrick is a painter, illustrator, and enamelist. Her work features bold colors, and minimal designs inspired by nature and Scandinavian sensibilities. You can often find her in her carefully curated brick-and-mortar shop, FERN, which displays much of her work across a variety of media, as well as the work of other regional artists and craftspeople.

“My work is … an emotional connection to the necessity of beautiful things, merged with my strongly rooted love of nature. The same natural palates, organic patterns, and minimal designs repeat themselves over and over in my work.
I strive for a balance of these influences in each intentionally made, hand-fabricated piece. Interesting color combinations, sometimes bold, often muted, that echo the inherent beauty of the shapes and patterns found in nature. Every artistic creation is unique, and that is something to be embraced and celebrated.”

The Artist Talk Series is part of Alchemy’sArtists in CommunityProgram, which creates opportunities for artists from diverse backgrounds to live and work on San Juan Island. This program is supported by the San Juan Island Community Foundation, the Horizons Foundation, ArtsFund, the San Juan County Arts Council, and by donations from members of our community. To see the complete list of artist talks this summer, please visit:

For more information about Alchemy, please visit

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