Ash Street Project

Ash Street Project, the vision of artists Thomas Orr and Joanna Bloom, encompasses art studios, visiting artists, gallery space, community programs and a clay-based emerging artist mentorship program.  Our site also hosts an on-line gallery shop.

PAST Mentees

Current Mentees   |   Past Mentees  

2017 - 2018


Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Chloe Kesten fell in love with the ceramic arts at an early age. She attended Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, where she discovered her passion for sculpting the human form. Chloe further developed her study of the figure while attending Studio Art Centers International in Florence, Italy. Though she had always been interested in figurative sculpture, her time in Florence allowed her to focus not only on the accessibility and familiarity of the human form and condition, but on its complexities as well. This has led her to work primarily with the figure in order to discover and explore those complexities.

Chloe remained in Portland after graduating from Lewis and Clark with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Studio Art in 2015. She has since continued her studio practice with a small community of other artists. Chloe is exploring the expression of identity as a fluid concept, one packed with ambiguity and flexibility, through the human and animal form during her mentorship at Ash Street Project.



In 2015, Lorren Ashley Lowrey graduated from California State University, Los Angeles with a BA in studio art. Initially, her interest was in oil painting, but in time her focus switched from two dimensional canvas art to the world of three-dimensional ceramic sculpture. After graduating, she was accepted into an advanced workshop with Beth Cavener at her studio in Montana where she learned techniques in building large scale sculptures on armatures. The next two years were spent developing her portfolio in local evening classes, where her work transitioned into small-scale anthropomorphic figures in porcelain.

In 2017, Lorren took a leap of faith and moved to Portland, Oregon to join the Emerging Artist Mentorship Program at Ash Street Project where she plans to focus on a cohesive body of work exploring anthropomorphic figures. She hopes to gain a clearer understanding of what drives her to create and where her work fits into the larger art community.


2016 - 2017

Matthew Asbill

Matthew Asbill started making pottery the fall of his senior year at the University of Vermont as an extra credit class. He was instantly enthralled by the process, and by the end of the semester, was determined to keep pursuing this new found passion. After graduating, Matt moved to Jackson, WY, where he continued his studio practice at the Center for the Arts in Jackson Hole, and Brooklyn, NY, where he worked for two years in a group studio called Clayspace1205. Taking workshops at Penland and Anderson Ranch put into perspective the importance of working with experienced potters and being a part of the greater ceramics community. This lead to a desire to work next to experienced potters in a more focused environment.  When Matt decided to move to Portland, Oregon, he came to check out Ash Street Project on the recommendation of Allegheny Meadows.  He was an obvious fit for the program and jumped right in.  



Sarah Stokes

Sarah Stokes, born in Seneca, South Carolina, discovered her love of art at a young age.  That love eventually led her to be accepted into  the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities.  She then attended Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina, where she received her BFA with a concentration in Ceramics and Photography. During her time at Winthrop, she realized that her desire to turn her art into a career was a realistic dream that she could fulfill.  Upon graduation, she set out to learn as much about herself, her art and her studio practice as she could.  She participated in a summer studio assistant internship at The Bascom (North Carolina), where she assisted Steven Hill, Liz Slot Summerfield and Tena Payne.  Most recently she has been working out of a home studio and teaching at the Clemson and Blue Ridge Arts Centers, both in South Carolina.  After a summer of teaching kids and participating in a work-study at Arrowmont, Sarah has moved across the country participate in the mentorship program at the Ash Street Project.


Jimin LEE

Jimin Lee was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea. Being an only child she spent a great deal of time solitarily surrounded by piles of collected poems and novels belonging to her parents. Almost everyday she opened a poem or novel and absorbed a word or two or even a sentence and began drawing whatever she felt in a sketchbook.  Her insatiable curiosity led her to study drawing and painting.  In her early 20's Lee came to the United States to follow her dream of becoming a painter by taking classes at Portland Community College.  At PCC she took her first ceramic class and decided to transfer to the Oregon College of Art and Craft to pursue pottery.  Lee now maintains an active studio practice and exhibits regionally.

Since 2011 Lee has been employed as a studio assistant for Anne Crumpacker, a local artist working with bamboo.  Working with bamboo brings new ideas and possibilities to her ceramic work and her most recent journey as an Emerging Artist Mentorship Program participant at the Ash Street Project.


2015 - 2016

Ben skiba

Ben Skiba was born and raised deep in the woods on the outskirts of a small frozen Wisconsin town.  Art held very little interest to him, until his final semester of high school when he took the “mandatory senior sluff-off class",  Ceramics 101.  Since then he hasn’t gone a day without the plastic earthy material being stuck underneath his fingernails and plastered across his jeans. He spent his undergraduate years at the University of Wisconsin, Madison,  where he slept on floors and fought off late night security to insure he could spend every possible moment in his studio. Upon receiving his BFA in Ceramics and Painting, he departed from the Midwest and moved to Portland, Oregon where he is continuing his passion for ceramic creation and experimentation as a mentee at Ash Street Project.



Iván Carmona is a studio artist from Puerto Rico who lives in Portland.  Ivan graduated in 2015 with a BFA from Oregon College of Art and Craft with a  concentration in Ceramics.  He received the Student Scholarship Award for Outstanding Academic and Artistic Achievement; “Best in Show” at the Hoffman Gallery Juried Student Show; 3rd Place at The 2015 NCECA Undergraduate Award For Excellence & The Studio Potter Undergraduate Merit Award, Providence, RI and The 2014 Huntley-Tidwell Scholarship, attending Penland School of Craft, Asheville, NC. Another recognition was being included in an art book publication, 500 Figures in Clay, Vol. 2.

His work has been shown in numerous galleries in Puerto Rico, Latin America, and the US, including Eutectic Gallery and Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland, OR. His work is represented in both private and public collections, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Juan, Puerto Rico and Gifu Prefecture, Tokyo Kouryu High School, Japan.








Jordan Pieper is a studio artist who lives in Portland, OR.  He received his BFA from the Oregon College of Art and Craft in 2015, and is a current mentee at the Ash Street Project.  He works primarily with porcelain and makes vessel-based work that draws form the European decorative objects of the 18th century.  In the fall of 2015, Jordan will travel throughout Europe to further study the history of 18th century European production.  His research abroad will help guide and inform a new body of work during his time at Ash Street Project.

Jordan's work has been exhibited in numerous national juried shows and in 2015 he was awarded the Juror's Choice Award for his work in the Clay National III at Red Lodge Clay Center.  He was a Niche Awards finalist in 2014 and 2015 and received the Undergraduate Award for Excellence,  3rd Place in the National Student Juried Exhibition at the National Council for Education of the Ceramic Arts (NCECA).  In 2015 he was awarded the NCECA Regina Brown Undergraduate Fellowship.  His work has been published in Ceramics Monthly, The NCECA Journal and Cfile.



Aleka Tomlinson

Aleka Tomlinson was born in Salmon Arm, British Columbia and spent her childhood swimming the lakes of the Okanagan valley. She moved to Portland, OR with her family during her early teens and decided to leave high school early to pursue art classes through Clark Community College in Washington, focusing on ceramics. Anxious to learn more, Aleka transferred to the Oregon College of Art and Craft and studied ceramics there in 2006. Her stay was short-lived, however, and she left the college in late 2007. After spending some time traveling, she landed back in Portland, eventually obtaining a studio cleaning job at production studio, Pigeon Toe Ceramics. While working her way up the ladder at Pigeon Toe, Aleka also had the pleasure to work part time assisting acclaimed local ceramic artist Lilith Rockett and glass artist Andy Paiko. Today, Aleka is Operations Manager for Pigeon Toe and is embarking on discovering her own studio practice through the Ash Street Project.



2014 - 2015

Spencer Brewer

Spencer Brewer is an artist, engineer, thinker, and tinkerer, who works out of Portland Oregon. Raised in a salvage yard in the High Deserts of Colorado, Spencer is a man of many talents, and unique taste. Recently, Spencer graduated with a BFA with a concentration in ceramics from the Oregon College of Art and Craft. While at OCAC Spencer took on an internship at Mudshark Studios, where he has been employed now for the past three years working as a mold maker. Spencer is very excited for the future of the ceramic arts, and believes that this new fresh batch of ceramic artists will provide a valuable contribution to the historic context of the medium.


Aldin Huff

Aldin Huff comes to us from Bellingham, Washington, where he was the recipient of the Visual Art Recognition Award presented by the Rotary Club to noticeable young artists.  He attended Oregon College of Art and Craft as a merit scholar, and was elected Student Representative to the Board of Trustees in his second year.  At OCAC Aldin completed all the studio classes in his area of concentration of ceramics, as well as additional studio classes in metals, jewelry, and a glass fusing, a class taught in collaboration with Portland’s Bullseye Glass Company.  Aldin plans to spend this year developing the professional practices necessary to be active as a studio artist.

Aldin Huff