Among the many talented artists who have made Mendocino their permanent residence is potter, Alexis Moyer. Moyer’s ceramic works of art range from functional to whimsical, with a lot of crossover between the two! Her studio, The Pot Shop, located in a repurposed gas station in Philo, CA, is open by “coincidence or appointment,” as Moyers says, so all it takes is a quick call ahead to ensure you have access to her gallery and eccentric workspace. It’s an absolutely worthwhile stop, and simply a must if a drive down windy Highway 128 is already on your agenda.
Moyer is perhaps known most for her signature pieces, including ceramic totem poles and quirky animals. On her website, Moyer explains that her focus on totem poles emerged from her background in architecture blending with the desire to combine small pieces to create something cohesive and large. The totem poles range in size, theme, and color. They all share a quality of balance that seems to defy physics – standing tall and relatively narrow, the totems and their respective pieces appear to float as one when viewed from afar.
Many of Moyer’s totem poles incorporate the ceramic animals she is so cherished for. A sweet, brown rabbit is captured mid-hop atop a stack of lush green, orange and yellow shapes which bring to mind spinach, cabbage, carrots, and curly sweet-pea vines. A group of colorful fish swim in and out of tranquil blue bubbles and dancing sea grass. A proud cat struts atop a tower of spherical shapes, unfazed by the probable long drop to ground level he faces.
Her animal pieces stand alone as a distinct collection as well. Mythical dragons, household pets, jungle animals, and beyond all inhabit Moyer’s fanciful world of sculptures. Typically oversized and full of life, the animal sculptures make striking pieces for indoors and out. Moyer aims to capture an animal’s disposition and character rather than to create a biologically accurate model. She celebrates nature’s beauty and joy by highlighting the essence of her subjects with bright colors, exaggerated expressions, and candid poses.
Of all the animals who pop up in Moyer’s work, frogs seem to be the most prevalent. In fact, Moyer has designed an entire line of hand-made, one-of-a-kind functional pieces of pottery, adorned with one unassuming frog on each. The kitchen-ware collection is glazed with a palette of vivid blues, which Moyer uses as a gesture to her pivotal apprenticeship in Greece, years ago. This pottery, like Moyer’s other kitchenware lines, is priced for function, though each piece is handmade and unique. Visitors to The Pot Shop will be pleased to find a memento piece to leave with, regardless of budget.
The Pot Shop is perfectly situated for a stop on your travels through or to Anderson Valley. Moyer welcomes visitors to come shop, peruse, or simply observe her at work during business hours. Keep in mind, the business at hand is creative, so those hours develop at will each day – call ahead to let her know when you’d like to come. Piggyback the visit with a stop or two at some of Anderson Valley’s famous breweries, vineyards, and restaurants, and you’ve got yourself set up for a day full of sophisticated fun!