The Oregon Coast Council for the Arts welcomes Reedsport artist Kimberly King to the Coastal Oregon Visual Artist Showcase (COVAS) at the Newport Visual Arts Center. King’s exhibit, “Small Wonders,” will feature over 40 miniature myrtlewood carvings as well porcelain and wood dolls. “Small Wonders” will be on display from April 1 to May 28. An opening reception will be held April 1, 5-7 pm, at the VAC, with an artist’s talk scheduled for 6:15pm.
Kimberly King moved to the Southern Oregon Coast in 1994 and instantly took to carving myrtlewood. “It’s gorgeous, every piece is different,” she told THE WORLD newspaper in Coos Bay, Oregon. “No matter how myrtlewood is sliced, the wood displays a different grain pattern each time.”
King developed her carving skills under the tutelage of Abe Goertzen, a German immigrant from Russia whom she met in California. Previously she had focused on making porcelain figurines, which she sold out of a doll shop that she and her mother operated near Fresno. (King’s earlier doll work will be included in the “Small Wonders” exhibit as well.)
Since moving to Reedsport, Oregon, Kimberly King has produced hundreds upon hundreds of gleaming wooden butterflies, cats, cranes and other animals, though she admits that birds are her favorite. King’s work has been sold at shops up and down the Oregon coast. Today, her work is primarily found at The Myrtlewood Gallery in Reedsport, just a few blocks from her home studio.
In years past, King was the exclusive carver for Sutter’s Fort, a historical landmark in California for whom she made replicas of the Patty Reed doll. (The Patty Reed doll was one of the few surviving relics of the famous Donner Party trapped in the Sierra Nevada Mountains during the mid-1800s.) At the time, King was just the third carver in Sutter’s Fort’s 150-year history.
Kimberly King gives each of her miniature carvings special attention. She uses a bandsaw to establish the basic shapes and then stylizes each carving with dremel tools, knives and sanders. Over the years, King has won various awards for her work in carving and doll making. In 1989, she won First and Second Places in the Anaheim Doll show for her “Beauty” and “Beast” doll set. She has won various prizes while showing at the Douglas County Fair and was the featured artist at the Myrtlewood Gallery in 2011.
Kimberly Kings carvings are indeed small, with few over five inches in height. She keeps her prices affordable to attract a range of shops and customers.
The COVAS Showcase features mid-career artists living on the Oregon coast. The COVAS showcase is open noon-4pm, Tuesday-Saturday.