An Article From The Martin Gallery


LIBERTY GARDENS Pinewood Preparatory School Summerville, SC

Martin Gallery is honored to procure the artwork for Liberty Gardens at Pinewood Preparatory School of Summerville, SC. Liberty Gardens is a sculptural tribute to those who have shown political and social courage, focusing on world leaders in the constant struggles for peace and freedom.

The gardens will be dedicated to local hero, Frances Suddeth Josephson, who showed courage when she defied gender stereotypes to become a WWII code breaker.

Her work helped end the war and save thousands of lives.

The Blessing - Mother Teresa Bronze Sculpture


Winston Churchill Bronze Sculpture

Liberty Gardens celebrates the local and the distant, the domestic and the international, all the while showing our future leaders that the choices we make matter, and that we can matter, too.

Oregon artist, Kris Parmele, is working to sculpt a series of six busts, and also a portrait of Frances Suddeth Josephson, all to be installed in Liberty Gardens.

To date she has completed the renderings of Mother Teresa and Winston Churchill. Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, Gandhi and Albert Einstein are all planned to be a part of the final installation.


Each sculpture will be cast in bronze in a limited edition of 12.

For information on how to sponsor a sculpture, or to purchase one for your own collection, please contact the gallery at:

Winston Churchill &  The Blessing - Mother Teresa Bronze Sculptures

An Article From Yoshida's Fine Art Gallery



Art buyer donates “The Blessing” in memory of her late father

Portland, Ore. (April 18, 2006) –  When Boring, Oregon artist Kris Parmele completed the casting of her sculpture featuring Mother Teresa with a child entitled, “The Blessing,” she had envisioned her artwork providing inspiration by gracing the interior of a local church or hospital. Far from the realm of her imagination was the sculpture’s ultimate placement in such a prestigious facility as the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The neoclassical Minor Basilica, now designated a National Shrine and National Historic Landmark, is located on a hill above Baltimore Harbor in Maryland. This first great metropolitan cathedral constructed in America following the adoption of the Constitution will celebrate its 200th anniversary and grand reopening on November 4, 2006, after undergoing an extensive two-year restoration. In honor of the rededication, Maryland Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. has proclaimed 2006 “The Year of the Baltimore Basilica.” On May 29, 1996, Mother Teresa of Calcutta graced the Basilica with her presence by receiving the renewal of vows of 35 of her Missionaries of Charity. Thus, when Antoinette Amato of Tacoma, Washington spotted the sculpture at Yoshida’s Fine Art Gallery (206 NW 10th, Portland, Ore.) in early April, the thought of donating the art piece to the Basilica in her late father’s name seemed a perfectly fitting gesture. “The Blessing” is currently in transit to its new home, where Parmele hopes it will touch the hearts of viewers as greatly as the real-life subject, Mother Teresa, touched those of millions of people around the globe, crossing over racial and religious barriers.

Artist Kris Parmele

Kris Parmele, an Oregon native, has been honing her artistic craft for more than 30 years. In all of her pieces Parmele strives to be technically accurate, believing attention to detail is fundamental for penetrating into and drawing out the essence of the humanity she desires to capture. Her development of facial expressions and physical movement in both clay and bronze results in delightful, contemporary personalities with stories to tell. It is Parmele's vision that individuals viewing her sculptures will be mentally stimulated and emotionally impacted. "The Blessing," a spiritual masterpiece, will undoubtedly accomplish both for future visitors of the Basilica.

Cathedral History

The Basilica’s cornerstone was laid in July 1806, after which it has become a symbol of the religious freedom upon which this country was created. In a newfound nation, Bishop Carroll appealed to his parishioners and the population of all religions for their support and generosity, resulting in an outpouring of gifts from around the world. As the country’s first archdiocese, two-thirds of U.S. Catholic dioceses can trace their heritage to this location. Under its auspices also came a series of other firsts, including the first order of African-American nuns. Since 1976, the Basilica has seen visits by Pope John Paul II, Mother Teresa, and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, as well as hosted the ordainment of Father Michael J. McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus.

About the Gallery

Yoshida's Fine Art Gallery features more than 5,000 square feet of original artwork by more than 40 premier artists. Accenting the artwork are antique Chinese collectibles ranging from 80 to 300 years in age, each personally selected by Linda Yoshida, Gallery Director, during her annual visits to Shanghai. Yoshida’s gallery has been named "The Best of the West" in national publication Southwest Art Magazine in three consecutive issues and continues to claim exclusive art décor rights to several designer homes at the annual Street of Dreams and Parade of Homes.

Yoshida’s Wine Bar & Bistro

A unique feature of the Yoshida Gallery is Yoshida’s Wine Bar & Bistro, offering much sought after wines, assorted beers and live jazz music. A diverse retail section includes both imported and domestic wines, and special requests are encouraged. Indoor and outdoor seating available. Call for private bookings. Located at 206 NW 10th Avenue in Portland, Ore., Yoshida’s Fine Art Gallery, Wine Bar & Bistro is part of the Yoshida Group, a conglomeration of 18 diverse companies headquartered in Portland, Ore. Products range from Jones Golf bags to Prison Blues® garments. Open 7 days a week, gallery hours are 10am-6pm Monday through Saturday and 12pm-5pm on Sunday.

News Update

To Honor Her Dad, Tacoma, WA Woman Donates Mother Teresa Sculpture.

When Antoinette Amato of Tacoma, Washington, spotted a bronze sculpture of Mother Teresa with a child titled, “The Blessing,” the idea of donating the art piece to the Baltimore Basilica in memory of her late father seemed a perfectly fitting gesture.

Amato recently had read of the historic cathedral’s upcoming 200th anniversary celebration and the 1996 visit by Mother Teresa of Calcutta. The Portland, Oregon artist, Kris Parmele, and Amato are hopeful the sculpture will touch the hearts of worshippers as greatly as its real-life subject touched those of millions of people around the globe.

An Article From The Oregonian


"Each clay piece is a hand-made original, which has been repeatedly fired at 275°F as separate components are incorporated into the work"

Her art comes from within, where it lay quietly for years, gathering a life force of its own. As Kris Parmele reclaims it now, drawing it out of herself to form the bronze sculptures that are winning her acclaim, it is with the urgency of a woman who knows how time slips away. "Your life gets caught up, or you allow it to get caught up," Parmele says. "It takes focus to get back to what you feel your life's calling is." But there's no desperation in her approach now, no sense of years wasted as she evolved from childhood artist to teenage rebel, garden worker, secretary, wife, mother, home-school teacher and, finally, artist again.

And at 50, with her daughter and son grown, and with a new studio overlooking downtown Gresham's Main Avenue, Parmele is at peace with her creativity. Despite limited formal training, her pieces are at two galleries, including Yoshida's Fine Art Gallery in Portland's Pearl District. Her work ranges from an emotional rendering of wrinkled Mother Teresa blessing a child, to playful Japanese figures, to a commissioned ocean-themed medallion and tiles that will be installed in a marble bathroom floor.

Gallery owners say visitors are impressed by the range, depth and quality of Parmele's work. "She's an incredibly talented artist, a really strong figurative sculptor," says Linda Yoshida, an early backer and friend. "She's one of the true Oregon artists who remains undiscovered." "She's a very prolific artist who can do everything from very small Asian pieces to life-size children; she's just amazing," says Otho Wing, co-owner of Rhodes Stringfellow Gallery in Cannon Beach.

Parmele is gratified by the response, happy to make a connection. Being an artist is a roller coaster of highs and lows, she says, because part of who Kris Parmele is inevitably flows into her sculptures. The figures may be feudal Japanese, but the joy or wariness or self-satisfaction they express is hers. When you expose yourself like that, you become vulnerable to the fickle decisions of buyers and critics who may never understand where the emotion comes from, and will never know the life experiences from which the art is drawn.

What's pouring out of Parmele now is the answer to all those people who asked her during those missing years, "What are you doing with that talent of yours?"

But she didn't pursue it after high school, despite the urgings of an art teacher. Instead, she graduated early, and kicked loose of ties and expectations. She worked five years as a gardener for a prominent restaurant family, learning as much about how to proceed in life as about how to care for orchids. Later, in what she describes as a total flip, she spent 18 months doing secretarial work for the Port of Portland. Marriage and children followed. Her art was always there, within her, but she kept its demands at bay. She kept a hand in, for sure, occasionally taking classes, sculpting something or encouraging her children, but she was hesitant to pursue it. It wasn't until 1998 that she decided to make the jump.

Part of the delay was "just life," she says. "When you're younger, you feel like you have an unlimited amount of time," she says. "You get busy with life; it's so easy for everything else to crowd it out. You think, I'll have time for that, it's just around the corner, but I've got to do this first." But she also was fearful of exposing herself through her art, and still is. "Once you move forward, you're out there," she says. "I try to step out of that and push myself."

Yoshida, the gallery owner, shakes her head at Parmele's trepidation. "As an artist, she's not aware of how good she is. She has to be kind of reminded all the time that she has this wonderful gift." Frowning in concentration, Parmele trims away some of the mask maker's lower back. It didn't look right.

The old man has no shirt yet. Although a buyer will never see it, Parmele sculpts her figures' bodies first, then "dresses" them with another layer of clay. If she did otherwise, the clothing would not hang naturally, she says.

Art deserves such respect for detail, she says. It is a theme that runs through her work. While working on a samurai who held a sword behind his robe, she got the pose right by photographing her husband, Daniel, clenching one hand behind his back.

She resculpted the Mother Teresa figure several times because she was disappointed in the eye contact between the nun and the child whose face she cradles in her wrinkled hands. Finally she realized that people staring at one another close up are somewhat cross-eyed. That change solved the problem.  

Mother Teresa, which took nine months to make and sells for $9,500, remains Parmele's favorite piece.

The clay figure taking shape in Parmele's studio is a Japanese mask maker, a master craftsman bent over his work. She experiments with him, suddenly deciding to give him a beard, cap and ponytail. "I like the thought of him looking older; his personality emerges," she says. "I love it when what I see in my mind starts to take form."

It's another case of art imitating life: Her bronzes emerge from a multistep process. A silicone mold is made of the sculpture, and sculpturing wax is poured into the mold. After fine-tuning, the wax model is dipped in a slurry of plaster and sand, building up a quarter-inch shell. The wax is melted out, and bronze is poured into the shell. Afterward, the plaster shell is chipped away, and the bronze piece is ready for tooling and a patina finish.

Parmele is blonde with light blue eyes, with an easy smile and laugh. She stays slender from a regimen of competitive tennis, gym workouts and, she half-jokes, life stresses that include seeing to the care of her aging parents. She lives in Boring, but her Gresham studio is her "Bat Cave," she says, a spot of her own to work, read and study.

She grew up Kris La Ford in Portland's Eastmoreland neighborhood, the youngest of three children in an intense, emotionally driven family. She discovered a gift for sculpture in high school, where she enjoyed stunning and delighting people with bizarre, flowing creations. It was her intent, she says, to capture the love and compassion that flowed through Mother Teresa from God.

"Her hands show the wear and tear of a life of service -- loving the unloved," Parmele writes in a note. "She believed that loneliness and feeling unwanted was one of life's greatest abuses." If someone now approaches the sculpture and feels that character, that emotion, Parmele feels she has succeeded. "I enjoy drawing that out," she says. "When I started in 1998, I wanted to prove I was a great artist," she says. "Now I'm letting the creativity flow through me; I'm not so uptight about being perfect. I'm more loose, more open to what comes my way."

"It's a journey; some are faster than others," Parmele says with a laugh. "I've always been the queen of the last minute."