Sunflower porcelain

Melva Wilkie shows off her sunflower porcelain plate that was featured on the front cover of “The China Painter.” 

A Lakeview native has been featured on the cover of national magazine “The China Painter.” 

Melva Wilkie, one of the continuing members of the local group, the High Desert China Painters was featured on the front cover. Her sunflower porcelain plate was on display in Oklahoma City for a year.

“What a delight it is to have my Sunflower Tray chosen for The China Painter magazine cover,” she said. “When I registered that piece, it came in third in the state of Oregon and it went to Oklahoma City, where they determined that would be the one to go on the cover of their magazine. I was very surprised and delighted to have mine selected.” 

Wilkie started doing china painting in 2001, when she began taking classes with five of her friends on Saturday mornings and that’s when her love for painting really took off. The China Painters belongs to the World Organization of China Painters as well as the state of Oregon’s world china painters, but unfortunately the state group is preparing to disband, but the local group will still stay with the World Organization of China Painters with their headquarters in Oklahoma City. 

She has done toll and oil paints, but really found her love doing porcelain painting. 

After her husband passed away, she spent winters in Arizona and learned from teacher Patricia Ritter who began teaching the different styles.

The time varies on completing a design on one of the plates, as Wilkie said sometimes it takes several hours to complete, because once you paint the design, then it goes into a kiln.

She doesn’t have a favorite thing that she’s painted, but there are several porcelain plates and other designs that are very partial to her and that she’s held close to her heart. She doesn’t have a particular way that she gets her inspiration. 

“We have a lot of artists designs,” she said. “You can get their ideas from them and their work, or Pinterest. We get a lot of ideas from Pinterest or if you’re good enough you can design your own.” 

The china and porcelain that she’s used comes from all around the world and she said it helps relax her.

“When I first started it was a lot of trial and error and even now that I’ve been doing it for nearly 20 years, it’s still trial and error,” she said with a laugh. “You never know when you pull it out of the kiln if you’re going to have to re-paint or not.” 

The paint that she uses is a powder paint mixed with oil, so she paints once, fires it and the paint goes into the porcelain, takes it out, applies another coat of paint and then fires it again where the paint will go into the porcelain. 

Wilkie has several projects in the works, as she will be painting designs into china and porcelain plates for her family. 

She enters her designs into the Lake County Fair’s open class and more often than not, comes out a winner every year. She will once again have displays at the Lake County Fair. 

The Open Class of the Fair opens on Thursday, Aug. 29 and will run throughout the weekend. 

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