Mr. Feeney and Austin

Meet Mr. Feeney

Meet Mr. Richard Feeney, known as Dick Feeney, but we all call him Mr. Feeney for some reason. I think he likes that.

Mr. Feeney is the former Director of Government Affairs for Tri-Met and helped get funding for Portland’s first light rail line. Prior to that he worked as Chief of Staff to County Executive Don Clark, Chief of Staff to Representative Edith Green, and set up the press office for Peter Salinger during Bobby Kennedy’s Oregon primary.

He has been coming to Mimosa since he retired in 2003. His first work of art was a soup bowl with a handle which he describes as “really ugly.” He never had time for crafts before. He was too busy with his career and family.

Mr. Feeney now comes in to paint about once a week. He often comes alone or with one of his four grandchildren. Over the years he as brought  in his daughter, niece, son-in-law and sister-in-law, introducing them to the fun of painting pottery.  For Mother’s Day, Mr. Feeney brought in a whole clan of Feeneys to partake in our annual “Mimosa Mother’s Day Celebration.”  What better way to celebrate motherhood than with ceramics and mimosas?

His wife, Anne Kelly Feeney, former Multnomah County Auditor, would rather knit or sew but is often the recipient of Mr. Feeney’s creations

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[image title=”Watermelon Bowl” alt=”Watermelon Bowl” caption=”Watermelon Bowl”][/image]
[image title=”Platter” alt=”Platter” caption=”Platter”][/image]

Both Mr. Feeney and his wife make all their gifts now for friends’ and relatives’ birthdays and Christmas: she does the textiles, he does ceramics.

Mr. Feeney has invited his friends Pat LaCrosse, former Executive Director of the Portland Development Commission, and Tuck Wilson, Project Manager for the Milwaukie Light Rail line, but they have yet to discover just how fun and manly painting pottery really is.

He is inspired by Turkish ceramics and is currently working on host gifts for a trip to Turkey he is taking in October. One of those gifts is a shot glass with a Turkish flag painted on it.

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[image title=”Shot Glass” alt=”Shot Glass” caption=”Shot Glass”][/image]
[image title=”To Anne” alt=”To Anne” caption=”To Anne”][/image]

He estimates that he has painted over 80 pieces of pottery, many of which are on display in Ceci’s Ceramic Museum (Ceci is his 4 year-old grandaughter).  She has designated herself the “chief curator” and while she has devoted a whole shelf to her grandfather’s creations, she only displays the ones she likes. She also has generously designated a shelf for each of her sisters so they can display their own Mimosa Studios masterpieces.

Feeney’s favorite piece is a fairy box he made for Poppy, his eldest granddaughter, for her First Communion, complete with a shimmery gown. He also loves all the piggy banks with 4 leaf clovers he made for his friends for St. Patrick’s Day.

[fancy_images width=”270″ height=”200″][image title=”Ceci’s Ceramic Museum” alt=”Ceci’s Ceramic Museum” caption=”Ceci’s Ceramic Museum”][/image]
[image title=”Piggy Banks” alt=”Piggy Banks” caption=”Piggy Banks”][/image]

What does Mr. Feeney like most about Mimosa Studios?  “It’s people. Everyone who works here is really nice, really fun, really interesting. And they help me a lot”.

Fun Fact: Mr. Feeney and Austin worked together for years on transportation issues while he was at Tri-Met and she worked for Congressman Earl Blumenauer. They still sometimes paint together and reminisce about the good old days.

Here’s a recent article about Mr. Feeney in the Catholic Sentinel