Port Orchard had a long history of creating ceramics as the mineral deposits were apparently quite suited for creating certain types of clay from which to make certain ceramics. A huge factory existed here for some decades but closed many years ago. However there are still those who practice ceramics here, among the various other local arts.
One of those is Salamander Pottery. While not as famous or as highly prized as the famous Hummel figurenes, the Salamander works share some of the features of that famed house of ceramics.
While Salamander does make a few various works, it is best known for its bells. In 1980, Salamander Pottery started making hand made Porcelain Bells. Each is a fairly unique character, shape, structure, or otherwise an individual work of art. While the characters may be similar, no two are alike according to the artist. Usually these are fanciful animal or people caricatures, but a few have been structures of some type or other (houses, churches, etc.) Examples of the works are shown on the web site.
Since 2001 the artist has moved on to create other works and therefore the bells may at some point become unavailable.
There are several places that sell the eccentric little bell sculptures produced by Salamander, but your best bet is the Sidney Gallery at Prospect and Sidney Avenue, which is only a brief walk up hill from the core intersection of Port Orchard. (see Sidney Gallery tip at http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/t/1fd506/ )
It is also possible to order their products through the mail.
They arlso show up at several local art shows every year, and the web site suggests that if you want to find out what shows they will be at, to contact them directly.
Elsewhere in my Port Orchard information you are able to read my tip about Elandan Gardens, which is an eccentric little bonsai garden along Sinclair Inlet a little bit outside Port Orchard.
However, the gardens also host an eccentric shop which features eccentric odds and ends from all over. Some of the items you will find here are works of art by local artists. There are eccentric and mildly naughty greeting cards from the UK. There are antique and artistic furniture from an odd assortment of places, including right here close to home. There are what appear to be Asian and African artwork of various kinds.
NOTE: The address is Bremerton, but it is slightly closer to Port Orchard, and due to Highway 16 being a divided road here it is only possible to get to the shop from the Port Orchard direction. It is highly suggested that you not try walking from the nearest public transit in downtown Port Orchard. The walk isn't too far and basically level, but it is on narrow shoulders on very busy roads with fast traffic, and therefore not a pleasant place to walk, and not especially safe - though people do jog and ride their bikes there.
Hours are Tuesday through Sunday 10 to 5 during the warm months (April to October) and 10 to 5 on Friday through Sunday during the Winter (November through March).
What to buy: There is such an ecclectic mix here in this store, many of which are unique one of a kind items, it is hard to say exactly what is here. There is a very good chance that what you find here when you arrive will not be the same items found when I visited, since there are so many unique items.
However, ask the store owner specifically about seeing some unique artwork from local artists, and see what you can find.
Though, if you are not interested in coming out here to see the Bonsai Garden, you could probably skip this place as far as the shopping goes. You can find more tourist-friendly artworks by local artists in the several galleries that are located in downtown Port Orchard. Their focus here is mostly on eccentric international offerings, with only a small scattering of local works.
What to pay: Depends on what you buy: if large items, expect to pay quite a lot.
Every day, between 12 and 6, you can find the artists at work making some of the most wonderful chocolate treats in Puget Sound. Their work is available for consumption at a number of stores in Seattle, Bremerton, and other places in the region.
However, their retail outlet and display kitchen are right here in Port Orchard. You can watch the making of your favorite treats right here.
What to buy: If you have any interest at all in chocolate, then Carter's Chocolates is both a must see and a must taste. You will find quite a variety of flavors available (see photo).
There are several local restaurants that have these available, including The Lighthouse. However, the primary place of interest is the Carter Chocolate store itself, which is located up the hill from downtown Port Orchard.
Don't forget to check the web site for special tasting events and other items on the calendar where you will be able to sample their craftsmanship.
There are also a few vegan options as opposed to true milk chocolate.
What to pay: If they cost any less, you would probably eat far too many of them anyway.