It’s March 6, 2020, and I am searching for more information on Carol Graham who once taught at Malaspina College on Vancouver Island

My old friend, Tony Clennell, once told me that writing a blog was like having a horse:  you had to feed it every day.  Well, those of you who regularly check back for news will know clearly that my horse must have died.  It has been a while since I sat down to write and there is lots of news.  So news first and research/writing/ceramics next!  This summer is set for two significant events.  The first is my artist residence at the Contemporary Arts Centre in La Borne, France.  I am so excited to be working in their studios and firing their Phoenix Fast Fire Kiln.  Also, I will be meeting the women who will be using the anagama kiln, and there will be a symposium dealing with the challenges of being a woman and wood firing.  All ages will be present.  It is going to be quite fun!  I will also be giving two workshops and getting to use that fabulous soft La Borne clay.  Shortly after, on August 31, I will officially retire from teaching for the School of Art at the University of Manitoba.  No tears.  It has been great fun, but it is time to live – and to be able to take advantage of those ticket sales to beautiful places that have been ignored.  So mark your calendars and have a drink of some kind – juice or adult beverage – in celebration with me!

Now, to get to one of those projects that will fast become the top of my to-do-list shortly again.  For those who have been reading this blog or who know me, I continue to try to find all of those men and women who came to Canada during the Vietnam era who were potters.  In 2016, I received a Chalmers Grant for Craft from the Canada Council to begin this project.  To date, I have 119 individuals who have contributed much to the ceramic landscape in Canada.  Some have won the highest awards our country could offer.  Many taught, and all made ceramics.  But today, I am reaching out for help on one single individual.  Her name is Carol Graham, and Doug and Verona Bridges saw my call for information on Carol and wrote to me.  Doug taught at Malaspina College with Carol and Verona, and Carol travelled to Taos and Santa Fe where they visited Blue Corn and convinced her to come to Nanaimo.  Doug and Verona also have an extensive collection of Carol’s high fire functional domestic ware.  The minute I saw the images, I was drawn back to the 1970s when everyone was using iron-rich clay and muted glazes in their high fire kilns.  Many were also, like Carol, using stamps on their work.  Gosh, that was a great time to be a potter!  One of my favourites in their collection is a dillweed plate meant to hang on the wall.  I can almost feel Carol slowly and steadily pushing the dill into the clay.

The only other information that I have on Carol Graham is that she received her MFA from Puget Sound and in 1983 she lived in Cobble Hill, BC before she died.  If you have any recollection of Carol Graham or own her work, please contact me.  My plan is to finish the book on the women who came to Canada during the Vietnam era and who were potters.

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CarolGraham garlic and spice containers

Author: maryannsteggles

I am a writer and occasional maker working with clay. I received my PhD from the University of Leicester in art history as a Commonwealth Scholar from Canada to the UK. Since then I have taught art history and ceramics until August 2020 when I returned to full-time writing. The giant umbrella under which I work is contemporary ceramics with an emphasis on wood firing, women who wood fire, the contributions of Vietnam Resisters on Canadian ceramics, and ceramics and sustainability.

6 thoughts on “It’s March 6, 2020, and I am searching for more information on Carol Graham who once taught at Malaspina College on Vancouver Island”

  1. Hi MaryAnn,
    I knew Carol Graham well in the early 80’s as I lived in in her area on Vancouver Island, near cobble Hill when my then Husband and I had a studio in Shawnigan Lake. I am on a bit of a ski holiday right now but when I get home next week I will send you a more informative email! Lovely to see her pots in your post! Thanks. Susan

    1. Hi Susan. Oh, how grand that you knew her. I am so happy you responded to the post while you are on holiday. Enjoy your skiing. I will look forward to hearing from you when you return. Thanks ever.

  2. I knew Carol for many years, and met her first in 1971 when she was married to Jim Southward, an English teacher at the local high school when I joined the English department. I have several of her pieces as does my daughter. If I can be of any help in your research, do contact me.

    1. Dear Judith.
      Thank you so much for writing to me about Carol Graham. I have only the information on the blog so anything else is very welcome. I am hoping to get images of her working in her studio, her studio, more images of her gorgeous work. ——– Any corrections are also welcome.

  3. Carol Graham co-authored a book with Dorothy Field called Between Gardens, Observations on Gardening, Friendship and Disability. Carol had married Ron Chudley and her name on the book is shown as Carol Graham Chudley

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