Summer. Thinking ice cream? If you are in Winnipeg, head down to Chaeban in South Osborne

If you headed to my site today wanting to know what is going on in the world of ceramics, I am sorry.  It is summer and after watching a glaze kiln all day I needed a bit of a treat and what better than ice cream.

We are so lucky in the South Osborne area.  Chaeban opened in the winter and even then there were lineups for their handmade ice cream.  Read their story on their website.  It is heart warming.  And, as Canadians, it is a positive sign that we welcome refugees from the war-torn Middle East into our country and our lives by visiting this local shop which, by the way, brings a bunch of happiness into its customers lives (like mine).

The flavour of the week is Louis Riel Lavender, a blend of luscious infused lavender with the freshest of Saskatoons.  It is seriously amazing.

If you haven’t been to Chaeban, you need to go.  It reminds me of the old-fashioned ice cream parlours that we had when I was growing up in Oklahoma.  Everything is white and clean.  You stand in line inside in the cool.  The place is full of children with big smiles digging into their bowls.  It is just a happy place.  And now it even has free wifi.

You can’t buy the flavours at the local supermarket but they do have containers to take home.  If you are Vegan, no problem.  There is at least one flavour on hand just for you.  One day it was a deep dark chocolate with avocado.  The Plain Jane is anything but your old boring vanilla.  It is sweetened with local honey and is full of sour cream giving it a tang that you don’t find elsewhere.

Now…if they only had handmade pottery bowls…………………..Back to ceramics tomorrow but for now remember that ice cream is a wonderful way to cool down from the summer heat we have been experiencing.

 

End of Day 5: The Kiln is Finished! Matt Boyd laid the last brick in the last course of the chimney around 4:45pm. Wow.

Everyone has either brought bisque work or created objects that will be loaded tomorrow.  The kiln will be fired with dry Poplar logs on Thursday for about 14 hours so that we can reach cone 14.

Markus mixed up some amazing short bodied heavily grogged clay.  All of the participants and Markus worked on the wheels (Diane Laluk made masks) and those vessels have been drying in the kiln room or out in the sun to be loaded tomorrow raw.  Can’t wait to see how the lick of the flames changes them.

It has been a great experience.  Everyone seems to have much more confidence, realized talents and muscles they hadn’t used for awhile, and made some new friends.  You literally could feel the ‘cooperation and respect’.

Now if you are looking for some experience building a similar kiln and live near Maple Creek Saskatchewan, get in touch with Zach and Adrienne at Smiling Cow Studios.  They already have their pad ready and will start the build in about a week.  Zach is an incredibly nice guy – drive over and give them a hand.  I am certain that they would come and help you!  Pass along this information to anyone that you know.

This Bourry box kiln with the extended throat should fire beautifully using little wood.  It is time to think of the environment and to slow down.  Will post some of the images when the pieces come out of the kiln!  There are going to be some beauties!

Susan Delatour: Crossing Bridges

3-2.1In 1978, Susan Delatour came to Canada from the United States, as a post-graduate student, to study ceramics at the Banff Centre’s School of Fine Arts in Banff, Alberta.  It was there, in the beauty of the mountains and lakes, that Delatour suspended her wheel throwing practice and embraced the expressiveness of hand building.  Encouraged by Les Manning, she began to experiment with various forms of firing including pit or sawdust firing and raku.

On completion of her studies at Banff, Delatour relocated to Shawnigan Lake, British Columbia where she set up a production studio in the centre of the village.  With the financial downturn, Delatour and her then-husband, Steven LePoidevin, sought out alternative means of earning a living.  He returned to teaching while Delatour set up a studio at their new home in Princeton, British Columbia, where she also raised the couples, two sons.  At the time, she relied on two kilns, one electric and one sawdust.

Delatour’s early exposure to alternative firing methods helped her to develop a deep passion for creating primitive fired ceramic sculptures which she notes are full of ‘mystery and allegory.’  She smokes her pieces in a brick box, a practice she has been using for many years because the method incorporates shadows into her work that evoke ‘ancestors and generations of people who came before us’.  Her work honours the animals that live in the surrounding environment, as well as people and places that have touched her ‘in significant ways’.

She is currently working on a new series entitled Crossing Bridges, a reference to the universal life-changing events that we experience such as ageing and changing relationships.  In 2014, Delatour turned sixty years old, a pivotal moment that had a profound influence on her new body of work.  Her parents died, her two sons got married, and she became a grandmother.  One of her sons lives in China while the other is on the eastern coast of Canada; Delatour is in the middle, a place from where it is not easy to physically visit with her children on a regular basis.  The theme of the ‘bridge’, an object that connects something to another, that allows us to cross over, also represents aspects of transnationalism.  Delatour struggles with her identity;  she is an American living in Canada.  She tries to understand migration, immigration, and the crossing of borders, all aspects of her new series and her life.

Her work is exhibited internationally including some of the most prestigious juried exhibitions in Asia including the 6th Taiwan Golden Ceramics Exhibition in Taipei and the 3rd World Ceramics Biennale in 2005 in Seoul, South Korea.  Delatour is another unrecognized Canadian talent.  She also teaches workshops.   That is a hint to anyone looking for someone who really knows their way around sawdust and pit firing!