I am really happy to announce to all those people who collect my work or who have supported me throughout the years that pieces are now available at the Manitoba Craft Council C2 Gallery Shop on Cumberland Street in Winnipeg.
The current work is the result of several years of research. I was never interested in colour despite the fact that I created rutile blue vessels for my clients years ago. But, on my second trip to Copenhagen in 2018, all of that changed. There I saw the oranges, greens, and blues so prevalent in flower vases made by many Danish potters. Still, “There was a lot about the work that was not me, and I needed to find my voice.” That same year I received funding to research and test the use of colour on clay vessels fired in wood kilns. At about the same time, I was commissioned to write a chapter for a book on Environmental Humanism. At the intersection of the two, there was a desire to lessen my carbon footprint. I began to experiment with single-fired earthenware ceramics.
In the spring of 2019, the sparks of this new defining aesthetic were lit while I was an Interdisciplinary Artist at Hospitalfield House in Arbroath, Scotland. The theme of my project was transience. Photographs of the sea at Lunan Bay, the gardens, walls, and hardware of Hospitalfield House were taken every day for a month at three specific times. The unfired vessels that were created were intent on capturing the changing colour and the patinas of decay. The objects were placed at the edge of the sea and in the trees of the gardens so that they could deteriorate naturally over time. Right now, three similar pieces are in the exhibition, The Constant Happiness is Curiosity at the School of Art Gallery, University of Manitoba until 6 September.
I purchased books on colour theory and began to look at how colours existed side by side in nature. Instead of using glaze, I began to experiment with ceramic stains. The colours and their application did not have the life that I wanted. This period was followed by the addition of multiple colours to the surface, often using tape to create a hard edge like the paintings of the 1950s.
I had gotten to a point where I was trying so hard, and nothing was coming out the way I wanted. It was very frustrating. And then, one morning, I began to remove the colour and, I was like, hey! Sometimes, I begin work on a series of vases and everything just clicks. At other times it is not so easy. The surface has to be loose. If I overthink it, it is dead. The latest is called Miami Dreamsicle, a medley of pinks, oranges, and a touch of turquoise or Wedgwood Blue. This series is highly reminiscent of suminagashi or floating ink, a Japanese marbling technique.
I have recently moved my studio to my home. This relocation eases the way for me to manipulate the eight or more layers of colour on the work spontaneously. The current objects differ greatly from my previous work because I am now rejecting function and instead, embracing the clay’s surface as a canvas.
I am very grateful to Tammy Sutherland and her staff at the C2 Gallery for this opportunity and invite all of you to stop in and see the new pieces.