2018 marks 50 years that Robert (Bob) Archambeau has been with the School of Art. On November 28, a small exhibition of his work in celebration of his teaching and mentorship will open at the School of Art Gallery.
How can you help? If you are a former student of Bob’s or you know someone who was, please contact me. I am looking for stories, rememberings, and reflections on Bob as a teacher, mentor, and artist. These will appear in the catalogue and on the walls of the gallery.
I am also looking for historic work and photographs. Again, if you have photographs or work you could loan, please get in contact. The School of Art Gallery is a class A gallery and the work is insured!
e-mail: email@example.com OR firstname.lastname@example.org
Today, was Markus Boehm’s last day in Winnipeg. He will arrive at Berlin Tegel at 10:30 am on Tuesday (his time). I hope that he understands fully how this single event of building a kiln and firing it in a week changed the lives of current and future students – and myself. You see, for years I have either avoided or kicked the old train kiln. Some days I kicked it really hard. What the students knew of wood firing was ‘Thomas’, the train kiln, 58 hours of stoking every 90 seconds and never reaching temperature and eating up cords of wood. Thomas also belched out black smoke from his stack. But Thomas was tired, the bricks had expanded and contracted and I knew – from being at Markus’s that a wood kiln could reach temperature (cone 14), in less than 14 hours and use only a small amount of wood. Even with so short a firing, there would be ash, depending on where the pots were stacked. For the students, whose lives often did not include being able to financially travel the world and visit wood fire potters, they did not understand that there was an alternative to Thomas or the anagamas that have become so prevalent in Canada. John Chalke wrote in an article for The Log Book that Canadian wood firers wait for an outside influence to come in before change happens. Well, Markus, you were that outside influence. Bob Archambeau, one of Canada’s most recognized ceramic artists, even brought a German apple cake that his wife Merie made in celebration. Bob watches. He once told me that students learn more from watching professors thrown than those who ‘tell them’. He is, of course, correct. I wonder if he believed we would be successful? Must ask him! On Sunday, he joined us in celebration after the kiln opening (it reminded me of when the eye is painted in on the Buddha, the Daruma, or the Dragon boat). We were happy to have him with us.
Former student, Donna Garafolo, decided that Markus should be the kiln god. She recognized in him what many of your friends and associates already know: you do not ‘see’ a difference between men and women who fire with wood (or for that matter in any field). Your view is strictly level or even. You told me that this is an ‘East German feeling’. All of the men and women had to work. For me, to see that women potters were equal to the men, even at the beginning of the 20th century, in Germany but not elsewhere was an eye-opener. My friend, Susan, tells me that women were not allowed to even use the welding torch until 1978 at the University of Saskatoon. How sad. Things are changing but…
I am giving a talk at the Third International Wood Fire Conference on women who fire wood kilns in Canada and how many have been marginalized – well, women in ceramics in general. If you are reading this and have a story and do not mind sharing it with me, please write to me at email@example.com Surely I am not the only one!
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!
The permit is in hand, the materials are on site or on their way, and excitement is beginning to stir. It is just 16 days away from the first day of the wood kiln workshop at the School of Art, University of Manitoba. I have opened up 2 additional spaces for another lucky 2 people to join us. If you know of anyone, please let me know. The fee is $325 – a bargain. If you are coming from out of town, there is accommodation at St John College for $55 per day and that includes three meals. Feel free to contact me for further information or any questions you might have. It is a great group coming from Budapest, Vancouver, Maple Creek, Red Deer and Winnipeg!
My e-mail is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Joo Young (Grace) Han graduated with a BFA from Dankook University in South Korea, an art faculty that focused on traditional Korean ceramics. It was at Dankook that Han learned by observing the master, Joon Hoon Park, and by throwing hundreds of Korean tea bowls, known as sabal, daily. Over time, she became proficient in using the Onngi wheel to create the large earthenware vessels used to store water and fermented food such as kimchi. From 2004-2011 Han continued to perfect her ceramic skills before moving to Canada. On June 3, 2016, five years after arriving on the Canadian prairies, Han graduated with her MFA. She struggled throughout her graduate studies to find her own voice, somewhere in the middle of being a traditional Korean potter and a new Canadian studying pottery in a Western tradition. Today she is one of the rising stars in Canadian ceramics.
Since her graduation she has been a resident at the Medalta potteries, her work has been selected for the International Exhibition at Mashiko and was shown at the First Craft Biennale in Toronto. She has taught for the School of Art at the University of Manitoba. Her class on onggi making was a huge success. Han is spending December 2017 in Korea studying reduction cooling in wood firing.