A Short Bio
After studying Languages and Linguistics in Halifax, Nova Scotia, I decided that going to Japan for a year or so would be a good way to gain teaching experience while paying down the gigantic student loan I’d amassed. The plan had been to work there for one year but once I got to Japan and discovered its ceramic culture my goals quickly changed. Four year later I had worked with three different potters in Tokyo, Yokohama and Kita Kyushu and in that four years my life goals had also shifted. My career path changed from graduate studies in languages to a full-time ceramics practice.
Studying ceramics in Japan was life-changing. My teachers each had a unique take on the art, teaching me how to see, how to look at ceramic objects, and how to appreciate the quiet in a visual and environmental context. Through them (and their spouses) I learned about tea culture, meditation, and the art of sitting still internally and externally. Ceramic culture was only one aspect of the deeply developed arts in that country – textiles, lacquer ware, and the new fusion craft made it very difficult to leave. It would have been easy to stay in Japan forever, if only for the arts. But Canada is truly my home and I had to find a way of bringing that part of Japan back with me.
The Sheridan College of Art and Design in Oakville, Ontario, and later at the Emily Carr School of Art and Design in Vancouver were two schools offerimg ceramics programs in Canada; I spent one year studying ceramics at each of these. Still burdened with a student loan from my first degree, a fine arts degree just wasn’t in the cards. So I learned what I could (and could afford) before setting up a studio practice in the basement of my house.
My experience with Japanese ceramics gave way to an aesthetic that fits more closely with where I live now on the Canadian Pacific coast. I could make Japanese pots in Japan but now that I live here my work reflects a different sensibility, a different culture, and a different place.
I have two main passions in clay: sculptural vessels and functional porcelain. Very recently I finished my first large installation of sculptural work that is on display at the Campbell River Art Gallery. Making these stoneware vessels began with my fascination with the Jomon ceramics I first saw at the national gallery in Tokyo. My second body of work is carved porcelain. This work has developed over 17 years and many different clay bodies. I now use a mid-fire translucent English Grolleg.
Moving to Hornby Island with my husband in 2007 completed the picture and I am where I have always wanted to be: by the ocean, in my own studio, making pots, and gardening in the quiet of rural life.
My CV in Brief
Working in ceramics in Canada has been a bit of a lonely road. We really have no ceramics culture to speak of and if you are a studio ceramist unaffiliated with a university, your world is entirely self-made. So some things I’m proud of — and feel fully within my rights to brag a little about – are the following:
2012 Solo exhibition at the Campbell River Art Gallery ”Portrait of an Ocean: A Body of Words” – an exhibition of sculptural vessels together with a collection of poetry. The show is a ceramic and written narrative reflecting the physical and emotion nature of the ocean environment.
2009 Post Modern Ceramics Festival in VarazdinCroatia (one of 3 finalists from Canada – I entered a sake set now in the Varazdin Museum Collection)
2010, 2009 NICHE Awards (finalist – entered covered jar in 2009, sake set in 2010)
2005 World Ceramic Competition, Icheon, Korea (Honorable Mention for a tea set that the World Ceramics Exposition Museum now has in its collection )
2004 Sydney Myer Fund International Ceramics Award (I entered a carved bowl on bronze base. The Shepparton Museum has this piece in their collection now. )
2004 Hot Clay, Surrey BC (This was an invitation exhibition of 16 contemporary ceramists in British Columbia. This show took place at the same time the exhibition ‘Thrown‘ was on at the Belkin. These two shows appearing at the same time was the most exposure the ceramic arts had ever seen in British Columbia.)
2003 Porcelain and Bronze Exhibition, Kingston, Jamaica (I was invited to participate in this one-time exhibition … most fun at an exhibition to date! Met people I will never forget.)