Vancouver indigenous artist, Judy Chartrand, uses her art to give voice to her experience and observations of the indigenous experience in North America.
In an article contributed by noted writer, educator and artist, Amy Gogarty, we can see not only the art but also “hear” the passion underlying Chartrand’s works.
Judy’s titles can have a wicked wit that expose deeper actual pain. And yet she can then take joy in natures’ colours and forms as she incorporates images and styles of other indigenous cultures. She has also created architectural scale works that move her beyond the museum and collector orbits.
The internet is a marvellous tool to bring much needed information on publications on ceramists to a wide audience: books such as Sea Salt, Lizards and Clay.
Sea Salt, Lizards and Clayis not just a textual but also an extensive visual autobiography of Santo Mignosa from his earliest days in Sicily, through his studies in Florence, to his many years in Canada, especially BC. I will leave the provocative meaning of the book title to those who read the book.
A foreword by ceramist and historian Debra Sloan sets the context for Mignosa’s place in ceramic history. The meat of book is a much illustrated biography that includes My Story, an Author’s Note and Author Statement. What follows are sections on what may surprise many who know of Mignosa only through his BC pottery. There is so much more to the man with sections on Figurative Sculptures, Abstract Sculptures, Murals, Drawings, and Wheel Throwing, from his earliest years up into his latest life and activities in Aldergrove, BC.
There are recollections from his partner, Susan Gorris, and memories from artists Ken Clarke and Susan Marczak. His detailed curriculum vitae — yes he is an octogenarian artist who maintains an extensive resume of an extensive career — can only hint at the scope of Mignosa’s work in BC and internationally; and of course, of his influence on so many Canadian students and professional potters. The many illustrations of his work give a much needed display of a career that has roots in both the Italian Renaissance and 20th century Modernism.
MIgnosa’s range of ceramic work is impressive both in form and in scale. His functional wares are sturdy and colourful, with overtones of the Leach tradition; but he has also been comfortable throwing large “classical” amphora-style works, well over a metre in height. A favourite sculptural form is his abstract sculptures, frequently with Surrealistic overtones, with, for example, a face emerging from a clay matrix. Others are large vase and cylinder forms capped or enveloped by penetrated and lightly incised mantle- or cape-like extensions. Frequently with raw, unglazed surfaces these can be seen standing like sentinels or massive chess pieces lining a wall of his studio.
Then there are his figurative sculptures, especially the nude as a favoured subject. The influence of his studies in Florence, of the Italian Renaissance and Classical sculpture, are most evident here; and in works such as Springtime there is a nod to Art Deco.
Clay is in the very bone of Santo Mignosa himself. As he says:
“For me, clay is not just a medium through which I create objects. It is an inseparable part of me, a constant companion in which I find comfort, fulfillment and pleasure in its versatility and applications.”
Sea Salt, Lizards and Clay is a needed and welcome addition to the story of ceramics in Canada.
Sea Salt, Lizards and Clay. My ceramics from the Mediterranean to the Rockies. Santo Mignosa. Granville Island Publishing, Vancouver BC. 2020. 126 pages.
ISBN: 9781989467329(softcover). $25.95 CAD, $20.95 USD. Available via your local bookstore, or Amazon.ca ISBN: 9781989467275 (hardcover). $45.95 CAD, $40.95 USD. Please contact the Publisher for this version.
For over forty years they have been a mainstay of Nova Scotia pottery. Although their work displays their individual interests and talents, it is always recognizable as their distinctive brand, Birdsall-Worthington pottery. Their earthenware works reach across many genres including functional, commemorative and jewellry.
Enjoy their story and let them know how much you appreciate their art and contribution to Canadian studio ceramics.
I have added a page on Ontario potter, entrepreneur and animateur Donn Zver.
A key figure in developing and sustaining pottery in Ontario, Donn Zver has created a workplace and body of work that has earned him the wide respect not only of fellow potters but also the admiration and friendship of customers .
Valerie Metcalfe at 1000 Miles Apart conference, University of Manitoba. October, 2015.
Valerie Metcalfe.. 2017. Skyscape/Landscape plate. Porcelain, solder, glass. 40.6 cm w.
I have added a page on Winnipeg ceramist Valerie Metcalfe to Studio Ceramics Canada. Valerie has been a key ceramic artist in Winnipeg for over forty years. Her work varies from the elegantly functional to the eye-stopping artistic. The sample of works presented will give only a hint of her production but what a hint!
Enjoy the story of Valerie Metcalfe. Let her know how much you enjoy her work.
Barbara Tipton portrait from Ceramics Monthly, December 1987
Barbara Tipton. 2004. Horse plate, wheel thrown white stoneware, approximately 15 cm across, brush decorated greenware with dilute cobalt/manganese wash and a more saturated line, iron brush “spatters”, fired in a gas kiln to cone 8-9.
I have added a page on Barbara Tipton. For over three decades Barbara has explored the theme of cups, saucers and teapots in a unique and instantly recognizable style. What Barbara can do to a subject that is so often taken for granted will take your breath away!
Also included, providing a strong contrast, is a sampling of Barbara’s functional pottery.
Enjoy the page and let Barbara know you how much you admire her work.
Keeping in mind the contribution that influential pottery groups make to sustaining and training ceramists in various region across Canada I have added a page on Winnipeg’s The Stoneware Gallery.
Without a formal Manitoba provincial potters’ guild or association this collective is critical for the visibility and quality of ceramics of all types, not only in the province but across the country. The various artists involved over the years have been doing this for almost forty years. Remarkable!
Les Manning. 2007. Sun Up/Sun Down . Laminated stoneware, porcelain with celadon glaze, sandblasted. 18.5 x 25 x 21 cm. Collection: Alberta Foundation for the Arts.
I have added a page on Les Manning, artist, teacher, mentor to so many. I hope the page gives you insights into Les the man, as well as Les the artist.
Les Manning. 2011 Carnival. 46 x 32 x 40 cm. Photo: Dianne and Cecil Finch.
Les Manning’s roots are small town Alberta. His life has encompassed the world. Many can recognize his signature style of mountain landscapes but his most recent works in the Common Opposites exhibition are pure Les Manning, free to be himself.
Jan and Helga Grove in their garden at Sooke Rd studio, c. 1970, photo by Karl Spreitz
I have added a page on Jan and Helga Grove. Their training in Germany was intense and traditional but their work is so modern. Working out of the Victoria BC area Jan and Helga brought a new view to traditions outside of the dominant Leach-Hamada tradition.
Their retrospective exhibition curated by Allan Collier at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria continues until until May 28, 2017. Catch it if you are in the region. Or obtain the 128 page hard cover catalogue if you want a lasting memory.
Carol is prolific potter and sculptor. Her works in raku and low -fire porcelain frequently incorporate other media. Though varied in style she displays an ongoing love for the sea: an underpinning theme for her explorations in media, design, and more recently, the cycle of creativity.
Carol is also greatly recognized for her teaching and organizing work in the province: the Halifax Studio School of Pottery, her links with NSCADU, and in the development of the Nova Scotia Designer Crafts Council to name some highlights.
Enjoy the story of Carol Smeraldo’s career and a sampling of her creations,and please share your thoughts.