Wednesday, 30 January 2008

The 3rd and sadly final installment

Ronsdale Press has just published the third book in the series: Craft Perception and Practice: A Canadian Discourse. This third volume is edited by Paula Gustafson, Nisse Gustafson & Amy Gogarty. Sadly we lost Paula Gustafson in 2006, an avid craft promoter through her editorial work with this series as well as Artichoke Magazine. She was described as a craft advocate and activist and we all know that we are often in short supply of those who fight out in the media and the public for greater exposure, excellence and valuing of craft-based practices. Here is a great memorial site with further information on the initiatives she undertook and the impact she had on the Canadian Craft community.

From the Ronsdale Website:

"This third and final volume in the Craft Perception and Practice series features 21 essays and critical commentaries by acclaimed Canadian practitioners, educators and curators, demonstrating the range of critical thought about craft as presented in symposiums, exhibition catalogues and art journals. Over 40 full-colour photographs of works in craft media — including fibre, glass, ceramics, metal, wood and "new materials" — accompany the essays. The texts in this volume explore the conceptual, social and cultural significance of craft practice today, and describe new initiatives in conceptualizing craft practices in contemporary life. Essays by prominent academics and theorists such as Paul Mathieu (2007 Saidye Bronfman Award winner), Sandra Alfoldy, Arlene Oak, and Kirsty Robertson discuss craft in terms of political and social activism, gender theory, semiotics and aesthetics, analyzing shifting boundaries between craft, fine art and design. Artists Mackenzie Frère, Murray Gibson and Ruth Scheuing discuss their own work, providing insight into the relationship between skill, technology, history and personal expression. The diversity of contemporary craft practice is well-represented in essays by Mireille Perron, Shannon Stratton, Glenn Allison and others, whose thoughtful analyses raise challenging questions about craft practice today. Volume III of Craft Perception and Practice substantiates academic advancement of craft curricula and provides an authoritative springboard for debate and discussion among craft practitioners, educators, curators and collectors."

For ordering information check out the Ronsdale Press Website

Summer workshop courses - Series

Every year Red Deer College host Series, a summer long mix up of workshops by established and knowledgeable artists and instructors on a variety of craft based techniques. This summers' line up includes some ceramic workshops by Darren Petersen, Juila Reimer, Jim Etzkorn and Joan Irvin (who will be teaching a workshop on fine silver clay) For more information and to register check out the website.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

In case you want more conference before the NCECA conference!

I just got the following emailed to me:

Pre-conference before the NCECA 2008 Conference.

WVU NCECA 2008 Pre-conference Bridging the Gap: East Meets West

A Cultural dialog between Chinese and American Artists
March 15-17, 2008.

Bridging the Gap: East Meets West will create a dialog and
exchange of ideas with internationally recognized Chinese and American
Artists. Program includes lectures, demonstrations, wood-kiln firings,
exhibitions, and opening/closing ceremonies. We encourage all
participants to send bisqued work (rated c/9 or higher) for the
wood-kiln firing.

Invited Artists Include: Liu Pinchang, Peoples Republic of China; Li
Chao, Peoples Republic of China; Joe Zeller, Idaho; Josh DeWeese,
Montana; Jennifer Allen, Alaska; Tara Wilson, Ohio; Martin Tagseth,
Canada, Yao Yong Kong, People's Republic of China; Other Artists TBA.

Costs: $60.00/regular; $35.00/student; Scholarships available for K-12

For more information and registration download please go to the website
or contact:
Bob Anderson, Professor of Art
Shoji Satake, Assistant Professor of Art
Ceramics Area
West Virginia University
College of Creative Arts
Division of Art
Morgantown, WV 26506
Tel: 304-293-4841 ext 3135

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Three residency opportunities - NCECA

Deadline February 1st for the 2008 International Residency Program.
Open to all NCECA members.

In 2008, NCECA will support three International Residencies.

1. Berlin, Germany with Zentrum fur Keramik
2. Skaelskor, Denmark with Guldagergaard International Ceramic Research Center
3. Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park, KOKA-City, Japan

There's a ton more info on the NCECA website with all the application procedures and forms you'll need.

Pre-registration for this years conference has also begun, hopefully some of you can make it!

Grant opportunity

For all you Canadian craft artists out there don't forget that Canada Council for the Arts deadline for Assistance to Contemporary Fine Craft Artists and Curators: Project Grants is the 1st of March 2008

Project Grants provide support for research, professional development, production, networking and career development activities for professional artists and curators (for research only) making a contribution to contemporary fine craft. The project must be significant and advance the long-term artistic and/or career development of the applicant at a key moment in their career. There are three types of project grants, as follows:

- Research/Professional Development: This type of grant allows for a period of independent research at a key moment in the artistic practice of the fine craft artist. The project must demonstrate the capacity to advance the artistic practice of the artist The grant also support critics and curators in the research of editorial or curatorial work leading to the production of articles, books and exhibitions in the field of contemporary Canadian craft.

- Production: This grant supports production costs of one or more works where there is at least one confirmed public presentation of the work(s) in a professional context. Production support is also available to assist fine craft artists in the development and fabrication of one or several production-line prototypes. The project must demonstrate the capacity to advance the career of the artist..

- Career Development: This grant supports the advancement of an artist’s career through development of specific tools such as websites and portfolios; career development activities; and/or the growth of a professional network with partners such as critics, curators, art dealers or publishers. The applicant must demonstrate that the project occurs in a key period with regard to its impact on the progression of his or her career.

Check out the Canada Council website for more info - plus you can now fill out the grants online.

There may be a moment of silence...

I just wanted to take a brief moment to thank everyone that's been emailing me and posting comments on the blog over the past months that it's been up and running. This has been such a fun adventure for me and as a result i've gotten in contact with so many wonderful people from so many diverse places that I genuinely hope to meet in person some day. So thanks!

But today i must come clean about something as it will undoubtedly affect the blog a bit, it already has perhaps, but this i promise will only be for a brief while. Any day now i'm expecting my first babe to be born and so if the airwaves of musing go quiet for a bit with lack of submission info, etc. that is the reason. It's been an interesting adventure for me thus far and i've been meaning to, for quite a while now, have a bit of a chat about the impact of such life changing events in the life of an artist. Here i find myself, having spent so many years working so hard to create a name for myself, get on the right people's radars, and scrounge to get my work made and in the public eye that to step away from that pace of life for any period of time seems quite frightening. Already my creative life has been filled with time management issues and it can only get worst now right?! But i've also been intrigued by the impact of this impending life change on my work in the studio. As i may have mentioned I'm back working on my figurative work for a show in May and i find that themes and approaches to the work have changed in the last few months. The figurative work to me has always dealt with issues of childhood and it's role and influence in creating the sort of moral stance we carry with us later in life. The imagery i use is of course of children, deceptively cute to make the impact of the message hit home a bit more intensely. I'm finding now that there is a greater awareness of this responsibility to moral/ethical development as i stand poised ready to give it my best try in my own life, fearing being hypocritical, questioning everything, and making sure i'm really, truly aware of my stance and perspective on the issues, as soon there will be someone else to keep me accountable to my words and actions. I guess i'm just curious as I know there are many out there with families and successful careers and i wonder how they find the balance and not lose their creative drive, but also what sort of an impact if any this has had upon their practice conceptually?

I've loved the work of Janis Mars Wunderlich for years now and recently have a much deeper appreciation for her work, the impact of family being the conceptual drive of the work. I look forward to soon showing you the figurative work i've been making in the studio, particularly those that I feel have been highly influenced of late by my circumstance, as they intrigue me in a curious way...

But anyway, i'll try to stay on top of postings and calls for submissions over the next little bit, but if i do seem to disappear completely, know i'll be back very soon! Cheers!

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Just a bit of a snoop...

I must admit I have this strange fascination with how others work and set up their studios, how they manage it all in odd and unusual places, altered buildings, basements, bathrooms, wherever it is that they find the space to make the work they do. With the generous help of family, I've been slowly renovating my garage and turning it into a winterized heated year-round studio and have had so much to consider in terms of how to set up a space which greatly exceeds the size of studio I'm used to working in. Go figure though that I've already managed to fill most of the shelves and space in a manner of weeks! I've had quite the range of spaces to work in over the past few years. When I lived in Edmonton I had a studio on the top floor of a beautiful old building, drafty as anything and full of printmakers. I think that studio was the cleanest I've ever been in for fear of being cornered by the collective anger of dust hating printmakers - could have only been worse had it been photographers! And at other times I've turned my kitchen in a woodshop (a table pulled apart without its leaf used to clamp and cut wood on), my living room has been taken over, clay everywhere in the carpet (such bad OHS), basements converted for wheel throwing, and bathrooms have become casting slip mixing rooms and glaze rooms. But now it's all in one spot, a dream come true, a garage just steps away from the house, with a beautiful view over the snow covered yard. (Okay I still mix slip in my bathroom, but that's cuz getting running water out to the garage would have cost a small fortune!)

The reason I was thinking about this was inspired by receiving an email from Adrienne Gradauer & Zacharie Quin, some potters new to the province who just sent me their website with pics of their new working space. Check them out at Smilling Cow Studio.

I still think one of the most beautiful studio spaces I've seen is Karin Eriksson's new space. Check out her style blog for pics of the space during a recent sale. Gorgeous! That's one thing I love about blogs and websites is to get that sneak peek, or little snoop into studios...

Crafting New Traditions: Innovators + Influences Symposium

February 22 - 23, Toronto, ON

Explores the influences and accomplishments of prominent Canadian craft Pioneers. Three keynote speakers and ten respected researchers examine historic and contemporary craftspeople working in ceramics, glass, metal, textiles and wood.

Speakers include:
Mark Kingwell
Sandra Flood
Robin Metcalfe
Sandra Alfoldy
Dorie Millerson
Anne Barros
Beth Alber
Rachel Gotlieb
Susan Jefferies
Julia Krueger
Carolyn Prowse-Fainmel
Alan C. Elder
Patty Johnson
Michael J. Prokopow

For information contact: Jean Johnson: or Melanie Egan:
To register: (416)973-4000 - $75/50 Students and Seniors

Papers presented at the symposium will be published by the Canadian Museum of Civilization in collaboration with Harbourfront Centre.

Artist in residence opportunity

The Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, TN, is looking for submissions for their Artist in Residence program.

Deadline February 1st.
The benefit package for each Resident Artist totals over $12,000.
This includes a $300 monthly stipend, a private studio, housing, meals, utilities and professional development funds.
Teaching and exhibition opportunities are also available.
For more information check out their website.
Or contact: Bill Griffith Director, Artist-In-Residency Program Assistant Director Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts (865)436-5860 x 26

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Two directions, one practice

I've just recently been introduced to the work of Bibbi Forsman and wanted to share it. Check out her website and blog for more great photos and interesting blog entries. I'm always intrigued by artists who work in different ways within their practice, as it's something that has come to define the way I work. In fact I was just having a conversation about just that the other day with an artist who paints as well as works in ceramics. I remember being told at one point that you should be the master of one trade rather than ace of none and I've often been asked why I don't focus on one of my bodies of work rather than separate my time between both. But I find time and time again that artists who I admire have a range to their work and it works for them.

For me it's been a question at times of sanity. Working on the figurative work I do is really rewarding, but also emotionally draining as it deals with subject matter that I find hard to address on a daily basis. Same as anyone I hate to deal with the horrors of humanity everyday and my work brings it into focus right in my face, so the functional work allows me a bit of peace but also challenges me to think about the beauty in life and humanity as well. Both bodies of work aim to find positives, one just visually presents negatives to address the possibilities of proactive change, while the other presents beauty to remind us of the subtlety of the power of the everyday.

So I'm in the studio now working on a new series of figurative work for an exhibition this coming May and I can barely wait to show you some of the new pieces, but it will be a bit of a wait through drying time, glazing and firing. As soon as possible I'll make sure to post a sneak peek as soon as pieces emerge from the kiln...

In the meantime check out this work by Biliana Popova who also works both figuratively and functionally, both beautiful!

So I'm curious how others handle the split in their practice, whether it be between different disciplines, different methods of working, functional/sculptural, production work and exhibition work. Do both pay off, or is one the passion work and the other the financially sustainable work? Thoughts?

Some inspiring design to start off the year...

An artist/designer that's been on my radar lately is Laura McKibbon out of Vancouver. I saw her work a while back when visiting Granville Island in Vancouver and again recently as part of the "On the Table" Exhibition which was showing in Halifax in November. There's tons of great work coming out of the British Columbia area, nice fresh young work, and her work particularly draws me with it's simplicity and photo imagery quality which is raw yet refined.

I like the fact too that she's interested in collaborative projects, hmmm, gets my mind thinking...

Check out places to buy the work on her website cul de sac design

Through her site there is also a link to the Fragiles exhibition which was curated for Design Miami 2007. The exhibition is full of inspiring, thought-provoking work definitely worth taking a browse through, there's even a short video documentary. Here's quote about the exhibition from their website:

"Fragiles is an eclectic collection of contemporary porcelain, ceramic and glass objects by a new wave of designers who are manifesting their creative visions out of fragile materials. Fragiles presents over one hundred innovative objects that expand and challenge our notion of these classical materials and traditions, simultaneously exploring a new aesthetic approach and technological boundaries. From experimental and avant-garde to evocative retro-inspired reinterpretations, these cutting-edge examples indicate how visual culture and high tech production processes are influencing and reshaping this delicate territory in pioneering ways."

The show included works by a long list of great artist/designers including some of my faves; Charles Krafft, Wendy Walgate, Hella Jongerius, Louise Hindsgavl, oh forget it the list is just too long, go check it out for yourself!

And one other side note if you check out the "On the Table" link to the Gardiner Museum make sure to check out their podcast page with "Ceramics in Context" in which museum staff and artists comment on the museum's permanent ceramics collection.

Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition

If you're looking for something to do or see next summer in Toronto you can participate in or visit the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition. It's a juried fair which showcases up and coming and established contemporary fine art and craft each July.

Currently the TOAE is looking for artists interested in exhibiting, the next deadline is March 1st 2008 and all the info you need is on the website. You can also see great work by past participants and award winners (yes there are also awards up for grabs!) like this piece by Dawn Petticrew.