Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Artist of the Day: Shannon Merritt
*** Special Note: Shannon Merritt is the Featured Artist at the Gallery of BC Ceramics from February 15th to March 15th make sure you stop by to see her work in person!
(gallery information here: http://www.bcpotters.com/Gallery/index.html )
Shannon Merritt grew up in southern Ontario, tidy and shy. She received a B.A. in Native Studies from Trent University and moved to Yellowknife, NT where she spent winter nights tickling the aurora borealis, and summer days portaging her canoe through the forests of biting flies.
Shannon is a graduate of the Kootenay School of Arts in Nelson, BC where she lives, waking each day to the view of Elephant Mountain. She considers herself a writer disguised as a potter.
I'm a potter and I've a fondness for words. I spent the better part of two days taking apart a typewriter so that I could press the keys into the flesh of the clay, recording my thoughts and observations onto pots. I've collected a number of things that are used as stamps. These miscellaneous cast-offs are more valuable than trimming tools and include antique letterpress blocks, pieces of retired machinery, and a caribou tooth from my adventures in the North. Together, the words and symbols become a story of my rhythm of making. Lessons, kindnesses, tattletales and laughs are highlighted using coloured slip beneath a clear glaze.
I am making modern day folk pots to create an intimacy in the way we consume the foods of our time. These hand built or wheel thrown and altered pots speak of precious functionality: bowls that are meant to be sipped from, and mugs with inverted handles, so that the user can cradle the cup, warming the hands. The proof of alteration has been left to remind the user of the individual attention the pot received.
These techniques come from a millennium of making, and applying them to contemporary functional porcelain pots is an exciting way of story-telling. It's incredibly personal this shared journaling. And what I'm finding is that the pots I write stir something in the people who use them. It's almost as if we've witnessed something together, like we share a great secret.
The words are a reaching out; a minute's worth of conversation between us.