Balinese Painting – Cultural Collision

We spent the morning at the largest national balinese gallery: Museum Puri Lukisan in Ubud. We were lucky, there was an opening that evening of a show of contemporary art by Batuan artists, and we got to see 46 artists’ work represented who have incorporated the impact of tourism and contemporary technology or political issues into their traditional way of making. Check out some of my top pics – I have a mix of contemporary, modern, postmodern and early works. One of my observations re the work from the 1930s-1960s is the remarkable resemblance of both the painting and the carving to that of the Inuit Peoples in northern Canada. Some of the carving looks as if it could be Haida from British Columbia.

Slip Sliding Away…

I realized rather late that one of the things I really wanted to do at Gaya was to continue to explore the concepts and techniques that I started to play with in China – so I had Made Bracuk make me moulds of my three Euclidian forms: the sphere, the cube and the prism – only this time much larger, moving from 8cm diameter to 14cm. I had the production centre make up some coloured clays – and away I went. Honestly – the frustration and disappointment has been intense, but also a big reminder to live in one of the guiding principles for my life: non-attachment. But – the great news is that I am learning and adjusting and working with all kinds of constraints I never thought I’d have to deal with – like the casting slip is not casting slip – it’s just porcelain, watered down. So unlike China, where you can pull a cast i 15 minutes, it took 24+ hours for each cast, and then another day to dry each piece to the point where I could decorate it with the transfer decals. I also read a very inspiring piece by Wouter Dam on patience and persistence – and realize that I am not spending enough time or taking the care needed to get the success that I’m striving for. I am invigorated to take it back to basics when I return home and start building up my skill arsenal to take things to another level.



Balancing Act…

Here’s the artist statement for my solo show that ends my residency at Gaya – it’s been great, when I start to think about all the creative leaps and bounds, discoveries, learnings – I can’t wait to get back into the studio and start working again…

Each instant carries with it a multitude of possibilities. We are bombarded by choice at every turn, and yet we tend to ignore the natural undercurrent of the rhythm of life. In Balinese culture I have observed a pervasive sense of respect for the importance of the constant dialogue between good and evil. Balinese philosophy describes this ongoing play between opposing forces as “Rwa Bineda.” Many of the core themes in my work reflect similar notions of duality: fragility and strength; static motion; yearning, submission and ultimately transcendence. The varied work in this exhibition is inspired by my recent sojourn in Jingdezhen, China’s porcelain capital, my time at Gaya in Bali, and my own life’s twists and turns. I am just beginning to grasp the notion of “Rwa Bineda,” as I come to understand that balance is not an unattainable ideal, but an imperfect state of being that just happens one moment at a time.

Korean Ceramics at Topkapi, Istanbul

Happened into this exhibition – thought I’d share – there was e a 7th century flattened bottle bamboo brushstroke painted vase that just makes me melt – sadly the photo didn’t come out…one of those reminders that the mind really can capture an image —


I just went to see the BMO 1st Art Student Awards at MOCCA (while I was viewing the Cronenburg curated show – which is another story altogether!) and I couldn’t get over the fact that there were two, count them TWO ceramic artists in the mix!  Kudos to Sam Knopp (whose crackle celedon evokes Donald Judd’s minimalism) and Hilary Smith – whose work, is in my view, pretty much “the highest compliment” – i.e. a copy of Sherry Boyle’s recent work – but, hey – GO FOR IT!!!!


made in porcelain, cone 13, 1320C – thrown, altered, slip cast with chinese transfers.

Churning: Transcending Material at NCECA 2014

Hi all – thanks to everyone who came out to NCECA in Milwaukee and checked out the Potter’s Council Juried Members’ show in the exhibition hall. I had some great feedback, really appreciate the support. It was a wild time! And thanks also to the Ontario Arts Council for supporting the transport of the work and for allowing me the opportunity to promote the work onsite.

Lilibeth Rasmussen: Being Human Being

Lilibeth Cancua Rasmussen’s Being Human Being         at the Nikolai gallery in Copenhagen is transformative – the video documentating the performance art and the exhibition left me with a sense of deep empathy for her plight as an individual mis-read, mis-understood, and struggling to be seen. Her use of her family in her work (and I saw two earlier video’s of hers at the National Gallery) is kind of a genetic extension of herself and her situation – growing the microcosm slightly larger – this work is universal in theme, and the work with her siblings really moved me – tracing the footprints across the floor.


Macau Visual Arts Exhibition

This stunning array of contemporary to traditional calligraphy and ink painting is open to all amateurs in Macau – what a treat! Feast your eyes:

Re-inventing the mould

And so the process begins, as I sort through the next installation positives for my mimesis series where I’m interested in pointing the finger to various facets of our lives and of society. I hope to make three different moulds to work with this winter/spring.  Just pressed sculpture clay around to find what I wanted in terms of form, built a cube of plaster and literally sawed off the edges. Starting to make a mould – its’ an uphill learning curve, as this is NOT my forte, and I’m missing my mentors from Project Network in Denmark.


Transference isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be

So I’ve been mucking about with trying to reproduce similar type “mimesis” work to what I did in Denmark – and decided I’d like to go with colour transfers. Friends have tried and true results, but I’m having a difficult time getting a printer to be happy with my very expensive waterslide decal paper.  On the flip side, I’ve improved my Photoshop skills tremendously with a little help from my friends.  The concept is still the same – to ask us to consider the different facets of our lives, and how we live our lives – crazy, high tech, fast faced, or rooted in nature and in touch with our environment….


Reaching – colour and the absence thereof

Well – I’ve been busy throwing Sheba’s raku clay and slicing it up for “stretching” – some of the results that are readying themselves for the show at David Kaye Gallery next month


Figuring a Way

I attended day one of Crafting Sustainability yesterday at OCADU facilitated and produced by Craft Ontario. The opening keynote speaker, Judith Leemann challenged us in thoughtful ways to consider how we understand and approach our world as craftspeople and makers, citing historical  anthropologists and contemporary thinkers Gregory Bateson, Margaret Meade, and Naomi Klein . Highlighting the fact that most see objects, as makers we might consider the materials in which the object is made, shifting the lens, and considering source materials as a state of constant unfinishedness, seeing the re-purposing of material as life itself, rather than ‘recycled’.  Key thought: material is always on the way to becoming something else.

Another key idea – is that makers create stories and that stories are the indirect media through which our creations are carried forward and communicated to a larger community. That we might try and see the inherent value in “the thing” rather than make it dependent on the outcomes associated with its environment. In the spirit of this insight, two stories I care to share that Leemann shared. The first – two wood firing potters set up a pottery and realize that they need a lot of wood – so in order to fuel their craft, they retrained as arborists, and began a business “Treecycle” where they cut down unwanted/old trees and take the wood away for free for use in their kilns.  Nice.

Second story is about Theaster Gates – one of my favourite artists since I saw him sing and dance with brave irreverence at the AGO last year, and keynote at Milwaukee’s NCECA. Leemann was involved in a progressive performative exhibition installation in Seattle, where each invited artist had a space to transform based on the instructions of lack thereof of the previous artist – Gates was last, and he chose to coat the entire exhibition space with white porcelain slip, all the while singing his hymns of praise to Dave the unknown potter.

Stories whether true or fabricated, are imbued with a certain degree of fiction, and as Leemann reminds us “fiction opens up a spec in us to feel how much we want some thing. Parting words of wisdom: Craft has never been learned by waiting to know enough.



Opening Saturday April 11th, 2-4pm at David Kaye Gallery, North/West corner Queen St. W. and Dovercourt (entrance ON Dovercourt – next to Starbucks).

I continue to work through the profound insights I had in China 2013 regarding the abstraction of identity, culture and aspects of society. Work shown will be recent bodies of work, work from my residency in Denmark (November 2014) and work from China. I am asking the public to consider different facets of their lives through the work, considering how each and every one of us can contribute to society in meaningful ways.

April 7 – May 1, 2015: Order in Disorder

My work Anima Worn (Sheridan thesis work, April 2012) will be featured in the Ontario Society of Artists Exhibition group exhibition opening on Thursday April 9th, 6-9pm at the Airt Gallery in Macdonald Block, 900 Bay Street (at Wellesley) – please join me to celebrate and see the show!


BOWL SHOW at the GARDINER Last Two Days

The Bowl Show at the Gardiner Museum is up for a few more days. I was thrilled to be a part of this astonishing array of creativity and talent. I introduced my new porcelain functional series: Windswept. I am pleased to announce that the Gardiner Shop will continue to carry this series on an ongoing basis.

Windswept – top right

Windswept – top right

Jean-Pierre Larocque – Quotable Quotes from a Master

I attended the one day workshop at Sheridan College with ceramic sculptor, Jean-Pierre Larocque – who is currently based in Montreal and on faculty with Concordia University. Rather than write up my personal reflections, I thought I would post some of the truisms, advice and wisdom that I captured during the day:

“I cannot abide a blueprint – too much happens in the process.”

“I work a lot from chaos…I need the chaos in there because it speaks of something.”

“Material is an embodiment of an idea.”

“When I pushed away limited to reference to recognizable images, then the images just came.”

“I work from behind the curtain, under the surface, so that the surface looks like it’s made itself.”

“I am outraged by the idea of the nobility of the mind.”

“Sculpture is an experiment in the round.”

“I’m in the business of making ghosts appear.”

“Making art is about love – you work on this thing until you love every part of it.”

“I like to arrive there, but I don’t like to prescribe how to get there.”

“Play is the thing that keeps me coming back.”

–photos posted by permission of the artist.