My career as a studio-trained potter began under mentor Herman Venema in Matsqui, British Columbia, in 1974. I’ve completed fine arts courses at Kwantlen College and the Fraser Valley College. Two Canada Council Grants provided funding for a 4-month residency at The Archie Bray Foundation in Montana and the Banff Centre for the Arts. Experiences with fellow ceramic artists include residencies in Canada, the US, and internationally. My exhibition history has been extensive over the years, being invited to participate in three USA exhibitions at the National Clay Exhibition for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) and the ‘21st Century Ceramics’ in Ohio. I’ve been juried into the Sydney Myers International Award, Australia. In 2010, I was awarded the Carter Wosk BC Achievement Award for Applied Art and Design. Among the many publications that have featured my work are Robin Hopper’s ‘Functional Pottery’ and Phil Roger’s ‘Salt-Glaze Ceramics’. My passion for the preservation of nature is evident in all aspects of my work. My studio and gallery are on the beautiful Cowichan River near Duncan, BC, is surrounded by the west coast rain forest that inspires me. The unique salt-fired functional stoneware and sculptural forms I create have designs from nature that I care so passionately about. My large sculptural pieces represent the forests that are so crucial to the health of the planet. My concern for the fragility of nature led me on a three year creative journey that created ‘Reflecting Nature: Reflecting Spirit’ installation.
The Making: I currently use a porcelainous stoneware clay from the Laguana Clay Company called B-Mix, reclaiming and recycling trimmings in the studio. Most of my work is “thrown” using a Shimpo electric potter’s wheel. The altered square, rectangle, and triangular shapes are done during the “throwing” process. Much care is given to the corners and surfaces of every altered shape to finish each piece, requiring more time to complete than the initial throwing. When the pieces are bone dry they are hand loaded and bisque-fired in my McClellan electric kiln. The Firing: The pieces are fired to high-temperature stoneware (cone 10) in the 40 cubic foot salt car kiln I built. Prior to firing each individual piece is dipped or sprayed with a watery slip. The insides are glazed by dipping or spraying with a variety of individually hand made glazes. Then the exterior surface decoration is painted on with a variety of metal oxides in terra sigillatas (no glazes). Once loaded in the gas kiln, it takes approximately 16 hours to fire. Late in the firing I roll up “burritoes” made of salt and soda and put them in to the kiln by dropping them from a piece of angle iron. Once in the kiln, they vaporize sending salt vapour moving with the gas flame among the pieces. Each piece is different and sparkles with a vitality that only the salt firing process can produce.