Renegades against the imagery of flowers and animals continued…

Continuing within the evolution of the decoration, I come to describe the process in which I will use.

While I will take my focus away from the usual forms decorated on the vessel, I will also not stray too much into a style of  decoration designed in a harsh way, which seems to be an occurrence  in young work. My own decorative style has bounced around, mostly when I tried to know what styles will work.  But now it is a matter of re-visiting the first tries of past decorative styles.

In conjunction with using plaster slabs and templates, I plan to incorporate shellac resist back into my work. First off, the plaster slabs will have a pattern / template on its surface. I have considered the frame for this type of template and pattern. The frame, using actual framing blocks or something to that  extent, will be carved into the plaster to create a raised surface on the clay slabs I will be using. These frames will hold the true decorative element while sectioning the vessel as well.


This is a close example of what the pattern in the slab will look like.




The next step within the decorative process will be to decorate within the frame, using templates that will outline  a repetitive pattern to fit. I have pinned the pattern down to one based on street art, some single element within that group. Finding the pattern within the work.


Look closely at the patterns in the frame and there are plenty to choose from. My ideal pattern is one that is continuous. With the template I can then play with layers of color.

Note- add patterns and color at certain moments of decorating- apply pattern with room to spare, one color at a time


The last bit of decoration is the inclusion of a wholly different pattern within the frame. As I have mentioned, the plan is to include calligraphy as the addition. Thus I will include the repetition of a letter or word. The process of using shellac resist allows for writing/painting the shellac and then effectively removing layers of clay around the resisted areas by water and sponge.


The quality and fluidity of line in street calligraphy has a quality likened to the finest of the craft. The rebellion, whether you see the overall methods of such calligraphy as harmful  or as a liberty, is creating a common ground to view this style as a new mode included in my ceramics.








Renegades against the imagery of animals and flowers.

The constant flow of the same imagery on pots.

I see most of all animals, plants, flowers… I have seen them way too often on ceramic artist’s work. Some do it very well, most likely the first artists who got it right, or the artists who have incorporated symbolism within the decoration. What I have seen most of all, in the craft area of ceramics, is to  simply copy the ideal of having animals and plants on pots. Moving from Nova Scotia, I have seen many examples of this “hierarchy”, from the original potters and one’s using the imagery symbolically,  to the up and coming artists and then students. Which raises a question , why have we never pulled away from this ideal? Why do we still shape work and copy work on the back of this imagery style. What I mean to say is that when it comes across the surface of the pot, and the quality there in, most potters fall flat. And why is the historic medium of putting either historic imagery or imagery related to plants and animals not restricted, within a limit, at this point.

I bring to a point  of using historic decorative styles again and again- Arabesque, Iznik and maybe even Italian notions of decoration. Majolica is also a prevalent purveyor of animals and flowers regarding  subject matter.  We are constantly bringing up past decorative elements in the school environment for ceramics, while I know students must be taught the historic transitions in the art field and they must be aware of the styles available, my thought with all these questions and comments is that perhaps we are only enabling a sense of consistent copying within that environment. We have to look back constantly, no doubt to know even a little of the ages of clay, but we are getting trapped into a mind frame of unoriginal processes.  We are constantly looking behind us and no one is telling us to look at the now.

I am also not falling for the illusions we can put on ceramics, the description of decoration can be a false claim. In regards to plants and animals and the more colorful imagery , we create  a peculiar illusion of our environment and add a shiny coat to our surrounding. All well and good, but what does this really say?

My comments are not meant to downgrade any artist work and or style of art, but I do take aim at the artist without relevance to use such decorative themes. I look at the quality also, but tastes vary. There is of course quite magnificent ceramic work of the now that incorporates the pasts decorative styles in true form.

My intent is to spell out – “what can be seen now?”  What defines our age of decoration, without going back to the past, to relive some old decoration theme without adjustment of it ,to match the present. Of course all things are inspired from the past, but what defines a style from today?

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Which brings me to the evolution regarding the decoration of the work and where I am heading towards. I am from Montreal and have walked many streets there in that city, from the main to alleys. I am moved, and always have been by the art or defacement of the street. Graffiti has always held a curiosity when I walked around a city environment. I have followed it most when known as street art. But the real fascination is in the style of language that can be seen with the spray of a tag. The calligraphy on the street is the symbolism I am looking for. I look forward to  my own ideal about this form of decoration on to my work. While that being said, I consider graffiti and street to not be relegated to urban influences anymore. Hip-Hop is responsible for the mainstream of graffiti but, as always, there is a much grander  history before it was appropriated. More likely a much more interesting future.

Using my environment and creating the descriptive surface  written on pots is the resulting pattern I wish to interpret. I am still looking for real subject matter to relay, but it will most certainly be based on repetition. I am not looking to appropriate the style but more so delve into the machinations of why my fascination still goes back to the imagery on the street.


a good article to read-



Round and Round… and square.

It feels like I have gone round and round. I look over the posts that I have done of late and it all seems that the same words keep popping up.  About trying to continue the blog and keeping you, yes you, up to date.  So let’s work on that .

New forms! Gaining from what I learned from the residency of 2014-2015, in New Glasgow, I am moving forward in using supports or molds, for making whole forms. I am sectioning off areas of the form. Foot, sides, handles and other attributes have all separate templates and  sections to add up to one piece. I tend to look at a lot of artists using Styrofoam and craft foam nowadays, as well as mold makers. Names that come to mind are Chris Pickett, Chandra Debuse and Margaret Bohls.

Have a look of the latest templates I have done and I will explain the process after IMG_20151214_132543 IMG_20151214_132615






The process involves looking for a hollow foot mostly, but also building of a solid base. In the image on the left, the main base is on the right and the foot template on the left. I made the foot in this way to create a specific look to the foot, but also in the use of slabs the foot made from this template can be extended using a small thin slab, giving the foot a raised finish. I have prepared two templates for the first test, one large base and foot (larger mug) while the other is more of a medium size (regular size mug). Also, notice the handle  template in the photo just above, it is the same process, use slabs over the templates, and then join up those two halves using an extension slab.

I was inspired most from Chris Pickett’s process

But it is all about how you use inspiration, I would hate to simply copy. So I will start with this mug first, then make alterations such as playing with the foot size, handle size and of course decoration will play a big part. The surface displayed on the surface of the sides has to capture your attention most. I am looking towards my fascination towards the most public art available in cities everywhere, while it is still a controversial subject. The renegades.

Next time- templates for decoration and revisiting a resister.


Back on the road



Time to get back on updating the website. Of course too much time has passed from the last time I logged on to my website.  A year-long residency done. A move, once again, to another part of Canada- I find myself now in Ottawa and Gatineau  region. I live in Gatineau but work in Ottawa.

A little more on why I moved. Nova Scotia was getting a bit too crowded for my liking. What I mean to say is that ceramics is bursting at the seams there. With a school like NSCAD churning out ceramic students at a premium, I felt I needed to set out somewhere else to find an ideal spot to grow. Also I have found that the ceramics I am seeing in Nova Scotia are all starting to look the same, that ceramic artists are starting to market their work around what is seen within the school environment or what is popular in ceramics now. Getting advice on what your work should look like, from amateur and ceramic artists can be tiresome. For certain there will always be the true ceramic artists in Nova Scotia, and they know who they are.

Another reason the move happened was employment. I was able to secure a place within a ceramic supply company, Capital Pottery Supply, due in part to a friend from NSCAD. Daniele Stewart was able to help me out with a great opportunity, to work in a way related to my field of craft/art.   Daniele is also an accomplished ceramic artist, working on the edge of minimal and functional, please visit her website Daniele Stewart

It was also a blast of a residency year, that NSCAD provided. I was lucky enough to be placed with another ceramic artist Karolina Anna-Hajna, an artist already stimulating the market of design and ceramics in and around Nova Scotia.

I went through and worked out many questions in my work, what it should be, how it should look and the professional quality I expect. I know now , while I seem to always be on the edge of professionalism,  that I am on the right track to find my work. More complicated and more fleshed out work, sitting somewhere on functional moving towards more artistic. No more knitting bowls in the future I hope.

So back to  the website, where I will bring you more images and information on the work I am producing. Ideas and works from other artists, and as always I hope to pass along some pretty important ideas out there. Give me time though, while not in a residency, life right now is taking up time. Plus the debt from the last residency has slowed down the ability to get to, or rather pay for, a studio area. Time to catch up and make a living. Though when I do have the funds to get to a studio, I will be choosing Loam Clay Studio. A very intimate studio area, and located in the Hintonburg area of Ottawa. Hopefully it will be very common to see photos of work and progress posted on this site or on my Instagram page.

Catch up with you real soon


Slow movement and snails

Well, I am back. Phew, it has been a while. But it is well worth the wait. Especially when the work has been finally “worked” out. I can honestly say that I finally feel like this is going somewhere, this whole art thing that has taken most of my life and kidnapped me from some other reality.

Ok, IMG_20141027_155329 the news is that patterns and transfer printing have become a great partner. I have also had thoughts and general creative dreams about sketching out pieces. It’s strange when you think of an idea all of sudden and you are scrambling to get to a piece of paper. So here are some images of the new work to look over and check out.


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I also notice what I need more of late GET THAT STUDIO UP AND RUNNING, or get to a place that has one available. So I am always thinking about the next phase, but at more of a concentrated pace.  Being willing to acknowledge that I have something to learn from delving into my work, makes a focus that gets rid of ego. I have still so much to learn from people willing to explain the process throughout. I believe taking the initiative to get out there and be a part of what is going on out in ceramic land, to be a worthwhile adventure. I will have to invest more time in this adventure.

I have also recently passed on some of what I know, most of what I know, to another ceramic artist looking to delve into functional. Now, this person is an exceptional artist, showing me photos of the figurative, ceramic pieces that she has made. It was strange that I was passing on something to her, but it was going over my process and I guess she was looking to “have at” the process I am using.

It was an interesting experience.

Other news to pass along is that the Pop-Up shop is up and running for the end of November. Still a lot of planning to get ironed out, but for now it is all go. The site link is right here, please have a look at the artists that will be involved:

Halifax Crafters is also on the way, so I need to get into gear and make the most I can. So that is what I am doing. I will be back soon with more content, until then!



Things going on out there

I wanted to catch up on some the exhibitions going on at this time, one’s that interest me and I hope to pass along to you.

Adam Field and Peter Pincus are artisits I am familiar, and their work is fantastic. I tend to lean towards Pincus, on the fan side of things, because his forms impress me and also the use of striking colors. I will have to look up Samuel Johnson…

but for now more on Peter Pincus-

Clare Twomey is having an exhibition/performance piece that will go on for about 3 months or so. The repetition seems challenging to the maker of the pieces, rather than the audience. Have a look at the website, look up Clare Twomey and enjoy the mix of slipcast work, history and repetition.


I also have to mention this great exhibition that has recently finished. Cup: the Intimate Object X had a great display of cups/mugs on display (shout out to fellow Medalta resident artist Jessica Hodgson), varying on the playful to serious styles and focus. Have a look, and pieces are for sale- you should have a look on this point alone.


Artist of the Week- Forrest Lesch-Middleton

I have been in awe of pattern of late, and that is the reason for the love of Middleton’s work. While I am simply adding pattern to my work, Middleton screen-prints a chosen, attaches it on an already thrown cylinder ( made to measure and fit) ,which is then carefully  thrown again to distort the pattern, but also stretch with the shape made. Have a look at the process-



Local awareness, from “The News”

Here is an article written up for the local paper in New Glasgow, “The News”. It was a fun interview and felt very at ease doing it. Thank you to “The News” and to Amanda Jess for reporting on me and the residency Hope you enjoy it.

oh and I will be back very soon with a blog article… later!


The market and show

Following last weeks post on “90%”, trying to understand the definition of art and crafts related to the market,  I was able to attend some art/craft events and an art/craft market.  The events were Culture Days in New Glasgow, Windfall Fine Art and handcrafts market. and Antigonight in Antigonish. The first events were Windfall And Antigonight, held on a beautiful Saturday during the last weekend of September, in Antigonish.

The Windfall market was interesting to say the least. Ran into a good friend of mind there, Rachel De Conde (check her work out at ), who was selling  there. It was a market which had some great pieces of ceramics there including Bronwyn Arundel ( and Shauna MacLeod  (, and of course Rachel. As I was walking around, I began to realize that not was all that it seemed. The market itself had a variety of products for sale, which is all fine, people should be allowed to sell where they can. But the unfortunate thing  was that all of sudden you go from high-end products, hand-made products to  one’s you are not so sure about. When I got to the tie-dye clothing, I was not sure how to define this market. I understand the need to expand the product range when doing a market, but how do you choose a range of products that will conflict with other objects sold. I am basically  saying that including tie-dye t-shirts within a fine craft arena is downplaying all the rest of the products sold within the market.

On the other side, The Antigonight ( showing had no conflict within it’s event. All art and crafts melded together and formed great group of work and ideas. The show also encouraged interaction with the crowd (within a high concentration), and the crowd was more than willing to join in. While I understand the intention for the night was  the interaction aspect, director Fenn Martin  had the right idea and no doubt juried the applicants extensively. And this is my point. Why are the markets and crafts shows so relaxed about jurying the shows they  start? This is not to say that all or most  of fine art or craft markets are not juried well, this is impossible to know, but my experience is that they have some issues.

This is when we hit the reason, hobbyists. Hobbyist’s often present themselves in a market with no real reason to promote their work or meet a level of success. While I admire the notion that hobbyists have a yearning to make some craft or art in their free time, and they do love what they are making,  they do not however feel a necessity about the selling, success and promotion of the product they are creating. Their involvement in their work ends only at their self-interest level. This is what I see occurring in places such as Windfall. I have no idea behind their choices within the jury, or for that matter, the commonalities in the show, but the investigation and promotion of the show should be based on the perception of artists and crafts persons  making work for a living. The show delegates should also promote the show on a city, provincial and international wide level. This all depends on where the show is situated. Windfall did however have a good online presence, advertising some of the products to be had. And it is to say that I do not know the entirety of the selection process, how many applied and the good applications over the bad. What I can see is that perhaps the show worked for some, maybe some broke even financially, but the thing that confuses me about this type of showing is : Who they are advertising to and who do they want attending; and who is fit to show at such an event. I believe more questions within this market setting should be addressed.

In regards to Culture Days within New Glasgow, it was a fine day to show the process of my work as well as other artists from the area. While not many attended, due mainly to the last day of summer happening outside, it was good to run into Creative Pictou County initiative. This group is attempting to understand the artist needs and the artist community at large within Pictou County , Nova Scotia.  About where the artists are situated and what help, if any, that they need. It was worthwhile to make this connection at this point of the residency. The event was also a reminder of the importance of community involvement, where it is strong and where it is lacking. This involvement needs to be fought on two fronts: the council should consider ways to bring in creative initiatives and  promote culture back to the county (perhaps a deeper search for reasons  of the why’s and why not’s of public interests, directly related to creative purposes); and artist accountability to promote such events. I understand  that most art/crafts needs to be brought to the people, where to look for them is key.

Now for some light reading, in and around the subject of this post:


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