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


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