Opening Reception: RMG Fridays, September 8, 7-9pm
Artist Talk: Sunday, August 27 at 1-3pm
Unearthed is the culmination of a professional development program for ceramicists called Creative Directions, designed and delivered by Fusion: The Ontario Clay and Glass Association. Guided by Michelle Mendlowitz, artists were encouraged to push the boundaries of their creative processes; developing their building and surface treatment methods, technical and critical thinking skills, and ultimately fostering confidence in their work. Featuring the work of 15 Ontario ceramic artists, Unearthed explores a variety of themes by utilitarian and sculptural means.
FUSION is a not-for-profit organization, dedicated solely to makers and collectors of handmade clay and glass. Its diverse membership of artists, students, teachers, guilds, collectors, libraries, hobbyists, businesses are from not only Ontario but around the world. Its mission is “to encourage and promote excellence and quality in clay and glass, provide opportunities for fellowship and a sense of community involvement, provide continuing education resources for members and people interested in clay and glass and to reach out, and demonstrate tolerance, caring, and acceptance for the diverse aspects of expression in clay and glass.”
Rhonda Uppington grew up on a farm north of Lakefield where she enjoyed art classes in high school but opted to study science at the University of Guelph. Upon graduating, she worked as a biochemist in pharmaceutical research for 4 years before becoming a stay-at-home mom. Taking courses at the Haliburton School of the Arts during week-long vacations with her family, Rhonda learned the basics of relief and collagraph printmaking, mosaics, ceramic tile making and wheel-throwing. Combining printmaking techniques with ceramics allows her to enjoy both mediums simultaneously. The natural world influences her work, and leaves, flowers, birds and butterflies are recurring subjects. Rhonda became a studio member of the Pine Pine Tree Potters’ Guild in the fall of 2014 and is enjoying the camaraderie and inspiration that the shared studio experience provides.
Cathy Allen has been an avid part-time potter since 1991 when she enrolled in her first evening pottery class. Her work is mostly made on the wheel and is mainly of a functional nature. She has participated in many different method workshops over the years, but early focus was slip and carving techniques on her wares. Recently the work has changed and now includes some diverse patterns and colours, showing that her freedom of artistic expression is coming to the forefront! Her work is made up of both porcelain and stoneware clay bodies and includes the patterns which have now become a rewarding inspiration to her.
Mary Sullivan has always loved to draw and create from a young age. She took up sculpture in the 90’s while living in the UK, and really enjoyed the 3D nature of it. She started working with clay when she moved back to Canada so she could have more permanent pieces. She now creates functional work, along with garden sculptures, but retains the sense of humour that she’s always enjoyed when making pieces, combining her painting and drawing techniques with underglaze and clay.
Priya Harding: I’ve loved making pots since my first introduction to clay in the late 1970s, through a part-time course one winter, and sharing with the local potters of that time – Christine Burns, George Stewart, Scott Walker, and Pat Woods. While my children were young, I worked in my home studio, selling pieces on commission, by special order and in craft sales, and giving pottery workshops and lessons. After a fine career teaching in Peterborough schools, I returned to my first love, pottery. The potters of the Kawartha Potters Guild have encouraged and inspired me. Once again, I work out of my home studio. Producing mid-fire porcelain and stoneware functional ware, I use a range of coloured glazes, and for many pieces, clear-glazed brushwork colour on white.
Mariella Pagliuca was born in Uruguay and since 2008 lives in Canada. After experimenting with different mediums, she chose to focus on ceramics. She is now a graduate from the Ceramics Program at Sheridan College. She is inspired by her life experiences, as well as her surroundings. Creation and re-creation, building and re-building, construction and de-construction. She sees parallels between her processes in the studio and her philosophy of life. Each piece she creates is deeply infused with her own energy, emotions and feelings. She is deeply influenced by her relatively recent and dramatic change in landscape. Ceramics as alchemy brings together air, fire, water and mud, all elements inconstant transformation. Clay mutates, ceramics occurs with energy and human intervention. Ceramics changes from rigid to flexible and back to rigid, in a process that seeks synthesis of the elements. Her works in clay allows her to change and to make changes. These changes depend on her intuition, her own inner creativity. She uses colours usually taken from nature, these coulours reflect the shades and hues of her emotions and feelings.
Amy Bell: I began working with clay after years of textile work, rug hooking and quilting. Elements of these traditional crafts can be found in my work. I make mainly utilitarian pieces, aimed at bringing handmade objects into daily use, honouring traditional “women’s work.”I have taken workshops from well known Ontario potters including Carolynne Pynn Trudeau, Anne Chambers, Cynthia O’Brien and others I am a member of Gladstone Clayworks, an Ottawa based ceramics cooperative.
Karina Bates: After being exposed to the craft of pottery in high school,it would be several decades before returning to something that has become a passion. I started taking lessons over ten years ago and have not looked back.I especially enjoy researching medieval pottery forms and decoration from around the world and bringing those shapes and images to life for modern functional use.Working on the wheel, my inspirations come from pre-seventeenth century pottery, architecture, metalwork and textiles. I love the look of old pottery and like a warm, antique feel in my work.
Emily Dore: I am an Ottawa-based ceramicist and instructor with a strong foundation in wheel-thrown functional ware. My making process is marked by a healthy respect for both technical skill and happy accident; I’m interested in that creative space where control butts up against chaos, where letting go becomes just as important as holding on. I make small-batch runs of functional ware, pieces made to flow with and elevate the rituals of daily life. My work with sculptural forms is a recent addition to my artistic practice and is concerned with organic forms like pods, gourds, and fungi, shapes and textures that often elicit strong reactions and straddle lines of attraction and repulsion, ripeness and decay.
Annie McDonald: I was born in Tacoma, Washington, studied at Trent University and have been making ceramics at my studio near Brighton, Ontario, since 2006. I call my practice “clay school” because the learning never ends. The Creative Directions Program has accelerated my growth in the ceramic arts. My sculpture typically begins with a minimal plan before embarking on a conversation with materials; I find that the materials talk back! My process with clay reflects the precarious and mutable nature of life – dealing with a growing historical awareness and accelerating rapidly towards change – layering up meaning at each stage of the making process. I enjoy a haptic approach to form making in terracotta, then paint, scrape and print with slips, inks and under glazes. Calligraphic and textural elements are placed to respond to preceding layers. I hope to share my excitement of the making with people who will live with my work; they can look into the surface to excavate meaning.
Cathy Francis is a Muskoka-based potter whose current work explores the creative process in sculptural form. Using throwing, altering and hand building techniques; and applying transfers, slips, and underglaze to the surface, she builds the parts that as a whole illustrate the ways in which influence, inspiration and place effect the evolution of a finished piece. Upon earning her Associate of OCA (1980) she entered the publishing and bookselling world. So many elements in building the award-winning Flying Dragon Bookshop both inspired and influenced her. These instilled a passion for how artists absorb and transform muses into their own work to create something new and unique.
Twenty-five years later, she has immersed herself back into gaining technical ceramic skills by taking opportunities to study at the Metchosin International School of the Arts, and the Haliburton School of Art & Design and participating in a mentorship with Carol-Ann Michaelson.
Karla Rivera is a ceramic artist born and raised in Mexico City, where she obtained her Bachelors in Food Chemistry. After some travelling she moved to Hamilton Ontario. At this point she started to listen to her artistic voice and got involved in the world of ceramics. In 2013 she enrolled in Sheridan College in Oakville Ontario in the Craft and Design – Ceramic program and in 2015 she got her Ceramics Diploma. Currently she is the Artist resident in the Art Gallery of Burlington.
Karla’s work consists of functional and sculptural ceramics. She is interested in forms that make connections between elements of nature such the shape of an island and emotional states.
June Goodwin was born in 1951 in Meppershall, England – a rural village listed in the Domesday book from 1063. June started her artistic career studying fashion in the UK and Fabric at S.O.C.A.D. When her fibre work become vessels she switch to Ceramics. She has taken numerous ceramic workshops in both Canada and the UK. She now works exclusively in clay, producing functional items for everyday use. June’s current work is focused on surface design that uses addition and subtraction to create one of a kind surfaces. A member of and instructor for the Kawartha Potters Guild, she shows her work in the KPG Gallery, the annual Christmas show, and the biannual “ARTISANity” show held by the Artisans Centre. The Kawartha Lakes area of Ontario, Canada is where June now calls home. She lives in a small cottage on the shores of Pigeon Lake, and works out of her home studio.
Jocelyn Jenkins is an Ottawa potter who works out of her own studio in Old Ottawa South. She is a fixture at the Old Firehall Pottery Studio where she has shared her love of clay with children of all ages for many years. The projects flow fast and free from these classes: whether it’s twinkling bats for Halloween or bell children with “real” hearts for Valentines Day, Jocelyn creates whimsical projects that challenge her classes to pour themselves into their work.
Jocelyn is also a functional potter whose work can be seen several times a year in shows and sales in the area. Through her work she attempts to forge a connection with her audience. Although her work is primarily functional, she attempts to create a narrative that will draw people into her world – a world where a turtle or a snail might join you for coffee, and thereby provoke a smile.
Wendy Hutchinson: As a part-time potter, Wendy is fully committed to her path and practise as a ceramic artisan. Her work in clay began in continuing education classes at Georgian College in Barrie, ON in the mid 1990’s with instruction from Roger Kerslake and Derek Martin. While her time could only be sporadically dedicated, her energy and interest in clay did not wane, as over the years she has participated in a number of workshops, including with Judy Lowry, Thom Lambert, and Luca Tripaldi. In 2014, began working in high-fire porcelain which led to a five-week self-directed residency that year at La Meridiana International School of Ceramics (Italy) with funding support from the Ontario Arts Council. Currently, she is the remaining founding member of a cooperative pottery studio at the Double Door Studios and Gallery in Anten Mills, ON. There, she also works in Raku, though her primary focus is in creating wheel-thrown functional pieces. As she continues to develop this work, as well as an interest in photography, recent accomplishments include: producing two one-day solo “pop-up” shops at Art in House gallery space in Barrie (2015, 2016), contributing to the Simcoe Watershed Art Project group exhibition at the Double Door (2016), participating in local artisan markets (2015, 2016), selling at The Camphill Store in Barrie (2016 on), co-producing the annual Double Door Potters’ show and sale