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Open Studio Update

The Washbrook Lane Snowdrops This has been a very busy week folks and while I’m keeping to my MWF schedule, I’m publishing posts later than usual. Please bear with me… I am always thankful for your readership. This week, had to be businesslike and tell my friends I wouldn’t be able to join them at the local restaurant on Open Studio days for a whole month. Naturally, I will miss the socializing, but am finding that after I break for lunch and visiting, my brain goes in siesta mode. At the present, I feel very focused and must stay focused. It appeared that we were all quite busy yesterday. Nan was working with underglaze is on slabs. Otto was staining the bust of the man smoking a cigar and trying to figure out what to do with the base it sits upon, to make it light or dark. Dan had made up some beautiful new glazes and unearthed and reconstituted some old ones. I used some of the latter and Pauline suggested I use one of the new variegated glazes on some of my tiles. As she was talking, she was trying to figure out which glazes she would use on Crocus tommasinianus LC0031 a bisqued soft box she’d made. Three of Joan’s black animal miniatures turned out perfectly… a manganese glaze that looks metallic. Speaking of metallic, Gary glazed one of his big horses in bronze and it looks fantastic. A real wowza piece! No camera this week, but I’ll take photos next time. As for myself, I have been keeping to an ambitious schedule, working long hours in both the studio and at home. It has taken me time to hit my stride, as far as a production schedule goes, and I won’t be letting up anytime soon. Aside from producing a lot of work, I find such intense contact with clay is very stress relieving and grounding. It’s also healthy! Wedging and working clay is physically active and I felt like I’d engaged in quite the aerobic tilemaking the other day…I kid you not! At present, I continue to build my inventory, only now it is becoming quite apparent. (Jan pats herself on the back.) I took one step further today by signing up for the local art walk. As I told my husband last evening, I remember when we’d attended an art walk in Bellingham, Washington years ago… must’ve been in the early 1990s. Back then, I never would have dreamt that my work would eventually be exhibited in such an event and I don’t mind saying so. It was a time when I was not as fully connected with my art as I had been, what with immigration and a new career. I did do some throwing during those years, but nothing consistent. Later, as I attended art walks in my locale and appreciated people’s work, I always felt a little tug on theJonquil up close heartstrings when I saw clay work. The feeling was most notable last year, when I thought, gee whiz, I could do this… And, this year, it will be a dream come true. Three neighboring cities come together for this event: ArtsConnect’s ArtWalk. Today was the deadline for applying and I dashed down to the arts centre with my application and check. While there, I checked to see if my pendants were out of the kiln… no, not yet…but I brought home 10 completed Snowfall tiles. Yesterday, I also finished five Sunrise tiles, placed 10 from my new series in the bisque area, and began finish work on five Sheaf of Wheat tiles. Tomorrow, I’ll go pick up the glazed pendants and think about jewelry findings. I have a Creativity Group workshop to conduct on the 25th and must be ready for it. All in all, a mighty productive time and soon it will be full-on spring. I already have lettuce and radishes coming up in my little greenhouse!


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Ceramics Artist in Residence Port Moody Arts Centre

Ceramics Artist in Residence Port Moody Arts Centre
May 1, 2012 – April 30, 2013

A one year Residency Opportunity for an Emerging or Established Ceramic Artist*

The Port Moody Arts Centre Society supports artistic excellence and innovation. This residency is open to all emerging and established ceramic artists over 19 years of age. The residency will require an emphasis on making, learning and sharing the process of creating with clay.

The residency is an excellent opportunity for artistic development within an innovative and supportive ceramic community. The clay studios at the Arts Centre are busy, supportive and house a true sense of community. There are classes for adults in hand building and wheel throwing, children’s classes that range from after school clay to spring & summer camps, plus a very active Open Studio group of ceramic devotees.

The resident artist will be available 3-4 hours per week for public outreach activities such as Open Studio (Tuesdays 10am – 1pm), informal talks, studio tours for student groups, demos and exhibition installation.

  • The Residency will offer:  a secured ceramic studio space for one year, with ample room for a wheel, storage of work in progress, supplies
  • daytime & evening access to studio space firing personal work up to 2 glaze firings /month
  • opportunity to showcase work and engage with the public
  • opportunity to engage with the Arts Centre’s community of ceramic artists
  • opportunity to present classes and/or workshops
  • opportunity to display a body of work at the conclusion of the residency

In return, we ask that the Resident:

  • guarantee a minimum of 8 hours per week be spent working in the studio at regularly scheduled times
  • supervise one Open Studio session per week, Tuesday 10am-1pm (community aspect)
  • be responsible for own clay/specialty glazes/tools/equipment (i.e. wheel)
  •  promote best interests of the Arts Centre
  • comply with all occupational, health and safety issue

There will be no exchange of funds involved with the residency, but there will be opportunity to instruct, engage with the public and to display your work.

*Emerging Artists are defined as professional artists who are at the early stages of their career. Ceramic Art is their main vocation, they have specialized training and some experience exhibiting their work.

*Established Artists are defined as professional artists who are recognized by their peers. They have specialized training and have created an established body of work.

To apply: Artists must complete the Ceramic Artist in Residence Application Form

For further information please contact:
Ruth Hoyem Program & Volunteer Coordinator
604.931.2008 x111


2012 Ceramic Artist in Residence
Application Form

(Deadline: March 25, 2012, 4 pm)

Applicant Information:
Artist name: _________________________________________
Address: ____________________________________________
City: _____________________Prov: _____Postal Code: ________
Email: _________________Website: ______________________
Telephone (home): ________________(work/cell): ____________
Have you had an exhibition at Port Moody Arts Centre before? □ Yes □ No
If you answered Yes, when and in which gallery? ______________________________________________________________________________

Please provide us with a brief outline of your proposed ceramic work for the residency and tell us how this residency will benefit your artistic development. You may include this on a separate piece of paper (one side maximum)
___________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________

Please give a brief description of specialized equipment you would bring to support your residency. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________

To submit your application:

  • Please use a plain 9 x 12 envelope and include: Completed application form.
  • 10 images of recent work on a CD or thumb drive. The format shall be either jpeg or tiff, high-resolution (300dpi) and do not submit images embedded in a program such as PowerPoint.
    o    Each image file should be named with Artist’s name, title, medium & size.
  • An Artist Statement (100 words Maximum)
  • Artist Biography (100 words Maximum)
  • Curriculum Vitae Residency proposal letter stating your goals for exploration and development during your residency
  • Three letters of support
  • A cover letter
    NOTE: please include a hard copy as well as a digital file of all documents on a CD (text documents: PDF of MSWord Files (version 2003 or earlier). Digital formats are as follows: Images – JPEG or TIFF files; text documents – PDF of MSWord Files (version 2003 or earlier).

Important information:

  • Incomplete submissions will not be considered.
  • Please do not include brochures, newspaper clippings or other promotional materials.
  • Application materials will not be returned.
  • All information (including CD of images) should be labeled with the artist’s contact details, full name and phone number. We recommend having this on the bottom of each page.

Please label: 2012 Ceramic Arts Residency Application
Mail, courier, or drop off application packages to:

Ruth Hoyem – Programming & Volunteer Coordinator
Port Moody Arts Centre
2425 St. Johns Street
Port Moody, BC
V3H 2B2

The deadline for the application is March 25, 2012 at 4pm

We thank you in advance for your application, however, only selected applicants will be contacted for interviews in early April 2012.

A Criminal Record Check will be required of the successful applicant.

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Open Studio Update

Birdhouse: I couldn’t be happier to show you my finished birdhouse! It  was made by draping white clay over two conical molds made of poster board stuffed with newspaper. Its pagoda-like feel called out for Japanese glazes: Green Oribe over Shino. My husband will thread narrow chains through the holes, then glue a metal flange over the hole to make it the exact size. First, however, I’ll have to review my notes because I cannot remember which feathered friend I made it for, believe it or not! I love the way it turned out and cannot wait to hang it in our shady big leaf maple tree, with the door hole facing East. 

Underglazes:  I asked Nan if she would mind if I experimented with a technique she has been mastering, layering underglazes, then wiping part of it off to achieve a specific effect. She gave me her blessings. I am tinkering with reliefs made by impressing my mother’s German cookie molds into clay. They are molds she bought in the early 1960s; they are hand carved and quite beautiful. I aim to experiment with them using underglazes and with tilemaking. From these first trials, I can tell I need to paint more layers of each individual color, otherwise, it is too easy to wipe through the layers and reach the base clay. You can see what I mean in this next photo by looking at the impressions on the left and top. I rather like the technique and will continue working with different color combinations till I find ones I really like.

Pendants: This coming February 25, I’ll be facilitating a workshop for my Creativity Group. We meet once a month and have been for over 3 years now. The group is made up of friends and neighbors who get together for art projects or to go to events. Of all of the projects we’ve done so far, none of them have centred on jewelry, so I have planned one that we will be able to do over two hours. I fashioned pendants of white clay, basing them on a necklace from Korea my friend Jennifer wears. It is simplicity itself and so attractive because of it. It measures about 1″ x 1 1/3″ and has been stamped. I have relied on stamps  created by others that are meant for anyone to use at the art centre. I do have a design in mind, but I have yet to make the stamp. The stamps I chose are of a dragonfly, a rose, and a geometric design. I intend to glaze the top, leaving the sides and base for workshop participants to finish with metallic solutions, copper and silver. They will also string them and use jewelry findings to finish them. As far as the rest of the pendants go, considering I made 206 of them, I will be experimenting with glaze treatments, underglazes, and stains. I adore Mary Harding’s work and would like to use stains in a similar fashion.

Tiles: I continued with my tilemaking adventures by using reverses of the individual cookie molds for relief. I am very drawn to the style and methods  Michael Cohen uses for his and I am emulating his style. He seems like such a genial man and his tiles are delightful. He is very practical, has a no bones philosophy, and is a founding member of the Asparagus Valley Ceramics movement. His method of tilemaking appeals to me, in part, because I had been looking for a way that took less time. I am constantly researching the ways people make tiles and his have made a great impression on me (no pun intended!). The photo at the right shows one of the sets of molds I am working with. They are hand carved, have fine detail, and are reminiscent of the skill with which German nativities and cuckoo clocks are made. To make reverses of these, I sprinkled them with cornstarch to prevent the clay from sticking, then cut them out and dried them between weighted down plasterboard. Since they’ve been bisqued, I’ve used some of them to create relief tiles in the vein of Cohen’s. Actually, I’d have to make reverses of the bisqued ones to truly emulate his method and I will do so. The ones I did make are going to be white white, out of B Mix and I’m using Dan’s faux celadon on them. Today, I talked with our studio tech, Dan, about glass because I intend to use broken up bits of glass on the relief area. He gave me some pointers and showed me the glass the studio has in stock, the rods Deb used to use. He also said he’d bring me some of the thicker rods used for beadmaking and I am so grateful! The photos below show closeups of the relief. The clay took to it well. Cohen’s low-tech method using string to mark out the tiles sounds like a good idea, too. I used a tile cutter that makes 4″ x 4″ tiles.  As you know, my favorite style is traditional Arts & Crafts, which started in England and moved to North America. The revival in A & E has grown steadily since the 1980s and I love seeing the furniture, lamps, and ceramics made in this style. Ceramics, pottery, both integral to the style because of its earthy and pristine qualities, depending upon what your making out of it. Eventually, I would like to pair up with my husband, with him making fumed oak frames and me tiles. It would be grand! In the meantime, I took a little side trip with these cookie molds. Maybe not so far astray, though, as the A & E motifs do focus on nature. Using the Cohen method, the next tiles will be ones I create from scratch. They will include timeless Arts & Crafts designs I’ve had on the back burner. Gingko leaf. Pine cone. Pine bough. Birds. Dragonflies. For these particular tiles, I’ll use porcelain with celadon, adding glass bits before firing. They will be larger than my 4x4s…somewhere in the neighborhood of 6×6. I can’t wait!

The Future: Over the last while, I have revisited the reasons I am involved with clay and what I am doing with it. There is an old saying about doing your duty and letting the sparrows twitter, meaning keep to your course and don’t let others’ comments get in the way of what you’re doing. It can be difficult to do at times but I believe in myself, my art and the course I’m charting. I will keep up my effort, be disciplined, associate with people who are positive influences, eschew negative ones. I must continue to culture my intuition. Case in point: I wondered aloud about Gloria in the studio today, about how she was, how her health was. Five minutes later, she walked through the door. I had not seen her since before Christmas. That is the type of intuition I’m culturing…that I will apply with clay. This year will bring great things. I can feel it.

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British Columbia Premier Christy Clark visits the Open Studio

Wednesday, we had a special treat at the Port Moody Arts Centre. A well-known political figure sat down with us at the hand building table, after making her way around the room to meet us individually. For us, the apex of the visit took place when Pauline worked with British Columbia Premier Christy Clark on a soft boxes made of white clay. It turns out, the premier’s sister pursued ceramics at Emily Carr and she said there used to be a potter’s wheel and kiln at the family’s summer cabin. Clark had visited the arts centre before for a Raku-U day and, at one time, she was the neighbor of staff member Ruth Hoyem, so the whole visit was comfortable and enjoyable. Officially, her visit centred on an announcement she made at a press conference at the centre, a planned event with full media presence. For this post, though, I’ll concentrate on the art and forego the politics, though you can hear more about it on the video below. When I arrived, at 11 a.m., Gary and Pauline were already there and they had done quite a bit to make the place presentable. Some of our finished pieces had been set up for display on wedging tables

(Double-click to see full-size slide show and cutlines.)

and counters. We were all working on our current projects when she arrived with her retinue. Gary’s and Otto’s sculptures are large and they made good subjects for the cameras. Later, I saw some footage of us on the evening news and Pauline and the premier’s photo ended up in some newspapers and that was fun to see. The piece Clark was working on will be finished and sent to her as a gift from the centre. I think Pauline handled the situation exceptionally well. The focus was on her, too, as she dealt with the scrum housed in the glazing room and, later, in the studio. It was elbow room only, packed as it was with photographers, reporters and video cameramen. If you haven’t been in a media frenzy, it can be quite an experience, what with people jockeying around, trying to get the best shots. None of us were very fazed by it, though and Pauline later commented that she thought it was because we became so involved with the pieces we were working on. At one point, Pauline was showing the premier how to use a brush to daub water on the bottom of a lid handle (the same way she would in one of her childrens’ art classes). She said something like, “Next, we use some Magic Water…” Later, when she was showing Clark how to attach something else, Pauline inquired of the media, “And, now, what do we use?” and looked up at their faces. They dutifully replied, “Magic Water!” We all had a good laugh. You could tell they liked being included and it put them at ease. After all, we’re all just people…

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark at the Port Moody Arts Centre



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