Opportunity: Banff Center Antlantic Scholarship

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To be eligible for consideration, applicants must:

• be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;

• be under the age of 35 at the time of application;

• demonstrate a strong personal and artistic connection to the east coast provinces of Canada (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador).

• have completed formal training in visual arts

• demonstrate commitment to the career of a professional visual artist by having: practiced professionally in their field for a minimum of two years, produced an independent body of work, and held at least two public exhibitions in a professional context

• demonstrate they are able to work independently;

• be able to communicate effectively in English (the working language at The Banff Centre is English).

– See more at: https://www.banffcentre.ca/programs/emerging-atlantic-artist-residency/201606#sthash.MZHAaRFL.dpuf

BPP Mugs at Oso Negro!

I am so happy to be the featured artist at Oso Negro in Nelson BC for the month of November. They have a wonderful “mug wall”  featuring a different potter every month (potters sign up for a space up to two years in advance for it!). Oso is my favourite cafe in my hometown. My parents invested in an industrial espresso maker many years ago and so began my love of oso coffee. Later as an adult two glorious years I attended Kootenay School of the Arts for ceramics a mere ally walk away from the cafe and so our “coffee breaks” were justified and splendid at that. Check it!Screen Shot 2014-11-02 at 10.59.49 PMScreen Shot 2014-10-30 at 5.49.10 PM

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Those sprout sandwiches make my mouth water!


CITY OF RED DEER HIRING CULTURE TECHNICIAN The City of Red Deer is always on the hunt for talented and success driven people. We offer a great work environment with the opportunity to work with a dynamic and dedicated team of likeminded professionals. We are currently seeking the right person to fill the position of Culture Technician – Ceramics in our Recreation, Parks & Culture Department. This position provides direct technical support to the Culture Section clay and ceramics programs, activities and events; oversees studio practices and inventory; provides information and support to instructors and studio users on proper procedures for working in a safe studio environment. As our preferred candidate you will have: Post-secondary education in a related field (Ceramics, Ceramics Technician, Fine Arts) with a minimum of 2 years working in and/or managing a ceramics studio, or an equivalent combination of education and/or experience. Good comprehension of ceramic processes and studio maintenance Good comprehension of ceramic processes and studio maintenance Strong time management and multi-tasking skills. Ability to work independently Ability to work flexible and irregular hours, including weekends. The ability to exert moderate physical effort moving and delivering equipment and supplies; must be able to lift 50 lbs Valid Alberta Class 5 Driver’s License and access to a reliable vehicle. First Aid and CPR certification. Ability to ensure compliance with WHMIS in all ceramic areas of the studios. What we offer: The hourly rate for this casual position is $24.64 to $26.09. In addition to a very competitive salary and an excellent benefit package, we offer a great work environment with a dynamic and dedicated team of likeminded professionals. If you like what you have read, and think this is the job for you; come build your career with The City of Red Deer. We are committed to a healthy, vibrant, and sustainable community. Our employees are the cornerstone of our organization and working with us will provide you with the opportunity to work in an ever growing environment and to work with an awesome group of people. For more information and to apply online please visit us at http://www.reddeer.ca/hr.

Read more at http://www.affta.ab.ca/Arts-In-Alberta/Arts-Opportunities/City-of-Red-Deer-Hiring-Culture-Technician

Exhibition: Edible Provisions

February 13 – February 24, 2014

Opening reception February 12 @ 530 – 7PM

NSCAD Port  Loggia

Bridget Fairbank is a Nova Scotian food activist concerned about food, aren’t you? Edible Provisions is a collection of cutting edge work from various Artists working in various mediums that address how and what we eat today. The works exemplify the complexities of our eating in an epoch where dinner is dubious.

Edible Provisions, Bridget Fairbank, Announcement, 2013

Please check out www.bpracticalpottery.com or https://www.facebook.com/BPracticalPottery on Facebook or see photos of the show on instagram @bpracticalpottery and see attached a zip file of photos for your own use.

Also, stand by for an essay about some of the works in three weeks time!


Artist: Kalika Bowlby

Kalika is a wonderful potter who hails from my home town of Nelson BC. It seems that from time to time potters of interest get lost in the file folders of my mind, to surface when a nice big storm shuffles them all up (there are lots of fun storms in the area right now). In Kalika’s case, it has been two years since I took a look at her work and am pleased to see it evolve interestingly and elegantly. Check her out:


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I love the process of reinterpreting traditional pottery forms with a contemporary voice. It always comforts me to consider how long objects such as cups and bowls have been a part of life and culture. The pottery I make is made to survive the rigors of daily life while uplifting the daily events of eating and drinking. This current series of wheel-thrown work is made from mid-range red stoneware and embellished with patterns created from computer derived symbols used in repetition. I make each object from concept to completion in my home based studio in Nelson, BC.

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This series of wheel thrown, press molded and soda fired work was made with a concentration on tangibility.The weight and texture of this series of work is exaggerated to remind us of the importance of our physical lives.There is a consideration of the body and the senses within each piece.To nourish our bodies, senses and minds is to acknowledge our humanness.Our need for sustenance and care is a common experience which can bridge the distance between individuals providing a space for compassion and understanding.We can all relate to hunger, thirst and the desire for intimacy. Pottery can act as a reminder of our basic needs, revealing both our tenderness and vulnerability.

Review: Ji Yeon’s Think Tank

Review: Ji Yeon’s Think Tank

The subject of this review is Think Tank: A Master of Fine Arts Thesis Exhibition by Ji Yeon Kim shown at the Anna Leonowen’s Gallery in Halifax N.S. March 12-23 2013 comprising of delightful ceramic sculptures and functional work dealing with the complexities of being a South Korean in Canada. Themes of culture shock, fear and adaption run through each work in the Think Tank, however the show is anything but dark, rather the work is Ji’s joyful manifestation of overcoming difference with a childlike resilience embodied in wonderment and playfulness.

The exhibition is named Think Tank in honor of Ji’s professors Neil Forrest and Rory McDonald. Jars rendered as portraits of all three are the feature of the exhibition (see photo above) and act as repositories for spectators comments written on doilies. With this action the think tank is ever being replenished and expanded. It is a great example of the interaction and playfulness Ji promotes. The original triad has been pivotal to Ji’s progression and studies at NSCAD University. Coming highly technically skilled from previous training in South Korea and used to working in a constrained environment Ji’ explains, “their personalities are really open and they are whimsical, funny individuals” (interview) their interactions allowed her to experiment and play in all aspecting of thinking and making. A sense of coy play permeates all aspects of Ji’s practice. Ji’s studio at NSCAD, a secretive place you must have the a password to get into (for your information the password is “little monster”, shhh!)  “is the gateway to [her] artistic practice; the most important ideas in [her] practice are play, color, culture, language and interaction with people. [Her] work is about more than simple playfulness. It is a ceramic investigation into a cultural adventure” (thesis). With this playful and respectful tone Ji asks us all to take a look at her work and join in her story, a story such that every traveller knows.

Walking into the exhibition we are faced with a wall painted in undulating light blue and lime green lines of color and adorned with more doilies, Ji’s preferred paper to sketch on. These bright colors and sketches are translated straight from Ji’s studio space, it is her way of reaching out to the viewer and an extension of Ji herself, always the bright and cheery artist. The colors mask the white walls of the gallery not only to comfort us but also Ji. Ji is afraid of the color white, for in South Korea white is the color of mourning and so tells the story of death. This fear is actually what led Ji to clay because clay is a warm hue unlike a stark white primed canvas, Ji relaxes when working with the medium. More themes of cultural difference arise as in her artist talk Ji explains how shocking it was to see how Haligonians have old cemeteries in the middle of the city and real estate around them is costly- in Korea ghosts would not be welcoming neighbors. Thus Ji surmises that Canadian ghosts are friendly and ghosts become her mascot in Canada. The three jars we encounter next and sure enough Ji’s self portrait depicts Ji wearing a hat with ghosts on it happily flying around in the night. In her eyes we see drawn a question mark and exclamation mark depicting what every piece in the show communicates. Likewise in McDonald’s portrait shows him dawning his toque, which he always wears, where Ji surmises he keeps all his power and energy and secrets. Forrest’s portrait bares no wrinkles or sign of aging with electric green hair he embodies his youthful demeanor, he has no hat symbolizing his sharing and blunt nature.

Ji says that her work here is more childish compared to what she would have made in Korea, her initial language barrier rendered her verbal communication childish and so she began to artistically communicate using childlike sentimentality. In this way we are reminded that words aren’t even necessary, exchanges can happen in different ways on many levels. The participation aspect is new to Ji’s work and came from a happy mistake, a letting go of sorts. The piece Jay Rider, 2011 is a ceramic rendition of a rocking horse but instead of a horse it is Ji’s dear friend Jay one is asked to mount. Ji had made a similar piece depicting her father in Korea.When she created Jay in Canada the piece developed a hairline crack on the belly, Ji changed her mind and thought, “maybe everyone can ride his back” (interview). Even knowing the crack was there I paradoxically really wanted to participate, even knowing I could literally be the straw that broke the horses back. This exemplifies just how strong Ji’s work draws the viewer in to engage and enjoy.  The crack was liberating and freed Ji to make art objects that physically engage the audience such as Whimsy Whimji Bridge, 2013 a play on the song “The London Bridge is Falling Down” a life size sculpture with hands raised to the sky asking you to join in the game. Further more participants are invited to decorate the white apron worn by the figure, an effort to cover up white voids with meaningful bright human interaction. Ji says, “spaces of play are where children (and adults) get to explore, discover, create and imagine” and so with her work she creates that space for us. In the center of the Anna LeonOwens is the three Think Tank jars,  Whimsy Whimji Bridge and Jay Rider occupy the middle of the gallery floor and on the walls are tiles and plates.  A series entitled Homesick Sometimes, 2013 consists of three self portrait wall tiles narrating Ji’s personal triggers- the cold winter, missing her dogs and culture shock. The pieces are dark yet delightful. Ji uses imagination for comfort and communication. Ji says “life is unpredictable, busy, complicated, and dramatic. It has ups and downs; it can be joyful exultant moments or heartbreaking disappointments… [she] likes to indulge [her]self with daydreams. Sometimes they take [her] away from reality” (thesis) this is something we all feel and need. Further along the gallery wall we encounter Aww Oh! Sign, 2013 a wall piece that protrudes out into the room like a shop sign and depicts a shocked Ji, mouth agape. Ji says many things are shocking about Canadian Culture like marijuana and overt sexuality sometimes her only response is “Aww Oh!” and we’ve all had that reaction before! Next two sets of plates entitled Two Missing Plates, 2012 tell of Ji’s forays into Halifax trying to find ingredients to make Korean food and having no such luck. My personal favorite is Meal with a bowl of rice, soup, and side dishes. At last we see the piece I don’t want to wake up at 9AM because Canada’s winter is too cold, 2012 a set of three plates decorated with sleepy bears unwilling to emerge from the warm covers of their beds. Once again a feeling every Canadian knows well.

Ji’s work is largely autobiographical but anyone who has ever been a foreigner somewhere or spent some time in Canada can relate to the themes put forth by Think Tank and Ji’s personal experience. The exhibition is a profoundly personal one and acts as a reminder to view the world in wonder and stay open minded.

Please take a moment to explore Ji’s past body of work at  http://www.hi5jiyeon.com

Read: Avant-Garde and Kitsch and Cultivating Canada

Greenberg, “Avant-Garde and Kitsch,” Partisan Review, Fall 1939

An essay that came to shape the ideas of many in the 20th Century.

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Cultivating Canada: Reconciliation through the Lens of Cultural Diversity

A take on what Canada really is and what us Canadians have to recognize.


Artist: Jenn Demke-Lange

I have had a prolonged pottery crush on Jenn Demke-Lange. About year ago I posted about her asking if anyone had more information on her work, as I had purchased two wee mugs from the Alberta Craft Council Gallery and was in love with what they added to my esspresso and almond milk mornings. I was also intrigued with then having “Canada” inscribed on the bottom. I later learned on a visit to Medalta (a Canadian clay mecca, see Medalta post for more) that this was because of her participation in a International Craft Biennale as opposed to her own predetermined prerogative (it is an interesting forced predicament of patriotism that intrigues me.) Since that post a year ago both of her wee mugs have hit the dust due to moving and clumsiness. Potters can be the most brutish owners of vessels- use the darned things!  Now and then I long for them. The happy news is that there is a website up and running where we may ogle new her work: http://www.mikind.ca/ It is a lovely one at that complete with layered and evolving triangles. I am a sucker for a bright off-color triangle…

 I am therefore very pleased at the current trend of such brightgeo motifs and happy Jenn had the foresight to refine and explore the movement. Let’s take a look at some of her work shall we?

Also just a reminder, if you make nice work you are bound to be someone’s desktop or screensaver at some point… possibly the geekiest from of flattery out there! This is currently mine.

And frankly any gal with such an entertaining complied vimeo video gets my vote (Though you almost lost me with that MIA track):