Tony Clennell, MFA, RCA, is a second generation potter that has been making pottery for over 35 years. He has taught workshops in Canada, USA, Japan, China, Korea, Wales and Italy. He has a Master of Fine Arts from Utah State University and is a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. He is author of “Stuck in the Mud”a book of irreverent tales, BS and nonsense.
"After 30 years of working in clay, utility continues to serve as the foundation for my ideas. The pots I make, no matter how simple or complex, are meant to be experienced on a physical and contemplative level. The way an object carries, lifts, cradles, pours and contains are properties which I strive to make engaging for the user, offering more than just convenience. Pottery has the potential to affect peoples lives in a very real way. The challenge is to go beyond the mundane and purely technical solutions which only compete with a vast industrial market. The pottery I find most compelling in terms of its vitality and its reflection of the maker are those who reach back into the traditions of vessel making not simply in reproduction but rather how these historical models are reinterpreted and revitalized to have more relevance to contemporary society.
“My current work concentrates on the exploration of wood firing. While making each piece, I try to imagine how a passing flame of melting ash might trace itself on the form. Firing a wood kiln requires hours of labour and I delight in the camaraderie of the team as we prepare and stoke the fire. After the kiln is fed its last piece of wood, several days pass before the pots within it are cool enough to be unloaded. I wait with eager anticipation for the opening of the kiln after each firing.”
"My work explores themes of the garden, ecology, landscape, and our evolving relationship with the natural world from a contemporary perspective. The illustrative surfaces reference historical ceramics and decorative arts traditions, botanical Illustration, and incorporate a sense of fantasy and discovery.
My recent work reflects my long standing interest in gardening and urban food production and references the complex nutrient recycling system in the soil involving bacteria, fungus, insects, plants, etc. (the soil-food web). These complex systems are the foundation upon which plant life - and by extension all life - depends.
The circular wall plate functions as a lens to frame the beauty of these life forms that go unnoticed underfoot. The strange shapes and textures of micro flora, the architecture of a beetle’s exoskeleton and the growing habits of fungi and plants, are the inspiration for these plates."
"I have recently left South Africa to live and work in Toronto, Canada
I have worked with clay since the early 90’s. And I love it – I don’t have to think or feel, its all about the sensation of the medium, about body, texture, pattern, space, time and form.
And I make vessels because containers are about potential – defined spaces of emptiness that can be filled with something…. Or nothing. Resonances of light, or sound, sight or touch.
From delicate, fragile porcelain lights or botanical carvings to heavy, strong black bells, the range and diversity is compelling, integrated throughout with symbols and patterns."
“The whole purpose of a vessel is that it be filled. But it is in the making of vessels, rather than filling them, that is life’s greatest challenge, and its’ most revolutionary achievement.” Chassidus
"I make pots to share my love of material and the importance
of beauty in the home and marks the beginning of a relationship
that unfolds over years. I am enamored by clay’s malleability,
plasticity, and tactility. It’s the quick squishy responsive nature of
the material itself that draws me in. As a kid I would play with bricks and mortar, building small walls or stacks when I would visit construction sites with my father. The physical weight of the brick carries sentiments of strength, home, and safety. These ideas are imbedded in my pottery. I chase after a personal expression of
beauty, a casual confidence, pots that are full of quick and
energetic throwing. Creating qualities of spontaneity, roughness,
and heft that highlight the raw beauty of ceramics. I trim back into
the clay to expose the rough groggy inner quality similar to the
gritty texture of early wet struck bricks. I use a reductive process to highlight subtle transitions in form. Creating edges for the slip and glaze to break, pool, and cascade over, accentuating the swelling forms of jars and pitchers. I want my pots to disappear into private
and personal activities. To let particular moments take centre stage.
For me, pottery only becomes active when we commit them into service. The pots I make are emblematic of more than a container of food. They’re a visual representation of time, memory, and history. Which is actively added to and transported with the experiences of use.
Pottery, when used in the domestic setting eventually break down, it stains, glazes dull, and chipped edges form. These are the battle scars of utilitarian pottery, of a well-loved piece of pottery. These marks are to be admired and help in the brief instances of small pleasure on a daily basis. Creating moments of experiential sympathy between the participant maker and the pot. These moments can't be codified or appropriated but have the immediate enjoyment of everydayness."
"Currently, the direction of my work involves the vessel becoming distilled and reduced down to a much more simplified form. In my work over the last two years I have been stripping away the extraneous ornament of which I have been so fond, and working in a more considerate way. I have been thinking more about the real destination of my work, beyond a pedestal or exhibition. Who really wants this? What is the real size of pots that are used? What is the useful shape of a handle or knob? After concerning myself with the space around my pots and trying to make increasingly louder visual statements about the vessel and its elevation, I decided to step sideways and spend some time making quieter, more carefully made pots; to let my hands and body practice, to allow myself the time to re-learn the skills. Although I still have a strong compulsion to cover the vessel with ornamental additions, curly exxtensions and exagerated, non-functioning handles and knobs, this work is intentionally and unequivocally rejecting that temptation. I set up some rules, gave myself restrictions and I am revisiting pots that are about volume, containment and the interaction between form and surface. Glazes that seduce and pull, moving over balanced form; lids that fit, pots that work well, pots that feel welcoming and sure. I have been re-educating myself on the tactile and the haptic draw of useful pottery; because ultimately, this is my source."
"As a potter making functional work, I am challenged by both aesthetic, and ergonomic considerations. A robust pot that works well is more likely to be used on a daily basis. That means paying particular attention to lids, spouts and handles, or the flow of an elegant curve. Important details that can make handmade pots a pleasure to use. The accessibility of a functional craft object that can engage the user on a daily basis is an important aspect of my practice, and with a relatively small investment the user can own a small piece of daily, useful art. I want my vessels to have volume, a generous space that alludes to their ability to contain and nourish, and to have gesture and subtle anthropomorphic qualities that imbue individuality, fullness and curiosity. I am interested in surfaces that invite touch and exploration; texture as pattern, contrasting matte and gloss surfaces, marks left by the firing process. The most successful surfaces have an organic quality, reminiscent of moss, ice crystals, or the sea. I prefer traditional atmospheric firing methods, such as wood and salt firing, methods that physically touch and impact the work. I often work in small editions, making each piece by hand allows me to constantly refine designs. The forms evolve slowly through reflection and use, observing the pots in a group, playing with scale, comparing proportions and surface quality. I strive to keep traditional domestic design relevant in an increasingly fastpaced society. Handmade objects take time. They connect us to each other and are a physical manifestation of the makers time, skill and energy. Influenced by historic pots and their ritual use, a more contemplative object can provide a moment of reflection and connection. A link to the past, and an intimate moment in the present, shared with family and friends."
"My work as a ceramic artist consists of both functional and sculptural objects. I am drawn to clay for its expressive nature as well as its ability to create utility. As an artist, I am intrigued by layers. As a maker, process plays an important role. Each working stage in a piece brings a new layer and each action leaves its mark on the finished results. The forms I create are derived from landscapes and borrowed elements from nature, architecture and the human form.
Ceramic surface plays an integral role in my work, acting as the final layer or skin of the object. Drawings are created with the intention to play with melting properties of glazes, in order to reveal and conceal the original sketches. Various textures are utilized to highlight the raw clay combined with controlled layering of glazes leaving room for the spontaneous nature of what happens in the kiln"
"The physical, mental, and emotional challenges associated with clay are what keep me engaged in the studio each day. Preparing the material, chopping and stacking wood, pinching forms, hands immersed in the soft earth, feeling flames on my chest and the smell of smoulder lingering in my nostrils. After a childhood and adolescence of graphing and calculating, I was perplexed to find the world of ceramics on a whim - a completely unforgiving medium that cannot be overthought, analyzed, or researched. It was new, and ruthless, and entirely physical. The more I learned, the more I found there was to learn, and the more enjoyment I found in the challenge of learning.
In my work, I strive to craft objects that will bring beauty and simplicity to the average life. I wish to bring deeper meaning to quiet moments.
I aim to develop and grow as an artist and craftsperson through making. The work evolves as I evolve."
Heather began her study of clay as a metal student at
Kootenay School of the Arts in Nelson, BC. This study and
constant reference to metal continues in her hand-built soft slab,
wood fired ceramics. She is interested in the development of relationship created by placement and repetition, and the use of functional ceramics to create sculptural works.
"The pots I make are an exploration of how sculptural form, function and simplicity can exist in the everyday, utilitarian object. The soft
slab, hand building process is a direct reference to the construction of old-timey, worn tin ware. Surface created through wood firing helps
to evoke a sense of nostalgia, creating a dialogue of memory
between user and maker through everyday use."
"I’m an artist currently living and working in Hamilton, ON. I work predominately with clay to make ceramic objects. I have an MFA from Alfred University (2019) and was a full-time Artist-In-Residence at Harbourfront Centre. I have a BA in Sociology from McMaster University and received an Advanced Diploma in Craft and Design (Ceramics) from Sheridan College.
The different streams of my work are united by coil and line. A coil generates form, form creates edge and silhouette, edge and silhouette frame surface. A gesture as simple as making a line, when performed repeatedly, builds and transforms. I feel free when using coils to establish forms - there are no restrictions, the possibility of where the lines lead to is endless. Through this process I am able to engage my intuition and as concepts (my thoughts) progress throughout the rhythm of making, I develop families of shapes. The slowness of building one coil at a time invites the potential for the process to be disrupted and flexibility to wander from original ideas. I work into the unknown creating objects not yet imagined. When I am in the studio working with tactile clay, I am able to intimately experience objects and ideas. Material and process are central to my ceramics practice and I aim to make things that engage myself and other people."
Patrick Yeung is a Toronto, Ontario based potter. He is a graduate of the Craft and Design program at Sheridan College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning in Oakville, Ontario. After completing his studies at Sheridan in 2006, Patrick continued to hone his craft with a 2 year apprenticeship with Dundas, Ontario potter, Scott Barnim. He designs and creates unique, finely crafted tableware. Patrick’s work reflects his interests in his Cantonese heritage, the routines of cuisine and dining traditions, and contemporary design. He is able to meld all these influences to create work that is useful, pleasing, and memorable.