Thursday, May 19, 2011

We Women Who Wood

are proud to present our second exhibition:

June 4 - July 10, 2011

at the

Colborne Art Gallery

It all began 2004 at Monica Johnston (potter) and Paulus Tsiang (glass blower)
Frantic Farms in Codrington, Ontario.

Monica asked a master kilnbuilder Mark Peters, from North Carolina, to come and give a kiln building workshop. We were part of that group. It was a week of long hours, sweat, tears, laughter, and hugs. Under the patient tutelage from Mark, and much help from Pauus, we did get a beautiful kiln built which we named the "Hog Barn Baby".

At the end of the workshop we fired the kiln with wood that we had split and ended up with some pretty nice wood-fired pots. We were hooked!

In 2006 Barbara Murphy from Waterloo Pottery, asked Mark up to her farm close to Waterloo, Ontario to come up and give another workshop...

so now there were two kilns that we could fire!

We are women of all ages, mostly well into our 50s, 60s and 70s. We come from different areas of Ontario, and have all been making vessels out of clay for many years. Though we fire together, we work separately, and our work consists of a wide variety of form and surface treatment. Our schedule is to stack the kiln during the day, then slowly begin the firing with small sticks of wood, gradually increasing the sie and amount of wood put into the kiln. We work in shifts and by dinnertime the next day, the firing is usually complete, reaching a temperature of between 2300 to 2400 F. In a few days the kiln is cool enough to open up and see the pots that we have fired.
We hae been addictiely firing two cross-draft kilns for the past 7 years.
This experience has led to close friendships and a sharing of knowledge, as well as growth in our work. The participants are:

Celia Brandao

Shirley Clifford

Heather Daymond

Kim Harcourt

Monica Johnston

Carol-Ann Michaelson

Zsuzsa Monostory

Barbara Murphy

Marie Paquette

Terry Osborne

Liz Willoughby

Right after the Studio Tour, I started throwing 'like crazy' for a wood-firing at Monica Johnston's Frantic Farms Clay & Glass near Codrington, Ontario

There were eleven of us firing together, an unusually large number,

just because.....

1. We are preparing for an exhibition opening June 4th at the Art Gallery Colbourne, Ontario

2. We are the original group who built this wonderful beautifully responsive kiln in 2004.

The firing was great, as usual, with lots of flashing, great texture from the build-up and melt of the ash from the firebox, and of course, some quiet pots which turn out to be gems.

This has been a busy month!

The Oxford County Studio Tour was a great success. Many out-of-county visitors came to see the talented studios. Here at my place, Heather MacIntosh with her beautiful watercolours, and Keith Lewis with his first large body of wonderful functional pottery, joined me in welcoming all who came in spite of the weather!

And the best news for last........

I had a room full of "seconds" and 100% of the proceeds from sales went to the Japanese Red Cross. "The money will be used to help replensih supplies... including iodine medicine, blankets, cots, food, equipment... for over 100,000 peopole who were left homeless when the tsunami washed away their
homes and belongings."

So a big thank you to all who were kind enough to support this cause!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My year has been inspired by Shane Norrie.
Thank God he started teaching again - starting with a workshop on very large platters.
After being stuck in the doldrums of lethargy and creative inertia,
something inside started bubbling and bubbling.
What a wonderful feeling,
for those of you who know it, I hope it brings back good memories,
and for those who don't, you have good stuff coming to you.
I wish you all the best of creativity and life for 2011!
I just have to show this one last pot -
it is my favourite.
So functional in the kitchen for baking, freezing,
serving up salads, reheating casseroles,
or good in the office for catching letters!
Whatever - it's all good!

This little jewel teapot is inspired by Fou Chong.
I saw his teapots years ago at an NCECA conference,
and have been pursuing them ever since.
Recently one of my students kick-started the chase yet again,
so together we began playing with form and technique.
This particular gem seguied into my pursuit of Copper Red Glazes.
The following pots are just the start.
I figured out that they like to sit in the middle of the shelf,
with protection from the force of the flame.
Anybody out there know what I'm talking about?

Basically I am a city-girl, born & bred in downtown Toronto.

But on mornings like this, living in the country looks pretty darn good!

Especially when the kiln gods smile down.

If you look real close, you can see the kiln inside.

This is from a December firiing.
The bowl gets a burgundy hue from the copper
in the glaze and the high-temp reduction firing
gives the burgundy its rich depth.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesday October 26th, 2010

John and I are off to New Zealand

to cheer on our friend Jane Rumball

Here she is with a spring lamb!!!

World Cup Rowing Races

Jane is on the Canadian rowing team

She's in the quad boat

Catch it on the internet


Friday, July 16, 2010

Linda brought her years of experience and expertise. Linda's pottery is located in Lindstrom, Minnesota. Here she is firing her own kiln.

In June a group of us had Linda Christianson come to wood-fire with us!
We build this kiln "Beaulah-dene" at Barb Murphy's farm in 2006
and she fires like a beauty. Catenary arch with firebox enclosed.

Here she is loading the kiln: we learned so much from Linda as she talked about all the ins and outs and rationale for putting pots in certain places
- it was all good.
Celia Brandao, Heather Daymond and Terry Osborne are on shift in the early stages of the firing.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

GT - good times!
Cathi Jefferson, Linda Christianson, Barb Murphy
and Kim Harcourt. Kim, what happened, one leg is shorter?

GT - more good times!

Heather Daymond, Monica Johnston chatting,
Terry Osborne coming from the wood shed.

GF - good food!

Gourmet salmon by Louise McCann.

Over the years I have found that generally speaking, potters love to garden, cook, eat (and drink)!

Our pot luck dinners at wood-firings are exceptional in this regard.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Some photos from June 6th the day of the reception for our current exhibition

at the Burlington Art Centre.

This exhibition can be seen until August 1st

First thank you to all who attended in support of Shane Norrie and myself.

It was very much appreciated!

Shane and I were given the opportunity to speak briefly about our work

as we led a group through the Permanent Collection Corridor.

Since 1997 when I moved to Ingersoll, Shane and I have been in conversation about ceramics. About 2002 Shane and I began firing our work in the BAC gas kiln. Often Jonathan Smith, ceramics curator, would come look at our results as we unloaded the kiln. We would continuously discuss our results together, critiquing ourselves and each other's work. In 2007 Shane and I had an exhibition at the Carnegie Gallery in Dundas, Ontario, and of course, it was called "Conversations". A few years later, we were both invited to participate in an international "Chawan" (The Art of the Noble Teacup) exhibition in Belgium.

Although we share the same landscape of ceramics, our explorations go in different directions. I love to explore the effects of different kinds of firings on my work. Since I am partial to fire, I especially love the physical activity of the constant feeding of a wood-kiln. Every five minutes one must throw 4/5 pieces of wood into the firebox for a period of 24-30 hours. The resulting build-up of ash is drawn through the kiln chamber giving the pots that wood-fired look. Recently three other potters and myself built a soda kiln. The action of adding soda into the mix of fire offers up a lovely sheen over all the pots; the results of the vaporization of the soda. The live flame licks throughout the kiln weaving its magic in the gas kiln, the wood-kiln, and the soda-kiln, not to meniton the Raku kiln! I love it.

Shane, on the other hand, explores the textures of glazes and multi-firings. He has explored hundreds and hundreds of test-firing various chemicals by themselves as well as various glazes. This compiled with the multiple firings at different temperatures has given him a vast range of textures to play with and choose from. Anyway, all this to say, we hope you enjoy viewing our exhibition.


Monday, June 7, 2010



If any guild or group would like me to come and do a Raku Workshop for a day at your location,
please do not hesitate to contact me via email,

or call 519-485-5561.

One fish,

Two fish

(Aldo R. showing me his two beauties)

Penny Mc. watching as Patricia R. is smiling!

Glazing Raku pots is FUN!
Josee P. and
Jude W.
are right into it -
copper lusters,
blue velvets,
white crackles,
crusty rusty!

Saturday June 5th, 2010

Raku Workshop with Pinetree Potters Guild

on Sarah's Farm near Aurora.

Here's Ed K. firing Ann's big pot,

and Ann M. putting a lid on it!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Mar 29–Apr 9
"William Daley & Thomas Daley: Collaborations."

Building pots and making buildings/a visual conversation is a collaboration for building between a father and son. William Daley (artist) and Thomas Daley (architect).

Organized by Thomas Daley.

I could not resist putting in a few pictures from this exhibition. I have long admired these pots on the printed page, so it was pretty powerful to see them in person and of course to touch them!
I heard him give a dynamic speech at a previous a NCECA conference.

Here's a quote from Hugh McNichol......

"Last Saturday, I attended William Daley’s exhibition, “Vesica Explorations,” at Swarthmore College. The exhibition of clay pots executed by Bill over the past 20 years is remarkable. Each piece is reflective of the artist’s fascination with the material of clay and it’s intrinsic link between temporal reality and spiritual transcendence. Bill Daley is the patriarch of the American pottery world and a revered figure in the Delaware Valley.....

He explained his process, with drawings on the white wall in his studio, (which he painted over after each piece was completed), explained the transcendence of clay, the mysteries that unfolded in the manual working of such a simple ingredient such as clay and how the material has been an essential part of all human history since man first fashioned a clay vessel for domestic use. Bill cited the Book of Genesis and how God formed man with clay and clay has accompanied man as a essential element ever since."

Attending NCECA's conference (National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts) in Philadelphia this year was one of the best times. And of course the road trip was one of the highlights. Travelling with Barb Murphy, Heather Daymond and Terry Osborne is always good fun and good conversation, all seasoned professional potters. And meeting up with good friends Liz Willoughby and Ron Roy is a treat! The city of Philadelphia was full of gallerys showing ceramic exhibitions, and my favourite was William Daley's strong architectural vessels. The conference was full of good lectures, panel discussions, small group discussions (especially about wood-firing), a large hall of excellent distributors and I am sure the demonstrators were fine (this year I did not get to see them). Looking forward to next year in Tampa, Florida. Check out the website

"I was very pleased to be asked to exhibit at the Burlington Art Centre, from May 8, until August 1, 2010 alongside my good friend Shirley Clifford, who is also from Ingersoll. The exhibition was organized by Curator of the Collection; Jonathan Smith, M.F.A., who is one of Canada's foremost authorities on ceramics. Although the show is now open, the official opening and artists' tour and talk is on June 6th, from 2-4pm. I have posted a couple of images of the exhibition installation, but this is only a small portion of the work.About the Burlington Art Centre: A multi-faceted facility nestled next to Lake Ontario in the heart of Burlington, Ontario. It is truly a centre for art, supporting artists, staging exhibitions, nurturing a nationally and internationally recognized ceramic collection, and serving the community.Permanent Collection: From its early foundation, the BAC also expanded to become home to a permanent collection of ceramics, vigorously acquired since 1983. The BAC Permanent Collection of Contemporary Canadian Ceramics has achieved international recognition and is the largest such collection in Canada. It continues to grow in size and artistic depth. ( I was very pleased to find out that I have a few pieces included in this terrific collection!) for more information."
This is one of the smaller showcases that we like. Jonathan Smith, the curator of the exhibition, has selected Shane's sculptural highly textured pieces and one wall piece/platter to stand with my vases and teapot for a pleasing combination. They look great with the sunlight streaming through the window into the corridor.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Masterworks Southwest Exhibition
will be at
Tom Thomson Art Gallery
in Owen Sound
840 First Avenue West
from March 28 til April 25th
If you click on this site, you can see the booklet catalogue for this show.
Extremely creative and ingenius items to dazzle you.
Here are some Thoughts from the Jurors:
Rhona Wenger
Lois Etherington Betteridge
Christian Bernard Singer
We considered each piece according to the criteria established by the Ontario Crafts Council: craftsmanship, expression, innovation, and excellence. What we found was genuinely impressive. The overall quality of the works submitted was high, which is a pleasure to see, for it indicates a community of artisans who are not afraid to push their media technically, emotionally and experimentally. All of the works that were accepted into the show stretch the expected boundaries of the chosen medium in some way. We included some pieces that are elegant and sophisticated, where the maker has exhibited extraordinary technical virtuosity. Other pieces combined unusual or unexpected materials, at times even understating their mastery of technique to achieve effect and meaning. The quirkiness that comes from an underlying sense of humour is also much in evidence.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Today was the first day of our exhibition in Ingersoll.

Shane's paintings which echo the feel of his ceramics, have seen much success and are included in collections in Ontario, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Alberta, British Columbia, Utah, and New York. They are also included in the RBC Corporate Collection, County of Oxford Collection, as well as HSBC Executive Collection, New York, N.Y.

There will be a reception on the last Sunday of the show, April 18th, from 2-4 pm at the Ingersoll Creative Arts Centre.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

This vase is one of a series in an exhibition called "Reaching Up".
This porcelain vase is functional and has a celadon glaze similar to those used
by the Chinese potters in the Tang Dynasty.
Then surprisingly low-firing Raku glazes are poured over the celadon to give a fluid melt of
reds and blues and greens.
They were all fired in a high-fire gas kiln.
The bases by contrast add a substantial grounding to the vessels
and are fired with a black lava glaze.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Today I shipped this Raku vase to Tom Thomson Art Gallery in Owen Sound. This is the first venue for a new exhibit called "Masterworks Southwest".
This is a porcelain vase with a clear glaze fired in a Raku kiln.
As soon as it comes out of the kiln, it is oversprayed with ferric chloride.
This chemical bonds onto the molten glaze and created
the gold/orange luster surface.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

These ritual vessels mark special occasions. Celebrations and feasts which deservedly require a unique ceramic piece of art to commemorate and give us a lasting memory of togetherness and community.

The largeness of the emptiness says 'fill me with abundant harvest'. We want pour out an abundance of good times and good results from our hard work. The logical contrast is from our everyday ware used to facilitate our repetitive, sometimes mundane activities.

The large bowls are about special get togethers, sharing bread together, celebrating special events together. The tall legs elevate the offering to give a ritual blessing. The elegant curl of the foot is a reference from classical vessel bowls used to celebrate the Athenian games, the forerunner of our Olympic games.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The big bowls have been loaded into the kiln!

This will be an oxidation firing cone six in my gas kiln. My electric kiln is on the blink!

Friday, February 26, 2010


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Am finally back on my blog.
Having trouble getting into this, getting tongue-tied, I think. Can anyone out there help me with this? Any suggestions?
Anyway, here is a new image of one of my favourite forms. A reference to ancient Shigaraki storage jars.
The rough texture is from feldspar which I brought back with me from Shigaraki, Japan. It stand almost 30 cm tall. Wood-fired with various Shino glazes.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Earlier this month I went to Chicago to see the SOFA art show - Sculptural Objects Functional Art. This is a view of my friends standing in front of Navy Pier, the venue for the show. In early November the weather was warm and balmy, so we walked and walked and walked!

This piece was in the show. A ceramic piece made by Ruth Duckworth. I love the sense of design - subtle and strong.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Getting ready for the Ingersoll Creative Arts Centre Studio Tour Sat. Oct 3rd and Sun. Oct. 4th. $20 Ticket includes lunch on Saturday and a unique pottery tray made by the Ingersoll Creative Arts Centre Potters! Choose from 325 trays which will be on display at the lunch venue on Sat. from 11-2 at St. James Anglican Church! 35 artists and 11 Ingersoll Studios and 2 Thamesford Studios. Sunday visits are free.
Come for a lovely drive in the country - my friends and I look forward to your visit. Heather MacIntosh will be showing spectacular watercolours; Keith & Rosemary Lewis have new pottery works, both large and small scale;
Susan Clark has amazing colourful quilts of original unique designs; Monika Burrell has new work - paintings as well as pottery. See you then!