Speaker Series

The NWCF maintains parallel series of lectures by established local and international artists and emerging talents. These free public lectures are generally held at Emily Carr University and presented in the spirit of raising the level of discourse and awareness of the ceramic arts.

Allan Collier: "BC Pottery 1920 – 1950"

The North-West Ceramics Foundation is pleased to announce Allan Collier, as featured speaker at a free public lecture Thursday, March 31, 2016 at 7:30 pm. The presentation will be held in Room 245 in the North Building of Emily Carr University of Art + Design (1399 Johnston Street, Granville Island, Vancouver). All are welcome and encouraged to attend.


Summerland Arts League
Summerland Arts League, c. 1925, Courtesy of the Summerland Museum & Heritage Society (photographer unknown)

Ravine Pottery
Ravine Pottery, New Westminster, 1947-1950. Photo Allan Collier

Allan Collier is a furniture designer-maker, teacher, collector and curator based in Victoria. He maintains a large collection of Canadian post-war furniture, tableware, ceramics and enamelware, including furniture designed by West Coast designers and manufacturers, and ceramics and enamelware by some of Canada’s best-known artists of the post-war period. He has curated, written about and lent objects from his collection to exhibitions across the country. A major project, The Modern Eye: Craft and Design in Canada, 1940-1980, was exhibited at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria in 2011. This exhibition and catalogue featured over 40 pieces of furniture, 100 examples of ceramics plus printed fabrics, tapestries, appliances and lighting to illustrate the range of modernist expression in Canadian craft and design in the period from 1940 to 1980.

Recently, he has examined work from the 1920s and 30s, finding traces of the foundations upon which contemporary Canadian craft and design practice and institutions have been built. He focuses his current research on pottery in BC from the 1920s to the late 1940s, a period during which BC's pioneer potters emerged and efforts to establish formal pottery instruction and exhibition opportunities were first undertaken in this province.

His lecture, “BC Pottery 1920-1950,” reports on this new research, which, when completed, will be published in book form and/or online. The presentation will include pottery made by members of the Summerland Arts League in the Okanagan starting in 1923; by Margaret Grute and her circle in Victoria in the 20s; and by Marian McCrea, Mollie Carter and other graduates and teachers at the Vancouver School of Art in the 1930s and 1940s.The work of Axel Ebring and Emily Carr will also be discussed, as will the impact that the Victoria Summer School for Teachers, the Canadian Handicrafts Guild , the Island Arts and Crafts Society and new institutions like the Vancouver School of Art and the Vancouver Art Gallery had in stimulating training, exhibitions, and sales. Collier will place the work of these individuals in the context of their time, when interest in the intrinsic value of the hand-made object was renewed, and when suitable kilns, clays, instruction and sales opportunities were far-less available than they are today. He will also discuss the origins of commercial potteries such as Royal Ariston, BC Ceramics, Crown Ceramics and Ravine Pottery (New Westminster), which made their appearance in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The lecture will be held Thursday, March 31, 2016 at 7:30 pm, in Room 245, North Building of Emily Carr University of Art + Design at 1399 Johnston Street, Granville Island, Vancouver. All are welcome, and we look forward to seeing you there.

The NWCF has funded the following keynote speakers at the Canadian Clay Symposium:

  • 2013 - Takeshi Yasuda
  • 2010 - Jack Troy
  • 2007 - Magdalene Odundo
  • 2004 - Walter Ostrom
  • 2002 - Clary Illian
  • 2000- Susan Greenaway