Category Archives: Current board

Gillian McMillan

Born in England, Gillian McMillan trained as a teacher and taught before emigrating to Montreal and then Vancouver. She studied at Vancouver’s Huyghe School of Pottery and Douglas College (now Kwantlen U). She earned her BFA from Emily Carr College of Art & Design in 1994. She has taught at Place des Arts, the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts and at Port Moody Arts Centre. She has served on the Board of the Potters’ Guild of BC and is a founding member of Fraser Valley Potters’ Guild and Tri-City Potters. In 2010, she was an artist-in-residence at Medalta in Medicine Hat. Her work has been published in Robin Hopper’s Making Marks: Discovering the Ceramic Surface, two Lark books, Contact Magazine, and elsewhere. Working mainly in red earthenware painted with brightly coloured slips, Gillian has held solo exhibitions at the Gallery of BC Ceramics and at Circle Craft, where she introduced her distinctive jugbirds. Her work can be found in Circle Craft Co-op on Granville Island; at Jonathon Bancroft-Snell Gallery in London, Ontario; and at Primavera Gallery in Cambridge, England. Gillian joined the Board in 2021. For more of her work and to read her informative blog on clay-related events, see

​Ron Vallis

Ron is currently working with Martin Peters at the Dunbar Pottery in Vancouver and is a retired cultural worker. He is interested in the simple domestic vessel as an artistically expressive object within the discipline of the traditional tools of hand, wheel and fire. Ron graduated with honours from the Vancouver School of Art (now Emily Carr University) and studied at the Banff School of Fine Arts. He has exhibited at the Ping Gallery and the Gallery of BC Ceramics in Vancouver, and at the Exit Gallery and Walter Phillips Gallery in Banff. His work was included in the exhibition Thrown: Influences and Intentions of West Coast Ceramics at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery at UBC in 2004 and High Fire Culture at the Belkin Satellite Gallery. For many years he served on the Board or as President of the Potters’ Guild of BC and on the Boards of the BC Highland Dance Association and United Scottish Cultural Society. Ron has been a member of the Board of the NWCF since 1997, serving as Vice-President from 1997 to 2000 and as President from 2001 until 2016. For more on his work, please see Dunbar Pottery

​Cheryl Stapleton

Cheryl Stapleton is an artist, educator and pottery studio technician and manager based in Vancouver. She holds a BFA from Emily Carr University of Art + Design. She has managed the Roundhouse Pottery Studio since 1999 and the studio at West Point Grey since 2002. She has taught ceramics classes to both children and adults since 1996 at Kwantlen University, the Surrey Arts Centre, the Vancouver School Board, and at both the Roundhouse and West Point Grey Community Centres. Cheryl maintains her own studio in the Mergatroid Building located within the parameters of the Eastside Culture Crawl. In 2005 and 2006, she participated in the Terra Cotta Residency in Santiago du Cuba, and she attended NCECA conferences in both Portland, OR and Phoenix, AZ. Cheryl volunteers with the Fraser Valley Potters Guild Association and the Canadian Clay Symposium, and she has been a member of the NWCF Board since 2008.

Debra Sloan, President

Debra Sloan attended Emily Carr College of Art and Design, graduating with honours in ceramics and sculpture in 1982. She attained her BFA from ECUAD in 2005. She has exhibited, taught, adjudicated and served on all the regional craft Boards including the NWCF Board, which she joined in 2007 and became President in 2018. Since 2005 she has been collecting materials for a BC ceramics archive, and is collaborating with the Craft Council of BC (CCBC) to create a BC Ceramics Marks Registry (BCCMR). She has published in Ceramics Art and Perception, Technical, Fusion, Studio Ceramics Canada and Ceramics Now. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is held in public collections, most recently the Museum of Anthropology, and it appears in six LARK 500 books. In 2015, she was the recipient of the Hilda Gerson Award (CCBC), and Honouree for the Mayor’s ARTS Award [Vancouver] for Craft and Design. She presents at symposiums and attends international residencies, awarded a Canada Council for the Arts, for her 2019 residency in Shigaraki, Japan. Working mainly as a figurative artist, she was the first sculptor to have ventured in the sculptor/commentary direction, as 2014 Artist-in-Residence, at the Leach Pottery in its 95-year history. Her work can be viewed at

​Naomi Sawada

Naomi Sawada is the Manager of Public Programs at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery at the University of British Columbia (UBC). She holds a BA (Anthropology 1995) and Diploma (Art History 1996) from UBC. She has assisted in the research of exhibitions and programs at Science World British Columbia in Vancouver (1986-1991) and at the UBC Museum of Anthropology (1991-1995). As a co-curator of exhibitions and curator of programs, she helped to develop the mandate and operating policies at the Nikkei National Museum in Burnaby, BC (1995-2000). With John O’Brian and Scott Watson, she co-edited All Amazed: for Roy Kiyooka (Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, and the Vancouver Art Forum Society, 2002), and, with Scott Watson and Jana Tyner, co-edited Thrown: British Columbia’s Apprentices of Bernard Leach and Their Contemporaries (Vancouver: Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, 2011). Thrown was a finalist for the 2012 Roderick Haig Brown Regional BC Book Prize. She served on the Board of Directors of 221A and, since 2014, has served on the Board of Directors of the Asian Canadian Studies Society. She joined the Board of the NWCF in 2015. ​

Carol Mayer

Dr. Carol E Mayer FCMA is an advocate for BC ceramics both nationally and internationally. She holds degrees from UBC, Cambridge and Leicester and currently heads the curatorial department of the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia (MOA), where she is responsible for an international collection of ceramics. In 1990, she curated the only permanent gallery devoted to European ceramics in western Canada. She has lectured extensively in Canada and abroad on issues relating to ceramics, museums and ethnography. Her reviews, catalogue essays and critical writings have been published widely, and she has organized and curated numerous exhibitions including Playing with Fire: Ceramics of the Extraordinary at MOA, 2019-2020. She is currently researching a new BC ceramics installation due to open 2022. Carol has served on the Board of the Potters’ Guild and was awarded a Lifetime Membership of the Guild in 2005. Carol is the founding president of the NWCF, joining the Board in 1993. For more information on Carol and on the new Multiversity Galleries at MOA, where 3000 ceramics from around the world are on view. See the Museum of Anthropology

Denise Jeffrey, Treasurer

Denise Jeffrey, a Burnaby-based ceramic artist, obtained a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design in 1999, majoring in ceramics; she went on to establish a studio near Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. The recipient of numerous awards, she has exhibited her work in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Washington State and British Columbia. After moving to British Columbia in 2009, Denise became involved with the ceramics community, serving as President of the Potters Guild of BC from 2012-2015. She joined the board of the North West Ceramics Foundation in 2012, serving as Vice-President from 2013- 2016 and as President from 2016-2018. Working in clay gives Denise a strong sense of fulfillment. While process and product are important elements, she also enjoys the way pots connect people. Denise has had the privilege to hear many stories about how her pieces become part of people’s daily lives or special events.

Amy Gogarty

Amy Gogarty is an artist, educator and writer based in Vancouver. She has been a Board member since 2008. She received her MFA (Painting) from the University of Calgary. She taught art history, theory and ceramics history in the Liberal Studies Department of the Alberta College of Art & Design for sixteen years prior to relocating to Vancouver in 2006. She has exhibited installations of her paintings and other media in numerous local and national exhibitions. She maintains an active critical writing practice, publishing over 100 essays and reviews focused on contemporary art and craft practice, and she has presented papers in national and international symposia addressing craft issues. She co-edited Craft Perception and Practice vol 3 and Utopic Impulses: Contemporary Ceramics Practice, both published by Ronsdale Press in Vancouver. In 2009, she was the invited artist/writer for the Medalta International Artist Residency in Medicine Hat, Alberta, and she returned as a resident in October, 2018. More on her functional and sculptural ceramics can be found at

Mary Daniel, Secretary

​Mary Daniel is a ceramic and mixed media artist based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her education includes studio arts, teaching methodology and educational leadership. She graduated with a a BA (Uof R) in ceramics and painting, and received her MA (UBC) in Curriculum Studies and EdD (UBC) in Leadership, Policy and Ethics in Educational Studies. She has taught for private and public institutions including the University of Regina (U of R); Vancouver School of Art (ECUAD); the Visual and Performing Arts Department of UBC (UBC); the Richmond School Board (RSB); Vancouver School Board (VSB) and Educational Studies (UBC). She has undertaken three residencies at the International Ceramic Studio (ICS) in Kecskemet, Hungary in 2010, 2013 and 2017; c.r.e.t.a., Rome, in 2015; and Shigaraki Cultural Park, in Japan, 2019. She maintains a studio in Vancouver, BC, and her work is represented in private and public collections in North America and Europe. She has been a member of the Board since 2008. See more of her work at

Ying-Yueh Chuang

Born and raised in Taiwan, Ying-Yueh Chuang came to Canada in the 1990s, attending and receiving a diploma from Langara College in 1997 and a BFA from Emily Carr Institute in 1999. She received her MFA in Ceramics from NSCAD University in 2001. She has taught ceramics at NSCAD University, OCAD University, University of Regina, Sheridan College, Capilano University and Langara College. She is currently teaching at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She received the Winifred Shantz Award for Ceramics in 2006 as well as a number of Provincial and Canada Council awards for her work. Her work is included in numerous public collections such as the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, the Canada Council Art Bank, the Burlington Art Centre Permanent Collection and the WOCEK Icheon World Ceramic Centre in Korea, and it has been featured in Art in America, Ceramics Monthly, Ceramic Review and Ceramics Art & Perception. She has participated in exhibitions in Canada, the United States, Hungary, Taiwan, Korea, China and Australia. Ying-Yueh joined the Board in 2013. See