Dr. Carol E. Mayer receives the Citizen of Craft 2023 Award

The North-West Ceramics Foundation is thrilled to announce that one of their founding Board members, Dr. Carol E. Mayer, was recently presented the Citizen of Craft 2023 Award by the Craft Council of BC. For over 35 years, Carol has been a staunch advocate for ceramics, beginning with research and support leading to the establishment of the Koener Gallery of Ceramics at UBC’s Museum of Anthropology, through her helping to found the North-West Ceramics Foundation in 1993, and her extensive work in promoting the cultural, community, and aesthetic value of BC ceramics. Carol has curated and published widely about ceramics including A Discerning Eye: The Walter C Koerner Collection of European Ceramics; Don Hutchinson: The Artful Potter; Transitions of a Still Life; The Space In Between: The Contemporary Works of Sally Michener and Tam Irving; Pleased to Meet You- Introductions by Gwyn Hanssen-Pigott; and the recent blockbuster exhibition Playing with Fire – Ceramics of the Extraordinary.

In addition to her support for BC ceramics, Carol is vice-president of the Pacific Arts Association (North America) and a board member of the Pacific Peoples Partnership (the only Canadian NGO working in the Pacific.)  She has received fellowships from the Smithsonian Institution and the Sainsbury Research Unit, and has been granted numerous awards, including from the Canadian Museums Association (where she is an appointed Fellow), the International Council of Museums, the BC Museums Association, and life membership in the Potters Guild of BC. She has also received the President’s Medal of Excellence at UBC, the Independence Medal from the Republic of Vanuatu for her cultural contributions, and the Pacific Arts Association Manu Dala (Frigate Bird) Award for outstanding achievements in the study of the arts of the Pacific.

Congratulations Carol!!!

Honours for BC Potters Robin DuPont and Amy Duval

Robin DuPont, wood-fired plates

The North-West Ceramics Foundation is thrilled to announce honours for two members of the BC Ceramics Community, Robin DuPont and Amy Duval.

Robin DuPont, who was awarded the 2021 NWCF Mayer Wosk Award of Excellence and who was one of our most popular presenters for our Speakers Series, was recently honoured by the town of Nelson BC, which named him the 2023 Cultural Ambassador. He joins other distinguished ambassadors from that culturally vibrant city. To read more about Robin, please see here.

Amy Duval, Mechanics of Growth (Part V), 2017, ceramic, coloured slips, 17’ x 9’

Amy Duval earned her BFA from Kwantlen Polytechnic University in 2017, where she studied with Board member Ying-Yueh Chuang. In 2017, she received a Maureen Wright bursary from the NWCF and was accepted as a Ceramic Artist in Residence at Harbourfront, in Toronto. She currently serves as the Residency Coordinator at the International Artist-in-Residence Program at the Shaw Centre for Contemporary Ceramics (Medalta) in Medicine Hat, Alberta. In 2023, Amy was awarded the Winifred Shantz Award for Ceramicsan extremely prestigious acknowledgement of her achievements and the only national award for emerging ceramic artists in Canada. The award supports career development, and we are all excited to see what this young artist does next!!

Congratulations Robin and Amy! Your achievements contribute to the ongoing story of ceramics in BC!


Judy Chartrand at the Scripps College 78th Ceramic Annual

In Memory of Those No Longer With Us, 2022, Low fire paper clay, underglaze, glaze 13.25 x 13.25 x 4.25 inches. Photo: Judy Chartrand.

The North-West Ceramics Foundation is proud to announce that Judy Chartrand, who shared the 2018 NWCF Mayer Wosk Award of Excellence with Jackie Frioud, is one of ten participants in the 2023 Scripps College 78th Ceramic Annual. Held at the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery, Scripps College, in Claremont, California, from January 21 to April 9, 2023, the exhibition Handle Carefully: The Power of Words and Clay, was guest-curated by Kirk Delman and included, in addition to Judy, renowned ceramic artists such as Robert Arneson and Beth Lo. The annual ceramic exhibition features new art in clay, and, rather than presenting one work by many artists, the exhibition focuses on a smaller number of artists showing several works. To bring a range of perspectives, a different guest curator, many of whom are well-known artists, is invited each year to curate the exhibition. The 78th annual looks at how artists use words in their work to “illustrate, emphasize and elaborate social, political, gender concepts along with personal inspirations.”
Writing in the catalogue, which is available on line here , Kay Whitney says “her confrontational work speaks of the social and cultural situation of First Nation peoples and issues confronting them: racist policies and attitudes, inequity and poverty. That these issues are expressed with a sly undercurrent of humor makes her messages all the more pointed.” One of the works, In Memory of Those No Longer With Us, 2022, was purchased by the gallery for its permanent collection.
We are delighted and proud that Judy and her outstanding work are being recognized in such a prestigious international context. Congratulations Judy!

For more on Judy Chartrand and her work, please see here.

Fredi Rahn at the Zentrum für Keramik

The North-West Ceramics Foundation was  recently able to support Fredi Rahn’s residency at the Zentrum für Keramik in Berlin through the Marion Wright Bursary. Her account of the experience reveals the depth to which she absorbed and benefitted from this remarkable opportunity. We look forward with enthusiasm and excitement to see the new work this residency will surely inspire. Below, please find an excerpt from her remarkable story.

Tucked away in a leafy prosperous neighborhood just outside of the busy center of Berlin is the Zentrum für Keramik in Pankow. Surrounded by the 5-storey apartment buildings typical throughout the city, the Zentrum is housed on the grounds of a villa from the turn of the century. . . . One doesn’t think of cities as wild places, but Berlin is a green city, with large parks in every district, some populated by foxes and wild boars. The garden at the ZFK is dominated by a huge beech tree, well over 100 years old, home to flocks of magpies and doves.

. . . .  Germany feels at once familiar and exotic. The layers of history reveal themselves constantly – in the architecture, which spans the newly restored neo classical to post-war Soviet brutalist concrete, to sleek modernist constructions of glass and steel; also in the monuments and remnants, big and small, from the Stolpersteine (tiny brass plaques with the information about former residents who became victims of the holocaust, set unobtrusively into the pavement outside their houses; to the Gleisdreieckpark built on the ruins of a destroyed railyard, with sections overgrown by scrub and small forests, the entire space lined with bike paths and punctuated by playgrounds. The city seems to say “we have experienced unimaginable violence and destruction, and we have endured, and we remember“. . . .

Everywhere I look I notice themes of home and belonging, and, in contrast, the feeling of the outsider. As we know, these themes are woven deeply into German history. Overlaid on this is a pride in the remarkable contributions to technology, art and culture that this country has made, a testament to a culture that values learning, innovation and craftsmanship. The other prominent and remarkable theme I witness here is that of memory and history. This is a culture and country that has had to truly face truth and reconciliation, and must continue to do so as time unfolds. . . . ..

. . . As a maker, my practice is rooted in the domestic, quotidian world. I feel the power of ordinary objects transporting you to imagined worlds. My research pulls from architecture, typography, textiles, as well as historical ceramics. . . . I think about the meaning a vessel carries, its potential to hold and to transport both physical and metaphorically. My deeper dive into the German language leads to a series of word fragments, stamped and inscribed into the walls of cups. This experience offers so much inspiration, so many threads to pick up and play with. I feel that by working intuitively, ideas that live just below the subconscious rise, connecting story to object.

The last week is a blur of loading kilns, organizing packing, visiting museums, and saying goodbye. A journal full of sketches and notes, a phone full of images, and a head full of memories are carried with me along with the 60 pound suitcase that somehow manages to protect its bisque fired cargo. There is a saying “ich habe ein Koffer in Berlin” which signifies the intention to return, and I have literally left a suitcase full of pots in my cousin’s cellar, stored with the intention to glaze and complete them upon my return.

Congratulations Fredi!

Board Member News: Dance Craft performance

NWCF Board President Debra Sloan was part of a performance that has been in the works for three years. She was responsible for creating large-scale ceramic figures and masks, which were incorporated into a dance performance. The event was held May 20-22, 2022, at the Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre,  part of the downtown SFU campus. Components from the performance were subsequently exhibited in the window space at the Craft Council of BC from June 10 to July 26. For more, see here.

The three-year project involved five craft artists, Patrick Christie, Stefanie Dueck, Deb Dumka, Hope Forstenzer and Debra Sloan , one each in wood, metal, glass, textile and ceramics, and the Joe Ink Dance troop. The dancers experimented with static objects, animating them through their choreography. The presentation also included dramatic lighting and virtual reality film. For a review in STIR, see here.  Bravo Debra!




Board Member News: All Consuming

NWCF Board Member Amy Gogarty‘s exhibition, All Consuming, will be on view at the Craft Council of BC on Granville Island (1386 Cartwright St, Vancouver, V6H 3R8, 604-687-6511) from June 16 through August 4. A recording of her artist talk is available on the CCBC Website here.

Gogarty was presented with the Citizen of Craft Award by the Craft Council of BC at their AGM on June 23. For more on the award, please see here.


Russell Hackney’s talk

On June 12, 2022, we held our first in-person talk for the NWCF Speakers Series since the pandemic. Russell Hackney, an artist, designer and mould-maker who lives on Bowen Island, presented a fascinating account of his history as a third-generation ceramic maker from Stoke-on-Trent, Britain. We have not yet figured out how to record live presentations to make them available later to those who missed the talk, but, fortunately, Board Member Gillian McMillan has posted an excellent account on her blog Rara Avis. For a personal, in-depth account, please see her blog post here.

Playing With Fire Receives an Award from the BC Museums Association

The North-West Ceramics Foundation is pleased to announce that the Museum of Anthropology at UBC has received the BC Museums Association’s Honorable Mention Award of Merit–Social Impact for the exhibition Playing With Fire: Ceramics of the Extraordinary, curated by Founding Board Member Carol Mayer, The Award of Merit recognizes the significant contribution of an organization advocating for the advancement of an important social cause such as reconciliation, social justice, inclusiveness, accessibility, sustainable development, climate action, wellness, etc. Initiatives are measured in respect to the nominated organization’s own capacity and history. The artists included in the exhibition have all made significant contributions to ceramics in our province and include Judy Chartrand, Ying-Yueh Chuang, Gathie Falk, Jeremy Hatch, Ian Johnston, David Lambert, Glenn Lewis, Alwyn O’Brien, Bill Rennie, Debra Sloan and Brendan Tang. The NWCF supported the production of the catalogue and take this opportunity to congratulate all involved! Well done!


Robin DuPont Awarded NWCF Mayer Wosk Award of Excellence for 2021

The North-West Ceramics Foundation is proud to announce that the recipient of the NWCF Mayer Wosk Award of Excellence for 2021 is Robin DuPont of Winlaw, BC. The award is worth $5000 and provides tangible recognition of an individual ceramic artist who has resided and worked in BC for at least 5 years, who has exhibited his or her work publicly, and who has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to the ceramics community. The pool of nominations from the province was outstanding, a testament to the depth of talent in BC, but the decision of the jury was unanimous.
Nominated by long-term friend Cameron Stewart, Robin DuPont exemplifies the professionalism, dedication and expertise of a consummate craftsman. As Stewart notes in his nomination:
“Robin’s functional atmospherically fired pots continue to push boundaries of form and surface. His insatiable research into new ceramic surfaces, resolving and diagnosing technical challenges, and the development of new clay bodies and kiln design is unparalleled in current Canadian studio ceramics. Robin is on the leading edge of atmospheric surface research in North America, and continues to expand his knowledge and mastery of his multiple wood and gas kilns, utilizing and exploring diverse wood species and varied cooling techniques to achieve his unique and expanding palette of surfaces.”
Robin graduated in 2004 from the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary, Alberta, and received his MFA in Ceramics from Utah State University in 2011. In the ten years following, he attended residencies at Archie Bray in Helena, MT, a kiln-building residency at the Banff Centre, and numerous workshops as a participant and presenter in Canada and the US. He has exhibited widely in Canada and the US and has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards.
The NWCF MW Award of Excellence recognizes the recipient’s contribution to ceramics in BC. DuPont has raised the profile of ceramics in BC through his role as Head of Ceramics at the Kootenay Studio Arts (KSA) at Selkirk College in Nelson, BC, where, in the words of Cameron Stewart, his “commitment and passion for passing on his knowledge and enthusiasm for the medium of clay has re-invigorated this well-established studio-based program, creating the next generation of working potters with a focus on making well-crafted pots with technical proficiency and a dedicated personal creative development.”
Robin DuPont describes his work as “an inquiry into the ceramic process and the relational aspects of utilitarian objects. Utility is the vehicle that allows for deeper engagement with my work; one that promotes not just visual and intellectual engagement, but physical interaction so that the work can become a conduit for a social circumstance or experience. I make objects that are accessible and have the ability to perform in many contexts; in the kitchen, at the table, on the wall and in the gallery setting. My work is created with the intention for it to go on to have a life of its own, one beyond my influence.”
Congratulations Robin—well done! We all look forward to your work as you carry on.

The NWCF Board supports Hob Too

Members of the NWCF Board are participating in an event to support the Vancouver Hospice Society. Hob Too is a lovely vintage thrift shop with a great selection of housewares, furniture, art and vintage items. All proceeds from sales go to the Hospice Society. Members of the Board have donated ceramic works, which are displayed in the front window. The Belkin Art Gallery and the Museum of Anthropology also donated books and catalogues. The window looks great, and stopping by is a wonderful idea if you are looking to pick up a gift or something for yourself. Hob Too is located at 3626 West Broadway, on the 99 B Line. The phone number is 604-737-7304. They open at 1:30 PM, but it’s a good idea to phone first to make sure they are open.