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.

That Pottery Thing

Ron Vallis, large stoneware platter

Please Note: Due to Covid restrictions on gatherings, we were unable to hold the event as described in this blogpost. However, we were able to celebrate and livestream the evening with a small group of people. Please see our Pottery Thing page here describing the actual event.

The NWCF has an new fundraiser – That Pottery Thing…— with two ways to participate: in-person and on-line.
The in-person portion of That Pottery Thing… will be held at the Mayer Studio, 1000 Parker Street, September 30th, 2021, from 6:00 pm. Our host for the evening will be the ever-gracious Sheryl MacKay of CBC North by Northwest fame.

The in-person event will include an open bar, tasty treats, raffle items, a display of auction items available through the on-line auction and  a special display honouring Jinny Whitehead’s contribution to BC ceramics. .

The evening will feature short talks and videos about our various charitable projects including bursaries, scholarships and the Speaker Series. All funds raised support these important projects. The highlight of the evening will be the awarding of the NWCF Mayer Wosk Award of Excellence, presented to an outstanding BC ceramist. All in-person guests receive a dessert plate generously donated by BC potters.

The event will be broadcast through a live zoom available free to the wider community.

Tickets for in-person guests for That Pottery Thing …. are $75.00, available on a first come, first served basis on this website after September 1. A charitable tax receipt will be issued for a portion of each ticket. That Pottery Thing… will be free for zoom guests. A catalogue of auction items on offer will be online, and bidding will open September 15. Registering is free, but participants must register to bid.

Group-Zoom-Parties will be eligible for a door prize. Let us know about your party!
Any questions, please email Debra Sloan at

This will be a great, fun event that will benefit the ceramics community in BC! We hope you mark your calendars and plan to participate!

Sea Salt, Lizards and Clay

The North-West Ceramics Foundation is pleased to announce the publishing of a new book on an important BC potter, with a foreword by our very own Debra Sloan.

Sea Salt, Lizards and Clay: My Ceramics from the Mediterranean to the Rockies
by Santo Mignosa, foreword by Debra Sloan
Granville Island Publishing, 2021
ISBN: 9781989467329(softcover). $25.95 CAD, $20.95 USD. Available via your local bookstore.

The autobiography Sea Salt, Lizards and Clay by the renowned Italian-Canadian ceramic artist Santo Mignosa covers the career of this rigorous technician and gifted modernist sculptor. Mignosa studied in Florence, Italy, and immigrated to Canada in 1957. In 1972, received his MFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred, New York. Mignosa brought formal art training from both Continental and American traditions in drawing, representational and abstract figurative art, ceramic murals, and large-scale ceramic sculpture to BC. His training in ceramics and wheel-throwing took place at the UBC Ceramic Hut in the late 1950s under his mentor Olea Davis, the founder of the Potters Guild of BC (1955). In the 1960s, he taught at the Kootenay School of Art alongside Zeljko Kujundzic and, later, Walter Dexter. During the 1970s and 80s, he taught ceramics at the University of Calgary. As the Canadian representative of the International Ceramics Academy (ICA), Mignosa assisted the ICA and the Alberta Potters Association, at that time under the presidency of Les Manning, to host the 1973 ICA International Exhibition in Calgary. In the 1990s, he returned to BC, where he continues to practice and teach. Over the span of his long career, his work and teaching have been recognized and awarded nationally and internationally. Mignosa has made a significant and fascinating contribution to ceramic culture in BC.