TOAE 2013

At every Toronto show that I attend, I can't help but feel that the art and craft communities seem to be shrinking. However after this weekend, I have come to realise that the communities are not small, rather I am starting to know more and more of the members. Take this year's Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition (TOAE 2013) for example. A former classmate and I went down to the show yesterday morning at 10am, planning to be home by the time the sun was highest in the sky. Instead, it was nearly 6pm when I finally arrived home - sporting a wicked sunburn and blistered feet. I've been lucky to make it through a (large) art show in under 3 hours only once before. This is a feat that was relatively impossible, especially when it seemed that every other booth had somebody that I knew, and stopped to chat with (not to mention all of the enticing artwork that one could spend hours feasting their eyes on). IMG_3587

The technician at Sheridan jokes that TOAE should be called the SAAE - Sheridan's Annual Alumni Exhibition, as there are so many former grads who participate in the show. My classmate and I stopped at one of our colleague's booth and within ten minutes, there were 7 Sheridan students (current and alumni) all crammed in, catching up and admiring the work. We joked that it was as if a fog horn had gone off, alerting Sheridan alumni everywhere to congregate at Yellow Booth 259.

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It was hot and humid, but a delightful day for a show. Nathan Phillips Square was packed with a sea of white tents, and a larger sea of moving bodies. The range of work at the show was enticing - installation, sculpture, printmaking, ceramics, glass, jewellery, painting, photography, and more! Much more! After spending seven hours looking at prices, checking out booth designs, networking and catching up with friends, I feel strongly encouraged by this venue. Maybe TOAE 2014 will be in the cards for me next year.

Until then, I'll just keep making pots.

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These are some juice cups fresh from the wood-soda kiln. Looking forward to more of these.

Grad Show at the Ontario Crafts Council

The school year is officially over and I've moved all of my things out of the studio for the last time. Yesterday I moved up to Wiarton, ON (about 3 hours North of the GTA) to apprentice with a potter for the summer. I start tomorrow. Until today I have not had a moment free to update with all of the recent events, shows and day-to-day musings. I have been taking photographs and notes however, so please bear with me over the next few days while I catch up on all the latest. [gallery type="square" columns="5" ids="597,595,596,598,599"]

Back in April we fired Scarlet again for our last time. We won't be returning to Sheridan in the fall so our access to atmospheric kilns has been cut off (unless of course the students next year invite us to put a couple pieces in). We kicked it into high gear during the last two weeks of school and tried to produce as much work as possible so we could fully stack the wood kiln and soda kiln with our work.

This time firing Scarlet we were smarter. We loaded her up on the Saturday night, went home for a good night's sleep and returned early Sunday morning to get her going. I had the first shift and relaxed in my comfy chair by the tiny fire for hours drinking tea. No heavy duty stoking required in that early morning shift.

After the kiln fired off we had a day's break to prep for two shows that weekend - one at the Ontario Crafts Council in Toronto, the other at the gallery at Sheridan. I went over to the OCC Wednesday morning to set up for the second part of This Could Work. The first part was set up the week prior to our opening and presented the work of the graduates from the glass and textiles studios. Here's a collection of photos I took at that event:

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The second half of the show was the work of the furniture and ceramics students. I met with a couple fellow students, Linda Sormin (our studio head) and our amazing installer Carmen to set up for the show. At the end of a long day we had all the wall work installed, all the plinths for furniture painted and the space was set up, ready to place the work. A big thank you goes out to Carmen for returning the next day to finish set up and look after the final details!

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Part of my work for the OCC included a performance piece, where I invited two people to intimately serve desserts to the audience at the opening. These lovely ladies, decked out in theatrical outfits and high heels, drifted through the overflowing opening and invited the audience to experience my dessert stands, by snacking on the macarons, tarts and rum balls that were delicately placed on their lace doilies. A strong interest for me lies in the human condition and how society acts and reacts in certain situations. This activity brought back a breadth of information on the ways in which humans interact with each other intimately. Some people at the show accepted the offer gratefully, with unwavering delight. Others were sceptical, not only pausing to question the food itself, but the kind gesture of a complete stranger.

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Finally, THANK YOU to the Ontario Crafts Council for hosting the event and continually supporting Sheridan College's Craft and Design program. So many of the opportunities available to us are thanks to their efforts and encouragement. For more information visit the OCC's website.

GRADUATE EXHIBITION

Ceramics_EmmaSmith_2aSHERIDAN CERAMICS GRADUATE EXHIBITIONOPENS AT THE GARDINER MUSEUM

TORONTO – April 4th, 6-8 PM Opening Reception

New graduates of Sheridan Ceramics present a collection of evocative objects that address function, storytelling, ritual and whimsy. Opening on Thursday, April 4th at the Gardiner Museum in Toronto (6 pm - 8 pm) the exhibition highlights the work of nine emerging artists in the field of craft and design:

Jenna Lanteigne, Jessica McEwen, Ellie Oram, Frieda Pereira, Andrea Poorter, Lyne Reid, Annemarie Row, Emma Smith, Amber Zuber

Three years of immersive learning and critical discourse at one of the leading Ceramics programs in the country has helped to shape the diverse practices of these individual makers. Meet the artists and experience the future of ceramic art - All are welcome at the show opening: April 4th 6-8 pm (FREE). During that evening, the winner of the Gardiner Award - $500 and an upcoming exhibition at the museum - will be selected and announced by a jury of Gardiner curators and Sheridan faculty.

April 4th – 18th Opening Reception: April 4th (6 pm - 8 pm)

Gardiner Museum 111 Queens Park TORONTO

About Sheridan Ceramics Recognized as one of Canada’s finest Craft and Design programs, Sheridan produces graduates who have received national and international accolades for their work. For over 40 years, the three-year intensive program has provided graduates with a strong foundation in studio-based approaches and an intimate knowledge of materials and technical processes that set them apart from other art and design professionals.

About the Gardiner Museum The Gardiner Museum connects people, art and ideas by offering a close look at one of the world’s oldest and most universal art forms - ceramics. The Museum’s collections span continents and centuries, offering a glimpse into the development of ceramic processes, decoration and form. Year-round the Museum mounts special exhibitions, events, lectures and clay classes to complement its permanent collection.

Playing Curator

IMG_1733Over the past week my studio mates and I have been anxiously (and frantically) preparing for our upcoming show at the Gardiner Museum, Toronto. An annual event, the Gardiner show is cause for celebration, pride and anxiety among all graduates in the Ceramics program. Not only will we be presenting our current work in public for the FIRST TIME, but it's at the only Canadian museum dedicated to Ceramic Art. Making work for the exhibition, though important, is not the only cause for fluster in the studio. We've also been working on developing our promotional material. This week we have "played graphic designer", fiddling away for hours on Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop and diving into the worlds of typography, dimensions and the digital layout. Last night I must have looked at my name in over 200 fonts, in a variety of pt. sizes and colours. The variety never ends, and it is overwhelming.

We have also been "playing curator" in our studio, marking out dimensions of the show space on the floor while navigating around wedging tables, damp closets and throwing wheels. We have tacks on the wall with plinth heights, paper templates of the plinth dimensions on the floor, and an Excel spreadsheet so we can even continue playing with floor plans when we are at home in bed.

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Monday morning we marked out our floor plan in chalk and started to lay our work out, in order to imagine the space. The time change and early morning may have been a factor, but I felt as if I were in a life size version of a Sims game, where the furniture keeps rearranging.  There were nine of us shifting around "plinths" here and there, pulling out the measuring tape and tiptoeing around fragile ceramics on the floor. Our print out of the Excel spreadsheet had us moving around miniature cut outs of plinths and playing lego with them on the table. Chaos would be an understatement.

Though eternally frustrating, the process was helpful. We were able to better visualize the space, and account for room between plinths to move around. After a few hours we had settled on a floor plan, where everyone's work would be and what height they would look best at. I guess real curators do this too.

gardiner logoOur graduate show will be at the Gardiner Museum in Toronto, Ontario from April 4th - April 18th. The opening (where you can meet myself, my studio mates and have free food and drink) is April 4th from 6-8pm. The opening will be a great time to network, learn about the artists and talk to us about our work!

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Variations on Symmetry

IMG_1704 Thursday night was the opening of Variations on Symmetry, a show presenting the works of Eliza Au and Ying-Yueh Chang. I have always admired Ying-Yueh's work in photographs, never having had the opportunity to experience her installations in person. Ying-Yueh previously taught at Sheridan and though she never taught me personally, I heard many stories of her dedication and passion for ceramics. Believe me, the work proves it.

The OCC's Janna Hiemstra curates a fantastic show. From the sidewalk of Queen West, the view through the gallery's front window is enticing and enchanting; Ying-Yueh's "Winter Garden" hangs at the front, inviting the public into a wonderland of detail, precision and repetition.

The show was frankly, breathtaking. Each piece boasted hours of labour, meticulous detail and intentional composition. Eliza Au (a former student of Ying-Yueh's) presented equally as complex and delicate forms. Using primarily ceramic, glass and paper, Eliza's works reflected elaborate tessellations, pattern and repetition.

Variations on Symmetry has been in the works for FOUR years and has been touring across Canada for several months. It's next stop will be in Halifax, Nova Scotia. For more information on the show, go to www.craft.on.ca

Better yet, check out the show - it's on until April 13th at the Ontario Craft Council (990 Queen St. West, TO).

Here are some photos from the opening.

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