Made during the 2020 extreme Australian forest fires. Stoneware, fired to cone 6, grit added. ht approx 30 com, 28 cm
Dark, decaying bark peeling away to reveal naked, smooth white trunk reaching to the sky. Stoneware, fired to cone 6; ht: 33, 33 and 25 cm
Stoneware. Mug: Dia. 8.5, ht. 8.5; Sugar bowl: ht with lid: 10 cm, dia. 8.5 cm.
I've always done two different kinds of work, depending on my mood. Maybe the context of my childhood African home in Angola has shaped the more forceful, distorted, and highly-textured pieces I've created in the past, and appear now again, in my recent Bark work. Maybe my Dutch heritage, and Delft Blue's influence on Portuguese ceramics and azulejos led me to my blue-on-white decorative work. Chris Keenan, a British potter and former apprentice of Edmund de Waal, taught me in his workshops to focus on line, elegance and detail. During the years I lived in Brussels, my pottery workshop instructors Alain Losa and Carol Youngner helped me find the path I was searching for. Since returning to Ottawa in 2016, I have been a member of Gladstone Clayworks.
I am proud to be the current Exhibitions Chair at the Ottawa Guild of Potters.
I create ceramics that serve as a canvas for abstract surface design. In my hand-thrown bowls, my patterns aim to evoke shorelines, those ever-shifting places where land meets the sea, as on the African beaches where I spent so much of my youth. Through my creative process, I seek to push the transformative limits of clay. I often intentionally distort the symmetry of my thrown pieces to create an undulating wave. I add depth and movement by layering contrasting glazes onto the surface. As the glazes flow and meld in the heat of the kiln, my designs take form, reminiscent of the play of light on water at the ocean?
My recent work has a common theme: bark. At first I used porcelaneous clay to throw tall cylinders, then applied dark, granular glaze at the base, adding colour in streams, rising up the trunk. More recently, with the studio closed due to Covid 19, I turned to handbuilding. I took slabs of clay, and pressed them against trees for texture. These bisqued slabs became my molds, giving me the texture I needed for my hand-built tree trunks. To further enhance the feel, I added grit to my matte glazes and underglazes.
My intention is to intrigue, and have the viewer wish to reach out, to touch , and to hold.