Thursday, October 23, 2008

A.G.O Commission Inspiration.

Where does the time go I wonder?
I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that my last entry was in September. The autumn had been taken up with making new stock for coming shows, teaching classes and sadly closing down my shop in Cookstown. It is a sad sign of the times. Costs are high and everyone is feeling the pinch and usually with that, Art is the first to suffer. When you have bills to pay who needs to buy ceramics? On the other hand isn't it a better investment than the stock market these days? And on top of that you have the pleasure of living with an object you adore! Art always makes me feel better about life and it is one of my true pleasures.....We all need it (we just don't all know it yet!)

Recently I was luck enough to be commissioned by the buyer of the A.G.O shop, Diane Smeding.
The last few weeks have been consumed with making new pieces for their opening in November.
Like most of my work I concentrate on surface. I love the textures of peeling paints and surfaces once used, loved, reused then neglected and exposed to the elements....In time the decaying surface hints of past lives and I often wonder who's story it is telling......
This image is a sneak preview of one of my most recent vessels "Forgotten Pasts"

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Opening Success

The Opening night was better than expeced!
2 years in the planning and the opening night finally arrived. It was wonderful to see so many friends, fellow artists, curators and buyers mingle in the gallery with one another and enjoying our hard work

I must admit that I couldn't concentrate on anything until i gave my opening speech and said the thank yous publicly. (I was shaking in my shoes) We then presented 6 awards to 6 lucky potters.......Then I hit the bar!!!
In all seriousness though, I think the turn out was huge with many of the artists involved happy with the display of their work and lots of beautiful comments on the art were flying about happily in the air. The Fairy dust worked!
Congratulations to all the artists who won awards (myself included) and I hope that if you have not had a chance to see it then go along as it is on until the 28th of September. More info contact:Toronto Potters.

Many thanks to the following: Ontario Arts Council for a grant which allowed us to have this exhibition, Emma Quinn and her staff at the Ontario Crafts Council for hosting the exhibition and all their generous help, Shauna Cake for her brilliant catalogue design, Janna Hiemstra for all her constant help and support.
Dale Roddick for his photography, Frank Longobardi For constant support to many potters, Gardiner Museum and our sponsors; Tuckers pottery supply, Pottery supply house, Spectrum, Fusion and the Ontario Craft Council.

Set Up for the Exhibition

On Tuesday 2nd we spent the full day setting up the exhibition.
What a daunting task it seemed but as we all discussed what would work where and we began placing the first pieces in the window it all began to flow and come together. By the end of the day we had an exhibition.
I would like to thank the exhibition set up helpers and fellow potters; Cory Pinassi, Wendy Vervoort, Kim Harcourt and Chiho Tokita. I would also like to thank Janna at the OCC for staying late as we sprinkled fairy dust (attention to detail)!!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Toronto Potters Exhibition

When I first came to Canada my first point of contact was with the Toronto Potters who had an article written on their 12th Biennial Juried Exhibition in a British magazine "Ceramic Review".
One of my friends (Rachel Rogers) had written to the then president (Brenda Ellenwood) telling her that I was just about to immigrate to Canada and so when I finally arrived here I was welcomed by her. From that day on I made many new friends.

Who would have thought that 2 years on (2006)I would take on the task of organising the 14th exhibition for the Toronto Potters. It has been 2 years in the making and finally the opening night will be on September 4th. PHEW!
Our Jurors were Alex Yeung and Jonathan Smith and I was lucky enough to have 3 pieces of my work selected for the exhibition at the Ontario Craft Council.
This image is of a 12 part wall piece called "Last of the rain". The inspiration of this piece is from my last visit to Scotland in march of this year......all it did was rain!!!
I want to take this opportunity to thank Chiho Tokita a fellow Toronto potter for all her help during the organising of this event, without her help I would have been in big trouble!
Come along to see the show, Chiho also had work selected and the pieces are just beautiful.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Silent Voices

Tomorrow I leave for a trip up to some friends cottage in the Bruce peninsular. I have never ventured that far west. I am so excited to go and be on the beach which apparently is very rocky, (oh no, I will end up with pockets full of stones!) I will be taking the camera and shooting as much of the scenery as poss. Hoping that a wee canoe trip will happen and a well earned break, this usually charges me up to making again.

This photo is of 2 pieces which came out of the kiln bisqued. I don't often like my work whilst they sit in this stage, waiting for their "skin" to be applied but when the sun came through my studio window the light flooded into the pieces showing the circles that had been cut when the clay was still wet. These pieces are now finished and have set off to their new home (fellow potter Cam Fisher) who has promised to photograph them for me as I never managed to do it in time. I look forward to seeing the photos of the finished vessels but still enjoy their quiet haunting voices after bisque.
I would like to work on more openings within the vessel in order to play with light.
Perhaps the trip will trigger something....

Sunday, August 17, 2008

And so it begins again.

Well, after all the shows in the summer its time to get back into making stock for the next shows coming up in September, working on the commissions from customers and giving a fresh supply of ceramics to the galleries in Toronto.....Just when you think you can take a breath..... it starts all over again!
Still, I love getting back into the studio and playing with all my new ideas.
As most of you will know i love Surface. I have 2 different ways of working: I love to make marks in the clay then stretch the clay until it is incredibly thin, this way of working lets the clay "Speak for itself". Textures appear on the surface that no human hand could have created. Only the gravitational pull of the thrown slab and the clay body can create this. There is such a sense of freedom in the slabs and each one has its own voice... this is when I am able to have a conversation with each piece of clay and reconstruct the slab into a finished piece of work.
My other way of working is to use the surface of the clay as a canvas. Here my printmaking days come back to me when I etch markings and drawings into the clay then build up the image and story with layers of oxides, stains and slips. The finished result is a vessel with a story, and as always it is about places, times and weather!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

New Work

Hers is a taste of the new work which I had been developing for the summer.

These pieces were thrown on the wheel. Porcelain slip has been built up in layers then worked back into with ceramic stains, oxides and glazes. This is a time consuming process that is worth the wait.

The summer craft shows

I survived the summer shows! First was the Toronto Outdoor art exhibition at Nathan Phillips square, then Muskoka and finally Haliburton. I am totally exhausted but so happy that everything survived despite the thunderstorms throughout!

Toronto brought back some loyal customers and I had the pleasure of meeting people who had been buying my work from the Gardiner Museum. It was fantastic to see familiar faces coming back to see new work and collect more pieces. I feel that as an artist this is a very important part of my career and thank all for their support throughout this last month.


Sunday, June 29, 2008

thunderstorms galore

The weather is still thundery and there is still too much moisture in the air. The kiln has been on though to bisque and to help dry out the studio and pots. I finally managed to get the pieces painted but it took me 4 times as long. I have some wall pillows to make next then its down to glazing. I job I avoid to the last as I have to wear mask, gloves, goggles all day long.
Its a glam job!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The weather here in canada has been really mixed for June. right now it is very wet which means my work is taking forever to dry out. I often build up several layers of slip on my work and it is taking many hours for the layers to dry: the problem? I have my biggest show coming up in 2 weeks time. The Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition and I am still making work!!!!! The weather is not helping, too much moisture in the air which has slowed the process down to a stop.
When the sun comes out, so does the work. here I am trying to dry the bowls during the sunny spells outside my studio.

Lesley McInally

Lesley McInally
Well, here I am in the gallery Drift on a wet and thundery saturday afternoon trying to get to grips with the new blog: here goes.