Pottery is just one of the many crafts that will be on display in Maple Ridge starting this Saturday.
Two east Maple Ridge artisans will display their clay pieces at the Maple Ridge Art Gallery as part of the Celebrate Craft! exhibit opening this Saturday - an opening reception will be held at 2 p.m.
Judy Burke, who lives in Webster’s Corners, mainly makes domestic pieces.
As far as inspiration for her art, Burke said she has “no idea” where it comes from, but there are definite shapes that she likes.
“I just sit down and play [with the clay]... and if it doesn’t work, I take it apart,” she said.
Burke has a master’s degree in painting from the University of California Berkeley, but when her children were small, she took a night school class in pottery and found her niche.
Burke makes stoneware, porcelain, and terracotta using both the wheel and hand-building techniques.
Pottery is labour intensive, Burke said, and the clay needs to be worked to get the consistency right.
“It’s heavy and it’s big – there’s a lot of physical work involved,” Burke said.
Junichi Tanaka, a Whonnock potter who will also have pieces on display at Celebrate Craft! found inspiration in a passion he had to leave behind – mountain climbing – and he will include some pieces from his Alpine series in the show.
From the age of 14 to his mid-30s, “just my life was mountain climbing,” said the artist who hails from Japan.
“Since I stopped climbing mountains, I’m still thinking about mountains,” he added.
Finally, he decided to put his desire to mountain climb into art to release his passion, hence, the Alpine series.
The fall season at the Maple Ridge Art Gallery will open with Celebrate Craft!, featuring the work of 13 artists working in fibre art, clay and mixed media.
The exhibition is a tribute to artists who have brought their work to the level of master craftsman/artisan.
Talk to any serious crafts person about the seemingly capricious nature of the kiln, dye pot or medium they work with, and one soon realizes that even the most experienced craft artists still occasionally contend with disappointing results after hours of fruitless effort.
But for some, it is the unexpected and often unforgiving nature of their medium that drives them forward.
Burke and Tanaka have been showing in professional artist spaces throughout the Lower Mainland and beyond for many years, but are rarely shown in their own community.
The Maple Ridge Art Gallery will show their work along with other leading artisans from various locations throughout the Lower Mainland starting Sept. 7.
Part of the impetus for the exhibition came through the Craft Council of BC’s invitation to public galleries in the region to join them in commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Craft Council of BC (BCAC).
Printmaker Saskia Jetten’s love of drawing is apparent everywhere in the strange and intriguing figures that bear witness to her fanciful imagination. Scarves, books, soft sculpture, and ceramics reveal fragmentary but beautifully rendered hand-drawn forms that speak of an edgy, dream-like landscape.
Julie Pongrac’s ethereal three-dimensional knitted vessels and garments truly inhabit the territory of what is increasingly referred to as “soft sculpture.” The fact that some of her knitted pieces are wearable seems ancillary, given their power as objects in themselves.
Her style is frequently botanical in inspiration with inventive flourishes amidst a reliable pattern repeat that provides structure to her knitted forms.
Artisanal weaver Jo Skinner will also take part in the Celebrate Craft! exhibit.
“I’ve spent 35 years designing things, first in the garment industry, then in architectural colour, then in web development – and now in weaving,” Skinner said. “Of all my obsessions, colour is my favourite.”
Skinner frequently hand-dyes the fibres with which she works and can often be found at her loom at Granville Island’s Silk Weaving Studio.
Ellen Hamilton, who works from her studio in Mission, will show her whimsical felted hats and a selection of weaving.
Tapestry artist Barbara Heller takes part in Celebrate Craft! plus she will also be the subject of a solo show in spring 2014.
Celebrate Craft! runs from Sept. 7 to Nov. 9. There will be an opening celebration on Saturday, Sept. 7 at 2 p.m. The Maple Ridge Art Gallery is located in The ACT, 11944 Haney Pl., Maple Ridge.
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