While I have worked with clay on and off for many years, it has really only been within the last five years that I have become serious (sometimes a little too serious...) about it. Much of my training has been at La Meridiana International School of Ceramics in Italy, located 7 kms from the town of Certaldo (http://lameridiana.fi.it), which I was able to undertake with funding support from the Ontario Arts Council (http://www.arts.on.ca) ("OAC"), an agency of the Government of Ontario. Firstly, in late 2014, I set about a five-week self-directed residency, working with metallic salts on porcelain which helped me to explore materials and shape my future practice.
In 2016/2017, I participated in "Creative Directions", a group mentorship program presented by FUSION The Ontario Clay & Glass Association and which was led by Toronto-based artist Michelle Mendlowitz. This was challenging in many ways which led to a positive outcome of new ideas, new connections, and, as part of a group, my first major gallery exhibition.
Then, in late 2017, again with OAC funding support in the National & International Residency program, I was able to re-attend La Meridiana for "Piccolpasso", an eight-week mentored residency under the guidance of John Colbeck (UK) and Franco Rampi (IT). It truly was the opportunity of a lifetime, where and when I learned so much more than I could have imagined, and I continue to discover things I didn't realise that I had learned at the time. It changed everything.
As my practice continues to evolve, I continue to be inspired by the people, art, culture, history, and food of Italy, particularly the Slow Food Movement, the support for local economy, and the art of living well. All that has been the impetus for me to seek opportunities to grow personally and professionally in 2019:
participating in the Guelph Potters' Market
volunteering at the FUSION Clay & Glass Conference, assisting Lisa Hammond, MBE, and John Colbeck during the entire two days of their demos
exhibiting at the 58th Annual Toronto Outdoor Art Fair
exhibiting at the 23rd Annual FUSION: The Clay & Glass Association Show & Sale
having my work accepted into the Craft Ontario for Fall/Winter season
Lastly, a tip of the hat to Roger Kerslake, a lifelong English potter, artist, teacher who led the ceramics program for many years at Georgian College in Barrie, ON, while maintaining his own studio practice. For this potter, he wholly represents the ethos -and remains to be an inspiration - of what it is to be a potter as he continues to operate his studio in nearby Jarratt, ON.