When I was a kid, art class was always my favourite time in school. Then, when I started high school and told Mom that I wanted to go into an art program, she informed me that I’d be taking business classes, so that I’d always have a job. Mom was very practical.
In my early twenties, I went to community college and finished a three-year fine art program. Most of the curriculum was studio time, where I majored in painting and learned a lot about abstract expressionism. After that, I managed to squeeze in a few university art courses here and there, and continued to dabble in painting and print-making. I always maintained a big interest in fine art, but rarely attempted to show my work.
In the mid-1990s I discovered pottery, which really struck a chord with me. The thing I loved most about it was the combination of art and functionality, and all of the ensuing possibilities. My own artistic nature and the practical training instilled in me came together in pottery – it’s art you can use, and I love that. I started out making a variety of tableware, but now I focus mostly on handbuilding ocarinas and throwing bowls on a pottery wheel, plus I make tiles and other assorted items. My favourite part of the process is decorating my work – carving and glazing each piece with a balance of colour and care for detail.
During all of this, I held contract positions as an art instructor and a production pottery technician, and part of my life was spent in nine-to-five office jobs that helped to pay the mortgage (thanks Mom). I retired in the spring of 2017 and packed up my life in Toronto, where I’d been living for the previous ten years, and moved into a little house that is two miles north of Lake Erie, as the crow flies. I’m happy here and feel more relaxed and creative as time goes by.
When I finished a painting that I titled “Life-Cycle” and showed it to a friend of mine, he said it would look good on a t-shirt, which really resonated with me because it combined my artwork with the practical and affordable t-shirt. Also, this was a perfect way to display my paintings, because I tend to keep them – they’re like my children! I’ve had a few of my paintings printed on t-shirts so far, and I’ll continue adding to the collection over time.
I’m a member of FUSION: The Ontario Clay and Glass Association and the Tillsonburg Station Arts Centre Pottery Guild.