medium /// ceramic

susannah montague

If it’s possible, Canadian artist Susannah Montague, has taken Dutch vanitas to an entirely new and disturbing level! I’ve written about Susannah a few times already {plus, she’s one of the artists featured in my upcoming book}, so I happen to know that a lot of her work revolves around her twins and the struggle she faced trying to bring them into the world. Her detailed, meaning-packed work is stunning, but even more so in person… AND if you happen to live anywhere near Calgary Alberta you could see these bizarre, flower-covered delights this weekend! Her latest show, titled “Lucid Dreams” , opens this Saturday {March 16, from 2-4 pm} at Newzones Gallery of Contemporary Art. Here is Susannah’s statement about the show:

“… The inspiration comes from mysticism and esotericism which touches on daydreams and the fantastical elements that haunt our nights. Within the eerie beauty of these ceramic sculptures is an exploration of the intersection between dreams and reality – at the same time, fusing innocence and corruption in the flowers, dolls, lizards, toys and skulls that fervidly explode in these contemporary baroque compositions, asking us to revel in the beauty of the absurd.”

I have to share a story Susannah told me about the final piece above … “The piece with the gold halo is my daughter. She was born “unresponsive”. The necklace – with the arms – is from Mexican religious iconography which symbolizes “embrace and touch”, because after 36 hours of labour, I fought to keep my twins together, close with me and out of Neonatal Intensive Care Unit by doing “Kangaroo care”. The artichoke at the core has a heart, symbolizing love – and, throughout history, artichokes have represented hope, peace and a successful future.”   I’m not crying, you’re crying. A beautiful story from a beautiful person {And, I’ve met her twins. They are creative, kind and amazing … just like their mama.} 

*photos by Lilly Louise Photography

glenn barkley

Marshmallow-like dots and green lettering that I desperately want to touch. Speaking of which: “beyondthebrittletownsasleep”  “hereandnownotforever”   imayimightimust”   “idespair”   nevereinthefieldofhumankindness” … there, now you don’t have to squint/guess what they say! These amazing ceramic wonders are the work of Australian artist Glenn Barkley. I was already so impressed by his work, but then I read his bio:

“Glenn Barkley is an artist, writer, curator and gardener based in Sydney and Berry NSW, Australia. His work operates in the space between these interests drawing upon ceramics deep history, to popular song, the garden and conversations about art and the internet. He was previously senior curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (2008–14) and curator of the University of Wollongong Art Collection (1996–2007).”


taili wu

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Ceramics and stop-motion animation… well hello my new favorite combo! These whimsical wonders are the work of Taiwan born, New York based artist Taili Wu. Surprises inside Oreos, bacon ‘n egg eyes, and don’t even get me started on that record-playing ballerina! LOVE. Happy Friday.

claire partington

Oh. My. Word. I have just come across the work of UK based artist Claire Partington, and I am completely in love. Her portfolio is filled to the brim with meticulously hand built ceramics that do a beautiful job of blurring the line between classical and, well, not classical. The pieces above are two of my favorites: “London Venuses”, aka Lewisham and Kilburn – they are young, empowered and pregnant; and “Venus” – Claire’s version of the mythical Venus “complete with two-headed dog and Reebok classics.” LOVE.

erin harmon

Gouache, watercolor, collage, ceramics … seriously, the portfolio of American artist Erin Harmon is filled to the brim with rainbow-hued magic! Just imagine if you could jump, spin and dance around in one of her worlds? Well, if you’re a ballerina in Memphis, you can…

Gasp! Sets that Erin designed for Ballet Memphis. Sigh.

penelope boyd

Sweet and odd … and then you add pottery/ceramics into the equation and I’m alllll in. This is the work of Australian artist Penelope Boyd. The majority of Penelope’s portfolio is filled with paintings and functional ceramics, but I found these new little beauties on her Instagram feed and was instantly smitten.

katie kimmel

If these cheerful little fellas don’t scream, HAPPY MONDAY, well, I don’t know what does. These ceramic hounds are the work of Mojave Desert based artist Katie Kimmel. Her current show, titled “Dog Park”, just opened this past weekend at Hashimoto Contemporary in San Francisco. Here’s what it’s all about:

“Inspired by her visits to the park with her dogs, ‘Dog Park’ is filled with the energy and joy of meeting new  friends. Dogs of all shapes and sizes serve as starting points for Kimmel’s cheerfully glazed ceramic works from fluffy white poodles to purple spotted dalmatians and neon mutts. Each of the artist’s ceramic vases and sculptures has a gleeful personality and it is not hard for the viewer to imagine them frolicking with each other, creating a sense of community within the installation. Lovingly hand formed and painted, the artist’s hand and witty sensibility is evident in each piece.”

I’d love to frolic around in this installation! Dog Park will be at Hashimoto until January 26th, 2019.

anthony sonnenberg

Gasp! Porcelain over stoneware, found ceramic tchotchkes, glaze, gold luster… he had me at tchotchkes. This is the gorgeous ceramic work of Texas born, Arizona based artist Anthony Sonnenberg. Here are a few of his words about what he does:

… I use time‐intensive construction methods to create totems and environments that reference the cyclical nature of growth and decay, and suggest layers of time that move beyond the art historical and into the geological and emotional …

Sigh… ‘layers of time’. Beautiful.

ebony russell

Gasp! Porcelain piped like cake frosting? Oh my word, YES. Delicate crowns that look good enough to eat… but don’t because this ain’t food. Nope, this is the latest series from Sydney based artist {and current MFA student} Ebony Russell, and ps., I would happily pop any of these pieces on my head for my next birthday party. LOVE.

charlotte mary pack

I don’t know if I should gasp or sigh… maybe a bit of both. These lovely pieces are by UK artist Charlotte Mary Pack. In 2013 she graduated with a first class honors degree in Ceramic Design from Central Saint Martins, and now she makes this wild ‘n whimsical work. Here’s why:

“Growing up on a farm and traveling widely across Africa are fundamental experiences that have instilled her affection for the natural environment. The combination of both Charlotte’s love for all creatures great and small, and clay, steers her work to explore different ways to draw attention to the declining wildlife and natural world.  An artist with integrity, Charlotte donates 15 per cent of profits to support wildlife conservation efforts around the globe.”

Yes! Love, love, love!