Heidi Earnshaw Design & Susie Osler Ceramics at Garhard Supply - TODO Festival 2017 - January 16-22, 2017Read More
I'm pleased to finally have uploaded my new series. BARE continues to focus on stripped down forms, unglazed (but burnished and sanded) surfaces. The pieces evoke elemental nature, the effects of wind and water, ritual objects and the beauty and power of essential form.
Many of these objects are meant to be held, to inspire reflection, and to connect us to powerful and mysterious resonances found deep within the earth and ourselves.
(Photos by Orion Zuyderhoff Gray)
If you have read the last blog post you will know more or less where this new series of work that has been evolving this year is coming from. (If you haven't I encourage you to scroll down and have a read).
What is not possible to show with a photograph is how these new pieces feel in hand. People (including me) have been SO programmed to never touch ceramic sculpture, yet that is what these pieces ask for. (with the exception of the wall pieces). The objects (in the flesh) emit a soft glow - from much time spent burnishing and sanding - and feel sensuous in their unglazed nakedness.. like bone.....or skin...or smooth stone. They are meant to be held, turned over, explored and mulled over, through touch.
The pieces reflect both on the quiet and solitary act of making as well as the slow, repetitive process of carving away excess to reveal a thing's essence. 'Stripping things to the bone' as the saying goes.
I'll admit that yes, the work is completely different from any of my previous (more exuberant) work - many people have commented on this. But perhaps the times we are in call for both the exuberant and the contemplative. I loved making this new work. It came up from somewhere deep within. I hope it resonates with you. Enjoy!
New Work at Studio 2 of the Perth Autumn Studio Tour. October 10-12
Much as I love all of the seasons, I think Autumn in Ontario takes the cake for me. There is a richness in the light, a silence, clarity and calm to the air. The wild, extroverted energy of summer shifts, settling downwards - introverted and concentrated in subterranean landscapes. Plants are shoring up energy in their roots. Animals are donning their winter coats. Attention is moving inward. In a similar way I find myself compelled to making work that mines my interior depths - from the rooted particulate of my psyche and the season.
Objects for the Hand and Heart is a new series of quiet, intimate objects and assemblages that invite reflection, contemplation, and touch. Inspired by relics, shards, mementos from nature and things that embody the potency of talismanic objects and shrines the series explores how objects can hold a compelling but mysterious energetic power. Ceramic elements form the foundation of the pieces to which other media are added. The heart of them comes from the land here.
If you attend the Perth Autumn Studio Tour this year you will notice a change in my studio. I'm aiming to transform my space into a place for pause that is more of a gallery space than a crowded shop. Work will include these sculptural pieces, drawings, small editions of things, and other curiosities.
I hope your curiosity compels you to visit Studio 2 on the Perth Autumn Studio Tour!
Thanksgiving weekend (in Canada). October 10-12 (Sat-Mon) 10am-5pm
The richness of spring is for me an exuberant time of abundance, promise and hope but also an exercise in non-attachment. It invites me to notice new sounds and presences, and to celebrate in the life-filled transformation of my surrounds. Yet it is fleeting. For me the intense surge of joy brought to the season by birds is tinged with the somewhat tragic awareness of its eventual demise.
Birds. To me they are the spirits inhabiting the verge between earthly and heavenly realms - animating the air with movement and song and coaxing me to revel richly in the present. They represent Anima which in Latin can mean air, wind, breath, breath of life, soul.
Becoming aware of the transience of time somehow helps to ‘fatten’ each moment. In its exuberance and ephemerality, birdsong, like the flush of greens and blossoms that unfold in the landscape, is a constant reminder of the passage of time.
This work reflects on how death and life are in some way united and examines the very human tendency to try to capture, contain, and hold onto moments/things as mementos - specimens, photos, objects - and on how by doing this ‘alive-ness’ may be lost.
Birds are having a tough time with the challenges we humans have thrown at them and their numbers are declining rapidly. I fear a time where the voices and feathers so familiar to me, will be accessed only through documents, memory, and mementos.
THE PIECES FOR THIS EXHIBITION ARE NOW POSTED IN THIS GALLERY.
One/another of my favorite poets, thinkers and inspired humans is Wendell Berry. Farmer, writer, poet, philosopher, activist, and common-sense man - he embodies and articulates values I hold dear. Maria Popova - who pens an always inspired weekly blog called Brain Pickings features Wendell Berry in her column this week. You can read it here and also hear Berry reading one of his poems How To Be A Poet.
Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill — more of each
than you have — inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
Increasingly I am experiencing poetry as the linguistic embodiment of 'fat' moments - those moments that feel round and full and stretched out. Where body, senses, mind and spirit are simultaneously inspired and united.
For more on Maria Popova check out the interview with her from On Being.
One of my favorite poets - Mary Oliver - is interviewed by Krista Tippet in this episode of On Being.
As might be expected there were many illuminating moments, like this one that rang out for me.
Part of living well in the world, I concur, is about cultivating attentiveness - an attentiveness not only involving the eyes, but also the other senses and the heart. It's a practice where thinking, for a change, is relegated to the trunk, or at least the back seat. For me such moments of dedicated attentiveness, experienced in and out of the studio, can mysteriously release creative potential. It doesn't happen often enough, but it seems to be, like most acquired skills, something that thankfully can be cultivated with a dose of intention.
For me, making objects without care, focus, and some kind of devotion to the process seems hollow - like a half-hearted, rather than a heart-full attempt. When my heart is not in my practice - when I am not 'attending' to it - the work tells me by not resonating as it should.
Mary Oliver talks in this interview about the discipline of keeping your dates with creativity - regularly and without fail - and cautions that every moment of this time will not produce a masterpiece. But by consistently and attentively creating this space/time we invite inspiration to inhabit it - and it eventually shows up. Hallelujah for this!
This is one of the things I need to attend to this year....keeping my dates with creativity.
Attentiveness invites a pause. It's a receptive offering.
Somedays...many days in fact, it can be truly hard to feel that the work one does as an artist has any relevance to the world outside one's own imagination. Yet the impulse to continue making what one feels compelled to make keeps creative types of all kinds stepping up again and again to the studio, to the instrument, to the page.
After a week spent in Toronto at the Interior Design Show, surrounded by a lot of (often beautiful) manufactured stuff - from high end faucets, to lighting and flooring - the relevance of the hand-made, 'small batch', and spirit-imbued 'things' whether it be tables, plates, or songs has never seemed clearer. Over and over, we (Heidi Earnshaw and I) saw people's faces lighting up as they walked by, and heard what an 'oasis' our booth was. How rewarding.
In an age where machines make and run most everything, people truly seem starved for a renewed connection to the things they live with - the story of where something comes from, an association with the person who made it, and evidence of and care taken by the maker's hand. I am lucky to be a maker. it is a privilege. And it is refreshing to feel again a sense of purpose in doing what I do.
We are set up and ready to roll at Toronto's Interior Design Show! My new work, inspired by this winter season is being featured at Heidi Earnshaw Design, Booth #2128. Heidi's incredible furniture is timeless, elegant, and beautifully designed and made. I am honoured to be part of her booth this year.
The ceramics featured in the booth include a set of plates, tumblers, and cylinder vases. These are the introduction to a new series, Traces, I've been working on recently. They are meant to be elemental yet somewhat refined, reflecting the winter season that we are currently experiencing. I have been enjoying the spare crisp palette of winter where I live (rural eastern Ontario), marks in the snow that indicate patterns of movement made by wind or footsteps, the skeleton forms of stripped down plant structures, and the calm, somewhat contained essence of the season. Some of these elements have found their way into this new work.
I hope some of you in Toronto will stop in and visit. The show details are here. General public days are Saturday and Sunday.
Well, it has been a long time coming, and it still is evolving but WELCOME!
I've got several more galleries to post in the coming days and some photo editing to do, but much of my most recent work is now up. WOO-HOO!
Please feel free to leave a comment, or share with friends, or sign up for my e-newsletter to stay in touch.
I am looking forward to finally having a place to archive and share my work with you.
Work by Matt WedelRead More