One of my most memorable ceramic instructors during art school was Joan Bruneau. She taught me in my 3rd and 4th year at Emily Carr and is one of the reasons I'm still a potter. The one thing about Art School in general is that 'craft', especially functional ceramics, can be seen as the underdog. After a year of critiques in my 3rd year by fellow students that pottery was too functionally based to be viewed on the same level as Art, I'll admit that it got to me and I ditched functional ceramics for a good long time, choosing ceramic sculpture instead. Many of my potter friends abandoned ceramics altogether. Despite this, Joan did her best to bring awareness of what Craft is all about, what common perceptions are, and how to challenge perception in a conceptual way, even on your functional pottery.
Best known for her 'cut and paste' wheel-thrown forms, Joan spent her time this past weekend on the wheel reminding us that good pots are 'dynamic' pots. What she meant was that the forms create a sense of their volume and that one considers each part of the form by not over-looking the feet or the rim. She asked the questions- why does the rim have to be straight and round or the base of the pot flat while the middle of the pot has all this expression. She challenged us to re-think those elements even if it was only subtly.
Joan Bruneau is a potter working in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia out of her studio and gallery, Nova Terra Cotta Pottery. She teaches part time at NSCAD while maintaining an active practice of selling and exhibiting her pottery.