Monday, March 25, 2013

Canadian Clay Symposium 2013 re-cap

The Canadian Clay Symposium happens every 3 years at the Shadbolt Center for the Arts in Burnaby, BC, which is conveniently close to where I live.  The Symposium isn't huge- there are usually around 8 or 9 presenters, with the venue only holding about 350 people.  With the event selling out this year it felt like a good crowd of people, although I think in reality, most of the people coming to the conference hail from somewhere in BC (which makes me wonder why it's name includes all of Canada). This was my 3rd Symposium attendance so I was used to the fast pace of trying to see as much as possible in a day kind of feeling. 

This year I got the volunteer job of photographer for the day and spent most of my time trying to capture the best of the presentations and workshops.  I didn't really sit in for a whole entire workshop as I wanted to be sure I was able to take enough photos of all the workshops, so I won't be posting on each participant as I have in the past.  I was really glad to have something to do, as I'm not as interested in how other people make their work, while I am much more interested in how they make their living today and why they make the work that they do.  I think for many of the presenters, their work in clay has spanned 20-50 years, which is pretty incredible!  Each of the ceramic artists that were presenting had work that stood out as being their own, with really specific ways of making work, so it was lovely to see them at work.

For a 1 day conference, this event is pretty good bang for your buck.  The presenter line-up was quite good, although they ended up having to change in 3 of the original presenters.  I would have really enjoyed seeing Linda Arbuckle at work...that being said, the sub-ins did a really amazing job of bringing a wealth of knowledge and entertainment to the mix.  There was a dinner after the event this year that was hosted by the BC Potter's Guild that gave me the opportunity to chat with Robbie Lobell and Lorna Meaden, which was really great.  Sometimes these types of conferences are more about connecting with people in your field and this was one of those years for me.

Image out-takes in order (all the really good photos will go to the organizers so they can promote the event)!
Takeshi Yasuda
Robbie Lobell
Mariko Paterson
Judy Weeden
Bob Kingsmill
Lorna Meaden
and Takeshi Yasuda's tools

Last time I went to the Symposium I wrote about a few of the presenters that really caught my eye including my ceramic professor Joan Bruneau, the remarkable Alwyn O'Brien, and Gailan Ngan who graduated at the same time as me.   

Monday, March 4, 2013

In that moment when everything changes

I often think about the moments when life as you know it changes in an instant.  An accident, a medical exam, you lose a loved one suddenly: the unexpected happens, and suddenly, everything has changed.  On a global scale these types of life-changing moments seem to happen every few months, whether it's a natural disaster, or a gunman on the loose, a terrorist strike, or the Pope stepping down.  I know that these events are life-changing for the people closely affected and that they will always remember the moment when they heard the news. 

Maybe it's just that for me, last week was full of news of tragic and sudden deaths of young people, not close to me, but connected in some way.   Then news of a cousin through marriage losing his fight with cancer.  And seeing a friend struggle with a dark depression.  These stories are closer to home, they hit me in the heart and I can't help but feel as though life is so fragile, so very vulnerable.

None of these things compares with our only vehicle dying just as Dean left for the weekend, while I was supposed to be shipping off orders and then picking up the kids at school.  But it reminded me that things can change so fast.  The car was fine, and then, it all of a sudden, it wasn't.  It could have happened anywhere- on the bridge, with the kids, or worse, caused an accident.  It didn't take much for me to feel kind of helpless- in the moment I seemed to forget how to phone for a tow, or contact the mechanic to book the car in, or figure out how it could all happen in time for me to get back over the bridge to pick up my kids from school.  And then a friend stepped in, and walked me through it, looking up numbers on his phone.  Later when I was back home, another friend stopped by when I was home to make sure I had some groceries for the weekend as it would have been quite the walk up the hill with milk and groceries in the pouring rain with 2 kids in tow.  It all worked out and I'm so grateful.

We had a quiet weekend, the boys and I, sticking close to home, not leaving the house on Saturday due to horrid rain all day.  Sunday was lovely and bright, Dean got home, the car is still in the shop until late tomorrow, and my orders still aren't shipped but that's life.

**These photos were taken on the same day just outside my studio with my phone.  It was so strange to see a storm move through in a few short hours as the weather here doesn't often change that fast.