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Participating artists: Nicole Baxter, Linda Chow, Robin Dupont, Milt Fischbein, Matt Gould, Terry Hildebrand, Brad Keys, Eveline Kolijn, Diane Krys, Darren Petersen, Jean-Claude and Talar Prefontaine, Shona Rae and Simon Wroot.

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Spotlight on: Salty Sea Dog Designs

The Alberta Craft Gallery - Calgary is hosting the work of Sarah and Blair Dawes from Salty Sea Dog Designs from August 29 to October 5, 2019 (with a special event) as part of our monthly Spotlight Series. The pop-up style display provides a unique opportunity to see and purchase in the work of accomplished and esteemed Alberta Craft Artists.


Sarah & Blair are the making hands and creative minds behind one of Calgary's most beloved and whimsical ceramic creations. Their craft enterprise focuses on the creation of functional ceramics, with a twist. We asked them a few questions about their career, what they make, and why. 

Alberta Craft Council: Hi guys! Who are you and what do you do?

Salty Sea Dog Designs: Salty Sea Dog Designs is the collaboration between the husband and wife duo of Blair and Sarah Dawes. Together we hand make quirky and unique pottery. We focus heavily on 3D animal designs with a colourful and whimsical twist. Every piece is either wheel thrown or hand built in our Calgary studio. 

ACC: What theme(s) or ideas(s) do you pursue in your work?

SSDD: Our work is mostly focused around animals we find interesting and unique. People have a wonderful connection to the animal world and we are always looking to create pottery forms that foster that connection. Whether it’s your spirit animal or just your favourite one, we are always working toward creating a unique design to bring that animal to life.

ACC: Who taught you your craft?

SSDD: We both have a BFA with a ceramics major from the Alberta College of Art & Design, now known as AUArts.

 ACC: How has your practice changed over time? 

SSDD: When Salty Sea Dog Designs was first formed, we were creating a lot of pottery using drawn and painted imagery. We slowly started incorporating small 3D design elements to highlight our forms. We realized that these 3D elements were what were most excited to play with and it set us apart from our peers. We decided to take what we were best at and create a whole body of work using hand built 3D forms.

ACC: Your work has a clear theme ...Which is your favorite character to make?

SSDD: We both agree that our favourite thing to make are our monster mugs. Each one has its own personality and it’s a joy to see them come to life. Whether it’s placing horns, wings or a third eyeball and then adding vast amounts of colour, we love seeing how each one of them comes into being.

ACC: What music are you currently listening to in your studio?

SSDD: We often watch streaming services in our studio instead of listening to music. We watch everything from sitcoms, movies and documentaries. If we are ever stuck on what to put on next our go to series that we can always put on are The Inbetweeners, The Office and Time Team. (yes, we added The Office theme song to our Craft Music list on Spotify)

Visit the Alberta Craft Gallery - Calgary from August 29 to October 5, 2019 to meet your new coffee mug companion, created by Sarah & Blair from Salty Sea Dog Designs.

Want to meet the artists? Join us for a fun evening reception on September 12 between 5-8pm. Event link here

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