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cSPACE King Edward
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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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Alberta Craft Blog

Entries in ceramics (7)


Spotlight on: Benjamin Oswald

The Alberta Craft Gallery - Calgary is hosting the work of Edmonton ceramist, Benjamin Oswald as part of our monthly Spotlight Series. The pop-up style display provides a unique opportunity to see and invest in the work of accomplished and esteemed Alberta Craft Artists.

Find his work at the Alberta Craft Gallery - Calgary from October 10 to November 2, 2019 (with a special event on October 10)




Benjamin Oswald's career started with sculpture and has moved into the realm of ceramic, often blurring the lines between art, design, anf contemporary craft. Oswald was the winner of Western Living Magazine "One to Watch" in 2018, he is a teacher with the Edmonton Public School Board, and is currently an MFA student at Emily Carr University.

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

Benjamin Oswald: My name is Benjamin Oswald and I'm a ceramist and sculptor based in Edmonton, AB. My works are primarily made in porcelain that are slipcast, hand thrown or hand built.

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

Benjamin Oswald: I make art in the blurry intersections between art, design and contemporary craft. Like many ceramists, I consider the vessel as a metaphor for the human condition. I like to consider what's inside and outside a form as well as making arrangements and rhythms of multiple objects in space.

I am inspired by nature with all of its textures and forms and have been using a modernist lens with minimalist aesthetics to think out ideas and observations. In my view, form and shape have greater relevance than function, and I frequently allow the material to guide during making and derive meaning later on.



ACC: Who taught you your craft? 

Benjamin Oswald: I studied mold making and slip casting with Sasha Wardell in Wiltshire, England. I am also working on my MFA at Emily Carr University of Art & Design in Vancouver.

ACC: How has your practice changed over time? 

Benjamin Oswald: I started sculpting in the early '90s influenced by several British modernists and using stone as my medium of choice. I still have over a ton of beautiful white marble at my home studio (which I will revisit sometime in the future). In 2007 I began teaching a ceramics course and decided to switch my practice up and move into ceramics. Much like a traditional potter, I was hand throwing and glazing earthenware bowls and vases. As time past, I began to search out methods to create more contemporary designs, which lead me to porcelain, mold making and slip casting. I soon found I could use units of designed objects to compose abstract shapes, forms and compositions in addition to my series and editions of vessels.




ACC: What is your favorite thing to make?

Benjamin Oswald: For me, the product of work comes second. My primary joy comes from work itself. Not to sound confusing but I'm referring to work as a noun or work as a verb. Work as a verb is where I am happiest.

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

Benjamin Oswald: I usually run streamed playlists of music while in the studio. Lately its classical Baroque, ambient electronic or a miscellaneous Indie playlist. 


Visit the Alberta Craft Gallery - Calgary from October 10 to November 2, 2019 to view and purchase the work of Benjamin Oswald. Visit his website to see his complete portfolio

Want to meet the artists? Join us for a fun evening reception on October 10 between 5-8pm at cSPACE King Edward.


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


Meet the Maker - Robin Dupont

Robin Dupont’s experience in the field of ceramics has been wide-ranging and includes educational training from four institutions, in three different countries and takes great pride in passing all his knowledge on to his students.


For the summer issue of Alberta Craft Magazine we had a chat with ceramic artist Robin DuPont about his experience as an educator...after all, it was an issue on education! Read on to know more about Robin DuPont and Meet the Maker. When you are done you can watch this video interview for the 2013 RBC Emerging Artist Award


Alberta Craft Council: Is teaching a major part of your creative practice or something you do occasionally?

Robin DuPont: Teaching has been a significant part of my life since completing my master’s degree in 2011. I teach a full semester at Kootenay Studio Arts (KSA) in the fall and often more, teaching workshops abroad and here on my property. I also have an assistant in my studio that is working beside me learning. By articulating ideas out loud to others it forces you to solidify them in some way in your head. I read that Einstein said, “you don’t truly know something until you can teach it”.

ACC: How do you balance your creative practice with teaching?

RD: My creative practice is all about learning. Teaching is all about passing that information on. I have been fortunate to have learned from some amazing teachers and, in turn, that makes me passionate about giving back.

I am currently teaching at KSA at Selkirk College in Nelson, BC. Three faculty split the course load. Job sharing allows for time in the studio to continue my own creative practice. This is win-win for both students and faculty as it gives me time to push my own work further.


ACC: In what ways do you advise students just starting out, to work smarter?

RD: When you are young it is easy to push yourself, sometimes beyond your limits both physically and mentally. I think it is important to work hard but figure out your limitations and set boundaries. In saying that, it is important to do this in a sustainable way, learning how to care for your body right off the bat is imperative and will pay dividends later in your career.

ACC: Looking back, do you have a teacher who was especially inspiring?

RD: I’ve had many teachers who I think of regularly in the studio and when I am teaching. To name a few: Bob Reimer, John Chalke, Jim Etzkorn, Tom Rohr, Katrina Chaytor, Greg Payce - they
were all generous and inspiring in different ways.

ACC: What is an important event that helped shape your career?

RD: During my first year at ACAD (before I decided to major in ceramics) the visiting artist was Tom Rohr. Tom communicated so many things about clay and ceramics that have ever since been at the core of why I work in clay and make the objects I do.

ACC: What is your favourite handcrafted piece in your home by another artist?

RD: I have many favourite pieces, not really one at all. It’s a little like asking which of my children is my favourite! I’ve been collecting pots for a long time and I have an extensive collection. I love how pots carry so much information and are complex little objects - some are my favourites because of how they function, others remind me of people and places.


Robin obtained his BFA from Alberta University of the Arts, Kootenay School of the Arts in Nelson, BC, the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia, and completed his MFA graduate degree at Utah State University in Logan, Utah.

Follow his atmospheric kiln adventure's on instagram @robindupontceramics


Trudy Golley - Red Deer College

Trudy Golley received her education in Ceramics at the Alberta College of Art (known today as Alberta University of the Arts) and the University of Calgary (BFA) and the University of Tasmania (MFA) in Hobart, Australia. She enjoys a prominent international career and has been invited to participate in ceramic residencies, lectures, and give workshops in Canada, the USA, Australia, Denmark, China, Scotland, Hong Kong and Malta.

Alberta is lucky to have Trudy and her students get to learn first hand from a woman whose work is represented in numerous public and private collections in Canada, China, Denmark and Australia.

Trudy has taught Ceramics and Visual Fundamentals in the Visual Art Department at RDC since 2000, and as you can imagine, being a respected teacher and artist is no small feat. To learn more, we asked her a simple question: How have you balanced your creative practice with teaching?

Trudy says: "I use the studio at the College to develop my own work outside of my teaching time. This allows me to be both available and to develop a more informal relationship with the students. Throughout all of my teaching positions, I have remained committed to working in the open studio to share my experience with my students in a more relaxed atmosphere. Some of the most meaningful exchanges — those that can’t be recreated in a classroom situation — are shared with students after-hours or on weekends. Often this helps students to reflect on what they are hearing and seeing and assists them to make up their minds about how to proceed with their own work.  As an instructor I encourage students to find their own voice by taking risks and to challenge themselves; to find the pathway that makes sense to them, rather than emulating the work that they see me making. In fact, I feel that I have not succeeded as an instructor if I see a student doing work that looks like mine."


She continues, "The students’ exposure to their instructor, making their personal work in the studio means that they get to witness the professional pacing of a project or body of work. Students get to see the successes, as well as the failures, and this gives a more realistic view of what it is to work as a professional artist. Now, in this time of diminishing hand skills, it is even more critical for students to see the commitment and determination that is required to build both mental and physical skill in this lifelong pursuit."

Cultivate | Instigate is about the influential creatives at the forefront of post-secondary craft education in Alberta. The artists in this exhibition balance the dual roles of educator and  professional practicing artist. Acting as torchbearers, they are bridging Alberta’s rich craft legacy with contemporary craft culture.

 Visit the exhibition at the Alberta Craft Gallery - Edmonton until August 31, 2019.



#GivingTuesdayCA ❤️ A Growing Legacy

Images (clockwise): Past Linda Stanier Award Recipients: Anna Rasmussen, Christian Barr, John Chalke, Sam Uhlick, Dawn Detarando and JoAnna LangeLinda Stanier Award & Endowment – a Growing Legacy

Linda Stanier was an artist, a potter of exceptional talent. She was prominent in Alberta's active ceramics scene as a maker, technician, teacher, juror, curator, and enthusiastic 20-year member of the Alberta Craft Council, volunteering and serving on the ACC Board of Directors from 1990-94. 

Linda touched the lives of everyone she met with her joyful giving spirit and her wonderful sense of humour. It was in honoring Linda’s generosity and devotion to her ceramics community that inspired her family to set up an endowment and award when she passed away in 2004 after her journey with cancer.

November 27, 2018, is GivingTuesday. What is GivingTueday, you ask? After BlackFriday and CyberMonday comes a global movement for giving and volunteering. Across Canada and around the world, GivingTuesday unites communities by sharing our capacity to care for and empower one another. Today we celebrate and honour the giving spirit of Linda Stanier.

Linda's family worked with the Alberta Craft Council and the Edmonton Community Foundation to establish a permanent endowed award; the Linda Stanier and Family Memorial Award for excellence in ceramic arts.

The endowment for this award was set up with an initial investment from family and friends of $23,743.35 in 2004. The Edmonton Community Foundation manages this endowment, placing it in a range of investments, which averages about 8% in earnings annually. The award money comes from the interest accrued; the amount normally disbursed is 4% of the fund value at the end of the prior year. Approximately 1% of the interest earned goes to fund the operating of the endowment and the Edmonton Community Foundation, and the remaining 3% (on average) stays in the fund as a buffer against inflation or bad investment years.

l to r: Sam Uhlick, Dawn Candy

In the 14 years since the endowment was set up its value has grown to the value of $50,700, with interest accrued, and additional contributions including money raised from the sale of Linda’s ornaments at the ACC.  This growing endowment is now able to support an additional disbursement and the ACC is working with Linda’s family and the Edmonton Community Foundation to explore options of how to expand on the good work of this growing legacy.

To date, $14,000 have been awarded to deserving ceramic artists across our province in Linda’s honour.

2005 – Diane Sullivan, Calgary, $1000

2006 - John Chalke, Calgary, $1000

2007 – Katrina Chaytor Calgary, $1000

2008 – Judith Green, Pincher Creek, $1000

2009 – Christian Barr, Wildwood, $1000

2010 – Sam Uhlick, Edmonton, $1000

2011 – Dawn Detarando & Brian McArthur, Red Deer,  $1000

2012 - Jim Etzkorn, Medicine Hat, $1000

In 2012, ACC awards went to every other year, doubling the amount awarded

2014 - Anna Rasmussen, Dickson, $2000

2016 - JoAnna Lange, Edmonton, $2000

2018 - Dawn Candy, Red Deer, $2000

(Original article featured in Alberta Craft Magazine, Fall 2018)


Are you interested in learning more on how to set up an endowment with the Alberta Craft Council? Connect with us, send us a message to

Wish to donate to the Alberta Craft Council? You can give to us through Canada Helps




Progress at Alberta Craft Gallery - Calgary 

Custom display furniture and interior construction begins this month for the Alberta Craft Gallery - Calgary @ cSpace King Edward. The Gallery is expected to open mid-2017. The centre glass doors will open to feature a blend of retail and exhibition space.

With only a few months to go before the new Alberta Craft Gallery opens, now time to make a donation.


Medalta Exhibition Home Reviewed by Galleries West

Galleries West reviewed the current Medalta exhibition Home in the January 13, 2017 article Fired Up About Home. The exhibition is on until March 18. Participating artists include Elizabeth Burritt, Jenn Demke Lange, Adam Lefebvre, Les Manning, Noriko Masuda, Susan McKinnon, Aaron Nelson, Jenna Stanton and more. Curated by Jenna Stanton.  

There are exhibition plans for Home at the Alberta Craft Gallery - in Edmonton & Calgary. Work from the show will travel this year to the Toronto Design Offsite Festival and NYCxDESIGN.

Read the article here.