ALBERTA CRAFT BLOG

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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 Calgary (3)

Friday
Aug092019

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

Monday
Jul082019

Spotlight on: Mackenzie Kelly-Frère

The Alberta Craft Gallery - Calgary is hosting the work of Mackenzie Kelly-Frère from July 11 to August 24, 2019 as part of our monthly Spotlight Series. The series provides a unique opportunity to see and invest in the work of accomplished/esteemed Alberta Craft Artists.

Mackenzie is an artist, educator, and writer… and you could say he seamlessly weaves all of these roles into one large, spotlight worthy piece of art. 

He is an Associate Professor in the School of Craft & Emerging Media at the Alberta University of the Arts, he contributes texts to various Canadian and international publications, and his work has been exhibited throughout Canada, China, Japan, Korean, and the United States. Lucky for us, he bases his practice out of Calgary and we were able to ask him some questions about who he is and why he creates.

 

Alberta Craft Council (ACC): Who are you, and what do you do?

Mackenzie Kelly-Frère (MKF): I am a descendant of settler culture living in Treaty Seven Territory. I make cloth and teach people to weave and think through textiles. My fascination with the material culture of textiles and passion for cloth's potential as a tool for communication drives my work at the loom and in the studio classroom.

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

MKF: My work is rooted in material culture and in particular, the social history of cloth. Cloth is an object that embodies care, protection and even the body itself. Increasingly I am interested in how cloth may communicate particular ideas related to the precarity of the human condition. Handwoven cloth provides specific metaphors for entanglement, connection, and contingency that make it the perfect medium to explore complex ideas. I often work in series and these bodies of work are usually thematic, investigating a particular idea. The depth of knowledge embodied by cloth makes it an inexhaustible resource for new ways of thinking and being in the world. This is why I weave.

 

 

ACC: Who taught you your craft?

MKF: I have had many direct and indirect teachers. Bill Morton taught me to pay attention, Katharine Dickerson taught me patience and Sandra Alfoldy taught me there is tangible, irrepressible joy in the story of craft. The weaving of other artists like Jun Tomita, Chiyoko Tanaka has given me something to aim for in my own work. Without exception, however, my best teachers are my students. Each day they renew my own curiosity and love for textiles with their excitement and the deep insight of their beginners' mind.

ACC: How has your practice changed over time?

MKF: I have been weaving for more than twenty years. In that time the themes and ideas in my work have remained fairly constant, but my work has gained considerable refinement, focus and clarity. I am better at the technical details of my craft, but not necessarily as restricted by them. It is exciting to now have enough experience in weaving to engage in something that feels like improvisation. Something that would never have been possible for me ten years ago.

ACC: What is your favourite thing to make?

MKF: Thread, yarn and cordage. Occasionally I have the opportunity and a good reason to create my own threads for a weaving or knitting project. For me, this is probably the most satisfying contemplative aspect of my studio practice.

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

MKF: Sometimes my studio is very quiet, particularly during the planning of a series or more complex project. Once this is finished, the music comes on. I am listening to Anohni, Light Fires, Lizzo, FKA Twigs, and Florence & the Machine in the studio right now (listen on Spotify). Much of the time I will play a single song on repeat for hours - better for regular weaving or spinning!

Visit the Alberta Craft Gallery – Calgary from July 11 to August 24, 2019 to see Mackenzie’s work and visit his website to see his complete portfolio.

His work is also part of Cultivate | Instigate, an Alberta Craft Feature Gallery - Edmonton exhibition about the influential cratives at the forefront of post-secondary Craft education in Alberta

Wednesday
Feb082017

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.