B A S I L M A R S H A LL - I N M A N
Commisioned panel for kitchen backspash
G L E N Y S M A R S H A LL - I N M A N
A r t i s t S t a t e m e n t
WHY I BECAME A POTTER - WHY I DO WHAT I DO - NOTHING IS EVER PERFECT
WHY I BECAME A POTTER
Born and raised in rural New Zealand and nature nurtured, I was first introduced to hand made pottery during a year spent in Canada when I was 16. My sister and husband had been travelling in Mexico and brought several small pieces of pottery back with them. I remember handling them and being fascinated. On my return to live in NZ, when visiting a nearby village, there was a potter from England set up in the window of a store (I think it was a Woolworths Store). He was using a kick wheel, throwing tiny little pots. There was a line-up of small children waiting to receive one of these pieces that were put onto a piece of cardboard to carry away. I remember standing tall in that queue with those little children to receive one to take home. I was absolutely entranced with the magic of seeing that tiny pot being brought to life, seemingly so simple, from the manipulation of the kick wheel, a small lump of mud, water and his hands on a spinning wheel. That moment is as vivid today as it was all those years ago.
The challenge of bringing to life something that simply was not there in this world before you created it, is only one of the reasons for what drives me to continue today.
WHY I DO WHAT I DO
BUT there is another component and one that I believe is paramount.
What comes after the creation? I know I do not do this only for monetary reward, I would gladly give them away if I was able to survive that way. Making pottery is an extremely time consuming vocation and to even receive the mandatory minimum hourly government wage would make me a rich artist! Being self employed unfortunately does not give you that guarantee.
Today's Potter has to be not only the designer, maker, chemical technician, painter & kiln firing expert, they also have to be skilled in marketing to bring all of their labours together to present the final work for sale. Before the mid 20th century, a team of highly skilled individual workers would be involved in the many aspects of pottery production. This makes the 21st century potters’ work, although extremely labor intensive, extraordinary in many ways.
I truly believe that the ultimate reward is ‘APPRECIATION'!
Appreciation - a word so closely linked to our well being as humans…
This is a photograph of a work titled ‘CHOICES FOR SAKI LOVERS’ that was first exhibited at the Muttart Gallery, Calgary, Alberta. Perhaps, one of the strangest acknowledgements of someone ‘appreciating’ my work occurred during this show.
The Muttart had three adjoined exhibition areas. Open to all, one of the visitors was a large seemingly homeless man, who wandered into the Gallery to look around, perhaps to escape the cold. The assistant on duty, said that he was wearing a large floor length shabby coat and spent time in the different areas, coming back several times to the ‘Choices For Saki Lover’s’ work, standing in front of it, looking intently. He suddenly reached out and grabbed several pieces in his hands, shoving them into his pockets, then turned and ran out the door. The assistant said that she could hear them jingling in his pockets. The police were involved in the incident, (the first theft ever from the Gallery) and financial recompense was paid, but in actuality I think perhaps this most ‘unusual’ show of appreciation for my work, was payment enough!
The above has nothing to do with money, fame, or recognition, it is simply
‘Appreciation’ in an extraordinary way.
NOTHING IS EVER PERFECT
My day to day problem? Is that there is just not enough seconds in the day to
do all the things that I want to do!
I created this bookmark to help me solve the problem.
You are welcome to use it also!
My journey has been wide and
wonder-filled. My past and my
future are entangled in the
mystery of what life has to offer.
Thank you to my amazing family!
My love and respect for each and
every one of you is unbounded.
Your never-ending encouragement
and support is truly paramount!
Art is magic - Craft becomes Art when ingestion becomes digestion with no
thought of technique or theory. Art simply ‘happens’.
We all aspire to make ‘Art’.
Each of us are a sum of who has gone before us.
We stand upon the shoulders of our ancestors and teachers
and all of those who have given us guidance on this creative journey.
Apropros to Appropriation - I acknowledge the gift of access to sources during my
Art Education, particularly Art History - that have given me insight and imagination.
Greek Minoen Frescoes - Cycladic Pottery - The use of natural coloured clays and
pigments. Used since the Stone Age, Palaeolithic times - ie Lascaux cave paintings.
Native US Mimbres Pottery - The Unique Spatial Design system used within a
circle for their extraordinary Black on White Pottery decoration.
Korean-Japanese - The Aesthetics of Ceramics. The words Wabi Sabi - used in
explanation of my functional work, and the sacred symbol of the
Enso Zen Buddhism Circle - used in decoration. Usually drawn by a single
brushstroke in Japanese calligraphy, it is often unjoined, showing the beauty in
the imperfections of life.
With ‘clay’ at the centre of my journey, the unique and sometimes bizarre education opportunities that have presented themselves to me over the years have allowed me a
freedom of expression in all that I do creatively. It has kept the joy and passion of
exploration first and foremost to this day.
My Art Education comes not from a formal institution but from a lifetime of
serendipitous encounters. I believe that all arts communicate and mingle - the
vision is the same. Learning and understanding fuse if you are open to
other perspectives, so there are no real boundaries.
Art Through Design - 1983-1988 Led by Dr. Stanford Perrott ASA ACA.
Experimental private art classes. A brilliant educator Dr. Perrott had spent
thirty-seven years guiding generations of Alberta artists, formerly at the Southern
Alberta Institute of Technology which preceded The Alberta College of Art and
Design, of which he was Head, before he retired.
Privately teaching PURE DESIGN (his term) his focus and intention was to enable
us to individually be able to create our own personal images. Design and Applied
Design, Art History, Figure Drawing etc taught as he believed art should be taught,
without the burden of the formal bureaucratic system.
His mentoring and encouragement continued for the remainder of his life and I would
not exchange one minute of those years for a formal art degree. I was only one of thousands of students, fortunate enough to have known him. His letter of
recommendation is a treasured document.