The Potters Place is featuring artist Jaime Willms with her Wide Open Spaces-A Journey To The Grasslands and Open Skies exhibit in March.
There’s also a display of work by select members of the Comox Valley Potters Club this month.
Willms brings a bit of ceramic history and Prairie-inspired pottery back to the Valley. She recently went on an artistic journey to Medalta Potteries in Medicine Hat to consider forms, textures and glazes that were unexplored in her previous work.
Set against the dramatic cliffs of the South Saskatchewan River in Medicine Hat, the 150-acre Historic Clay District was once home to some of Canada’s most important clay factories, including Medalta Potteries, Hycroft China, National Porcelain and Alberta Clay Products.
Today, this history is being preserved with the unique Medalta Potteries site providing the setting for a living, working museum, vibrant education centre, a reception gallery, and a 12,000-square-foot contemporary ceramics studio.
The Medalta International Artists in Residence Program is designed to serve artists at all stages of their careers. The studio experience is one of cooperation and creativity. Artists come from all over the world and bring different experiences, techniques and ideas to this Canadian treasure.
“When working in my home studio, I tend to work on similar forms with similar techniques. I don’t have much time to play,” Willms says.
“At Medalta I was able to concentrate on nothing but the clay, with no daily distractions. I was able to try out different types of clay, and to work in the studio 24/7. I also had access to the salt and soda kilns, which i don’t have much experience with.
“What was really magical about doing a residency at Medalta, was the sharing of ideas with ceramic artists from across Canada and the States. There are several artist in residence at one time.”
She says her work tends to be minimalist and earth/land/garden inspired. In The Hat, inspiration came from “the sparseness of the Prairies, the simple lines of the grass fields and rivers, the golden yellow hues and browns of the landscape. The most incredible blue of the open sky and the grass blown over from the never-ending wind across vast fields.”
Jaimie is the featured artist for March at the Potters Place, which also has a show by the Comox Valley Potters Club throughout the month at the corner of Fifth and Cliffe at the potters’ courtyard in downtown Courtenay.
— Potters Place