Opening: Tea, East & West
Our opening at the stunning Sunbury Shores Art & Nature Centre went beautifully, in large part thanks to a wonderful bunch of volunteers. The gallery itself is gorgeous, and the setting is superb–I adore St. Andrews. Lee and I are both so happy with our work, and the show. It really is so gratifying when so much work, effort and energy pays off! Check it out if you can, on display until the 6th of September. The following is the write-up I did for the exhibition:
Tea, East & West: Pottery by Lee and Yolande Clark
Both the story of tea and the practice of pottery-making overlap continents, centuries, cultures and customs. The enjoyment of tea, in every society, traditionally involves ritual and ceremony of some sort, as well as the implementation of beautiful vessels.
No longer the fulcrum or catalyst for revolution that it once was, tea is nonetheless a quiet constant in so many lives globally, and is representative of the inevitability of transformation, and of cultural exchange. Despite growing up on the opposite sides of Canada (I am from the west coast, Lee is from the east), in very different families, Lee and I both remember the soothing regularity of the pot of tea being made after supper most evenings.
We bring our own cultural heritage (Western, Canadian, English, woods, river, sky) to this work, as well as the commitment we have to our home in New Brunswick. Many of the materials we use are dug from sites near where we live, and we are continually on the lookout for new sources for local glazes and clay-bodies.
Our ceramic work is also strongly informed by the Japanese tradition, both in terms of aesthetic and process. This is possible not only as a result of our position as privileged artists in North America, nor exclusively thanks to the proliferation of images and resources and historical accounts that can be found online, but primarily because of the generosity of contemporary artists in Japan, and all over the world, who experience their own tradition as a living one, and who have given us their time, and their blessing as we pursue an art-form that may seem to many—especially in North America—as arcane.
The teabowl form is particularly inspiring to me and Lee. Fundamental to the Japanese tea ceremony, the teabowl embodies the paradox of both structure and spontaneity. Working within the long-established boundaries of the morphology of the chawan (teabowl), Lee and I both find a sense of artistic freedom and creativity; a lifetime of opportunities to explore and to riff on a beautiful theme.
As always, we find that using pottery made by hand elevates the mundane, bringing poignancy and a touch of liturgy to the everyday. We hope you enjoy our show.