Meet the Artists
Meet the graduating artists from the 2023 Ceramics Program and see their work.
Imogen DeSousa Carter
I am originally a city girl who experienced an early life within the hustle and bustle of a grey and rainy town called East London. I decided to make the big move to the Kootenays in British Columbia five years ago, which was easily one of the best decisions of my life. Since then, I have spent my time being a multi-disciplinary artist among the mountains—skiing/snowboarding, hiking, drawing and playing with clay.
While I predominantly have a background of illustration, I am constantly pushing myself to break through the barrier of creating two-dimensional art pieces and delve into the world of ceramics by making beautiful and functional pieces that can be enjoyed in our everyday lives.
Within my work I really enjoy the relationship between earthy clay, rustic glazes and the controlled detailed illustrations that are a constant in my work. Marrying these three mediums continues to inspire and push me to bring layers of creativity to my practice. Instead of staring at a drawing on a flat surface, I hope to push your focus to follow my linework around a quirky ceramic form that also portrays texture, functionality and design.
Sometimes life throws you a bit of a curveball. For me, ceramics was my curveball. After taking a couple of pottery classes at a local studio, I fell in love with clay. This inspired me to explore this newfound passion further. I put my regular life and job on pause and temporarily moved to the Kootenays, all with the goal of further developing my skills through continued study in the Ceramics Program.
My work utilizes various techniques, including 3D printed textures, custom shaping tools, carving, cut-outs and underglazes, to add bright bold pops of colour. With my background in graphic design, merging elements created digitally and then incorporating them onto clay is a process I am exploring. In addition, my work also involves some of my other artistic interests, such as illustration, paper crafting techniques, linocut and painting.
After a piece is formed, it is essentially a blank canvas. Using a mix of these various techniques allows for great freedom to create fun and whimsical designs.
Clay is such a versatile medium to produce beautiful and functional objects that offer connection and can become a staple item in someone’s life and home. I strive to create ceramic works that are approachable and bring joy to those who hold them.
If an artist's statement could be a love letter to one’s craft, then let this be my love letter to clay.
I sit at the wheel, elbows braced against thighs, hands against earth, pushing, pulling and forming, allowing the clay to be an extension of my thoughts and self. At times I seek plump curves on mugs and plump bowls that plop down. Other times I want a form with poise and grace, like a bowl with outstretched walls balanced on a narrow foot. I am drawn to black clay most of all, for its drama and starkness and for the challenge of finding ways to soften it. The roughness of the bare, dark clay exterior juxtaposes the softness of a matte glaze interior. I seek balance in the contrast of my work and the line where lightness and durability meet, and I explore these contrasting desires in an embodied way through the malleability of clay and the physicality of the practice. The byproduct of this marriage is a tangible object that can be used at the table, in company or on one’s own.
In addition to utility, I want my wares to be produced with environmental consciousness. I choose the materials I work with carefully, avoiding ingredients like cobalt and lithium because of the problematic practices involved in their extraction. Instead, I utilize local clay and by-products like wood ash as much as possible in my glazes. Processing my own materials has brought more intimacy to my practice and more personal value to the work.
As a ceramicist, I aspire to create beautiful objects for people to enjoy. I have always been drawn to clay, having the ability to manipulate the medium and harness the unlimited possibilities of creation is both humbling and inspiring.
The shapes and forms I created are strongly influenced by my love for midcentury modern design. My work values simplicity, fluidity and playfulness with the intent to cultivate in others a feeling of joy and familiarity, bringing a sense of peace and ease to the home.
I have been trying to describe the viscerality and ethics of human-altered landscape since I first encountered it—from the levelled farm plains of northern Alberta to the ravaged cut blocks of Interior BC. Where words have failed me, pottery has intervened. The tactility of the medium is able to convey messages I cannot speak.
Each step along the way—from preparation of clay to traditional firing techniques to the vessel coming to rest upon a laden table—is vital. One day, my work will tell this story I have long been witnessing.
Raquel Martinez Torres
I'm Raquel Martinez, a Mexican ceramist and visual artist born in Mexico City in 1996. From a young age, I was drawn to the vibrant colours and rich cultural traditions of my homeland, and I knew that I wanted to explore these themes through my art.
My work and education have been interdisciplinary as I pursued a visual arts degree back in my native Mexico City and kept on travelling inside the country and throughout Colombia.
I seek to explore and experiment with different materials and techniques, caring about being involved with the making process as it is the thing I value most. My interests keep evolving, which has taken me to explore other areas, such as psychology and applied therapies. I consider myself as a craft maker but also as an inter- and trans-disciplinary research seeker.
After graduating from the Faculty of Arts and Design at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), I dove headfirst into the world of ceramics. I was fascinated by the ancient techniques used by my ancestors, and I was inspired to experiment with new forms and materials.
My work is a reflection of my passion for the intersection of tradition and innovation. I combine the particularly vibrant Latin American aesthetics with contemporary art, and I'm constantly pushing the boundaries of what's possible in the world of my possibilities within ceramics.
My pursuit is beautiful yet functional pieces that can be enjoyed by all who might encounter them.
When I look at pottery, I gravitate toward forms that are a little to the left of normal. Pieces that have character, and personality; something that knows what it is and isn’t scared of being passed over because of it. It doesn’t need to be wild or wacky or trying so hard to be outside the norm that it feels disingenuous. It just needs to be itself. Wholeheartedly and unapologetically. That’s what I want my pottery to emulate. A sense of being unabashedly yourself, no matter what the world’s opinion is on your eccentricities. Life is too short to be anything other than yourself.
There’s a variety in my pieces, I adore new things, and I get bored easily. So, I jump around in style and technique to keep my mind engaged. The main throughline of my work is the strong personality of every piece. Most things I create are a facet of myself, broken off and given and given physical form. I pull from anime and the macabre. Pairing sculptural with functional, and bright colours with intricate details.
I believe everyone has something a bit strange to them. It’s part of being human. There’s no real normal and once you accept that life becomes a lot more fun. I hope others can see themselves in my work and feel a little less alone knowing that someone like them exists. Even better if they want to take my work and give it a home where it will be appreciated in all its quirks.
I am currently completing my second year of Training at KSA, this year in the Ceramics Program. I have a lifelong passion for designing and creating functional and beautiful objects and spaces.
The textures I create in my ceramic pieces mimic the patterns and structures found in nature, from the rough bark of a tree to the delicate petals of a flower. Through touch, I invite the audience to experience a tactile connection with the natural world.
I am fascinated by the way light interacts with ceramic surfaces, illuminating the intricacies and depths of my pieces. This interplay between light and clay represents the interdependence and interconnectivity that exists between humans and the environment.
The colours I choose for my ceramics are drawn directly from the natural palette that surrounds us. Earthy browns, vibrant greens and soothing blues evoke a sense of tranquility and encourage viewers to reflect on their own relationship with nature.
Roz Thompson, Smudge Ceramics
Growing up on an island on the west coast of British Columbia, I was naturally drawn to and inspired by surf and skate culture. Primary colours, strong linework and the use of negative space are aspects reflected in my work. Although my work is well-considered and precise, I love to evoke a feeling of play within those margins.
Designing ceramic art, functional wares specifically, gives me the opportunity to instill expression and feeling into a tangible form that others can then connect with. Clay allows me the unique experience of modernizing an ancient art form with my own artistic sensibilities, while still holding onto tradition and roots.
I am exploring the balance of refinement in simplicity, control with the freedom of play, and expression within form. The colours and glaze design with which I choose to finish my work are integral to my artistic vision.
My artistic motivation is inspired by my adventures outdoors and the coziness of home. I long for time in nature among animals, on mountains, in the woods or by the water. My comfort is the simplicity of being relaxed at home. Wearing comfy jeans and a cozy T-shirt, being barefoot, drinking coffee, connecting with myself and others, reading books and taking naps.
I take my imagery for my ceramic pieces from my adventures and time outdoors, and the shapes and colours I choose are designed to evoke feelings of sentimentality, comfort and ease.