OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ottawa, Ontario

My ceramic vessels are assembled with slabs, blended coils, layered slips and glazes. Each sculpture is unique. Some are large and some are small; on each one there are smoothnesses and tears, cracks in the clay, rusted colour, like the patina of years. Each piece is full of deliberate imperfections – rips, marks, unequal symmetries – and yet each one is complete. Each vessel is a single, whole piece, top and bottom: a container that can fill up with time and presence.

I begin by carving and stretching the clay: every instance is different, defined by my manipulations, the physical make-up of clay, and by bare serendipity and accident. I build up layers of glaze, slip and underglaze, obscuring the form and then wiping these layers away, showing and hiding different parts. Suffused at once with accident and intention, remnants linger in the recesses. The vessels are made to have the appearance of being weather-worn and ancient, unbroken by time. Each sculpture has an opening, a small portal that draws the viewer deep into the abyss. The space the vessel holds is made more powerful by one’s inability to see within.

I’ve been working with clay for 20 years, have studied at the Haliburton School of Art and with ceramic artists Jim Thomson and Chandler Swain. I taught ceramics at Ottawa Montessori for 5 years and have had the privilege of being a member of 260 Fingers Ceramic Exhibition since 2011.

Michelle Bishop portrait