Since 2002 I have been fortunate enough to inhabit a small pocket of Lanark County in eastern Ontario. After more than 10 years an intimacy with place is developing and its nuances are surfacing. If I simply choose to look with curiosity and patience, the gift of this space and my life within it becomes a rich education in the wonder of nature. Its vigor and interconnectedness; its cycles of abundance and dearth, and not least, its sheer persistence amaze me. Somewhat mysteriously, this sense of wonder feeds my creative life.
I work in series – often cyclically – sometimes returning to forms, subject matter or themes with new perspective and openness after ‘time away’. I make objects whose purpose may be any of these: to interact with, to contemplate, to observe, or to touch. Pleasure, exploration, and delight are responses I hope to provoke.
For some time I have been interested in the places where humans and nature intersect – the margins and verges that can make amicable neighbours of ‘control’ and ‘abandon’, ‘domestic’ and ‘wild’, ‘culture’ and ‘nature’. In the studio at present, this is feeding an exploration into forms of containment as either spaces of sanctuary and/or restraint.
I moved to this farm after completing a BFA at The Emily Carr Institute for Art and Design (Vancouver, 1999), followed by a few years as a resident artist at Toronto’s Harbourfront Center. Clay is both a visceral and a technically demanding medium to work with which makes life ‘interesting’ for potters. I love its adaptability to any number of processes employed in the making of both my functional and sculptural objects. Throwing, slip-casting, press molding, pinching, slab-building, hand forming have often been combined in the creation of my work. Rich, layered surfaces are built up slowly often using a combination of slips, under-glazes, glazes, lusters and hand-made ceramic decals. I work with several Cone 6 clays, from porcelaneous white clay to red-brown stoneware, chosen to suit the intended form and ‘feel’ of the work.
When not working in the studio I can be found gardening, tending to creatures, trying to play mandolin, observing life, writing about farmers, and collectively organizing a public art project called fieldwork that is situated on my farm.
See Regional Contact interview with Susie Olser: http://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1017367