Chandler Swain

Chandler Swain studied painting at The Ontario college of Art and Hornsey College of Art (London England) before switching to major in ceramic art at Sheridan College (Oakville, Ontario) in the mid 70’s. She took her knowledge of design and surface decoration, inspired by artists such as Honore Daumier, the Pre-Raphaelites, Looney Tunes animators, sculptor Joe Fafard and many more, into the world of clay.

Her work is known for strong, lyrical, graphic and textural surfaces and often whimsical subject matter. She varies her studio practice between making vessels and figurative sculpture depending on what influences are at play. Play is the operative word as this is the driving dynamic of her life: the great cosmic and human comedy, so full of adventure and possibility.

Since the 1980s she has shared her knowledge of craft through teaching ceramic courses and workshops. She is a passionate organizer of artist-run initiatives including Ottawa’s  The New Art Festival, 260 Fingers Annual Ceramic Exhibition and she co-founded General Fine Craft. The annual summer pottery courses which emphasize her playful approach to making pots, are held at her riverside home near Almonte and have been hugely popular for many years.

She has become more convinced over time that making and bringing art to the world supports healthy communities and may be her little contribution to a better world.

“Can adding interesting objects to the plethora of creations be of use? If successful art means that a beholder is inspired or changed, even one small fraction by associating with one’s art, even for the length of time it takes to drink a cup of tea, then the journey is worth it. Check it out: buy one of my mugs!”  —     Chandler Swain, 2012

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