ABOUT

at-work

I began my post-secondary education in sciences at UBC, then transitioned to studying art at Emily Carr Institute in Vancouver, graduating in 2005 with a BFA.  I got hooked on clay during an introductory clay class in 2002 and have been making ceramics ever since.  The tactile nature and allure of clay had kept me inspired and constantly working with innovative ideas, fresh forms, glazes and techniques. After years studying, tree-planting and travelling I returned to my home town to set up Elementerra Art Studio in rural Merville.

A dedicated studio practice of clay, drawing and painting form the foundation of my artistic portfolio.  I occasionally experiment in other art forms, finding inspiration in exploration.  I enjoy sharing my love of clay; I am an experienced teacher and offer classes in a variety of formats.

mug

I work primarily creating functional wheel-thrown pieces, incorporating colours, textures, a variety of clays, as well as my own hand-drawn images from nature and science into functional pieces. I’m often experimenting and adding new lines of pottery, some grow and develop into larger works while others remain a small-batch limited edition. My pottery pieces are easily enjoyed for their utility and artistry, but also have a more contemplative background urging the user to delve into each piece. The pottery has a modern-rustic appeal designed with great consideration to utility and feel-in-the-hand heft. Attention to detail and craftsmanship are integral to my practice and pieces are designed to be both thoughtful and utilitarian.

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What type of clay do you use?

Most pieces are made from stoneware fired to cone 6 (approximately 2200 degrees Fahrenheit) and occasionally porcelain is used for translucent pieces such as lamps. 

What glazes do you use?

I mixes all my own glazes and strive for not only a beautifully finished surface, but also durability that can withstand normal daily use including the dishwasher. 

How do you get the images onto the pottery?

Images on the Flora & Fauna line are hand-drawn with watercolour and ink, then a decal transfer process is used to apply an image to the piece and an additional kiln firing adheres the iron rich image permanently into the glaze surface.  While most pottery undergoes 2 firings, each Flora & Fauna piece undergoes 3 firings… first to bisque (harden) the clay so it can be handled to glaze it, second to fire glaze onto the piece and third to fuse the decal image onto the glazed piece.  At the end of this process pieces are durable and dish-washer safe.

ARTIST STATEMENTS

Moonlit Park painting

I always have a painting on the go and spend time working with acrylic on canvas or wood panels whenever I can fit it into my art practice.  I create ephemeral landscapes, sometimes layered with nature-derived imagery of animals or occasionally human built elements.

ARTIST STATEMENTS

Details of giant ceramic sculptures - Animals of Land and Sea.

Creating pieces outside the realm of function lends a distinct freedom of form which I explore periodically.  Sculpture was the root of my ceramics practice, as I began working with clay primarily in sculptural context when I was at Emily Carr Institute.  I still often have sculptural work on the go and love making pieces that extend beyond utility.

Cremation vessel - Blue Waterfall

Interest in the mysteries of nature and our human interactions with it, has led to my attention to ritual, including human ritual related to death. In talking with people about end-of-life ritual, in particular, cremation, I realized that this is an area in which people can derive some comfort from art. I strive to create cremation vessels that resonate with people as a piece of art in honour of a life lived, in order to provide people with a meaningful vessel to incorporate into their own ritual. Often people have seen a vessel that resonated with them, pre-purchased their own urn and used it as a receptable for notes, instructions, etc to loved ones, until needed.  I create Elementerra Urns to provide people with another option, but I always encourage people to do what feels right for them and their family, sometimes this includes an urn and sometimes it doesn’t, whatever people choose is ultimately the right choice and people create their ritual to fit their situation, beliefs, traditions, and family.

Do you make custom urns?

Yes, I make custom urns. You may choose the glaze colour from my existing glaze palette and we can work together to determine the form and size you wish for. There are many options for personalization.  This process takes time and generally there is an 8 week wait for custom orders.

How do I order a custom urn?

After a consultation with you to determine what you envision, I will get back to you with a quick sketch and a quote, after which I require a 50% deposit before beginning a custom urn.

How is the lid secured? Do I need to seal the lid?

If you desire a permanent seal it is recommended to use silicon caulking, available from the hardware store. Simply apply a small amount around the opening before closing the lid.  Many or my urns have a system of knobs that wire wraps around to secure the lid.  It is not necessary to seal the lid and it is recommended to keep ashes sealed within a plastic bag, inside the urn, in case of unforeseen incidents such as breakage.

What size urn do I need?

The volume of urns is measured in cubic inches and the cubic inch volume of each urn is listed with the photo. To measure the volume of ashes: measure (in inches) the height of the ashes in a square container, multiply the height by the inner width, and multiply again by the inner depth (front to back dimension) – this will give you the volume in cubic inches (height x width x depth = volume).

Can I use an Elementerra Urn instead of an urn sold by the funeral home?

Funeral homes are obligated to use any urn you choose to provide them with.

Who will put the ashes into the urn?

It is recommended to bring the remains and the urn to the funeral home or the crematory and they will transfer the ashes into the urn. Alternately, if there is someone in the home who feels comfortable transferring the remains into the urn it is perfectly acceptable to do so. Occasionally I have transferred ashes into the urns for customers who do not feel comfortable with this process.

What inspired you to make cremation urns?

The original inspiration to make urns began when someone close to me asked for an urn. I thought about it at length and discussed with her what she would like the urn to look like. It made me realize that an urn could be more than just a container, it could be a piece of art, inspired and genuine, to serve as a reference of a life well lived.

In discussions with various people who have needed to look for an urn, the consensus I heard was that people were having a difficult time finding an urn that felt appropriately symbolic. Whether the urn was chosen as a temporary container for use during a ceremony, ash-scattering, or burial, or as a permanent memorial, they wanted something that resonated with them.

I decided that I would provide people with unique, hand-crafted cremation urns as an alternative that could be more meaningful and personal.

process

I teach a wide range of levels and am accommodating and inclusive of students at any stage of learning.  Along with my independent class offerings, I have many years of experience teaching clay classes at Lupine Art Studio and North Island College.  I am a committed teacher dedicated to developing foundational clay skills and enjoying the process, encouraging students towards achieving a high level of ceramic craftsmanship and developing authentic confidence in the clay process by fostering a learning environment of practice, exploration and experimentation.

Studio

Located on a rural property in Merville, in a converted barn.
Studio visits welcome by appointment.

What is the name ‘Elementerra’?

Elements from nature inspire my practice including the symbolic elements of fire, earth, water and air, as these are the components necessary to perform the alchemy of creating pots from clay.  Terra, meaning land or earth, references that the clay I use is of the earth… really just fancy dirt.  The name is meant to embody both the actual process of making pots from clay and the magic of transformation inherent in this process.

Can I visit your studio?

Yes! Please make an appointment and I’m happy to show you around! I generally keep a small selection of work at my studio for sale.

Where can I purchase your work?

You can purchase directly from the studio or from my etsy site, or you can find me at these local retailers.

Do you do custom orders?

Sometimes. I do custom orders if it fits with my existing body of work and uses glazes I have already formulated. If you want a set of something I am happy to make them all together to ensure they are similar in size and form. I require a 50% deposit before beginning custom orders.

How do you ship your work?

I generally ship through Canada post. If you need your item shipped faster I can get a quote and delivery time for shipping via UPS courier.

Art is packed carefully and often double-boxed to ensure your order arrives safely.

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