Guest blog post written by Chris Doiron
Please provide a summary of the project for which you received artsnb funding:
As a recipient of an artsnb creation grant, I was able to explore the properties of clay sourced from local riverbeds to produce a series called Riverscapes – wall hangings depicting various river stories passed on to me by locals. The pieces were created using carve and relief techniques, and eventually raku fired.
Walk us through the experience of the project – what did you explore, how did this project / experience impact your artistic practice / creative process or how you see yourself as an artist:
The process of retrieving the clay from the river was time consuming. First, the clay needed to be dug off the side of the river and transported home by canoe. After several hours drying in the sun, it was pulverized and sieved through a fine screen to remove rocks and debris. Eventually, water was added back to this dry powder and the result was a workable clay body. The entire process from start to finish for one batch of this clay (enough to make 1 piece) took approximately 7 days.
Through various tests, I determined that on its own, the clay was able to withstand a firing temperature of 1100 degrees Celsius, which was perfect for the raku pieces I created to depict the river stories.
Working with locally-sourced materials was a very humbling experience, but also exhilarating in the sense that it was totally unique and simplistic. Working on Riverscapes taught me to push my boundaries, view the materials I work with in a new light, and to not be afraid to think outside the box.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your artistic practice?
I think the most rewarding aspect of an artistic practice for any individual, including myself, is the ability to be yourself. When you’re involved in an artistic or creative endeavour, you lose yourself in that project and allow a part of your ‘self’ to shine through in your work.
Please describe your creative process – how do you approach creating a piece, performance, or series? Do you have any routines, rituals, etc?
My creative process begins with brainstorming ideas, without committing to anything too concrete right away. Usually I let a few ideas work around in my mind, before doing some mock-ups to loosen up. When I’m happy with the design, I engage in making the final pieces.
What do you think is the greatest advantage for New Brunswick artists?
Without a doubt, the biggest advantage of being an artist in New Brunswick is the support and camaraderie from fellow artisans, along with the amazing opportunities funded by organizations like artsnb.
Chris Doiron holds a Diploma in Fine Craft – Ceramics, from the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design and is building his career as a ceramic artist, working in both stoneware and raku temperatures.
Moving to rural New Brunswick ignited his deep-rooted appreciation of nature’s colours and textures, fueling his fervour for wood-firing, with its unique qualities and unpredictable results. Chris is a juried member of the New Brunswick Crafts Council, and Instructor for the City of Fredericton’s edVentures program, and most recently, was awarded a Creation grant from the New Brunswick Arts Board to pursue his research in local river clays.
The artsnb blog gives a voice to New Brunswick artists. Have you received a grant from artsnb? Are you interested in sharing your artistic experience? Then please contact us now!