Reverie Fair Magazine Winter 2016 - Page 15

In 1999 Laura Sharp was a writing student at the Kootenay School of the Arts in Nelson, B.C. The creative passions of students were encouraged there, in all mediums, and the writer found herself visiting the clay studio frequently. Exploring the physical nature of clay, she soon fell in love with the feeling of the material, and the infinite possibilities and challenges presented by it. She continued her study of ceramics in Calgary at the Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD). There she was challenged to advance her knowledge of the art beyond shape and form. She learned the difference between clay and ceramics. Ceramic refers to the state of clay when it has become verified through the firing process.

In the early stages of her love affair with clay, the artist didn’t think beyond its formative stage. Like most people when they are introduced to the magical medium of clay, she had been seduced by its plastic qualities, the way it responded to detailing and the nuance of touch. But in order to become a permanent and lasting art form, clay works had to be refined by fire. At ACAD, she began to understand that the firing was a transformation. Fired clay pieces were hardened, but they were not dead. In fact, the transformation of clay from the cool wet texture she was familiar with opened another world of possibilities. Laura learned complex surface applications like glazes and atmospheric firings, physical and chemical processes which required much trial and error. She learned through disappointments and failures, encouraged through all of it by the grace and wisdom of her teachers.

Reverie Fair / Winter 2016 15

"The practical study of ceramics is understood greatly

by learning what does not work."