Pottery has always been more to me than just a way to earn a living. Clay is an instrument of understanding a way to look for meaning, truth and harmony in my life. Working in the arts also gives me the opportunity to bring a small degree of joy and beauty into other people's lives, which helps me to find my place in the world.
I am mostly self taught, but I also spent three
years as a ceramics major at Sheridan College School of Crafts and Design,
in Mississauga, Ontario. In 1974, my wife Joan and I moved into an old
country church on the Bruce Peninsula and I set up my pottery studio. I
sell mostly on a wholesale basis to shops and galleries in Southern Ontario
and I'm also a member of the Owen Sound Artists' Co-op
, which is a retail arts outlet run co-operatively by about 40 artists in the region.
Here is a brief version of my c.v.:
Began working in clay in 1968.
Attended Sheridan College School of Crafts and Design 1971-74 as a ceramics
Established a full-time studio on the Bruce Peninsula in 1974.
Many solo, group and invitational exhibitions during the past forty-six years. Major exhibitions in recent years: Repeats and the Occasional Pot, Jonathon Bancroft-Snell Gallery, London, Ontario, 2014; Ceramic Cameras and Vessels, Carnegie Gallery, Dundas, Ontario, 2013; Series and Cycles, Burlington Art Centre, Burlington, Ontario 2008-09; Photons and Fire, Blue Mountain Foundation for the Arts, Collingwood, Ontario, 2007; Collaborations with Chaos, Tom Thomson Art Gallery, Owen Sound, Ontario, 2005. I was one of five Canadian photographers invited to take part in an exhibition at the Museo dell'Informazione e Arte Moderna, in Senegalia, Italy.
Workshops given in Canada, the United States, and Australia.
Several awards including The Owen Sound Cultural Award Outstanding Individual. The John Mather Award, awarded by Craft Ontario for lifetime achievement. The Volunteer Service Award, awarded by the Province of
Ontario. FIREWORKS Purchase Awards. Crafts Grants awarded by the Ontario Arts Council for the development of new work, and for study in England,
Australia, Denmark and Norway. Awarded a Life Membership in the Burlington
Former president of FUSION: The Ontario Clay and Glass Association.
Served on the Board of Directors of: FUSION The Ontario Clay and Glass Association, The Ontario Crafts Council,
The Grey-Bruce Arts Council, and I served as Chairman of The Owen Sound Artists'
Co-operative for ten years.
I enjoy photography as much as ceramics. My photographs have received national magazine awards, and have appeared in publications such as National Geographic Magazine, Canadian Geographic Magazine, The Journal Science, Natural History Magazine, Photo Life Magazine, Astronomy Magazine, Sky & Telescope Magazine, SkyNews Magazine, Adbusters Magazine, and the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. They have also been published in science texts used in Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and Asia.
Author of over 100 ceramic related articles for various Canadian, American, British and Australian magazines. An article I wrote about science and craft for Studio Magazine is available here.
Work represented in the books:
- PhotoViz N. Felton, Gestalten, 2016 (contemporary photography)
- Backroad Craft -- B. Comber, K. Civiero, Backroad Design Syndicate, 2014
- The Ceramics Bible -- The Complete Guide to Materials and Techniques L. Taylor, Chronicle Books, 2011
- 500 Vases R. Hemachandra, ed., Lark Books, 2010
- Contemporary Ceramics E. Cooper, Thames & Hudson, 2009
- Surface Design for Ceramics M. Mills, Lark Books, 2008
- Dark Chamber II Urban Fox Press, 2008 (black & white photographs)
- Image Transfer on Clay P.A. Wandless, Lark Books, 2006
- 500 Animals in Clay S. Tourtillott, ed., Lark Books, 2006
- Studio Ceramics in Canada G. Crawford, Goose Lane Editions Pub., 2005
- Making Marks Discovering the Ceramic Surface R. Hopper, Krause Pub., 2004
- The Complete Guide to High-Fire Glazes J. Britt, Lark Books, 2004
- 500 Bowls S. Tourtillott, ed., Lark Books, 2003
- 500 Teapots S. Tourtillott, ed., Lark Books, 2002
- The Ceramic Spectrum R. Hopper, Krause Pub., 2001
- Appearance & Reality S. Hogbin, Cambium Press, 2000
We have two grown children, Seth and Elly, and two beautiful grandchildren, Lily and Koen.
My other interests are pinhole camera photography
. For a millennium project, a friend and I built a large megalith circle, a henge, in an old sheep meadow near our home. If you'd like to have a look, follow this link: To Keppel Henge!
My wife Joan is a teacher and a well known children's author who specializes
in pop-up construction for books and cards. She has her own web site which
is well worth a visit: Joan Irvine: The Pop-Up Lady
Strange but True!
- I was once paid by a special effects crew to supply moths to a major motion picture (Quest for Fire).
- I once received a letter addressed simply: "To the Potter on the Bruce Peninsula."
- One of my vases is featured in a non-linear physics photo gallery.
- I'm an active member of Firefly Watch, and the Cloud Appreciation Society.
- I've been using the same bookmark for 42 years.
- The very first person to buy one of my pots was artist Robert Bateman in 1968.
- I once photographed an analemma.
- A friend and I built a six meter wide sundial.