Susan McKinnon is from Pictou, Nova Scotia. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2014. She currently lives in Kitchener, Ontario.
The use of functional objects provides opportunities for memorable moments, whether it is a vase filled with freshly picked flowers, or a platter used to share a meal. These moments can stem from objects that become part of our daily routine, or items reserved for special occasions. Pots, like the people who use them, become characters stitched into the fabric of our lives.
My work is inspired by historic fashion, fabrics, patchwork and embroidery. I am captivated by the textures, patterns, and colours created through these crafts and their place within certain occasions. I also draw inspiration from ironwork found on fences and windows around houses. I collect and stitch together bits and pieces of these elements into my surface decoration becoming a mash-up of pattern elements typically reserved for domestic space. Some pieces are extravagant and loud, while others are quiet and subdued.
My pieces are first thrown on the potter’s wheel. Next, the pieces are covered in a coat of white slip. When the work begins to stiffen up, I map out the patterns on each piece before delicately carving the patterns into the surface. Each piece is then hand painted with underglaze which is also applied to the recessed areas, while the excess is wiped away. After bisque firing, a wash of black underglaze is applied and wiped away. This step leaves a varied black finish in the low points of each object. Next, the inside of the vessels are glazed and then fired to cone 6 in an electric kiln.
The Fabric of Our Lives (link to PDF)
Originally published in October 2018 issue of Ceramics Monthly, pages 48-51. http://www.ceramicsmonthly.org. Copyright, The American Ceramic Society. Reprinted with permission.