Quebec Ceramists

March 4, 2019
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International Women's Day is approaching and we thought of introducing you to the many Quebec ceramists who adorn the Camellia Sinensis tablets, and your tea spaces at home. Artists with incredible talent and each with a very characteristic artistic signature.

Makiko

Makiko Hicher Nakamura was born in Hokkaido Japan. She lived for many years in France before settling in Quebec in 2011. When asked how she became a potter, she replied. “Quite by chance!  I saw a course advertised for a ceramics workshop gave it a try and loved it. I immediately thought:  this is for me.”
She creates delicate work while retaining the essence of the material, leaving room for intuition and spontaneity in the design ”I let my hands work and I clear my head. Turning puts me into a trance.”
She prefers making cups and bowls. For her, teaware is more demanding than other table pottery. During production, she is more aware that they are utensils dedicated to a very specific purpose: “I learn by simply drinking tea, I analyze why pieces are good or not. I practice the tea ceremony a little to better understand their use.”
Makiko loves simplicity, the joy of daily life. She loves cups that hold well in the hand (she does not like mugs). Most of all, she loves to imagine that people enjoy their tea (or coffee) in the teaware she produces.
Julie Lavoie
Julie Lavoie’s passion for the world of ceramics began in 2005, while studying at the Centre de Céramique Bonsecours in Montreal. There she developed a keen interest in porcelain and firing at high heat.
A few years later, she undertook a six-month trip to Japan in order to learn more about the types of wood ovens and firing techniques used there. This trip allowed her to appreciate teaware in much greater depth. She also discovered that ceramic teaware, the work of the artisan, is ubiquitous in Japanese society and she left permeated by their approach to the material and its transformation. It is in this spirit that she has developed a series of teaware designed for tea tasting.
The forest is, for her, a a source of infinite inspiration: trees and their special presence, also the sky – on which day and night are portrayed, and the water courses in which they reflect. The desire to get closer to nature has recently involved leaving Montreal to install her studio in a small village in the region of Estrie.
The works she offers are fired at high temperature in a gas oven. She uses specific glazes, the fruits of long research, which allow her to create a unique and personal world. As a base, she prefers porcelain for its delicacy, strength and whiteness, qualities that offer the glaze a base to present their story.
About her work, Julie explains: “A bowl that molds to the palm of your hand and fits perfectly to the lips to deliver its promise of flavor. That is the whole simple poetry of a ceramic piece. The items of tableware and teaware are the ones that I love the most, because their presence nourishes our lives.’
Carmen Abdallah
The pricinpal focus of Carmen Abdallah is on the production of pieces for the art of tea. This choice was inspired by her three year stay in the south of Japan (2002-2005). The function and aesthetics she gives to her works is inspired by the knowledge she gained during her ceramics training in Japan. Her work on the glaze and shape makes every Carmen Abdallah piece unique and, nevertheless, retaining the characteristic style of the artist.
Bowls.Carmen Abdallah works the red and white clays that she turns on an electric or foot powered turntable. She carves, reshapes and modifies the symmetrical forms to make them more spontaneous and organic. Her glazes are inspired by traditional Japanese recipes, containing a large amount of wood ash. She fires her pieces in an electric furnace or oven.
In 2010, Carmen Abdallah returned to Japan and learned how to build an Anagama style wood oven. Ever since then, she fires her pieces in the oven she built in Quebec. Regarding this process, Carmen says: “This method fascinates me and I am deeply focused on the effects of ash and flame in such a firing. It gives good results from melted wood ash on the pieces which looks like glass. This process makes each piece even more unique, and even heroic, to have faced and survived such heat and atmosphere for 24 hours or more. ”
Nadine Desmarais
Looking into her story, we realize the potter has a rich artistic background in visual presentation, advertising and photography. This explains such artistic maturity in a new line of work. "I have tried to express myself in many ways during my life (...) However, it is through clay that I find today an inner freedom from which springs my creativity".
Carrying the Gaspésie region deep in her heart, it is no coincidence that Nadine Desmarais's ceramics, with their pearly finishes and soft textures, always remind us of its seashores.
Catherine de Abreu
Laval ceramist Catherine De Abreu advocates a contemporary approach to the objects she creates.  As she prepares her ceramic's third firing, the artist lays out laser decals that will add her object's undeniable signature: the jellyfish.
Why this creature? "There is no specific reason ... I find this marine specimen fascinating, it's seducing simply by its beauty."
Stéphanie Blanchet
Quebec ceramicist Stéphanie Blanchet creates mainly utilitarian pieces to enhance and share the daily rituals of life. Her vibrant style expresses "(...) the passion, the joy and the richness that my work gives me." And that is precisely the impression we have!

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