It is a pot’s inherent potency to enhance daily life; a simultaneous engagement of concept (utility), action, service and aesthetic experience that I find both deeply compelling and challenging. Decoration is also integral to my research and pottery practice in its capacity to be both performative - delighting the eye and informative - as a cultural carrier of meaning. I am interested in how decoration has served this dual purpose in cultures and histories. Decoration constitutes complex, diverse and visually rich languages that reveal a society’s values, traditions and cultural structures.
My earlier decorative surfaces were derived from the natural world; for example stylized vermiculated imagery that referenced burrowing worms or the crosshatch patterns of timber fence constructions found in rural communities of my Newfoundland home. In my current work, I “mine” our digital culture, embedding computer icons and symbols into decorative compositions on my ceramic works; synthesizing the digital with a decorative intent. I choose computer iconography, (i.e. circuitry, audio waves, the Windows hourglass, the binary), as it is an abundant source for motifs, imbues currency within my decorative approach and recognizes decoration’s basic principles as a cultural carrier of meaning. Computer icons are signs of the technological environment of our 21st century society that permeates both the personal and public domains of our lives, as we navigate and communicate in this digital terrain of hash tags, @'s, cursors and clouds . Beauty and “delighting the eye”, which is decoration’s primary role, is achieved when the icons are repeated, layered, patterned, overlapped and imbued with coloured glazes on the surfaces of my pottery. At times, the ‘nature’ motifs weave their way back, intersecting with the digital icons. The familiar organic references from earlier works (i.e. the vermiculated pattern of a worm’s burrowed pathway) are merged with the digital, (i.e a circuitry pathway). This as a subtle visual reference, embedded in my decorative surface patterns, to our present day existence; our reality being one that negotiates the complex balance of our digital life of hardware, software and operating systems and the sensuous, natural world.
Growing up in Newfoundland, Katrina’s creativity was nurtured by her beloved grandmother, ho sustained a livelihood with her colorful quilts and hand-hooked rugs. With a desire to take art classes, Katrina’s tour through Memorial University Extension Services (St. John’s), resulted in after school pottery lessons that ignited a passion and cemented a lifetime career in Ceramics
as a teacher and a maker.
Katrina is now a Professor Emeritus, retired (June 2017) from teaching in the Ceramics Program at the Alberta College of Art + Design, Calgary, AB (now the Alberta University of the Arts). Her final project before retirement was co-coordinator with Julia Krueger in the publication of Relational Learning: ACAD Ceramics Visiting Artists—The First 3 Decades, (Illingworth Kerr Gallery, ACAD 2017). Katrina received her BFA at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax, and MFA at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, Alfred, New York. She has taught as sessional faculty, summer school instructor, visiting artist and workshop presenter at colleges and universities across Canada. It was in 2001 that she became a permanent faculty member in the Ceramics Program at ACAD. Alongside her teaching profession, Katrina maintained an active studio practice, workshop presentations and exhibition record. Residencies and research opportunities have afforded her rich and rewarding work experiences in Mexico, Greece, and Crete, the United States, China and research travel through Italy, France and England. Her
work has been recognized through several awards including the Alberta Craft Council Award of Honour in 2010.
Since retirement, Katrina has relocated back to her home province of Newfoundland and Labrador. She now lives in Renews, and it is here she will have a full-time studio practice, with the studio build in the works. She also continues teaching workshops, most recently with the Salt Spring Island Ceramics Guild during the SSICA Awards and Biennial Exhibition (2018) and
“Pots, Purpose and Place” with Walter Ostrom at the Lunenburg School of the Arts Summer
Learn more about Katrina and her work at katrinachaytor.com