July - September, 2018: A selection of my artwork is now available for the summer season at Evrgreen, a charming coffee shop in the townsite of Waskesiu in Prince Albert National Park!

Representation: I am honoured to have my work represented by these well-respected professional galleries:
Darrell Bell Gallery located in the Canada Building in downtown Saskatoon
Assiniboia Gallery in Regina, 2266 Smith Street- a vibrant, bustling part of town.

November 10, 2016: I was interviewed by Daily Paintworks as their Spotlight Artist for a week! Read my interview on the DPW News blog!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sunday Spotlight- Paula Cooley

 Pintail © Paula Cooley

I am so excited to introduce you to ceramic artist Paula Cooley!

When Paula sent me images for the spotlight I should have known I would find a new favorite, and I did! I love Pintail. LOVE!!!

For a long time I admired Paula Cooley from afar and I always wanted to meet her. The collective Paula belongs to (330 Design Group) and mine (St. George Studio) were both part of last year's Art Trek: Studio Discovery Tour, but she and I had never been at any of the same meetings. As it turned out a couple of months later Paula was at the Kenderdine Campus taking the sculpture class while I was there taking the class on abstraction. Paula immediately struck me as a generous, down-to-earth person who was game to try anything (art-related) once. At Kenderdine she was a workhorse, putting in long hours honing new skills and making her ideas a reality. My favorite things she created were metal sculptures to be mounted above ceramic faces; the metal sculptures represented the state of mind behind the face. "Rational Thought" below is an example and I adore how it turned out!

 Rational Thought © Paula Cooley

Up until last year I was more familiar with Paula's beautiful pottery and earthenware- lovely, simple shapes with beautiful glazes making functional items so much more delightful to use. When I saw some of her sculptural ceramic pieces at an opening for 330 Design Group, I was struck by her unique approach, her organic sensibility and her quirky creativity.

Couple © Paula Cooley

Through planning this spotlight I have been fortunate enough to learn more about Paula. She was born and raised in Ontario and moved to Saskatoon in 1989 (turns out we are neighbors- she lives a block away from me!). She started taking classes at the Saskatoon Potters Guild as a way to find time for herself unrelated to work or children (sounds familiar). What I find inspiring is that she took this new-found passion for clay and ran with it. As a busy mother she went on to get her diploma in Ceramics through SIAST in Prince Albert and then her B.F.A. at the University of Saskatchewan. Paula has had two successful applications for CARFAC mentorships (these are not easy to get, so props to her!); one with Alicia Popoff and another with Anita Rocamora.

Creeper © Paula Cooley

From all of these accomplishments I realize my first impressions of her were bang-on. She does not mind hard work, she can't get enough of learning and she loves to experiment. Speaking of experimenting, feast your eyes on the horse hair vase! Yes, I said horse hair!

Horsehair Vase © Paula Cooley

To get this effect Paula heats up an unglazed, bisque-fired white pot to about 1000 degrees C and then quickly removes it from the kiln. At this point she has less than two minutes to drape strands of horse hair onto the pot so it burns to the surface before the pot is too cool. I think the effect is stunning and I hope to own one someday.

I mentioned that Paula struck me as a generous person. This is because I saw her support and engage in the efforts of other students last summer at Kenderdine. Back in town I began following her Facebook page and I discovered that she shares more work of other ceramic artists on her page than she shares of her own! Definitely generous.

image © Paula Cooley

Paula's art is now her full-time career, but her schedule this spring actually sounds more than full-time. Along with the 330 Design Group, she has a show on right now called "Incite Insight" at the Affinity Gallery in Saskatoon which runs until April 19. Here is the rest of her schedule for the next couple of months:

Saskatoon Potters Guild Spring Sale , April 21 and 22 at the Albert Community Centre, Saskatoon
Black Strap Studio Arts Tour, Blackstrap, May 25 and 26
Art Trek: Studio Discovery Tour, Saskatoon, June 7 and 8, 330 Avenue G South.  
Bazaart, Regina, June 15


      Stags © Paula Cooley                                 Pleien © Paula Cooley

I hope that some of you might now be inspired to seek her out at some of these events. The beautiful photography of Paula and her work can be credited to Grant Kernan at AK Photos.

image © Paula Cooley

Artist Statement: 

"I am a full time ceramic artist, living and working in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.  I have been a studio potter since 1999, and my artistic practice includes functional and sculptural work, both of which influence and inform each other.  My domestic ware is uncomplicated and elegant while my one-of-a-kind sculptural work blends technique and craftsmanship with more experimental shapes.  I am interested in organic and voluptuous forms with a touch of attitude and/or whimsy.  I strive to make sculptures that appear ready to grow or move, shaping and animating the space around them.  My work tends towards abstraction as I want to encourage various and individual interpretations or readings of my sculptures.

Curiosity fuels my practice. I am fascinated by the plasticity of clay and the almost endless ways in which it can be manipulated, decorated and finished.  I work with wheel-throwing, hand-building and numerous firing techniques, ranging from low temperature barrel firing to high fire atmospheric firings using salt or wood.  In the last several years I have begun investigating how to incorporate other materials such as metal, bone and glass into my ceramic sculptures and I am excited by having even more sculptural possibilities to explore!"

Please follow these links to learn more about Paula and her work. FYI, the photos on her Facebook page are excellent!

1 comment:

Barbara Muir said...

Great post!

XO Barbara