Where do you currently live?
@Medalta in Medicine Hat Alberta. I am Medalta’s Curator of Exhibitions & Collections and also have a studio in Medalta’s international artist in residence studios so I feel like I live here at Medalta more than in the city proper.
Tell us the best thing about that city.
Medalta brought me to Medicine Hat. As I was finishing up grad school in Stoke on Trent the opportunity to be a part of Medalta came up. It’s a historic clay district with a number of abandoned ceramic factories that have been brought back to life with our museum, gallery space & international artist in residence program. The idea of being a part of building this organization with a creative team and getting a studio alongside all of these talented artists... there’s no train to London from here but the world does come to us. At Medalta we are definitely part of this creative catalyst in the city, but we are part of a supportive community that we invite to our table on a regular basis, with markets, music & exhibitions and they are eager to participate, learn about their industrial ceramics history & connect with our visiting ceramic artists.
If you didn’t live there you’d love to live…..
There’s so many places in the world I would love to live. So far London wins.. being a train ride away while I was living in Stoke on Trent was a great thing. I could wander that city endlessly, aside from the big galleries and museums like the V&A there are so many great little independent shops, people and food from around the world, markets and character around every corner, the city is full of great walkable neighborhoods.
Outside of ceramic art what other types of art/design/fashion etc are you drawn to and does it influence your work?
I grew up in a forested area north of Edmonton so aside from the inspiration that came from picking apart plants and collecting rocks, I also loved fashion television on Saturday afternoons which sparked an awareness and hunger to be a part of the bigger creative world. I am influenced by so many things.. I grew up rescuing little discarded objects so I am very used to hearing ‘why would you want that?’ Most of what I collect are little objects from nature and vintage housewares, which can be found in little vignettes throughout my studio and around my home.. they always find a way into my work through colour, surface or form.
If you couldn’t be an artist next best job would be:
Well I feel like most artists go through the I should have been a Dr. or accountant with all the time we put in… I love research so something in that vein or a developer so I can build arts spaces.. I can never escape the arts mind set.
What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve done in the name of art?
I don’t think I’ve done it yet, but it feels like I’m due for something. I’ll keep you all posted.
No cheating what’s the book beside your bed?
Uppercase Magazine & a Donna Hay Cookbook.
If you could exhibit your work alongside any artist, alive or dead who would you want to show with?
Well for a brilliant mind, and to be part of something of a spectacle/maximum exposure I’d go with Ai Weiwei. In real life it would be ceramicist Paul Scott, also a brilliant mind & amazing work.. I started thinking about going to Stoke on Trent after doing one of his workshops where he talked about working with the old resources at the Spode factory in Stoke on Trent for his research in print and clay.
Name someone everyone should follow on instragram:
The type hunter, great old fonts & vintage designs.
Or The family acid.. slide archives from a photographer/author in the 60’s LA... stories and photos from another time in a pre-photoshop era.
Best tip you’ve ever been given on how to be an artist:
“Don’t let school get in the way of your education.” Always a good reminder for me not to let the focus get too narrow and forget the bigger picture.. to take advantage of the great life and opportunities to connect that being an artist provides you with.
Favorite thing to listen to in the studio:
Sometimes it’s nice to listen to the studio noises.. the classes, the bustle, enthusiasm & heartbreak from the cruel mistress that is ceramics. A group studio is a great place to discover new music, some new favorites are First Aid Kit & Barr brothers.
Creative blocks? How do you fix them?
Sometimes I feel like a creative block is a good time to take a break and make room for other things you leave on the back burner in your life. That usually brings me back to the studio with new ideas and a want to make. If that’s not working a deadline always gets me going, I apply for something that forces me to get in there and just get to work. A deadline and having no room to wander usually has my brain coming up with a tonne of other projects to explore after I hit the deadline.
Do you have a super power? If yes what? If no what super power would you choose?
Hmm ..no super power but I do feel empowered when I am using my creative scheming brain for good (craft & community). If I could pick a super power it would be flying or guessing winning lottery numbers.
One goal, art related or otherwise, that you want to accomplish before you die?
While I was working at the Alberta Craft council I was also living in Arts Habitat Edmonton. Living and working in these spaces gave me a firsthand view of the importance of space for arts organizations and artists, and the increased capacity and impact a creative group can have on each other and the broader community. One of my goals is to create Crafts Habitat, affordable craft live/work spaces and studios with business education and support organizations. I am always whittling away at this goal, I research and take courses in Creative Placemaking, refining the whole imaginary thing.. the bigger dream is a franchise.. as every city needs one… & I need other places to live & visit around the world.
Visit Jenna's profile page for more.