“Lindsay Montgomery wants you to pay attention, look and learn. Her scenes are not sanitized Disney fairytales, but hard-hitting commentary, reminders that we still have lessons to learn.”
- Melanie Egan, Director of Craft and Design at the Harbourfront Centre
In her current show at the Harbourfront Centre, Montgomery presents work that re-imagines medieval manuscript illustrations. Her pieces reference pagan rituals, animal archetypes, as well as encounters with the dead or supernatural. This compelling exhibit explores tensions of power, monarchy, colonialism, and feminism that continue to plague the contemporary world.
This month at Make and Do, Lindsay generously opens the doors to her studio practice, giving us a behind the scenes peek at her creative process. Be sure to visit the Make and Do Shop for more images of Lindsay’s captivating work.
Q: Where is your studio located? How long have you been there? What's one of the perks of being a maker in that community?
A: My studio is located in Toronto Ontario. I’ve been in this space for about five years. It’s a great community because there are a lot of other makers in the area and some people that I went to school with so it’s always nice to be surrounded by peers.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about one of your mentors, someone without who you likely wouldn't be a ceramic artist.
A: My advisor and professor in graduate school Mark Pharis provided me with a lot of wisdom and support as I was emerging after school, and Shary Boyle has been an amazingly supportive and generous force in my recent career and life.
Q: Looking around your local or provincial community can you name 3 other clay artists that should be on our radar?
A: I like a lot of Julie Moon’s work. Ness Lee’s stuff is cool. Lana Fillipone’s work is really looking great too.
Q: Would you describe your work as having any inherent "Canadian Aesthetic"? If so can you describe how you might perceive stylistic trends in contemporary Canadian Ceramics.
A: I definitely think my work is often about Canada. Especially with my more recent series of maiolica charger plates I address a number of issues that deeply affected me during our last election, and generally just how I feel about my country and how it does business and treats its natural resources and wildlife.
Q: What are your favourite forms to work with? Where do you draw your inspiration from?
A: I take my inspiration from history often, and am interested in how craft objects operate as narrative devices or tools for ritual and performance. Lately I’ve been looking at a lot of Italian maiolica pots from the renaissance, and Japanese puppets.
Q: Can you retell one of your favourite stories about being an artist?
A: When I was in fourth grade the librarian from my very rural Ontario school invited me to attend the Young Illustrators Conference. It was the first time I got to mingle with other creative types, and really knew my eventual career had to include drawing in some way.
Q: Were there any hard challenges you had to overcome in your career? What did you learn from mistakes or challenges? Could you offer some advice for others who are trying to have similar success as makers?
A: Yes I have had many challenges to overcome in my career, mainly figuring out how to earn a living while still dedicating enough time to my studio practice. My advice to others is to not have a plan B. If you have a plan B you will do it. It will always be easier than being an artist.
Q: Favourite artist, ceramic or otherwise.
A: That’s impossible to answer.
Q: What's on your playlist in the studio? Silence, music, podcasts?
A: I like to listen to music on Spotify or podcasts like Talking Simpsons or Lore.
To see Lindsay's current exhibit at Harbourfront:
Lindsay Montgomery, Aberrant Tales
September 24th – December 22nd
Harbourfront Centre, Toronto, ON