a tale of transition (and challenges)

a tale of transition (and challenges)

Sharon Reay writes about her love for children’s illustrated literature, the importance of literacy and the challenges she faced when working on her installation pieces for Illuminating Autumn. 

The installation is on view at the CCBC shop & gallery until October 1, 2022.

“Spending a lifetime in artistic pursuits has taught me a valuable lesson: You must be adaptable”

Whatever vision you start out with, whatever goal you have set for yourself, however you thought the project or event would turn out, you must accept the roadblocks and challenges that will inevitably turn up along the way, and be able to pivot when necessary. Sometimes you might realize a design flaw, or miscalculation in execution. Sometimes it is just a strange set of circumstances – sort of like the books made famous by Lemony Snicket, ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’. If you are a wee bit lucky, though, you can end up liking what happens better than your original plan.

When I applied to the Window Installation Program at the CCBC, I was looking forward to having months of playing and experimenting with both new and old techniques. For decades I had been producing mainly functional, high-fired, wheel thrown or extruded work (always combined with elements of sculpture and illustration). Then I finished pieces in the atmospheric firings at the Shadbolt Centre. My recent residency experience at the Museum of Anthropology, however, had rekindled what had been my original interest in clay – sculpting and storytelling. I wanted to re-examine mid-range stoneware, electric firing and underglaze applications.

With my interest in children’s illustrated literature, I felt these techniques would give me more control over results and could provide a more illustrative quality to the work – particularly on sculptural pieces. Therefore, I was thrilled to be given the Fall period for the display, as it fit completely with the new body of work I was anticipating.

“A passion for art and literature has been a driving force throughout my life. So when the timing of this display coincided with several artistic and literary events being sponsored by local organizations – I was thrilled to assist in spreading the word. 

Works on display range from some very old creations, to very new and experimental – designed to show how my process has evolved. However, the colourful hanging leaves and small hanging pumpkins were created specifically to celebrate the imagery of Fall, with my portion of sales for these items being donated evenly to the organizations listed below. I thank the Craft Council of BC for giving me this opportunity – and for their continued support of artists in all mediums.” Sharon Reay

Decoda Literacy Solutions

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Art 4 Life – POMO arts

September 15 – October 30, 2022