In conjunction with her CCBC gallery show, we asked artist Marney McDiarmid to share with us a bit about herself, her inspiration, her audience and her other projects.
The exhibition will be on view in our gallery from October 6 – November 24, 2022.
Marney McDiarmid’s work typically explores ecological themes, encompassing alarm about the climate crisis and the joy and respite she experiences through her connection with the land. Marney utilizes beauty as a tool for engagement by creating appealing, lush, sensuous pieces that call up notions of replenishment and evoke the viewer’s own relationship to the natural world.
Over the past five years drawing has become an integral part of her process, a tool she uses to add decorative elements and narrative content to the work. She envisions the slow pace of her practice as running counter to systems of mass production and it is important to her that the resulting objects convey a sense of being well cared for and carefully considered.
” Place, ecology, justice, community, sexuality … these themes have been ever present in all aspects of my life and are the wellspring of my creative expression.“
Please tell us about yourself: your journey as an artist, your creative process and what you are passionate about.
I came to ceramics via a circuitous path. I first encountered clay when I was 18, through an adult education class at a local high school. Even though I didn’t have an immediate knack for it, there was something about the material entranced me. Over the years I did a number of degrees and worked a variety of jobs, all the while carving out spaces to make pots. Ten years ago I decided to put the clay work centre stage. Although my past work and study wasn’t focused on art making they have had a significant impact on my artistic work. Place, ecology, justice, community, sexuality … these themes have been ever present in all aspects of my life and are the wellspring of my creative expression.
What inspires you?
I decided to focus on my artwork after having a child. I was already overcommitted with too many contract jobs, a full-time PhD, and attempts to get into the studio. Realizing that I couldn’t do it all helped me to discover that the clay work was what I couldn’t give up.
What is the audience response?
People have told me that they find joy and solace in my work. I always hope that people can feel the energy that I put into making each piece, that the work communicates a sense of care and connection and awe.
Do you have other work or hobby?
I try to spend a lot of time outdoors. I’m definitely a case study for the research that tells us that time spent outdoors is good for our physical and mental health. Being in community with family and friends is really important to me and I also volunteer with local arts and social justice projects. I find all of that, with a regular dose of exercise, helps me feel creative and nourished.
Marney McDiarmid is a queer ceramic artist whose work includes both functional and sculptural ways of making. Drawing plays a significant role in both bodies of work. Her functional pieces explore notions of connection by featuring illustrations of fantastical plants in dialogue with one another. Her sculptures, also botanical, are frequently three dimensional renderings of the drawings that populate her sketchbook.
Marney has exhibited and taught across Canada. She has an interest in public art and she promotes Canadian clay through her involvement with the clay collective Make and Do. She currently lives in Katarokwi/Kingston, Ontario.