Here is my first interview with artist, long-time friend, colleague, renowned ceramist and sculptress Elaine Brewer-White.
I first met Elaine in my ceramic days, going waaay back over 20 years ago… who’s counting? ANYWAYS…….. I have always been a huge fan of Elaine’s work – strong, playful and FUN, very much like the creator herself!!! You can immediately identify with her message and humor.
It has been many years since I touched clay and when I met up with Elaine for this interview in her Langley studio, I felt weak in the knees at the smell of clay. That earthy smell, clay tools around, kilns filled with work. Ceramics is not only a physically demanding medium, it can also drive you crazy. You can spend hours or days on a piece and sometimes on the odd 5th blue moon – the kiln God has a bad day and misfires a whole kiln load or a piece cracks. You’re left looking at everything in disbelief and coming to terms with starting over. But… when you have a great firing and open the kiln with the anticipation of a child on Christmas morning– it’s pretty awesome and the excitement diminishes any memory of bad kiln Gods. Clay is a unique medium that holds the memory of the makers hands, their fingers and how strongly or softly it’s held. There is a special magic that comes from being able to masterfully transform a lump of mud into a beautiful functional or sculptural object that someone will love and cherish, bring into their home or sip their favorite beverage out of for a lifetime.
Let’s talk about Elaine; she is a ceramist/potter/sculptor genius and has been creating for 30 years. She is in my opinion, a master of her medium- hands down. Her work is represented in galleries internationally as well as private and corporate collections worldwide. You can find out more info about Elaine and her work, her upcoming shows, purchase, or commission her for a piece – at; www.elainebrewerwhiteceramics.com. She loves commissions and is well known for her amazing ability to create commissions of people or their animals.
Here are some questions I gave Elaine to answer.
SP What gets your creative juices flowing?
EWB Just stepping into my studio. It’s my creative sanctuary where the world falls away…(except for CBC which is always on in the background…)
SP – How do you go about selling your art these days and how has it changed since you started?
EBW -It’s been radically changing for me – I have gone from having almost 10 galleries representing me – down to 4 galleries. I am now focusing and shifting to a model of self-selling my work online and my commissions are mostly created through word of mouth. For the last few years, my focus has been on rebuilding my brand. I took a hiatus from work to be my mother’s full time caregiver for two years, and now I am renewing my work-life and reinventing what I want to create and what kind of client I want to reach. For the first time in 30 years, I am making pots as part of my practice – and I love it! Commission work will always be my bread and butter, but making vases, bowls, and platters gives me a deep sense of satisfaction – which has increased the spectrum of work I do. I am a sculptor and a maker of usable ceramic art (pots!)
SP Have you had days when you just want to give up? If so how did you get past it?
EBW – No…not days…maybe hours…minutes…where self-doubt sneaks in. But then I think — what else would I be happy doing? I know at this point in my career that I have been self-employed for so long, I would make a terrible employee.
SP What made you want to be an artist?
EBW -My mom was a painter, so I had that artistic mindset and focus represented in my home ever since I could remember. I always knew I would pursue a career in art, but I chose a different medium to set myself apart from my Mom.
SP What makes you ‘in love’ with your medium?
EBW -My medium of clay is by far the most versatile medium of the bunch! In art school, my grad show was an installation – called ‘The Room Between Time’. It was a 10×10 ft. room where everything in it was made out of clay, from the sofa chair to the rug, to the fish tank. Clay can be a vessel you drink out of, or a picture on a wall, or the fireplace that the picture hangs above. After 30 years of being a ceramic sculptor, I have now discovered the thrill and simplicity of making pots – I know I will never tire of this medium. I am addicted to beautiful mud.
SP What is the best thing about your life choice of being an artist full time!
EBW – Being a full time artist means you have decided to live your life in the moment – to play, to search, to create, to share with the world. The past and future don’t exist when it comes to the act of creating. Passion is filled by making art and I cannot imagine a world without it!