FUSION: The Ontario Clay and Glass Association

ONLINE GALLERY / Shirley Clifford

Shirley Clifford

Studio: Shirley Clifford
603341 R. R. 3
Ingersoll, ON N5C 3J6
Tel: 519-485-5561
Fax: 519-432-0522

Artist's Statement

The sheer simplicity of clay and at the same time its mystical complexity have seduced me into its drama. On one hand, you just dig it out of the ground, give it some shape and form, and fire it – earth, water, fire. And yet, on the other hand, there are myriad methods of manipulating the composition of the clay body, endless ways to give it form and substance and decoration, and then more ways to fire it - from low-fire Raku techniques to high-fire reduction processes to temperatures of 2300 F or higher.

This past year I have revisited my long-love for SHINO glaze and have been working in reduction firing with porcelain. This leads me to anticipate working with woodfiring in anagama kilns in Japan this spring 2003. My hope is to investigate my Japanese heritage by working with and interacting with artists from Japan and other countries.

RAKU HOLDS A SPECIAL PASSION FOR ME. The work is fired outside in my backyard to about 2000 F (you bake a cake a 350 F). While the glaze is red-hot and molten, the piece is carefully moved onto a stand with tongs and sprayed with a chemical to get the orange lustre effect. Then the final stage is moving the piece into an air-tight chamber of sawdust and letting the smoke give definition to the pattern of crackles which are formed from the thermal shock of going from extreme hot to air temperature. This process is extremely exciting and dangerous and fraught with possibilities for failure - immediate and enticing.

Just recently the Raku firing has led me on to another process: sawdust fuming firing. Smoothly polished bisqued (cone 08) unglazed porcelain vases are buried in wood and sawdust with various chemicals and organic matter and are fired rather quickly. The colourful flames of blue-green, orange and fuchsia impart their blushes onto the porcelain giving a surreal surface like watercolours.

It has been important for me to "find a voice" to highlight significant ceramic celebrations. In the past I have helped organize some exhibitions and this has led me to write some articles for publication. In 1997 two articles in "contact" magazine featured American ceramicist Ellen Shankin (winter Volume 107) and Wayne Ngan from Hornby Island, BC (spring Volume 108). The recent June issue #48 of Ceramics: Art & Perception showcases "A Matter of Clay - Canadian Ceramics" and the thoughts of these important Canadian artists. There is also an in-depth interview with gallery owner Jonathon Bancroft Snell.

Education, Courses
1992-96 Part-time studies at Ontario College of Art, Toronto
1969 U of T. B.A.Hons. Classical Studies

2005 Chawan Aardewerk, Int’l Chawan Exhibition, Belgium Sept/05
2005 Private Gallery Sian Morgan Hall, Luxembourg, May/05
2005 “Conversations” Carnegie Gallery, Dundas Ontario, February/05
2003 “Four Potters” St. Thomas & Elgin Public Art Gallery, November 2003
2003 Artist-in-Resident at Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park in Japan, May 2003
2002 The Japanese Way, Ingersoll Creative Arts Center
2001 A Matter of Clay - Canadian Ceramics, Jonathon Bancroft Snell Gallery, London
2000 2000 Juried Exhibition, Glenhyrst Art Gallery of Brant
2000 Spirit Gathering, Blyth Summer Festival
2000 FIREWORKS 2000 Millennium Exhibition, FUSION
2000 eARTh, Jonathon Bancroft-Snell Interiors Gallery
2000 Studio Tour, Ingersoll Creative Arts Center
1999 Two women Show, Taylor Gallery Woodstock
1999 Two women Show, Shorthills Gallery, Fonthill

2004 Ceramics: Art & Perception, article on Yasuhisa Kohyama, Issue #55
2002 Ceramics: Art & Perception, article published on Canadian ceramics, Issue #48

2001 Ingersoll Creative Arts Center, Best Functional
1999 London Potters Guild Exhibition, Honourable Mention
1998 FIREWORKS '98, Honourable Mention
1996 OCA Scholarship Show, Tuckers Award for Ceramics


Gilded Cracks

Kissed by Cone Pack

FUSION gratefully acknowledges the assistance of the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation, and the Ontario Arts Council. The Ontario Arts Council is an agency of the Government of Ontario. 


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