Regina Clay: Worlds in the Making
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Victor Cicansky
"The Pantry Shelf"
Victor Cicansky | The Pantry Shelf

Run Time: 2:54 | File size: 6.2 MB

This is The Pantry Shelf. For some years, I had been making individual jars of preserves. We were living in Craven and we had a big garden, and if you have a big garden you either eat a lot, or you eat and you can things. Well, we canned a lot. We canned most of the things you see here: corn, pickles, peas, carrots, peppers, beans, and, of course, sauerkraut. We also stored a lot of vegetables. One Christmas we were stuffing the Christmas goose with sauerkraut, which is an old country recipe for Christmas dinner, and, as I was holding up a jar of sauerkraut, I remarked to Fran what a wonderful looking thing this was in itself, the beautiful colour of the sauerkraut, the little bits of red, the seeds that one could see, and wondered what it would look like if I tried to make something like this in clay. I made numerous attempts to recreate the illusion of a jar of preserves mostly by carving and then discovered that the best way to create a jar of preserves was to just make a mold of a clay jar and then lay in the vegetables as you would in a regular jar. After I’d been making these things for some time, I was reminded of the pantries that we had on the east end. One of my jobs as a kid was to go the pantry, which was usually downstairs or in the cellar and to bring up the required jars from the pantry for lunch or for dinner. What I always marvelled at, as a kid, was the color, and the reflection, because it was like going down to the bottom of a ship and looking at a treasure of colour so I decided after I’d been making these for a while was, I should make a pantry, so this was my first pantry. I made a series of them later. But this one is kind of woody looking, as one would build a normal pantry in a root cellar out of the wood that was available – nothing particularly fancy. Just a series of shelves to hold the jars, and something to hold vegetables that were always being used to stored in a pantry along with the jars and other root vegetables.

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Virtual Museum of Canada REGINA CLAY: WORLDS IN THE MAKING MacKenzie Art Gallery