Regina Clay: Worlds in the Making
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Describes the evolution and early stages of the development of studio pottery and sculptural use of clay
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The remarkable rise of ceramics in Regina did not occur overnight, but can be traced to developments at the beginning of the 1950s. At that time, Norah McCullough of the Saskatchewan Arts Board began to encourage the growth of pottery as a cottage industry in the province. One of the instructors she initially hired was Patricia Wiens, who later became one of the first pottery instructors at the University of Regina in the mid-1950s. There, she and her successor, Beth Hone, helped establish pottery as part of the art school curriculum. Outside the university, a young painter, Lorraine Malach, began creating ceramic murals for ecclesiastical commissions as early as 1961. In 1964, when a twenty-two-year-old California artist, Ricardo Gómez, was hired to set up the sculpture program at the university, an interest in ceramics was already in the air. Although he was moving away from clay in his own practice, he brought with him connections to the vital San Francisco-Bay Area scene where ceramic sculptors had severed the connection between clay and functional pottery. Interest in clay was further stimulated when Jack Sures from Winnipeg was hired in the following year to set up the ceramics program. A potter of exceptional skill, Sures taught a functional approach to ceramics, but was not averse to students using clay for sculpture or to experimenting with sculptural forms in his own work. Through Sures and Gómez, a talented group of students-including future colleagues Marilyn Levine, Victor Cicansky and Ann James-absorbed the lessons of functional pottery, but were encouraged as well to explore clay's sculptural potential.

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