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Potter unveils ‘gnarly’ new body of work at Nanaimo Ceramic Arts

Artist-in-residence Aura Carney presents new exhibition, ‘Earthbound’
Potter Aura Carney presents Earthbound at Nanaimo Ceramic Arts Studio and Gallery from Nov. 23 to Dec. 1. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)

Ceramic artist Aura Carney is taking her practice in a “gnarly” new direction and on Nov. 23 she’s unveiling the results of three months of experimentation.

Carney is the fall artist-in-residence at Nanaimo Ceramic Arts Studio and Gallery. Since September the North Vancouver-based potter has been working with glazes that give her vases and bottles a rougher, textured look.

“The idea was that they had a familiarity, but they look like they’ve been around for centuries, like they just got pulled out of the sea,” she said. “So the idea is they’ve been here forever. That there’s a bit of a sense of a treasure.”

Carney is presenting her work at Nanaimo Ceramic Arts for the last week of November. She calls the exhibition Earthbound, in reference to clay as a material that is drawn from the earth.

“We take it, mix it up, put our human touch on it and create something and then with these pieces I wanted them to look like they’ve been reclaimed back to the earth and then somehow unearthed again,” Carney said. “I was thinking of this space in between being grounded by the earth and then the ethereal space all around us.”

With her residency winding down, Carney said she’s enjoyed her time at Nanaimo Ceramic Arts, particularly the social aspect of working in a space that is also a gallery and teaching workshop. She said she felt like she was “in a rut” working by herself in North Vancouver.

“I used to work out of a centre where there were people around but for the past few years I’ve just been on my own and I miss that community…” she said. “Sometimes you get a little stuck when you’re on your own, so that’s been really nice.”

Carney said being around pottery students has been motivating, especially at times when she starts to doubt herself and asks, “What is this all for?”

“There have been times when I thought, ‘That’s it. I’ve had it,’ but then you think, ‘Oh, I’ll just figure this one thing out and then it brings you back in,” she said of working with clay. “So I think that’s what’s nice about a learning facility like this. It’s been nice to be around people that are just discovering clay for the first time and seeing their excitement.”

WHAT’S ON … Opening reception for Earthbound by Aura Carney takes place at Nanaimo Ceramic Arts Studio and Gallery, 140 Wallace St., on Saturday, Nov. 23 from 4 to 7 p.m. Show continues until Dec. 1.

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