So many art forms are created with a cornicopia of materials Mother Nature willingly provides. These materials, along with an artist’s idea envisioned in their minds eye, turns nature’s raw materials into the artist’s creative glory.
Cheryl Massey shared with us that her desire to create came as a result of marrying into a prolifically creative family. Although her artistic talents were seeded in the performing arts as an actor and a model, she wanted to try her hand at something with her hands. One day while relaxing on a beach on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia she found herself pondering the artistic possibilities of the ancient art of basket weaving as the raw material gently swayed in the soft Pacific ocean breeze all around her.
Cheryl harvests plant material such as Tule rush, Bull kelp, Cedar bark from fallen trees, and even Daylilies from her own garden in Whistler, B.C. Some of her days are spent collecting and gathering using various types of water craft or just walking along the beaches of the Pacific Northwest. As part of her practise, she has created a little mantra that reminds her and teaches others the basic process of basket weaving; gather, dry, soak, weave. The gathered material remains unaltered except for the appropriate preparation, and Cheryl then skillfully weaves gorgeous functional items such as baskets, purses, backpacks and hats. The Tule rush provides a soft, supple, sweet organic smelling basket for a freshly baked loaf of bread, or perhaps an elegant purse for an evening out. Bull kelp is a strange sea plant that bobs around on the ocean’s surface. It’s characteristic buoyancy and unique long, whip-like shape are prime for making baskets and decorative pieces which are identifiably distinct. Cedar bark is durable, strong and comes in a deep red or yellow colour and can be prepared to make the tiniest of baskets. Those are the three main base materials used for the baskets Cheryl weaves but she continues to explore and experiment with the rich abundance of plants such as Daylily to use as accents for her various projects and to incorporate her own personal touch.
Click on each picture below to view a larger aspect.
Please join us with Cheryl as she walks us through the ancient practise of basket weaving; gather, dry, soak, weave. Also, we welcome you to leave a comment for Cheryl as well.
If we weren’t here to talk about Vincent Massey and his remarkable pottery creations, it would still be easy to fill the pages with not only his prominent and famous family history, but also his own personal achievements outside the art spectrum. But these can be left to your own curious research, as pottery is indeed what we came to talk to Vincent about, and his work undeniably stands on it’s own as an enduring legacy of beauty and function to all those that have welcomed his pottery into their homes.
Pulling up to Vincent and his wife Cheryl’s home in Whistler, we are greeted by a timber-frame home built by Vincent 27 years ago. It is an evolution of the original structure with years of personal touches incorporating shapely driftwood and other eye-catching appurtenances. Vincent also has his studio, kiln and gallery on his property, three separate spaces representing the various stages of his creations. The studio developing the infant clay in it’s formative state, the gas kiln firing the piece up to adolescence, and the gallery showing the matured, finished work on display, showing it’s stuff for potential owners.
One of the first things that we noticed about Vincent’s pottery are the large vessels that he has masterfully created. That, combined with his unique glazes in vibrant blues, fuchsias and pewter colours to name a few, gives his work the individuality that creates a signature style of pottery all his own. We also enjoyed the tour of his studio, gallery, and just listening to Vincent talk about the process of his work in this idyllic mountain setting.
Join us with Vincent in his studio as he gives us a taste of turning clay on the wheel, and please feel free to leave a comment!