Studio Nine: 48 Springfield, Ottawa, ON
Karen Kurtzrock, Clay Ceramic Sculpture Totems
Studied ceramics in Montreal in the 1970s where upon graduation worked as a studio potter. In 1984 went to university of Toronto and graduated with degree in occupational therapy. Continued involvement with clay while working as an OT. Attended multiple workshops, week long sessions and continuing education wherever I lived.
Since moving to Ottawa in 2001 have maintained home based studio. Am member of Ottawa guild of potters. 2015 exhibited at Art in the Garden, 2016 New Art Festival. Part of Merrickville studio tour. Work on display at Bittersweet Gallery in Burnstown.
“I work in clay as I am drawn to the malleability and its tactile nature. After forming a piece either through hand building or throwing I may cover it with white slip or terra sigillata. I use a variety decorating techniques such as: sgraffito, stamping, carving and painting on the surface. I also employ a wide variety of underglazes. Some of my pieces are glazed and others are smoked fired. The smoke firing is done ion a non traditional manner inside a barrel inside my electric kiln. The results from a smoke firing can be unpredictable which is for me exciting.
Although I have always considered myself a functional potter, over the past few years my work has taken a new direction as I am now focused on creating sculptural work. Following the completion of each construction I stack them one on top of the other and thus create a larger sculptural statement. Some of the totems are decorative, while others can be used as either birdbaths or to grow plants or herbs. My work is self supporting and although they are intended for outdoor display they can be shown indoors.
Through the process of play, allowing mistakes to occur and learning from them I find working with clay a never-ending challenge and source of joy. My work is intended to be playful, whimsical and to bring an element of discovery wherever it may be displayed.”