IT SEEMS TO BE A SPRING FULL OF MAJOR ANNIVERSARIES; several Victoria arts groups are celebrating the passion—and tenacity—that has kept them convening and creating together for decades. Fired Up! is one such enterprise; the ceramic artists’ annual spring collective show is now 35 years old and thriving. Samantha Dickie, one of eight “core members” exhibiting work at Fired Up! this year, says the theme, MONUMENTAL, is in reference to “the nature of the collective, the calibre over the years. The whole group is proud that it’s such a long-standing exhibition and show.”
Dickie’s contemporary approach to ceramics, which includes “abstract expressionism and minimalist sculpture within an installation practice,” will be flanked by Vin Arora, Gordon Hutchens, Cathi Jefferson, Meira Mathison, Beth McMillan, Kinichi Shigeno, and Pat Webber. This year’s special guest artists are Elaine Brewer-White, Peter Flanagan, Bob Kingsmill, Alwyn O’Brien, and Clive Tucker.
Untitled by Vin Arora, 20 x 6 inches
When you google “Fired Up,” you could end up finding a paint-your-own pottery shop—not to be confused with this Fired Up! which convenes the region’s top-notch, professional ceramic artists. “Each member, individually, is teaching and exhibiting across North America,” Dickie explains. The collective, as an entity, is focused solely around the annual three-day, themed show in Metchosin; some years, the members take it on the road to Seattle, Vancouver, or Ontario.
As new members replace or join original members, Fired Up! has morphed into a wonderful confluence of styles and approaches, Dickie observes. “It’s amazing to have this cross-generational camaraderie and influence; the diversity for exhibition; the different kinds of work people are doing. There’s a respect for tradition, mastery, and craft producers that is multigenerational; there’s also an approach to pushing new ways…through the younger generation and the guest artists.”
And it’s definitely not all coffee mugs and salad bowls. “You’ll find practical items, and also things that are pushing the new frontiers of ceramics,” she says. You’ll learn a lot, too. “All artists are there to engage about their work and their craft…it’s a clearing house to find out what people are doing and where.” She says it’s not just a show to sell things, “but to be part of the conversation around ceramics and craft in Canada.”
Fired Up! Ceramic Artists: Contemporary Works in Clay presents MONUMENTAL, Celebrating 35 Years, May 24-26, Metchosin Community Hall, 4401 William Head Road. Opening Gala May 24, 6-9pm; continues May 25 & 26, 10am-5pm. www.firedup.ca.