Amber, could you introduce us to yourself, and your work?
My name is Amber and I am a Toronto native whose work engages in concepts of identity. Through the making of objects that elicit memory, whether experienced or imagined, my work is an investigation of the self and to our attachments. I have a sentimental longing for the past and use ceramics and humour as vehicles of expression in order to examine, re-invent and poke fun. I make objects about myself, and my place in the world. I have a BA in History from McMaster University where I am also pursuing a degree in Art History part-time. I studied Ceramics at the Sheridan Institute, and did a residency in New Jersey last summer at Peters Valley Craft Centre. I was accepted into Harbourfront Centre’s Artist-in-Residence programme in 2013.
What initially drew you to working with ceramics?
I found ceramics by accident in Montpellier France in 2003 where I was studying French for a few months. Not coming from an arts background, I had never worked with the material before and was instantly engaged. When returning home to Toronto, I immediately signed up for a ceramics class at the Gardiner Museum. I went to the Gardiner for seven years before deciding to quit my full-time career job with benefits to learn more about ceramics and I have never looked back. I am influenced by art and craft practice and choose to work in ceramics because of the richness and challenges of the material, both historically and physically. I am drawn to the material because it has the capacity to be almost anything; the potential is limitless and the process rewarding. I find that clay accords me the freedom to paint and draw while also working in three dimensions. I very much enjoy the many challenges that the material offers.
Lastly, I would love to know more about To Eva, Love Sol.
“To Eva, Love Sol” was completed in 2012. At the time, I was making these cubist compositions and I wasn’t sure why or what to do with them. It is made from porcelain and survived the six day anagama firing (a traditional Japanese wood kiln).
I have had self-doubt and felt insecurity, especially about my making of objects and ceramics. “To Eva, Love Sol” is a piece encouraging everyone, including myself, to stop the worrying and just ‘do’. The text is a decal I made from a letter written by the artist Sol Lewitt to his friend and fellow artist, Eva Hesse. His letter to Hesse was encouraging, “You must believe in your ability. You have at your power the ability to do anything. Don’t worry about cool, make your own uncool. …Stop it and just DO.” His message spoke to me as an artist and humanized the whole experience for me. Lewitt’s words are positive and warm and offer insight to all of us on many levels. We all need to stop worrying about cool and make our own uncool. We all just need to DO… Wonderfully, Lewitt’s forms were an initial inspiration to my form and Hesse is one of my favorite artists. Learning through his letters that she suffered from doubt is a reminder to me and I hope everyone to ignore the noise and just DO.
To see more of Amber’s work online, you can take a look here. Also, beginning on September 21st, if you head down to the Harbourfront Centre Amber will be part of the group show Wonderscape. Following that, she will have a solo exhibition at the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, opening January 9th and continuing until March 2nd, 2014.