Painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, these are some of the artistic disciplines that Camille Trudel experienced before attending pottery training, and decide to make it a trade.
We met her in her charming workshop in Mirabel, Quebec. You can discover her through this interview!
Why ceramics rather than another form of art or discipline?
I have explored many artistic disciplines through a DEC in visual art: painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, etc. I loved this exploration, however, I could not associate myself with a particular technique and the more I went into my studies, the more I realized that art was for me very liberating, but that my creativity and my desire to create were linked to my states of being and so I had no control over my production since I could not paint on demand.
It is a rather scary observation when you look for a job... Then, by a fortunate chance I landed in the studio of Lyse Fleury and I had an instant crush feeling the earth turn in my hands. I was terribly eager to find clay every week. I took a sabbatical year to work, travel, and continue the pottery classes, wondering what I was going to do with my life until the day when Lyse told me quite simply that there was a ceramic course at the Cégep du Vieux-Montréal. I remember hearing her laugh when she saw my jaw fall. Perhaps there was a way of making a career of it...
Can you tell us about your learning? Training, mentoring, etc.
It is in 2013 that I begin my courses of pottery at Lyse Fleury, out of curiosity for this art, but without any expectation. I remember my astonishment when I entered this old pigsty, transformed into a pretty workshop where the pots are piled on the beams and where the photos sprayed with clay cover the walls. Lyse taught me the work at the potter's wheel, she made me meet potters of the heart, but she passed me with passion, her love of the craft and the earth. She has given me access to this poetry contained in the matter matter and I will always be grateful to her. We must talk to the earth and above all we must listen it tell us all that it knows about us.
My two years of study at Bonsecours Ceramics School have been very technical. I discovered shaping and molding, I improved my throwing and I put a foot in the infinite world of glaze chemistry, but above all, I met wonderful people. It was also through this training that I became aware of the need to develop an efficient production if I wanted to make ends meet by being a potter. It's a rather long learning, but I'm working hard. Every Tuesday, in spite of the long days at Bonsecours, I could not resist taking refuge in the quiet studio of Lyse on my way back from Montreal. I felt it was my balance between productivity and love of the earth.
Do you practice other arts?
I left painting at the moment when I stopped my DEC in visual art, on the other hand I still take the time to devote myself to digital and analog photography. I draw from time to time and I write when a need for escape is felt..
Tell us about your work environment?
The workshop is my quiet spot, my cabin in the trees. My parents have an old house in Mirabel and on their large land there is a small century-old building.
A few years ago we undertook a long project: to restore this old, dilapidated hut. It was long, but a magnificent workshop was born thanks to the work of the whole family and the many friends who volunteered their time. It is a very bright place given the amount of windows that are found there. I have a view of the tall trees of the yard, I hear the singing birds or the rain on the tin roof.
The plants grow there in profusion, I have some everywhere, they inspire me and make me feel good. You have to know that I never work without my music. My days start when the coffee is ready and I've pushed the '' Play '' button.
What part of your work do you prefer?
Working on the potter's wheel is definitely what I prefer. The sensation of the clay between my fingers is always so pleasant. Turning requires a balance between strength and delicacy and I love it. On the other hand, what I adore above all about this job is the diversity of tasks. Designing, working on the potter's wheel, finishing, decorating parts, enamelling, management, marketing, sales... All this pleases me overall and allows me to flourish at different levels.
Are there any creators who inspired you in particular?
Marie-Joëlle Turgeon whose work is known as "l'Atelier Tréma" is the first ceramist who fascinated me and made me want to work the earth. Hervery contemporary objects, her paintings, her buoys, I found all her works so beautiful. It was as if I had always associated the pottery with the brown dishes of the 70s and suddenly I saw all the potential of the clay. Of course the meticulous work of Lyse Fleury is found through my pieces. She bequeathed her love of detail and finesse. Lucie Rie's works will always amaze me with their modern character and delicacy. Ironically, I have always been in admiration with abstract art, and I find myself making very figurative sets ... The many musicians and composers who's art lives in my workshop every day inspire me, subtly I am convinced of this.
What are your other sources of inspiration?
The many trips I have made are definitely my greatest source of inspiration, for it is here that I take the time to contemplate, to marvel, to let myself be invaded by the beauty of nature, Architecture, improbable encounters and the diversity of this world. The vegetable motifs, the mountains, the textures of a forest, the infinity of details that I saw in the architecture of Morocco, all that inspired me enormously. Then of course, there is the contemporary design that came to take place in my work. I wanted to make pieces that would fit well with the trends of the moment.
How do you choose the types of earth, the glazes with which you work?
I love white. My workshop is white from the ceiling to the floor and I think it highlights everything else. Plants, photos, pots, old wooden beams, all spring thanks to the surrounding whiteness. I wanted to do the same with my pieces, so I chose to work the white earth. I tried red, gray, black, and pimpled earth, I love them all to be honest, but white is perfect for my scenery. To keep this whiteness, I use a transparent glaze. The peculiarity of my work lies in the use of sigillated earth. This very refined and polished clay coating allows me to burn on my parts with incredible precision. I chose to work a black very classic and mat. Quietly I wanted a little color and I finally found the turquoise hue that I had been looking for a long time. Green is part of my product through the plants that inhabit my pieces and that embellish them.
How would you define your style?
I believe that my pottery is somewhere between bohemian and contemporary. I wanted to touch everyone, but also, and especially the people of my generation. I wanted to touch them through my art and create in them a consciousness to the local purchase and an understanding of the long work that lies behind each piece. Of course nothing is fixed, my tastes are constantly evolving, so my collections will evolve most certainly over time.
What are your creative projects for the next year?
The next year will be very far from the workshop. I will be traveling through North America and Central America for a year with my boyfriend and Jerome our faithful Westfalia. I count on this year to take stock, to refocus on myself, to savor the present moment, to reflect on the future, to inspire me, to draw, to play outside as a child. I hope to meet on the road several ceramists who can present their art and share their stories and their knowledge. Finally I hope to return home with a crazy desire to find the clay and to launch myself for good in this extremely demanding craft, but so pleasant that sticks to my skin.
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Imagination is not given, nor is it acquired. Imagination is experienced. Nadine Hajjar's imagination draws its origins from her childhood in Beirut, Lebanon, and it developed further throughout her adventures abroad.
Trained back home as an interior architect, she worked in this environment to realise that she was actually and truly attracted to the shape, texture and above all, function of the Object. Nadine therefore decided to specialise in furniture and industrial design by enrolling in, and obtaining, a Masters degree at the Domus Academy in Milan, Italy.
Nadine was kind enough to answer our questions.
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