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Like the Rough and Powdery Rocks of the Mountain
Ceramist Jacinthe Brind'Amour has been designing and making a range of contemporary ceramic objects for 15 years now.
Jacinthe generously, and with heart, answered our little questionnaire about her life, her art, her career. I let you discover it through this interview!
What region are you from?
I was born and lived in Montreal but have just moved to the small town of Richmond, located between Drummondville and Sherbrooke in Quebec. It is a truly welcoming bilingual city, cut by a river and bordered by a railway.
Tell us a bit about your professional background. And how did you come to ceramics?
I had an early adult life that was very difficult. I had to fend for myself, I experienced precariousness, I played music in the metro to survive from the age of 16-17. When my daughter was born, I felt an urgency to become someone as soon as possible and I immediately connected with my oldest dream, that of becoming a potter. I had seen a little sequence of pottery on the "Passe-Partout" children TV show and those images had sparked a curiosity in me that never waned. So, I decided to enroll in the ceramics program, with my one-year-old baby at the time.
My professional journey started like that, telling myself that I really had to go and verify something before being reasonable, settling down, taking care of my child like other parents. Eventually, I just carried on and never got "settled down" other than growing my small business.
I always needed to feel that what I was doing was real, to touch it, to transmit it. I remained for a very long time with the feeling that one day I was going to have to find myself “a real job”. And I must admit that it was only very recently that I understood that my work was "a real job" when I realized that it was going to be 15 years already that I was building all this little by little, from nothing, you can't imagine how proud I was to make the capsule of the new version of Passe-Partout and what I felt when my children watched it!
A few words about your work environment…
I work alone, it's a question of balance. As I am the head of a family with 2 noisy young children, I really need to recharge my batteries in solitude. I work on the 2nd floor of my house.
How would you define your style? How did he impose itself?
I wouldn't know how to define my style, except that a little something must come to break the object so that I like it. I like that you feel the hand of the craftspeople on the piece, even if it is perfectly executed. Thus, I will take care to leave a defect voluntarily, a signature or a mark of the hand.
Are there any designers who have inspired you in particular? And why?
What inspires me the most isn't really the designers, it's often a look into the past. Going to bazaars, second-hand shops or visiting our elders are my real source of inspiration. When I come across pieces like old fondue plates from the 70s with glazes that defy all current conventions, my reaction is always “before we had the right to do this? », "why do we no longer have the right?" and immediately afterwards it comes to me "I want to do things like that!". It's stronger than me.
Questioning stereotypes is always my creative engine. Then, I reinterpret this transgression of norms but with more contemporary glazes and a search for fluidity in the work.
And how does inspiration come to you?
In various ways, often through a dream or a vision and sometimes by visiting, as mentioned above, auctions or second-hand item shops.
What kind of clay and technique do you prefer?
Right now, the clay I use is pyrite sandstone. Working the clay is a big part of my job. I spend at least a week per quarter preparing my clay, which I recycle to work more in harmony with the environment. I refuse to throw away my residual clay, because it is a noble and more precious element than one thinks. The recovery of clay requires time, strength, space, cleaning, it is laborious. But I consider it part of the potter's life, I embrace the whole process, the way of life, the philosophy that this work entails. There is no money saving in recycling clay, but it still allows me to add secret ingredients to it, which gives each of my pieces an extra cachet and makes them even more unique.
My favorite technique is turning. I had a hard time learning to turn. During my school career, I was in a high-level cohort with people who had much more experience than me. I struggled, but the difficulties I encountered allowed me to teach shooting well for about ten years. As I had encountered every possible difficulty, I was able to identify them well and explain them to my students. Now it's the most efficient technique for me, which allows me to produce in large quantities and I love it, I couldn't do without it, it's the element of my daily life that satisfies me the most. and which brings me the most balance.
Would you like to tell us the story of your pieces?
My pieces are born both in the manufacturing process and in my personal universe. New shapes and concepts are always generated by the pleasure of making them. I want each manufacturing step to be fluid, because I will have to reproduce these steps a multitude of times. It is in this spirit that I designed my handles, for example, which are now specific to my cups and my style. So, I really start from the manufacturing gesture, and I bring it into my complete creative process. I ask myself the question, this gesture that I like to do, how can I make it grow over an entire collection?
My personal universe is constantly changing, I was a lot inspired in the past by stories and souvenir objects, but during the pandemic, a pandemic which arrived at the same time as the birth of my youngest, I spent a lot of very isolated time, with my baby on the couch feeding her. I watched a lot of documentaries about mountaineers and people who climb. I made a lot of connections between that passion and mine. We have a strength in common that pushes us to continue, to train, alone, for a purpose that is very difficult to define and describe. We are driven by something beyond us. And by spending all this time observing these rock walls and this nature hostile to man, I began to imagine pieces that reproduce these environments. I've spent hours crafting glazes that replicate those rough, powdery rock mineral textures for such common objects as the everyday cup and bowl. It made me think that we could have a piece of this hostile and moving nature in our homes, every day. I am currently continuing this research to add a volcanic touch to my creations.
Are there other mediums you would like to touch?
In my spare time, I like to draw and paint with watercolors. I would like to learn how to make paper, it is a material that attracts me.
How has your profession has changed during your career?
I grew up in the 90s and 2000s, so I was greatly influenced by the pre-2000 “no future” culture. , was very "no future", already by the presence of the economic crisis of 2008, but also, because this culture represents a conception of living in the present very embodied. Today, this seems to bring a huge contrast with the current perception of the pottery profession, because it is much more valued and goes through the prism of image, boho and current values. This image is also propelled by social networks and virtual life. This brings us a lot of advantages in terms of visibility but also brings us additional pressure. This profession with the values of living in the present moment now rhymes with competition and excessive enhancement. Recently I even read that being a ceramist is an elitist profession, I really fell out of my chair, because it's a complete reversal of what I could experience during the first 10 years of my career where the evocation of my job was an embarrassing subject to avoid in front of the in-laws.
In a certain way one could thus advance that the image of living in the present knew how to benefit the craftsmen of the beauty of the object or the decorative arts. Bringing prestige and an economy to what already existed, but which attracted people more inclined to manual work and a fleeting lifestyle is certainly the best thing I could wish for, because now my passion is known, admired and desired by all. You just have to stay open and know how to adapt quickly, because everything changes so quickly.