I always have a great pleasure to share the journey of inspiring designers who in their authenticity have taken, at some point in their working lives, the decision to do what animated them, made them vibrate, and Rachel Grenon is part of these inspiring people.
After living in Montreal, Vancouver and Whistler, Rachel chose to live in the Eastern Townships in 2003 for its natural beauty and proximity to the city.
A recognized ceramist, her utilitarian and sculptural ceramic pieces have been seen across Canada, in design or craft fairs and at Wanted Design in New York, in 2014 and 2015.
Professionally speaking, there is a "before" ceramics. Can you tell us about that period?
Before ceramics, there was my love of travel. I told myself that my then-acting career, surelywould benefit from contact with the English language, so I left for Vancouver. I stayed 15 years, after a long period of 12 years in Whistler where I learned to ski, jump cornices, met my boyfriend and made two skiers babies. We returned in 2003 for our daughters to be bilingual..
When did you start your ceramic practice?
I had to find a way to express myself! I met potters: Vincent Massey, Donald Fyfe, and I left to study at Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver. I then became the assistant of "Binty" (Vincent Massey) and I discovered that the utility art would give me a job in the art world.
What kind of earth and technique do you privilege?
I love porcelain because it is as stubborn as me ;-)
How would you describe your style?
Contemporary and imaginative; I always look for a new project, a new glaze, a latter technique..
Tell us about your creative process, your influences...
I usually do not know where and how it begins and where it will take me; the idea is to let me go, hang out in the workshop, get paint and pencils out, scribble, see exhibitions, films about art; walk into town one day and manipulate objects in the shops and second hand stores.
How do you explain the popularity of ceramics in recent years?
I think we are more sensitive to things around us. Architecture, design, buying a unique piece is how we distinguish ourselves. I think our tastes developed. It's like wine 20 years ago: no one knew much and Quebec has now a taste palette ... ah ah ah!
And finally, plans for the future?
I am currently working on a dinner service for a famous restaurant in Whistler in British Columbia, I met the chefs last October and we discussed each dish and how the plate could frame it: I have therefore 300 pieces to deliver for the tasting menu. I love this project: it is demanding but very inspiring.
Prepare the Roche Papier Ciseaux - Métiers d'art contemporain event, in Bromont cultural center: eighteen artisans, felt artist Rosie Godbout and a work of Land Art to welcome visitors. Yes the future... I would go for a month research ceramic at the Medalta center in Alberta and complete an association with a group of makers designers on the "Sunshine Coast" in BC for making my plates by pressing process and allow me to make an East and West production .. and spend the summer in 2017 with my mother on the seaside!
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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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