LeeAnn Norgard

Bio

    Born in Burlington, Ontario, LeeAnn moved with her family to Calgary, Alberta, where her father started a new business.  LeeAnn continued her education at the University of Calgary where, in 1995, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Geology.  From there, she worked in the oil and gas industry for a few years before deciding to marry and travel the world.  An eight month journey with her husband, Sean, took them to India, Nepal, Indonesia, Egypt, Turkey, and Africa.  

    Upon returning to Canada, LeeAnn was accepted into the Alberta College of Art and Design, where she took a new career path in the arts.  In her second year, she fell in love with clay, and decided to major in Ceramics.  She graduated in 2000 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics, with distinction.  

    After graduation, she began a family, and took every opportunity to create clay pieces in her spare time. 

     In 2005, the family made a move to Salt Spring Island.  This allowed LeeAnn more time to focus on her work and craftsmanship where she concentrated her efforts on earthenware clay and the finishing/glazing technique of Terra Sigillata.  Though the original plan was to stay for a year, they fell in love with the West Coast, and particularly the island of Salt Spring, where they work and play today.  

    Currently, LeeAnn’s ceramic work has evolved to become more sculptural and she is working with Cone 6 clay, which is providing to be both challenging and satisfying. Though she very much enjoys other mediums such as paint and charcoal drawing, clay is truly the one that has her heart, and where most of her creative energy is focused. She enjoys meeting new people and selling her work through her home studio.  Last year, she participated in "Salt Spring in the City" in Vancouver, and created a joint show with fellow artist and photographer Michael Levy in September at the Salt Spring Gallery of Fine Art.

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Artist Statement:

My work in clay investigates the symmetry and beauty of nature and the joy of the creative process.  The work involves the close exploration of plants; their texture, symmetry and complex structures.   Mathematical ratios in nature, and particularly Fibbonacci numbers and the Golden Mean are keen interests, and reflect in my work.  A new series of microscopic undersea and fossil work is unfolding, and I am creating a new series of glazes to compliment this work.  Currently, microscopic algae called Diatoms are my main focus, and it is challenging and delightful to attempt to re-create these incredible forms. By changing the scale, I hope to show others the beauty I see in this miraculous but tiny plant life.

Thrown on the potter’s wheel, and then altered using various techniques, the pieces are formed with the concept of these vessels in mind.  Some of the pieces are embellished with handbuilt elements, or carved or impressed using rocks, coral, or other tools.  They are then dried slowly and fired to cone 6 in an oxidation kiln.  The carefully crafted glazes are created from scratch, and lovingly matched to each piece.    

Clay is a valuable medium for my exploration due to it’s history.  It is a tactile, natural material which has long been used to create items of use, purpose, and wonder.  The glazes that I create are chosen to reflect the natural colours that are found in plants and flowers, shells and fossils.  The work of ceramic artist Joan Bruneau influences my work in it’s celebration of the volume and color of plants and people.  The careful consideration of the photographs of Karl Blossfeldt are also visual inspirations for me.

In creating my work, I strive to present to others the beauty and mystery I see in nature, and, in particular, the small-scale details of plants that cannot be enjoyed until a careful investigation and consideration takes place.