Caren Hackman Interviews Nancy Bernardeau, Of Smokehouse Pottery

Nancy Bernardeau is a clay artist who specializes in creating one-of-a-kind decorative ceramic forms utilizing the raku process and other associated alternative firing techniques, such as horsehair and saggar firing.  The Rickie Report has admired Nancy’s creations at Artisans On The Ave in Lake Worth.  Caren Hackman shares an interview with Nancy, not only exploring her artistry, but explaining more about different firing techniques.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

Nancy Bernardeau, Smokehouse Pottery

Talks About

 

“The Magic Of Raku”

 

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Glass Embedded Celadon Box by Nancy Bernardeau

 

 

 

Nancy Bernardeau tells The Rickie Report, ” I am constantly drawn to the magic of Raku firing! It is so dramatic to open up a kiln when it is glowing red hot at around 1832 degrees fahrenheit. Of course there is danger involved, making it even more exciting and adrenaline producing! So I gear up with my respirator, high temperature gloves, and clothing that completely covers and protects me from the intense heat. Raku firing gives me the “instant gratification” of seeing my results a lot more rapidly than waiting hours for a kiln to fire and then cool down. I’m directly involved in the firing and reduction process, as I place each piece in a container with combustibles, set it up in flames and put a tight cover on it so it smokes and smolders. This reduction or deprivation of oxygen is what creates the dramatic blacks and crackles, a signature of Raku pottery. The magic continues when the pot is taken out of the container and scrubbed clean under water. The beautiful colors then reveal themselves in sometimes unexpected ways”!

 

 

 

Caren Hackman shares, ” Nancy Bernardeau is a clay artist who specializes in creating one of a kind decorative ceramic forms utilizing the raku process and other associated alternative firing techniques, such as horsehair and saggar firing. It is always a pleasure to visit Nancy and see what new forms, materials and techniques she is incorporating into her work”.

 

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Horse Hair Raku by Nancy Bernardeau

Understanding Raku Terminology:

Raku firing involves opening up a kiln when the pot is glowing red hot at around 100 degrees C (1832 F) and removing each piece with tongs and placing it into a reduction container with either newspaper or sawdust. The pot catches fire and a tight lid is placed onto container, creating smoke which blackens any of the unglazed areas. Thermal shock usually produces an overall crackle on the glazed areas.

 

 

Horse hair raku is removed from the kiln at a lower temperature and is not put into a covered bin. The decoration occurs when strands of horse hair are laid across the hot ware leaving a swirling linear smoke design on the surface.

 

Saggar firing is a type of smoke firing in which each unglazed pot is enclosed and fired in a lidded container. Combustible materials and minerals are added to the container and the piece gets fired, getting the colors from the burning off of these materials creating a soft marbled look on the surface. Polishing with wax adds sheen.

 

 

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Nancy with her kiln

 

 

CH:  Why do you do what you do?

NB:  

Creating with clay offers me the opportunity to satisfy my tactile and visual needs. It also provides constant challenges with infinite learning experiences.

 

 

 

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One of a kind Ceramic by Nancy Bernardeau

CH: How do you work?

NB:

I am not a prolific production potter, although I am in awe of people who are able to do that. I concentrate on creating a few unique pieces at a time. I “nurture” these pieces from conception through fabrication and decoration, finally releasing them to share. The development of each clay piece is like raising a child. I do what I can for it to reach its potential. A great deal of thought, love and care is involved.

 

CH: What’s your background?

NB:

 

I was an art major in college and was exposed to many different art forms. I dabbled in painting, printmaking, jewelry, ceramics and specifically photography. Upon finishing my studies, I worked in commercial photography, and then fashion styling. I then moved to Florida with my husband and eventually became an art teacher certified to teach grades K-12. Upon retiring, I felt compelled to rekindle my love for clay and to dedicate myself to exploring it as an art form.

 

CH: What’s integral to the work of an artist?

NB:

Discipline, desire, PATIENCE, and the curiosity and willingness to explore and experiment. Risk-taking is important and not being afraid to fail.

 

 

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Jar with Jeweled Shoulder by Nancy Bernardeau

 

 

CH: What role does the artist have in society?

NB:

For me the role of the artist is to provoke emotion and stimulate the senses by making people stop, think, perhaps question and, as a result, see things with a new perspective.

 

CH: What has been a seminal experience?

NB:

 

Combined with getting my own pottery wheel and kiln, I took a couple of wonderful and inspiring Master workshops. The first one was with raku master Steven Branfman. It was a transformative and inspiring experience. I started to incorporate glass embedded into my work and started to really enjoy glazing as if it were an abstract painting. Working this way gives me the joy and freedom to work more spontaneously and instinctively. I also participated in a formative workshop with Linda and Charles Riggs, masters of saggar firing, and other techniques that I love, such as naked raku, and horsehair firing.

 

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Horsehair Fired Vessel by Nancy Bernardeau

 

 

CH: How has your practice change over time

NB:

My biggest change was to concentrate on making an attractive form that can be used more decoratively, and also one of a kind, rather than concentrating on making many functional pieces with perfect craftsmanship.

 

CH:  What art do you most identify with?

NB: 

I love art that is vibrant and colorful, energetic and abstract. I enjoy different textures and I also appreciate art that is more monochromatic. I was always attracted to abstract landscape. My favorite artists are Picasso and Matisse.

 

CH: What work do you most enjoying doing?

NB:

I really enjoy making boxes that are embedded with glass. These pieces incorporate wheel throwing, hand-building, as well as the texture and color that the glass creates. The glass enables me to incorporate glaze around it, giving me an opportunity to add contrast and color. I usually finish these boxes off with an interesting wood handle found in nature. When searching for the perfect wood handle, one usually calls out to me because it has a “personality” or a soul. As much as I love color, I also enjoy, appreciate, and create more monochromatically. The monochrome pieces are created using naked raku, horse hair, and saggar fired techniques.

 

 

Nancy’s work can be seen at:


ARTISANS ON THE AVE
630 LAKE AVENUE   LAKE WORTH, FL 33460

561-762-8162 or 561-582-3300

Gallery Hours: Open 7 days a week

Monday thru Saturday 11am – 9pm
Sunday 11am – 6pm

 

 

 

For more information about Caren Hackman:

Caren Hackman is a graphic designer and fine artist living in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. and author of a book about Graphic Design and Good Business practice: http://www.carenhackman.com/book/.

Be sure to check out Caren’s wonderful artwork – Caren is a talented artist in her own right! She is a founding member of the Artists of Palm Beach County.

www.carenhackman.com

 

 

 

For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

The Rickie Report

P.O.Box 33423

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420

Rickie@therickiereport.com

561-537-0291

 

“Ceramic Celebration” at Hennevelt’s Gallery and Gifts

It is exciting to see that Hennevelt’s Gallery & Gifts in Northwood is showing a number of new artists including Deb LaFogg and Jane Saull.  On April 11th, everyone is invited to a “Ceramic Celebration” for an Opening Reception!  On display will be Sculptures, vases, ornamental plus functional items, all showing superb craftsmanship and different ceramic techniques.  The Rickie Report shares the details and gives you a sneak peek!

 

 

 

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Hennevelt’s Gallery & Gifts

Presents:

“Ceramic Celebration”

Opening reception:

Friday,  April 11, 2014    7 – 9 pm

Exhibit continues through April  26, 2014 

 

510 Northwood Road, West Palm Beach, FL 33407

561-506-4108     www.hennevelts.com

 

 

 

Hennevelt’s Gallery & Gifts is inviting everyone to a “Ceramic Celebration”.  The Opening Reception will take place on Friday, April 11th from 7 – 9 pm.  The public is invited and refreshments will be served.  There will be an opportunity to meet many of the artists. The exhibit runs for two weeks, through April 26th.  Enjoy wine and light Hors d’oeuvres and the music of Jason Hanley.

 

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“Otters”

 

 

Sculptures, vases and ornamental pieces will be displayed in addition to functional items.  Each will show superb craftsmanship and different ceramic techniques like sagger and raku.

 

 

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Come to this special ceramics show and see work from the Gallery’s permanent
artists including Lisa Kraemer, Betty Wilson, Lucia Philipson, Ying Zhou and
Doreen Alfaro. Ceramic work from several selected local artists from outside the Gallery, including like Mark Walnock from the Armory Art Centre, will also be included in this exhibit.

 

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Make it a night out while you are in Northwood Village with a stroll in
the many other Galleries, boutiques, antique shops and fine dining at
one of the award winning restaurants in the area.

 

 

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For more information please contact Hennevelt’s Gallery & Gifts at  Art@Hennevelts.com  or visit the Gallery website www.hennevelts.com  or call  561 506 4108.

 

  • Nickie and Freddy’s Photography Website:   www.NWSPictures.com   Facebook Page coming soon!

 

For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact The Rickie Report at:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

The Rickie Report

P.O.Box 33423

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420

Rickie@therickiereport.com

561-537-0291

 

Nature Informs Jackie Lanier’s Creative Clay

Each month, Local Treasures has an Open house, which The Rickie Report announces.  If you have not stopped in yet, you have not figured out why Kathy Barry calls her shop “Local Treasures”.    Don’t wait for the next open house – stop by and take your time looking at the work of the creative artists who live among us.  Local Treasures is located at    357  Cypress Drive Suite 6 in  Tequesta, FL  33469.  For more information:    561-741-1901  www.local-treasures.com

Maybe it was the beauty of Niagara Falls, where  Jackie Lanier was born and raised, that inspired her to appreciate and become involved with the Arts.  Although she enjoyed painting and weaving, it was the nature of clay that inspired her the most.  She began working with ceramics while attending the State University College of Arts and Science at Geneseo in upstate New York in the 1970’s.

After graduating Cum Laude, Jackie accepted a teaching position in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.   She taught elementary art for six years, and from there, decided to set up her own studio and become a professional potter.  Lanier also went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Art Education from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton in 1979.

In December of 1995, Jackie was chosen to initiate and establish the curriculum for the Ceramics Department at the Palm Beach Community College in Palm Beach Gardens, FL.   She became one of the first adjunct professors to teach ceramics at the Eissey Campus.  In October of 2003,  she was contacted by her first ceramics professor from SUNY Geneseo, Carl Shanahan, inviting her to have a One-Woman Alumni show at the Opus Gallery on the campus of Geneseo.

In November, 2007, Lanier’s clay designs were accepted into the premier showing at the AE Backus Museum and Gallery in Ft. Pierce, Florida.  She shares, “This was particularly important to me, as I have admired the paintings of AE Backus for as long as I’ve been in Florida”.

When asked to describe her work, Jackie says, “My clay vessels are truly unique in design, all originating from being “thrown” or hand molded on the pottery wheel.  My pit-firing, raku and saggar firings are all primitive, yet controlled methods of achieving the overall patterns and surfaces of the work”.

For coverage of your events, listing of announcements in our events section, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact The Rickie Report at:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

The Rickie Report

P.O.Box 33423

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420

Rickie@therickiereport.com

561-537-0291