Debra Kuzyk and Ray Mackie
Debra Kuzyk and Ray Mackie have been making pottery together for close to 30 years. This kind of shared production is never easy, but it has also resulted in pottery magic. The two artists collaborate by passing the work back and forth between them to produce a single unique piece of work, which transcends what either could achieve independently. The upcoming exhibition at Studio 21 will showcase works made together, as well made solo by each.
Debra and Ray have moved their home out of the Lucky Rabbit building on the market square in the town, to a home on the outskirts of Annapolis Royal, where for the first time they have separate studio spaces. Ray is the potter and kiln firer, and Debra is the decorator and sculptor. In the light filled living area of the house, Debra fashions birds and animals, and carves and paints the surfaces. The kiln and wheels are in an adjacent building, where Ray throws all the pots and manages the kiln.
For this exhibition, they have used a mid-range porcelain, and brown and black stoneware. Ray is more of an abstract artist, interested in form and surface. Deb “uses” Ray’s vessels for her narrative, bringing in visual elements from her environment.
Ray states: “I throw forms on the potter’s wheel. The making of clay pots, with all of the challenges and historical precedents this entails, has been my main concern for my entire history as a potter. The collaboration has affected what forms I create, but generally, I just try to make what I understand to be beautiful forms.”
Debra states: “During this difficult year, I have found comfort in watching the visitors to a bird feeder by our table. I bring them into my work, to reflect a world rich in everyday magic: backyard birds, garden flowers. Like flying jewels, little birds bring joy and music. Pottery connects us with our earliest ancestors, and the artifacts are like messages from the past.”
Mackie and Kuzyk both hold BFA’S from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD). Kuzyk also has a BED from the University of Saskatoon and studied at the Banff Centre for the Arts. Mackie has a BA from the University of Saskatoon, a BED from Memorial University, Newfoundland, and holds an MFA from Indiana State University. Their full-time ceramic practice as Lucky Rabbit Pottery began in 1999, the Chinese year of the rabbit, when they moved to Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia.
Their functional, highly decorated pottery has been continuously sought after. They have participated in many exhibitions since, most notable Fire and Earth (organized by the Burlington Art Centre, 2002) which travelled to Itabashi Japan and toured Canada, Unity and Diversity (organized by Cheongju International Craft Biennale, 2009), which took place in Korea, and the solo exhibition In an Ancient Garden, curated by Gloria Hickey and held at MSVU Art Gallery in Halifax, 2011. In 2016 Deb Kuzyk and Ray Mackie exhibited at SOFA Chicago art fair with Studio 21.
Debra Kuzyk and Ray Mackie, Robin Jars, 2021, Porcelain with underglaze decoration, 15.75” x 8”
Studio 21 Fine Art
5431 Doyle St.
902 420 1852
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