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‘How Many Pearls?’ by Shannon Butler @ Studio 531 Architects

21 Nov 2023 – 16 Feb 2024
Studio 531 Architects Satellite Gallery
546 Herald Street
Viewable 24/7 from street

Artist Statement:

With this piece, ‘How Many Pearls?’, I was aiming to create a ceramic sculpture that illustrated how completely out of reach “starter” homes seem to be for our family in Victoria, BC at this time when they are beginning around one million dollars.  It cuts me personally extra deep as we live amongst so many beautiful character homes that I would love to inhabit and make a cozy residence for our family as a person who has always yearned for old things and coveted them more than new ones, even as a child.  I wanted to talk about this ache of a subject in a beautiful way using the metaphor of the pile of shells with pearls inside to show how over the top and unlikely to find that amount of money feels to be.  Atop the dreaming woman and pile of shells stands a sweet single family dwelling based off of a sweet humble sized home in our neighborhood.  The vintage green blanket below the sculpture has ceramic flower sewn to it to further give that luscious Victoria vibe.  

About the Artist:

Shannon Butler is a mother of two and Ceramicist who recently moved to Victoria BC, from northern BC.  She has a BFA with distinction in Ceramics from the Alberta College of Art and Design and has worked as an artist since her graduation in 2006, starting first with opening a brick and mortar store under the name ‘kilnhouse studio’, and now using Instagram as a platform as she works while her baby naps.  Shannon focuses on hand building with porcelain and she uses many different techniques to create an optimistic bricolage of surface decoration on each piece which some might describe as maximalist.  A technique she often employs is an age old way of carving named quenca seca; where she carves designs into plaster tablets which then allows her to pick up those designs in the clay and that creates a tactile and illustrated surface thereby making her pots interesting to look/feel/engage with.  Every piece is one of a kind and tells a story which is influenced by a mixture of the reverie she has for her rural farm upbringing, the Art Nouveau Movement, textiles, old dusty objects and homes inherent with soul and/or the nuances of life.  She finishes her romantic and joyous work by juxtaposing layers of stain and glaze; adding to the vintage aesthetic she embraces and as a romantic and she finds ways to create a unique and celebratory expression in each and every porcelaneous stoneware piece whether it be a mug or a sculpture; sharing a positive and unique perspective through this ancient craft in clay.