R:evolution – tradition – technology

The 7th Triennial Canadian Clay Symposium

 Saturday, March 18th, 2017 - Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, Burnaby, BC


Where do you sit on the technological continuum in your ceramic practice? Are you forging ahead, finding new and exciting ways to use modern digital technologies in the creation or marketing of your work… or hunkering down and finding ways to continue to explore your making in traditional ways?

R:evolution – tradition – technology is a one day ceramics symposium exploring the ways contemporary ceramic artists interact with and employ new digital technologies; as a tool for making work, in their artistic enquiry, or as a means to connect with peers and their market. Attendees will also have the opportunity to investigate the relevance and role of traditional methods in contemporary society.

The Canadian Clay Symposium will feature ten national and international artists who have been invited to share their expertise with ceramic arts students and professionals. Through numerous simultaneous presentations of images, lectures, demonstrations, critiques, panel discussions and a topical keynote address, the topics of presentation cover theoretical topics, as well as practical techniques in areas such as sculpture, hand-building, wheel-throwing, glaze and firing technology and clay bodies.

Over the next months we will share through this newsletter some information about each of the ten Symposium presenters as well as report about other events and workshops that will run in conjunction with the Symposium.

Currently Aaron Nelson is the Associate Director at Medalta, a museum, residency, research and education centre in Medicine Hat Alberta. In addition to his work as an arts administrator, consultant and technical educator, Aaron also maintains an active studio practice. Currently Aaron’s studio research focuses on the intersection of digital technology and traditional ceramic practice. He has lectured on this topic throughout Canada and his research has been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, The Alberta Foundation of the Arts, and the National Research Council.

In his “Connectivity” project, Aaron’s handmade traditional tea cups, platters, vases and porcelain chandeliers are connected, sometimes by way of their decorative gold luster, with electrical and electronic circuitry, telephones, iPods, generators, light bulbs and audio speakers. The gilded decoration works as a simple circuit board – the surfaces of the ceramics become energized with flowing electrons as they transmit electrical current and data. Visitors are invited to ‘turn on’ and interact with the pieces physically or through their electronic devices.

Learn more about Aaron and his work at these links:


Gwendolyn Yoppolo uses words, ceramic objects, and food to stretch boundaries and transform perception.  She creates sensuous kitchen- and table-wares that use the physical experience of hunger and satiation to allude to larger issues of human desire and relationship.  Her visionary designs challenge us to rethink the ways we nourish ourselves and others within contemporary food culture. “The pieces I make are questions, and they remain open-ended until fulfilled through use.”

Gwendolyn earned an MFA in Ceramics from Penn State University, has been a resident artist at the Penland School of Crafts, the Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and the Archie Bray Foundation.  Gwendolyn has taught at Ohio University, The Ohio State University, and Juniata College, as well as at art centers such as Arrowmont School of Crafts and Anderson Ranch Arts Center. A passionate educator and thinker as well as a maker, her writing can be found in Studio Potter, Pottery Making Illustrated, and Passion and Pedagogy. 

Learn more about Gwendolyn and her work at www.gwendolynyoppolo.com


Learn More!

For full symposium information, please visit http://www.canadianclaysymposium.com

  •  All participants must be pre-registered.

  • Registration is now open. Early Bird Registration is $125 for Adults or $110 for Seniors (plus GST) until January 15th, after that date Registration will be $150 for Adults or $131.25 for Seniors (plus GST).

  • Seniors Discount is only available through phone, in-person and mail-in registration, on-line registration includes only the pricing option for regular Adult registration.

  • All Fees include lunch.

  • Register by mail (cheque payable to the City of Burnaby) or by phone to set up a new account: 604-291-6864.

  • Those previously registered in Burnaby programs can access webreg online at: www.burnaby.ca/webreg


Newsletter #1: Aaron Nelson & Gwendolyn Yoppolo. pdf  (click to download this article) 



Canadian Clay Collective

The mandate of the symposium is to provide a forum in which both professionals and students can gather and participate in an educational environment. Exposure to a wide variety of local and international practices, aesthetics and expertise fosters heightened awareness and furthers both technical skills and knowledge of the craft.