Jennifer Scott, The Westender
May 17, 2017
The trifecta of form and function, design and aesthetics, and human interaction creates a beautiful relationship that each of us engage in, often unknowingly, every day. The objects that appeal to us and are invited to serve their purpose in our homes become the pillars of our daily experiences; the furnishings, art, and accessories we choose shape not only the visual elements of everyday life, but the functional way we live as well.
It is this relationship that inspired ceramicist and Emily Carr graduate Gabrielle Burke to pursue her passion and create G Ceramic & Co., a collection of artisan tableware and accessories handmade in the heart of Vancouver. “I love that people have an intimate relationship with the objects. They pick them up and fondle them. They allow that mug to touch their lips as they sip on their morning coffee or tea everyday. The objects are thoughtful, they have meaning,” says Burke.
Burke has been invited to participate in this year’s ADDRESS, an annual, curated platform to showcase art and design from over 30 of the Pacific Northwest’s most elite designer/makers. Hosted by Kate Duncan, the four-day limited engagement is taking place from Thursday, May 25 through Sunday, May 28. Tickets can be purchased from Eventbrite here.
Burke is also welcoming members of Vancouver’s creative community, and the public, to the G Ceramic & Co. open house and studio launch Thursday May 18 from 7-10pm at her new digs in The Beaumont Studios at 316 and 326 West 5th Ave.
We caught up with her to talk craft and inspiration.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I'm a hopeless romantic. I love the idea of designing our lives, exploring how we curate a life of beautiful people, things and experiences that create our perception of the world around us.
How did you get started in your craft and what led you to where you are now?
I had drawn and painted for years but always felt something was missing. I never felt fully satisfied. I was also wanting to go to art school, so I thought I'd take a ceramics class to flesh out my portfolio. I was the worst in my class. Everything I made blew up, cracked or simply didn't work. I ended up taking the course again the next term as I needed another elective, and one day I sat down at the wheel and everything clicked. I learned how to touch and understand in a different way. I've never questioned it since.
Some people collect old cameras and typewriters. Do you collect anything?
I collect mugs. I rarely drink out of one of my own mugs. I feel like using a handmade item is almost like having a conversation with the person who made it. Who wants to talk to yourself all the time? I love supporting other artists (I was a board member of the BC Potter's Guild for five years.) The sad thing is I keep breaking them (hand wash and dry only!) which is bittersweet, as I then get to buy new ones!
Artistically, what is your favourite part of the city?
All of it. I notice the little things. The old bricks coming through the pavement on Victoria Drive and Powell St. The texture of the shingles on old Kitsilano houses. The intricate designs on the Bay and the Fairmont. I want to do a line of cast work that uses textures from different neighbourhoods – if there are some really amazing ones anywhere in the city, I'd love to know!