Nancy Walker is an inventor, a person who experiments and accepts lessons from her materials. She is a creator of mythologies and surprising visual possibilities. Mainly, she works in ceramics but also features fiber, beading and sequins. She holds a BA from Simon Fraser University (1989), and is a graduate of Emily Carr College of Art and Design (1986).
“The making of one of my bowls begins after I have explored many ideas and drawn out a rough sketch of what I want to make. I use red clay because I love its deep rich chocolate red colour. It also adds another colour, which becomes especially important when I etch through the painted layers of colours on the exterior. I have been using several different sized bisqued forms into which I place flattened images of animals, figures, ladders and or vegetation onto the inside. I cover these forms with more clay, burying the images I have placed there. I press this layer hard over these forms distorting them, allowing chance to take over. After the clay has hardened a bit, I remove it from the pot and begin the process of building it up, layer by layer of textures and designs, cutting windows, inserting cutouts, stamping and texturing the surface and adding sculpted clay images.
When the piece is complete in form, I paint it with coloured clay slips. These exquisitely simple slips I use are called Terra sigillata. After I have applied the terra sigillata using various techniques such as painting, stenciling, inlaying, printing and finger painting, I let it go. I let it dry very slowly to prevent any cracking. Sometimes it can take up to 2 weeks to completely dry a pot, depending on weather and season.
After the last firing, I remove it from the kiln and saturate it with a blend of hot beeswax and paraffin. This gives the pot its “finished” look as it seals the clay body. From here, I polish the pot with flannel rags to bring the surface to a soft satin buff.