Other Names: Susan Diane Day
Susan Day is a visual artist whose work is predominately constructed of ceramic. She has exhibited extensively, and her work has successfully straddled the worlds of contemporary craft and fine art. Her narrative ceramic works have been included in various important national and international exhibitions including The Body and Society at London, Ontario’s Embassy Cultural House in 1988; Revisited at the DIA Art Foundation in New York City; the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Montana; the Banff Centre in Banff, Alberta; and La Chambre Blanche in Quebec City. Day received her early art education at H.B. Beal Secondary School (BealArt) in London, Ontario. Following that she studied at Sheridan College’s School of Craft and Design in Lorne Park (Mississauga), Ontario (now located in Oakville, Ontario), ARTsake in Toronto, Ontario, and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) in Halifax, Nova Scotia, as well as holding a residency at the Banff Centre.
Biography Courtesy of Susan Day
I have worked as a visual artist for 40 years, always in ceramic. I use the poignancy of the material (that it is soft and very fragile) to reference the physical stories I like to tell. I am in love with the humbleness of clay and though I have had some fine arts education I have considered myself mostly self taught. My techniques are simple and results driven.
I have a long history of producing and exhibiting social and sometimes political artworks made of ceramic. My earlier work referenced my history as the daughter of a severely disabled mother in which I identified myself as second generation disabled. The initial work was awkward with scribed images of adaptive devices drawn from memory on slip cast earthenware bowls and dinnerware. Physical memories and emotions. The issue of craft or art was moot, these were stories I needed to tell and I realized I could use my manual dexterity to illustrate the clumsy awkwardness of my images best in clay.
Recently I went through a period of questioning my direction and my identity as an artist. I was always on the outside – worked with clay but not a potter, accepted as a visual artist but not seeing any work comparable to my own. I always knew that the content was what held me closest yet was the most difficult part of making art. Working as the lead artist/designer/producer/community worker with various marginalized and underrepresented communities producing community engaged public art projects helped me get my sense of self back as an artist and give meaning to my work. My recent narrative ceramic vessels obliquely tell personal stories from many stages of my life.
I am currently working on a number of large-scale community projects, doing a residential collaboration with Skinner Architects, and preparing a large work, titled Hike for an upcoming exhibition (with Jamelie Hassan) at the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery in Fall 2023.
Artist’s Statement Courtesy of Susan Day
See also: Jamelie Hassan
CV Courtesy of Susan Day
Biography Profile Photo: Susan Day
Courtesy of Susan Day
A Driving Force interview conducted by Samantha Merritt
Research Assistant, PhD. Candidate, Visual Arts, Western University
Eric Simard, Videographer
Click here for information about works by Susan Day
in McIntosh Gallery’s collection.
A Driving Force Interview: Susan Day