Karen Sevigny’s been participating at Medalta before Medalta was the place to be. To be able to say ‘I was an Artist in Residence before the Shaw Centre!’ or ‘We played in the Factory when it was full of pigeons and broken pottery!’ is pretty cool, and Karen was one of the first participants of our adult pottery classes – while they were still in the cold and leaky Hycroft China site.
Karen continues her connection with Medalta and the people here often, connecting her love of clay and love of learning within these walls. Read about how she came about this place below:
Being asked to write a blog on life long learning made me contemplate why I continue taking occasional workshops and courses. The answer I have come up with is that I simply enjoy learning something new.
Years ago after doing some furniture refinishing as part of a high school course, I took a few more courses through community education. From there I refinished a few pieces including my grandparent’s antique dining room table, which I still enjoy using. Although this skill is not something I use every day it is still something I value.
Next came a beginner’s pottery course through community education at the Hycroft China site, before the Medalta site held them. I recall that old building as being wintery, cold and a little bit creepy, but the course was a lot of fun. For me the end result was not as concrete as my old wood table but rather the beginning of an ongoing learning process.
Over the years my work with clay has taken many turns. I have never really developed a certain style of pottery. I seem to like it all.
I enjoy throwing on the wheel but at present I seem to be doing more hand building after taking a great hand building course last year. Along the way I have, among other things, gone through a definite bowl phase, a bit of a platter phase and am still chasing the elusive perfect coffee mug. I have enjoyed working with high fire clay, medium fire clay and have attended decorating, glazing and pottery workshops. Some have been a couple of hours, some a few days and some weekly for a couple of months. Many were lead by local artists and some from artists from afar. Much learning has come along more informally as a member of the Medicine Hat Potter’s Association and the clay community in general. A group always willing to share ideas.
One thing I know about lifelong learning is that there are always opportunities out there. You may not apply it all to your daily life but there is always a take away. Sometimes it is gaining the skill you signed up to learn but often it is so much more. A recent workshop at Medalta comes to mind as a great example. I spent five days with a great group of people eager to learn from a great artist and each other. All of this in an amazing environment. To top it all off was a tour of the old Hycroft China and Medalta which for me, like learning, never gets old.