It’s not the final product that makes Benjamin Oswald love ceramics, it’s the process.
“Clay is entirely responsive to touch,” says Oswald. “So, when you touch it, it automatically responds, and there’s a real connection that happens with the material.”
Oswald got his start in ceramics at the University of Alberta. He then went on to get his MFA at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. For a while, he worked with stone sculptures until he found his way back to ceramics.
Starting a business wasn’t a linear process for Oswald, it just sort of happened as he came back to Edmonton and started attending markets and exhibitions.
“That’s where I became affiliated with Edmonton Made and that connected me with retail stores,” says Oswald.
Oswald’s work takes two shapes: ceramic sculptures and vessels. The vessels take form in pots, vases and bowls, and are what Oswald calls functional art. The sculptures are “more design-based.” Oswald’s work is contemporary, minimalist and modern, all clean lines and neutral shades, and makes a statement whether it’s being used in the kitchen or sitting on a fireplace mantel.
“I think what’s so great about selling these things in retail stores is people will pick them up and add them to their collections and then they become the artists when they put them in their house,” says Oswald. “I cease to become the final artist in a sense because that gets passed on to the purchaser of the art. And, that’s so exciting to see.”