You might know artist Vikki Wiercinski from her graphic design work or her Mezzaluna Studio products, but she is always experimenting with various mediums behind the scenes. After dabbling in fine-art drawing for a couple of years, Wiercinski took up a residency at the Banff Centre (pre-pandemic) with the intention of further developing a drawing practice — until she saw the ceramics studio.
Wiercinski had never worked with ceramics before, but abandoned her drawings completely and instead spent five weeks learning the ropes of glazing and firing ceramics.
“The second I touched clay I was in love, I was obsessed,” Wiercinski says. At the end of the residency, she had made 25 “sort of art shapes” with “no practical application other than to look pretty on a wall,” and purchased a kiln for her home. “I wanted to be able to do ceramics in an accessible way. I’m not a morning person, but now I find myself awake at 6 a.m. wanting to play with ceramics before I go work on my graphic design.”
The unpredictability of ceramics provides a nice contrast to the precision of her graphic design work. Among mugs and plates are fun shapes and pieces Wiercinski creates to function solely as beautiful artwork in a home.
“Working with ceramics is really great because I get to make the canvas for my drawings in a 3D form, which is so much fun,” Wiercinski says. “Things have finally popped off the page with my artwork!”
As the main organizer, and perennial vendor, of the biannual Royal Bison Art & Craft Fair, Wiercinski sees the market as a venue for experimentation — “you show up and sell whatever you’ve been working on the past six months” — and she decided to sell her new creations at the market to see if customers would take to them the same way they had her other work. The reception to her ceramics work, and ceramics in general, has been positive — she’s sold every ceramic she has made so far, and the ceramics category was the most popular at the July Royal Bison online market.
“There are a few designers- turned-ceramicists in Edmonton, and they are bringing a different look to ceramics by approaching it from a different visual field, and that’s really resonating with buyers.” Wiercinski says. “The trend I’m seeing is people wanting a particular aesthetic for their home: Colourful, sharp shapes and simplicity. I think people are hungry for a modern, fresh take on ceramics, and for art and craft that isn’t necessarily functional. The objects that I’m making are, by nature, decorative — they are more to look at than they are to use. That just comes from experimenting with something you might hang on a wall instead of something you’d put in your cupboard.”
If you want to snag a unique ceramic creation for yourself, check out the Royal Bison online Art & Craft Fair, December 4-16, 2020.