The Artist and Isolation

I’ve always liked being around people, but I also like my down-time. We need both, don’t we? We need to experience and reflect. Together, they are food and muse.

I’m guessing this is a common trait among creative professionals. I think that you have to have a love for people or at least an interest in culture, as well as enjoy solitude. Both provide space for creative work.

Hands-on opportunity at the 6th Triennial Canadian Clay Symposium.

Hands-on opportunity at the 6th Triennial Canadian Clay Symposium.

Problems materialize when I’m disconnected from one or the other for too long. Too much time alone fells like I’m living in a bubble and too much time around people feels like I’m about to burst from sensory overload.

Since I’ve moved back from Montreal and back to my old stomping grounds, too much time alone has been a problem, but this weekend I managed to escape the anarchy in my head and engage other tactile senses.

I attended the 6th Triennial Canadian Clay Ceramic Symposium at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts and found my muse through an incredible symphony of activity, creativity, food for thought and works of art.

While I was at the symposium I found a few new surprises as well; the work of Mariko Paterson, Yakeshi Yasuda and John Neely. I didn’t expect to be taken so much by John Neely, but after his slide presentation, I’m a fan.


Isolation can be seen as something that someone does when they work in solitude, or it can be seen as something that is done inside a familiar frame-work of reference. It occurs in ideas and acts of the familiar.

Variety is one of the reasons I think symposiums are important. The visual feast of work and access to mentors is inspirational. The other reason symposiums are important to creative’s is that they offer exposure to new and interesting ideas. It’s like a mini university experience.

Having access to gallery exhibits is more of a common occurrence for urban and suburban communities and I’m convinced that people go to gallery openings and exhibits because the event is local and the work familiar. These events provide opportunities to connect with our community of peers. We usually know who will be there and we’re comfortable with the works of art exhibited.

Museums (larger venues with multiple exhibits) can be found in metropolis areas, but unless we live in the city (or close to it) I would think museums are probably not as common of a cultural occurrence in our lives.

the value of museums is they can offer more variety than smaller community galleries, because they’re able to attract national and international talent, schedule hands on activities, panel discussions and presentations.

Symposiums and art fairs are opportunities that force us to consider the unconsidered by virtue of their scope and range. They’re not to be missed.

Clay demonstration and hands on opportunity in the foyer at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts.

Clay demonstration and hands on opportunity in the foyer at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts.

In these settings I can be a passive observer taking in the visual stimulation of creative works and introduce myself to new ideas, new connections and possible mentors.

This past weekend reminded me that I need to make a point of ‘scheduling’ larger events into my calendar. Too often I let these events pass by because I didn’t plan for them. I didn’t make arrangements and schedule them into my life.

That’s going to change.


2 thoughts on “The Artist and Isolation

  1. Beautiful Art pieces. I agree, we need a fusion of “experience and reflect.” To create, think and simply be lost in our very own creative world.

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