Ben­jamin Oswald

Western Living - - DESIGNERS OF THE YEAR - Laryssa Va­chon

Af­ter grad­u­at­ing with a mas­ter’s in ed­u­ca­tion from the Univer­sity of Al­berta, where he used art prin­ci­ples to bet­ter vi­su­al­ize sci­en­tific con­cepts, Ed­mon­ton-based ceramic artist Ben­jamin Oswald took his pas­sion for clay out of the class­room and onto the road. He trained with a pro­fes­sor of sculp­ture in South Korea and stud­ied un­der cel­e­brated Bri­tish ce­ram­i­cists in the U.K.—but wher­ever he was work­ing in the world (he’s cur­rently back in Ed­mon­ton), Oswald found that his great­est chal­lenge with this ex­pres­sive medium is de­cid­ing which ideas he wants to try ver­sus those that should be tried.

With this sense that he is al­ways “be­gin­ning,” he is able to keep things new and in a state of con­tin­u­ous learn­ing and im­prov­ing—whether through ma­nip­u­lat­ing pure white porce­lain into dif­fer­ent colours or cut­ting and al­ter­ing slip-cast ves­sels—like his most re­cent vase col­lec­tion, which took seven months to get just right. “The con­cept of a ves­sel has be­come a bit of a metaphor for be­ing hu­man to me,” he says. “I think that’s why I love to see my hand-thrown pieces and cut and al­tered vases in mul­ti­ples and in re­la­tion­ship to each other. It ap­pears to me that they are en­gaged in a con­ver­sa­tion.”—

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