Rhonda was born and raised on a farm north of Lakefield, where she studied art in high school. At the University of Guelph, she took one drawing course while studying science, and worked as a biochemist in pharmaceutical research for 4 years before becoming a stay-at-home mom. Taking courses at the Haliburton School of the Arts during week-long vacations with her family, Rhonda learned the basics of relief and collagraph printmaking, mosaics, and ceramic tile making. In 2010, a renovation was complete on her Newmarket century home to create a 3rd floor studio for printmaking and other non-messy activities. The basement is where the messier ceramic explorations take place, and where she has a test kiln and slab roller. In 2014, she became a Studio Member of the Pine Tree Potters’ Guild in Aurora, so much of the messier work is now done there.
Working confidently in many mediums, Rhonda makes handmade ceramic tiles and vessels, mosaics, relief and collagraph prints, and wet-felted bead jewellery. Combining printmaking techniques with ceramics allows her to enjoy both mediums simultaneously. The natural world influences her work, and leaves, flowers, birds and butterflies are recurring subjects.
I am drawn to the minutiae in everyday life, the delicate details created by the hand of man or Mother Nature that, in our hurried lives, are overlooked by many. I strive to create detailed works in a variety of mediums that will entice the viewer to pause for a moment and move in closer for a better look (or touch!).
Tatted daisies, bits of textured paper, pressed leaves and flowers . . . small things leave their impressions on me and, in turn, it is those small things, the detritus of my life collected in boxes, envelopes and between the pages of books, that find their way onto my collagraph plates and are preserved in the resulting impressions on paper or clay. Through carving plaster and linocut stamps, I am able to leave my personal mark on the clay surface. Additional surface imagery is achieved with sprig moulds and found objects. Selective use of glaze and underglaze colours accentuates the details on my hand-built tiles, boxes and other ceramic works. Nature is a constant theme and recurring motifs such as leaves, flowers, birds and butterflies unify my work.
Preferring to work on a small scale, little tiles are prevalent in my work. Like my practice of combining bits of ephemera into collagraph plates, these tiles often find themselves incorporated with fragments of glass, commercial ceramic tile, broken china and other found objects into mosaics, tactile works of art. If a viewer is moved to touch my work, I have been successful.
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