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Northern Blends: The Artfulness of Coffee and Tea in the Canadian Midwest

March 1-30, 2019, Christensen Gallery

NCECA: March 27–30

Reception: Thursday, March 28, 5–9p.m.

Participating Artists:
Grace Han
Terry Hildebrand
Sam Knopp
Sean Kunz
Noriko Masuda
Mynthia McDaniel
Juliana Rempel

NCECA 2019, Minneapolis, Minnesota: these neighbors to your north felt a certain kinship to this year’s setting. Minnesota is often affectionately referred to as “Canada’s 11th province” because of our shared love of hockey, reputation for unfailing politeness, and of course, bitterly cold winters. One of the great connectors in those freezing moments is a shared pot of coffee or tea. A warm cup can bring friends and strangers together, and create bonds across borders and cultures. It’s also part of many daily routines, active in both our social and individual lives. We form private and public rituals related to the preparation and serving of these beverages, whether we’re hoping for a moment of comfort, convenience, hospitality, decadence, or rest in the midst of busy modern lives. Now more than ever it seems like taking a moment for conversation over a shared cup could do our world some good.

With Northern Blends, a small group of Canadian ceramic artists would like to offer an invitation to consider the meaning present in the simple act of brewing, serving and enjoying a cup. Featured are pots that celebrate and examine our relationship to the common phrase, “Would you like a cup of coffee or tea?” Each artist offers their own particular response. As a collective, they showcase the diversity of the Canadian experience. Moving between practicality and pleasure, the single-cup and the generous pot, we offer seven approaches that highlight the unique role the hand-made pot has in bringing a sense of artfulness to our day-to-day lives.

While each artist takes their own approach to material and process, all maintain a shared dedication to craftsmanship, design and the pivotal role of the artist’s hand in creating meaningful objects. This exhibition also offers American and International NCECA audiences a window into contemporary functional ceramics from the Canadian “midwest”. The artists of “Northern Blends” are a diverse group. There are artists born and raised in Canada as well as recent immigrants, those who studied abroad and those whose education is based in Canada. The work in this exhibition gives audiences a sense of the rich range of experience and knowledge in the Canadian landscape. Northern Blends celebrates the traditions, relationships and moments generated from the simple pleasures of coffee and tea. It is an invitation for conversation across processes and styles, borders and barriers over a shared cup.

This exhibition is part of CLAYTOPIA, the 53rd annual conference for NCECA (National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts) happening March 27–30, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.