The cover of live magazine’s March/April 2017 issue features a multimedia piece called Fragments, created by Sharon Tiessen.

Sharon is the artist-in-residence at Weston Park Baptist Church in Toronto. She created this piece out of porcelain (high-fired clay), glaze, glass, rusty steel and gold leaf.

Sharon deliberately challenged the limits of the clay with which she worked, her kiln and her ingenuity with this piece. First, it’s a large piece (2 ½ by 3 feet) and very thin – as thin and brittle as a china plate. Imagine shaping, moulding, glazing and firing a piece that long and thin! Just moving it in and out of her large kiln demanded skill . . . and several willing hands. “It was hard to work with,” says Sharon.

But Sharon’s choice of clay lies at the heart of this multimedia work. “You can reconstitute or reuse clay no matter what stage you’re at in the process,” she says. Redemption is the word she uses to sum up the meaning of Fragments. “Clay is that thing where the mistakes lend themselves to the making of something else, something perhaps more beautiful. Even the fumbles can be used.”

Sharon didn’t fumble through the process of creating Fragments, at least not at her work studio, nor when transporting it to her home. Conscious of the fragility of the work, she carried it, without mishap, up the stairs to her home studio, ready to prepare a backing for it. As it laid on the floor, her husband entered . . . and stepped on it.

“I wanted to freak out, but didn’t,” remembers Sharon. “If I really believed that redemption is at the core of who I am and the art I create, then I had to express it in that moment.” Brave words indeed. She glued all the pieces back together, filling in with goldleaf, the crack lines where the piece had been broken.


Enjoy the cover of this March/April issue. Just click on the live magazine option you’ll find on the Resources landing page. You’ll see a photo of the cover there.
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