A retrospective on Vancouver Island ceramicists Jan and Helga Grove opening this month offers an opportunity to look back€”and then forward to the next generation.

Jan and Helga Grove are lifelong artists and collaborators. They trained as apprentices in sculpture and pottery in the studio of Jan’s parents in Germany in the 1940s, sojourned to Turkey in the 1950s to teach and deepen their practice, and moved to their permanent home on the west coast of Canada in 1965. Now, more than 100 pieces of their work from those early years and up until 2005 will be on view in a new exhibition opening this month at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. Sometimes the Groves’ work is pure sculpture, the figures of a couple in love or in conflict; sometimes it is an everyday household object, like a humble pitcher. It is a collection that is occasionally folksy and warmly modern and arrives at a time when ceramics are experiencing a serious revival among a new generation of B.C.-based artists. And while each piece expresses their designer’s point of view, certainly, there has been a common merger of sculpture with the everyday object. This revival may be part of broader movement favouring tactile, handmade goods (see The Revenge of Analog) or simply the widening belief that art and utility needn’t always be separate categories.

4 Ceramicists We Love:

Lindsey Hampton

Lindsey Hampton lives and works in Vancouver but her work often travels abroad, noted for its sharp angles and equally sharp colour combinations. One of her teapots appeared in the most recent issue of T Magazine, created by the New York Times.

Amanda Paddock, Amanda Marie Ceramics

A recent Western Living One to Watch, Paddock learned the basics in high school and via YouTube videos, and credits a supportive community and studio space through the Hands On Clay collective for her commercial success; her spare dishes and tumblers grace the tables at Hey Happy Coffee and Part and Parcel.

Rachel Saunders, Rachel Saunders Ceramics

Saunders closed 2016 with a move to a new studio in Victoria’s Chinatown and plans to host showings, workshops, and classes in the new year. Her work is at once minimalist and whimsical. Case in point: the hot-selling Mondo mug, which is a simple vessel with a spherical handle. We also like her soba bowls and C-shaped olive arcs; art in the everyday.

Cathy Terepocki, Cathy Terepocki Ceramics

Terepocki was named the winner in the inaugural Maker category of Western Living’s 2016 Designer of the Year Awards. Judge Kelly Deck praised her intricate pieces thusly: “I’m very fond of her painterly approach to her plate series and her playfulness in mixing media with her clever pots.”

Life with Clay: Pottery and Sculpture by Jan and Helga Grove is currated by Allan Collier and runs from January 21 to May 28, 217 at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.