Shauna MacLeod

In my work, I use my personal narrative of injury – both emotional and physical - and healing to connect with others and open conversations about coping.  I am very process oriented when working with clay.  Meaning that the way in which I make, research, test, develop techniques, and create my objects are just as important to me as the finished product. 

I am in an evolving transition in my studio practice since 2017 from full-time production pottery to a combined practice of ceramic art and production. The skills and knowledge I gained while making utilitarian pots provide me a strong foundation on which to build.  This transition has created a new connection with my art practice, and I hope will create new opportunities to connect with others through my work.

While making work is an opportunity for me to be reflective, it also becomes a record of the events of my life.  It’s an expression of truth about life, and I aim to connect with others through this vulnerability and truth.  Perhaps the viewer can recognize something of themselves in the work that validates their own experience.  Maybe when the viewer sees the torn and repaired surface on one of my pieces it reminds them that scars are just a record of the healing our bodies do.  Or they look at a moon jar representing the connections and disconnections with loved ones and they see they are not alone in their sadness and things can get better. I want to create an environment of empathy that resonates with what it is to be human, to hurt, and to heal.

In both my pottery and one-of-a-kind pieces, I primarily use Nova Scotia earthenware.  It’s not only a strong and beautiful clay, it connects me to this land which is my home.  Using a foundation of inspiration from historical ceramics, I use a variety of techniques to make work; hand building, slip casting, and throwing on the wheel. My favorite of these is throwing.  It gives me a chance to fully engage with the clay and fosters intimacy with the creative process. 

I left a full-time career as an emergency medical dispatcher to go to art school and I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Art from NSCAD University in 2011.  I opened Black Crow Pottery in 2012 and continue to work part time as an emergency medical dispatcher.  I have participated in numerous juried group exhibitions throughout the country as well as many juried craft shows.  I have taught workshops, classes, and produced two group exhibitions with the Nova Scotia Potters Guild.  I have had three solo exhibitions and was the 2018 artist-in-residence with Pier 21.  Currently I am working towards two solo exhibitions; Cognitive Uselessness will be shown at The Craig Gallery in September 2020, and Home will be shown at the Saint John Arts Centre in November 2020.