fine crafts
(Boxed) Rough Glazed Container
native saskatchewan clay, wood
container 6x5x4.5"
$500.00 CDN

More Images


In March 2000, after over 30 years in the forefront of Canadian ceramics, John Chalke received the first ever Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts for Fine Craft.  In 2002 John became a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Art (RCA).

John Chalke's work is both thrown and hand built. The clay body used is made at home from native Saskatchewan clays. Different kilns are used for specific temperatures, including a three-chamber wood-fired kiln in the southwest Alberta foothills.

"It's still hard to know how my pre-making mind operates. I know it sometimes calls upon quarries of ideas, which are based on known previous historical and cultural contacts ... early American and English slipware, French wood-fired country pots, Japanese Oribe designs, woodcuts from early children's books. But then there is another pulse which sporadically appears above the thought horizon, like northern lights. It might be the peeling red and blue paint on a barn door ... or a folk art weathervane ... perhaps the word "Clinchfield" on a boxcar across the tracks…. What the objects I make must have to operate successfully is a comfortable relationship with the human scale: for example, an engaging encounter with both hands. But they should maintain a querulous position also, like dug up jewelry or a table top in the rain."

John Chalke has been working with clay for 37 years. Born in the United Kingdom in 1940, he received an Art Teacher's Certificate in education from the Bath Academy of Art in 1962. Soon after setting up a studio in London, his work was being exhibited at the city's Design Centre. He taught at the Farnham and Harrow schools of art before emigrating to Canada in 1968.

While he has taught throughout his career—at the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary and the Alberta College of Art and Design—the main focus of his energy has been in the studio. Over his career he has participated in over 240 national and international exhibitions. These include exhibitions and competitions in New York, San Angelo (Texas), Chicago, Lausanne, Tokyo, London, Koblenz, Sydney, Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton and Calgary

Chalke's contribution to his craft, including ground-breaking research, has been recognized in some 25 books on ceramic art and in numerous magazine and journal articles. His jury duty has been extensive: he was the sole judge for the prestigious Fletcher Challenge Ceramics Award in Auckland (1996) and was the sole judge for the 2000 Sydney Myer International Ceramics Award in Australia. In 2000 John was the first recipient of the prestigious Governor General's Award for Fine Craft.

Chalke is one of four Canadian ceramists to have had work purchased by the Victoria and Albert Museum. His work is also found in private and public collections throughout North America, in the U.K., Italy, Japan, France and Australia. In Canada, these include the Winnipeg Art Gallery, the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery, the Canada Council Art Bank and the Bronfman Corporate Collection. John is the recipient of the first Governor Generals' Award for Fine Craft (2000).  He lives in Calgary with his wife and fellow ceramic artist Barbara Tipton.


[1] Information and quotes primarily from the Governor General of Canada Website.