ARTIST IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Jessica Colebrook
Welcome to Cacique’s Artist In The Spotlight series - a journey into a thriving Bahamian art scene and a look at some of the most celebrated artists, as well as the movers and shakers garnering a name for themselves at home and around the world. In this third episode, we have the pleasure of introducing Jessica Colebrook - a prolific Bahamian Ceramist who is pushing the boundaries of the ceramic art form.
Cacique. Define “Pottery”?
Jessica. Pottery is the production of ceramic (utilitarian) work that is made on a potter's wheel. Ceramics is the production of artwork made out of clay that is hardened through a kiln firing and finished with glaze. Having said that, I am best described as a ceramist or ceramicist. A Ceramicist or a Ceramist is a person that produces art out of clay as their predominant medium. So, I will answer these questions based on being a ceramist!
C. How did you get into pottery?
J. My love for pottery and ceramics began when I was about 8 years old. My mother frequently purchased ceramic pieces from a studio called Abilities Unlimited on Chesapeake Road ( they were later located on Dolphin Drive). When I accompanied her, I would see groups of people sitting at their prospective areas either painting or moulding forms out of clay. I was mesmerized by their ability to create such beautiful forms like ducks, birds and dogs, and then painting them to look almost realistic. I physically got into ceramics when I attended the College Of The Bahamas as an Art Teacher and had to engage in three semesters of ceramics classes.
C. Does pottery have to be about “pots”?
J. Ceramics and/or pottery initially began as an art form that was more utilitarian in its purpose, as can be noted by artifacts from ancient cultures in the Mediterranean, Middle East and Asia. However, the evolution of clay being used in a more sculptural fashion other than for dinnerware purposes was evident in early Ch'in Dynasty with the rendition of a Chinese warrior and his horse. Ceramists today still create beautiful decorative bowls, cups, platters and vases, however, there is a widespread growth of clay being used as sculptural or fine art pieces. As a ceramist I diversify between both.
C. Where is pottery heading in the Bahamas? Where do you want it to go?
J. Ceramics in the Bahamas is growing slowly as a contender to one of its main opponents which is Fine Art Painting. There are far less ceramic artists than there are painters here in the Bahamas, however I have seen significant progress made over the past 20 years with ceramicists like myself, Joan Behagg, Sue-Bennet-Williams, Avery Wright, Anina Banks, Imogene Walkine and a few others who are making significant contributions in the area of tile production, souvenir production, outdoor sculptural art, interior and exterior wall art and of course figurative sculpture. The future for ceramics in the Bahamas is great and the possibilities are infinite. I would like to not only see more ceramic artists partake in this profession but I would like to see more industries created from this art form.
C. Where and how do you get your inspiration?
J. My inspiration comes from nature. God in His word has told us that everything a man needs to live and survive has been provided here on this earth for us. I get inspiration from all that God has provided - the trees, the rocks, marine life and from people. I am inspired by everything around me.
C. Tell us about the process and mindset you need to create.
J. Usually when I begin working on my creative ideas or explorative, I like to be in a remote, quiet place. Having kids and a hectic schedule means that I have to retreat late at night to my creative space (the library) and meditate for a while on scripture and then proceed.
C. Any dark times & emotions that help with the creative process?
J. I have had some really dark, challenging moments in my life and what I learned to do in those times was to get creative. So, in essence I used the dark moments to creative something beautiful, something positive.
C. Who is your favourite potter of all time?
J. I have been inspired by so many artists like Denis Knight, Akio Takamori, Judy Moonelius, Lawrence Bush, Henry Mercer and Farley Tobin but my most favorite ceramist of all time is Adrian Arleo.
DISCOVER CACIQUE | ART EXPERIENCES
At Cacique, we look to showcase our colourful art scene and the characters that create its distinct flavour. For more information on Jessica Colebrook or to arrange a Bahamian art experience, feel free to contact us.
Looking forward to showing you around! SMS ;)