Learning the character of porcelain

Lisa Goudy
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MJMAG to hold upcoming porcelain workshop with Antoinette Badenhorst

Working with porcelain reminds artist Antoinette Badenhorst of working with people.

“For me it’s like learning a personality. If I just met you, I don’t know much about you, but as I start getting to know you a little bit, I know how I can talk to you,” she said. “I will know if I say something specifically it might make you sad or it might make you happy. Porcelain is kind of like that.

“What really makes it difficult is the fact that it’s so temperamental with water specifically. It looks extremely thirsty when you look at it to start with and then the minute you give it a little too much water, it becomes drunk and … it collapses on you.”

The respected potter who currently lives in Saltillo, Miss., has had an art practice for 33 years. She will present an advanced workshop for professional artists called porcelain: understand, master and challenge at the Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery (MJMAG) on April 5 and 6.

From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 5, there will be a demonstration in the MJMAG hands-on room and there will be a public artist presentation in the south meeting room on the top floor of the Moose Jaw Public Library at 3 p.m.

On April 6, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., there will be another demonstration in the MJMAG hands-on room.

An experienced instructor, Badenhorst has taught in schools and colleges over the United States. She and her husband just finished teaching a porcelain online class.

“It was so much fun to do that. We literally could reach people across the world with the classes I was teaching,” she said. “I’m teaching with actual classes. I’m teaching with workshops … It’s just an ongoing thing. I believe it’s a lifestyle.”

Badenhorst said she forms and shapes everything by hand. She said some types of porcelain are easier to work with than others.

“They all have different grades. What I mostly do is I push it to the limits where sometimes the pieces are as thin as 16 of an inch and I do that because I enjoy the translucency of the porcelain,” she said. “I like the differences where you have …whiteness and colour that plays off against each other that you see in my work.”

She said porcelain works similar to clay until it gets fired and then it behaves similar to a glass.

“When you work with glass you will manipulate it on the outside where as with porcelain you have to put it in the fire and just believe that whatever is coming out of there is going to be what you want it to be,” said Badenhorst.

She has fully specialized in porcelain since 2005,

“It’s a long road. It’s an uphill battle because porcelain isn’t the easiest medium out there, but it’s fun and a nice challenge,” said Badenhorst. “Now that I know a little bit about this drunken diva, she stands and I’m dancing with her and she makes me sometimes tired, but we outlive it.”

The cost for the demonstration workshop is $175 and no materials are needed. To register, call the MJMAG at 306-692-4471 or email educator.mjmag@sasktel.net.

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy,

Organizations: Moose Jaw Museum, Moose Jaw Public Library

Geographic location: Saltillo, United States

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