Artist: Robert Archambeau
Robert Archambeau, Canada
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"My goal would be to continue developing those aspects of my work which I am currently in a bit more, bigger and better. Most of my ceramic work, for the past fifteen years has been woodfired. Woodfiring is difficult, expensive and labor intensive. A more prudent and less compulsive artist might consider it not worth the effort to fire with wood, but the total aesthetic is what I am after and woodfiring is the only way to achieve it. Woodfiring is often a shared activity. Over the past ten years I have worked with Dan Anderson, Chuck Hindes, John Neely and Torbjorn Kvasbo, all internationally known artists with long experience in woodfiring. Each of their respective kilns yield results quite particular to the type of basic structure of their kiln, the type(s) of wood burned and the idiosyncrasies and firing technique of the owners. Torbjorn Kavasbo's kiln located in Venabygd, Norway gives firing results that have an extraordinary range of color, light auburns flash to pinks and beige, black browns grey into deep purple.
I have worked closely with Dan Anderson the past three years. His anagama wood kiln in Edwardsville, Illinois, is well known and a veritable mecca for potters all over North America. He is quite knowledgeable regarding woodfiring and very altruistic with his large kiln and all that he has learned from firing over several years. It is also a 2500 mile round trip for me to fire with Dan, but I always have a productive time and find it well work my effort. Some of my very best work has come from this wood kiln.
John Neely's (Logan, Utah) and Chuck Hindes' (Iowa City, IA) wood kilns and firing techniques give softer hues tending to blues and greys. I am fond of this palette and enjoy working with both artists, whoare also friends, and I am always "pumped up" and ready for new things after working with them.
I might point out that my studio and home in Bissett, Manitoba is at the end of a road surrounded by total forest. Because of the almost constant risk of forest fires, a woodfire kiln could only be fired in the winter, which is very difficult at minus 35 degrees Fahrenheit and a woodfiring crew would not be readily available. However, I do have an unusually large supply of native softwoods to burn."
1959 BFA Studio Arts, Bowling Green, OH
1964 MFA, Studio Ceramics, New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University
Robert Archambeau has received the 2003 Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts in Canada; awarded annually to six artists for distinguished career achievement i the visual and media arts. He is internationally recognized for his work in wood fired ceramics. Mr. Archambeau taught at the Rhode Island School of Design for four years before moving to winnipeg in 1968. There he became a professor in the School of Art at the University of Manitoba, where he taught for 23 years before retiring in 1991.