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Artist: Vanessa Villarreal

Vanessa Villarreal, QUEBEC

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I handbuild my ceramics using porcelain slabs that I roll thin, cut with templates, and fold into forms like sheets of paper or cloth. I enjoy leaving the seams of clay where the slab overlaps giving the object a folded, paper-like quality. For inspiration, I often look at contemporary collage and vintage folk art applique designs as I map out stories for my work. I use an applique technique of cutting hand drawn imagery from clay slabs, which I attach to the surface of my functional forms. Imagery such as hands reaching to stars and moons, while swans and sparrows float in clouds present a world full of magic and whimsy.

My approach to art-making is intuitive as I experiment with symbolism of animals and flowers to create a charming narrative about spirituality, feminism and imagination. By using porcelain clay and decorating with a pastel colour palette, my work is visually soft, like a watercolour painting. This dreamlike surface and imagery combined with gold lustre give a lightness to the work. I intend for my ceramics to be treasured as if it precious and yet, to be used in quiet daily rituals. I like to think of my ceramics as small porcelain love poems.

Vanessa Villarreal was born in Northern California, and has since settled in Gatineau, Quebec with her family. She holds a Bachelor's of Fine Arts degree from the Oregon College of Art & Craft in Portland,  OR. (2005) She has been creating work and teaching community classes in California, Oregon,  Arizona, Ottawa and Montreal.  

Her work has been sold and collected in art galleries and private collections since 2005. In 2019 she  collaborated with the Anthropologie retailer to create original ceramic works to be sold in their stores  worldwide. You can find her current work and interview in the 2020 publication of Ceramics by  Uppercase magazine. 

Her narrative handbuilt tableware and small sculptures are love poems in porcelain. Her forms and  imagery are full of whimsy and feminine intuition.


Studio practice since 2009 

Artist-in-residence, Mendocino Art Center, Mendocino, CA, 2007 


Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), Ceramic Studio Arts, Oregon College of Arts & Crafts, Portland, OR, 2005 


Gloucester Pottery School, Ottawa, ON, 2019-present 

L’Aluminé Atelier Céramique, Montreal, QC, 2017-2018 

City of Tucson, Parks and Recreation, Tucson, AZ, 2009-2015 

Tucson Clay Coop, Tucson, AZ, 2009-2012 

Cree Nation of Wemindji, Arts and Science Summer Camp, Wemindji, QC, 2007-2009 Oregon College of Art & Craft, Art Adventures Summer Camp, Portland, OR, 2002-2006  


Designed a collection of ceramics items for retail company Anthropologie for production and international sale, 2019 Member and secretary, Southern Arizona Clay Association, Tucson, AZ, 2010-2012 


New Art Festival, Ottawa, ON, 2019 (recipient of Tucker’s award for best work in clay) 

Cheerfully Made, Almonte, ON, 2019 

Cheerfully Made Saves Christmas, Ottawa, ON, 2018 

Puces Pop, Montreal, QC, 2017-2018 

Studio Georgeville, Georgeville, QC, 2017 

Holiday Market, Salon Laurette, Montreal, QC, 2017 

Holiday Market, Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, AZ, 2012 

Renegade Craft Fair, San Francisco, CA, 2012


Charlie Cummings Gallery, group show, Plant Pots, Gainesville, FL, 2022 Dust Evans Gallery, Ottawa, ON, 2021 

Ceramystic, exhibition and sale, Mystic QC, 2018 

Farfelu Montreal, exhibition with Marko Savard, Montreal, QC, 2017 Fresh Pot, ceramics and prints, Portland, OR, 2012 

Art Stream Gallery, Play/Art/Toy, Rochester, NH, 2011 

Starry Rose Café and Gallery, Animal Wives, Portland, OR, 2011 Franklin Square Gallery, National Juried Show, Southport, NC, 2007 Carbondale Clay Center, Small & Exquisite, Carbondale, CO, 2007 Mendocino Art Center, Artist-in-residence exhibit, Mendocino, CA, 2007 Mendocino Art Center, Animals in Art, Mendocino, CA, 2007 Contemporary Craft Museum & Gallery, Good Bird Bad Bird, Portland, OR, 2005 Contemporary Craft Museum & Gallery, Thesis Exhibition, Portland, OR, 2005 Centrum Gallery Oregon College of Art & Craft, juried show, Portland, OR, 2004 


Interview and feature, Ceramics Encyclopedia, Uppercase, 2020 Sanctuary, 500 Animals in Clay, Lark books, 2005

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