Benjamin Oswald may not be a household name yet, but chances are you've admired his work and held it in your hands. In addition to other sculptural pieces, the Edmonton-based ceramicist is the creator of beautiful hand-thrown porcelain vases with a blue-grey interior glaze. His work can be found in the Edmonton Made Gift Guide and his petite vessels are shop favourites at Maven & Grace. In fact, we love them so much that we approached Ben to create a bespoke glaze. Lucky for us, he accepted with enthusiasm, and we collaborated on not just one, but two of the loveliest shades! Before we share a sneak peek of the vases, we invite you into Ben's backyard studio.
Last Fall we had the pleasure of touring Ben and Suzanne Oswald's home, featured in Design Majeur in November 2017. Today we're inviting you into Ben's inspiring garage studio where the white-washed walls are flooded with light, jars of powdered pigments share the shelves with pieces in various stages of production, and the pottery wheel and kiln hold pride of place. It's a space that evokes calm and potential, and it's every bit as functional as it is lovely.
What inspired you to build a studio in your garage?
I've always wanted to have a place to retreat and work and I started off in stone sculpture so it actually created quite a dusty, rubbly mess. I exhibited stone sculpture for years and then about 10 years ago I started to teach ceramics. It became a love affair with ceramic material and eventually predominantly porcelain. I truly needed the space.
How did you convert the garage to fit your artistic needs?
We did a full renovation of the garage space last year where we completely gutted it. We put in barn doors to hide the air compressor, an attic ladder and converted it into a full studio where I could bring clients. Suzanne was much of the architect for that. Ultimately we framed the inside of the garage with ranch wall, and when you go into the studio space you see a full IKEA kitchen where I keep all my tools. There had been so much stuff that it had been quite distracting. Suzanne was a tremendous help in that part because she said 'babe, you just gotta throw this stuff away’.
Do you find having all that space inspiring?
Oh yes, and I can still make it messy. It's clay, it's so messy. It gets everywhere. It's great - it keeps me thinking and working. The studio is functional enough that I can complete my routine of ceramic work and still experiment with new ideas and techniques.
We thank the Oswalds for opening their space to us. We're thrilled to reveal these stunning new pieces, exclusive to Maven & Grace!