Spotlight on Gem Chang-Kue

Jean Llewellyn

Gabriola Arts Council

Tuesday, April 10 2012

Gem Chang-Kue has lived on Gabriola for 21 years after growing up in Toronto. She made her way out west to study ceramics at Malaspina College in Nanaimo (now Vancouver Island University), then moved to Gabriola and apprenticed with Graham Sheehan of Sunstone Pottery who taught her a great deal about the craft and business of running a pottery studio.
“Soon after, I met my husband, David Swanson, and together we raised two daughters. I began potting in a room in our house, but eventually we were able to build a beautiful studio complete with a large propane-fired kiln, and smaller raku and electric kilns,” Gem said.
“The ceramic work I presently produce in my studio is mainly high-fired functional stoneware, but I also create sawdust and raku-fired decorative pots.”
The fundamental joy of pottery for Gem is getting her hands around such a tactile and responsive medium as clay. “Whether I’m making pots for everyday living, or creating non-functional, sculptural work, there is a challenge to crafting something with care and beauty,” she said.
Gem attributes much of her creative process as a craftsperson to living within our island community and the support, encouragement and opportunities it affords. She welcomes visitors to her studio at 720 Horseshoe Road, open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit her website for further information: www.gemchangkue.com.