Being an artist gives me a focus, challenge, and haven to which I can retreat from the overstimulation of my life as a woman, mother, and teacher. It is what makes me feel intensely connected to myself, my surroundings, and the creators of world cultures, – both past and present.
When the work itself speaks to the viewer and releases its own sense of creativity, integrity, and inner joy, to me, that’s pure magic.
As a child, I studied dance while absorbing Hollywood musicals, film noire, and the mysteries of Rembrandt. As an adult, I’ve been seduced by the sensuality, spontaneity, and intellectual activity of working with clay, colour, and the essence of romance.
I now see my imagery as a marriage of my childhood and adult influences. The figure dominates my work. I feel compelled to create archetypal icons which embrace the power of ancient and contemporary world cultures, overlaid with the spirit of song and dance.
My work synthesizes and celebrates the interconnectedness as well as the individuality of many cultures and eras. I long to urge the power of Nefertiti with the spirit of Carmen Miranda.
I graduated from the Emily Carr School of Art with an Honours Diploma in Ceramics and I have worked and taught from my home-based studio for twenty years.
I am inspired by the visual and spiritual impact of art from ancient and contemporary folklore of world cultures, particularly Mexico, Greece, India, Southeast Asia and Africa. I am inspired by Picasso, Modigliani, Frida Kahlo, Beatrice Wood, Busby Berkeley, Ganesha, and Melanie. I create to the rhythms of jazz, blues, tango, and opera – especially the music of Frank Sinatra, Cole Porter, Astor Piazzola and Eartha Kitt.
My desire to celebrate the everyday things in life is expressed through my colourful hand-built pottery. The physical construction of overlapping slabs of clay initially evoked figurative imagery. Then the stream-of-consciousness drawings on my pots beckoned to become sculptures. These evolved into exotic “Portrait Masks”, double-sided “Duet Busts”, and multi-faceted “Spirit Bottles” carrying poetic and musical messages.
Suzy Birstein – A Return to the Muses of Greece
Ceramics: Art and Perception – 2010
by Suzanne Fournier