Ed Oldfield was born in Orillia, Ontario in 1955. He graduated from high school there in 1973 and went on to the University of Victoria where he studied visual art. Currently, Ed resides in Powell River. After 28 years of teaching visual arts and pottery at the high school level, Ed now channels his artistic energy into creating uniquely West-Coast artwork.
His work is heavily influenced by the Pacific West Coast, its natural beauty, rugged coastline, and aboriginal history. His work is tuned to this ecologically sensitive environment. The marine ecosystem along B.C.’s southern coast is incredibly fragile and is under ever increasing stresses. Industrial pollution, over fishing, rising water temperatures, increased seal and sea lion populations along with a variety of other factors have put it in danger. All levels of this ecosystem; from rockfish to salmon to sea stars, are feeling the pressure.
Raku is a process of firing clay developed ion Japan during the sixteenth century. The word “Raku” means “happiness through chance”. This process involves applying a glaze to bisque clay work, heating the clay to about 1850 degrees farenheit, and quickly placing the clay piece in an airtight container filled with combustibles. The combustibles ignite, burning off the supply of oxygen. This oxidizes the glaze, giving a metallic finish to the surface. The resulting colour is determined by the combined factors of: minerals in the glaze, temperature of the clay piece, the type and humidity of the combustibles and the speed with which the oxygen is burnt off. As it is nearly impossible to control all of these factors, colour results are unpredictable and beautifully varied allowing the hand of nature to imprint each piece with unique qualities.