Catharina Goldnau is an award-winning graduate with a BA in Craft and Design with a specialty in Ceramics from Sheridan College. Catharina explores transitions, juxtaposing traditions and materials in sculptural work that borders functionality. Born next to the Iron Curtain in Germany, she moved to Canada at the age of 19. After academic studies, 4 children and a teaching career, Catharina studied ceramics at Sheridan College, under Linda Sormin and Laura Kukkee.
Forming clay by hand complements the intellectual task of manipulating clay and glaze chemistry. Catharina is compelled to innovate, exploring non-traditional ways to manipulate clays, combining unconventional materials in clay yields intriguing variations of form and unusual finishes. The effects of heat and fire play a pan-ultimate role in altering the piece, creating new forms and surfaces, tearing and splitting in the fire. Resins and textiles may be employed to supplement final touches.
Past and Present, clash of opposites or unified reality? The world looms large around, the primordial chaos was sorted, put in order by creating objects that carry meaning, manufactured to fulfil needs, desires and aesthetics as defined by culture. Life is lived in the space that is created between opposites, defined by civilizations over time. Rough vs polished, nature vs culture, Void of value vs Priceless – who decides? Where is the value in the porcelain vase broken into 1000 shards? Has it disappeared? In Limbo? Searching I dive into the pile of broken pieces, I hunt for the right shard, cutting my fingers, bloody. These shards, testaments of my work, my children – memories of touch, shape, hope, idea and purpose. Foundations for new pieces, build from them and on them, and it feels true – I feel whole. Mending the cavity that was left behind when the baby was broken.
I build from shards and rough clay, putting the chaos back in order, giving birth to a new some…thing. An object of cultural significance, a jewelry box, a treasure chest, a bowl – but not quite. Testimonials of the primal ooze make their presence know, strewn throughout, bold and shy. The porcelain shard flashes, fragmented canine, reminding of former splendor and questioning present value systems from a bed of dirt. What’s your score?
Photography by Catharina Goldnau