A snippet of the iconic ceramic artist Janaki Larsen's childhood, written by herself for the Vestige Story collective.
Janaki's first taste in making ceramics was from her mom's kick wheel in the basement of their old home. Her mother was a potter, and her father a painter. She was enrolled in the third year of art school at that time, studying sculpture and studio practice.
However, her inspiration for her ceramic works come from experiences that happened way before art school. Janaki recalled being a texture freak for as long as she can remember. As a child, she had a drying rack in her room that was lined with oddities she collected from nature. She grew up in a house that bordered a forest — and the lush landscape eventually became her treasure cove.
I was 13 when we moved back to the coast from Alberta. I loved the prairie landscape, the colours of the bad lands, the openness, the horizon line, the way the clouds shaded the fields.
When we moved to Victoria I remember spending a lot of time lying at the edge of tide pools, staring for hours into a new world of cold water, studying the barnacles, seaweed, crumbled shells and the patterns of foam from rolling waves.
There was a path behind our house that went along the shoreline and I would always bring home specimens from my walks. My mom bought me an old wooden clothes rack, the accordion kind, so I could display all my finds.
At the peak of its use, it was full of collected curling bark from Arbutus trees, all varieties of lichens and old mans beard, bird skulls, bones, barnacle encrusted shells , ribbons of dried seaweed and kelp. When I look back at it now, this was the beginning of my glaze studies.
My pots are the landscapes I grew up with.
- written by Janaki Larsen