Robert Harrison holds both Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Ceramics. He has taught Ceramics at the University level, and held administrative positions in Ceramic Programs both in Canada (the Banff Centre for the Arts) and the USA. He has served on the Board of NCECA (National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts) as President and the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts in Helena, Montana as President. Well known for his large scale architectural sculpture he continues to evolve and exhibit smaller scale studio works. His interests in history and world cultures have provided numerous opportunities to work and travel abroad. His work is represented in many public and private collections, nationally and internationally. In 2001 he was elected to the International Academy of Ceramics (IAC) based in Geneva, Switzerland. In 2007 he was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (RCA) and in 2008 was awarded the Meloy Stevenson Award of Excellence from the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts. In 2010 Robert was a founding member of the World Association of Brick Artists (WABA) and in 2011 Robert was honored as a Fellow of the NCECA Council. His book Sustainable Ceramics: A Practical Guide published by Bloomsbury (London) and the American Ceramic Society (Ohio) debuted in the fall of 2013.
I began my professional career working in ceramics over thirty years ago. My initial work was through the vessel format, focusing on form and Oriental traditions in clay. After several years of exploring the vessel the work took a decidedly sculptural bent. The next few years brought an increase in scale and a focus on site, with the ideas drawing heavily on influences in architecture, land art and the introduction of additional sculptural materials.
I have been exploring architectural concepts in both the larger site-specific outdoor and museum installations as well as a body of smaller scale studio works over the past three plus decades, attempting to play one body of work off the other. The studio works are more intimate, have included a variety of materials and allow for intensified exploration. In recent years I have intentionally focused my studio practice in a strictly ceramics orientation, in essence bringing my studio work full circle, and back to my ceramic roots.
Space is a primary component of my work and the consideration of interior or exterior space is elemental to the challenges of working in any scale, be it monumental projects or the intimacy of a hand held studio object. The Architecture of Space has defined itself as the focus of my artistic exploration.
Over the past decade I have had several opportunities to work with national and international brick and tile factories. The challenge I have set for myself is to explore the potential of these industrial opportunities and utilize the resources and tools they offer to further my creative pursuits in both large and small scales.
Regardless of the opportunity or application, my continued effort is to respond to the environment (site), utilize the given space and create work that resonates with a ceramic echo.