Gallery Hop Preview: Frantic Farms Clay & Glass Studio

With a name like Frantic Farms, one has visions of a rural farm with chickens trotting across the front yard while artisans wander around waiting for inspiration to strike. Well, not so. Frantic Farms is right on the Mill Street in downtown Warkworth Ontario just across from the Farm Supply Store.
This is the studio and storefront for Monica Johnston and Paulus Tjiang who work in porcelain pottery and blown glass respectively. They will be hosting their own and the works of potter Derek Chung and clay sculptor Paul Portelli for the Trent Hills Gallery Hop.

Monica Johnston and Paulus Tjiang

Monica and Paulus have a relationship defined by fire, flame, and light. They have a passionate creative life sharing in the tactile delights of pottery and glass. Recently, Paulus and Monica have been looking at earthy inspirations.

Monica has embraced wood firing in her pottery. It’s an earthy and physically engaging process. All the wood is cut, stacked, and hand fed into the kiln fires. The fire and flame from wood firing brings out variations, depth, and subtlety from the clay and glaze that gas or electric firing could not reveal.

Paulus is a glass blower. His oriental heritage inspires him to look for balance, but as a member of the sandwiched Generation X, it’s dynamic – more like juggling. Fire and flames in the process of glass making intermingle with thoughts of fancy and fantasy. Vivid colours, cartoon humour, and elegant forms are the result.

Here is a sample of their past clay and glass work.

Derek Chung – Potter

dchung1Derek Chung is a graphic designer living and working in Warkworth, Ontario. Derek currently creates functional works for every day use fired both in electric and a wood-firing kilns. His exhibited works have included raku clay sculptures, hand-made tiles assemblages, along with limited edition handmade books, clay, paper, and wood structures.

In his graphic design capacity, Derek has organized the exhibitions at Scotiabank NuitBlanche in Toronto in 2007, 2009, & 2010. As well Derek Chung was responsible for organizing the 2007 exhibition of work of the Durham Potters Guild at the Station Gallery in Whitby and has served on the ceramics community on the board of FUSION for many years.

Paul Portelli – Clay sculptor

Paul Portelli is a specialist in retail design, merchandising and event coordination. As well, he operated a gallery/sculpture studio in Warkworth, Ontario for 22 years where he was instrumental in developing the branding and advertising campaign for that community.

As a professional sculptor Paul manipulates the natural beauty and versatility of terra cotta clay with colour and glazes to create his popular Greenman series, little brown birds and figurative forms. His newest work, Regal Rabbits, A Murder of Crows and other Blackbirds are inspired by the nature that is so abundant around his Warkworth home studio. Many of Paul’s works have been exhibited in public and private galleries and are held in private collections in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ghana and Germany.

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