Ceramics alumna's work travels internationally to SOFA 2016 and Taiwan Ceramics Biennale 2016

A successful career comes in many forms and Maja Padrov’s has just begun.

Pardon is a New Brunswick College of Craft and Design (NBCCD) alumna and Ceramics instructor, and most recently, her work will be travelling to SOFA 2016, the Sculptural Objects, Functional Art, and Design show. Her work has been featured in several prestigious Canadian shows this past year; currently included in a show in Italy, and her greatest accomplishment to date was having her work on display at the Taiwan Ceramics Biennale in July 2016.  This show is considered to be one of the foremost ceramic events in the world.

For an artist who moved to Fredericton in 1997 and took two night courses in studio pottery, and then another, and then transitioned into a full time student in Ceramics at NBCCD.

“I had the time of my life learning something that I never paid attention to before. Hands on approach, making objects, and a lot of research, it was just the perfect school for me at that time,” said Padrov.

As an instructor, NBCCD continues to be Padrov’s perfect school.  She loves the interaction with students and colleagues, loves teaching and “can’t believe her luck” that she teaches and works with some of her closest friends.

Padrov believes that discipline, time management, and the importance of routine and experimenting, are three of the top things she learned at NBCCD that she uses in everyday studio life.  She also believes she has her dream job. She gets to build, design, experiment in her own studio, and teach. These are all important items as she “bores easily”.

Padrov’s architectural pottery are made of straight linear lines and angles, juxtaposed with round applied details and incredible textured glazes. The touchable, delicious sensuality to Padrov’s glaze work comes from constant research in glaze chemistry that she says she learned at NBCCD. Although there are commercial available glazes, Padrov takes pride in putting personal touches in her work which comes from understand how raw ceramics materials behave in the kiln. She calls glazing an endless process where you search for that perfect surface treatment for a specific form.

“A badly formulated, applied, or fired glaze can easily ruin a clay form that we put a lot of effort into. Testing first is the way to try to avoid or minimize those disappointments.”

Padrov got her big break after being approached by two prominent Canadian curators Gloria Hickey and Christian Bernard Singer, and asked to display her work in two national shows. She has kept the momentum going by applying to public calls for submission, in every relevant ceramic publication that she can find. Padrov’s advice to beginning ceramists is to “work a lot and read a lot.”

Constant inspiration comes from both making and glazing. Each inspires the next step. Padrov does admit to looking at many historical and contemporary ceramics, other craft disciplines, art history, man-made objects, and architecture.

With a goal of having a show in one of her favourite small museums in a big city, and having her own show at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton, Padrov shows no signs of slowing down.  She loves the physical work, dirt, and sweat but especially loves the travel she makes a priority. She travels as much as possible to see her work in the shows she’s accepted into, and also takes the time to visit museums, galleries, and other artist students at the same time. Padrov also travels for workshops, residencies, and to see other art shows, not necessarily ceramic-focused.

“That is the real inspiration. The group shows where I had my work were just the cherry on the top.”

After many hours of struggle, Padrov was able to pull her first clay cylinder, with encouragement from local potters, who later became friends. She calls this her “A-ha moment.” Padrov’s success can also be attributed to her sketchbook.  It’s her way to organize her ideas and she takes photos of her works in progress, both good and bad. Padrov says that another important factor for every successful artist or craftsperson is a supportive partner, family, or colleagues.

“Artists needs curators who will point out your work and include it in relevant shows, art critique it, or write to say good things about the work; politicians who will allow grants for artists whose work is not only commercial; access to worships and artist talks; and of course education.”

With no plans for retirement, Padrov says she will be building, making, and creating for as long as she possibly can. Her fellow instructors, friends, and fans certainly hope Padrov continues to delight, surprise, and inspire others, for years to come.

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