Dimensions of clay

Keely Dakin
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“When I show people my work, I’m always touching it,” Cheryl said, hands flicking over the warm brown surface of a mosaic tree made of tiles.

“Clay is very tactile.”

Ring has been molding clay for eight years and is now launching her first ever solo clay show at Amy’s On Second.

“It connects differently with the viewer when it’s dimensional, when it’s clay than when it’s canvas,” Ring said.

She is both a city councillor and an artist who works with clay and also paints. She began to pursue art as her driving passion when the mine shut down and she lost her job in the shipping department.

 Ring was inspired to work with tiles and mosaics when she saw an opportunity to direct a clay mural project with the kids in her son’s class at John Diefenbaker school.

She said using clay instead of canvas was important to her, both because of her love for the medium, but also because it is creating something from nothing.

“We were creating the canvas,” Ring said, “creating from the earth.”

An important part of the mural was to give the kids pen and paper and ask them to draw their ideas.

“We asked them what was meaningful to them,” Ring said.

Much to her surprise, she said there was an incredible amount of parallel thinking among the children. Three things came through repeatedly on their pages: the Canadian flag, a river and the school’s motto, “Every Child Matters.”

“It is a way to create community when you’re working together on these tile projects,” Cheryl Ring

Their ideas were then used in collaboration with an overall colour scheme and flow, which Ring helped orchestrate.

The students were very engaged and seemed to get a lot of satisfaction from the mural’s creation, Ring said.

“It is a way to create community when you’re working together on these tile projects,” she said.

“It is about that bonding process with the clay.”

Ring proceeded to do another student mural project at Queen Mary Community School and has plans to do another with W.J. Berezowsky School. Currently she is working on a mural with the Y.W.C.A in Prince Albert for its 100-year anniversary.

“I’ve made kind of a personal goal that I want to work with each of the public schools in Prince Albert on some kind of project,” Ring said.

“Working with the John Diefenbaker kids just started me off on this whole path, so who knows where it’s going to lead me.”


Organizations: John Diefenbaker school, Queen Mary Community School, W.J. Berezowsky School

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