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Alumni Profiles

Linda Sormin

Linda Sormin

Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design
Year of Graduation: 2001
Program: Crafts and Design - Ceramics

Returning Home

Linda Sormin has been the Head of Sheridan’s Ceramics Program since January 2012. Born in Bangkok, Linda worked in community development for four years in Thailand and Laos. In addition to her Sheridan diploma, Linda holds a Master of Fine Arts from Alfred University in New York (2003). She also studied ceramics at Andrews University in Michigan, where she earned a BA in English Literature.

Before returning to Sheridan, Linda taught ceramics at BC’s Emily Carr University of Art + Design and the Rhode Island School of Design. Linda’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally.

What prompted you to study English and work in community development?

Growing up in Orillia, Ontario I was the kid with thick glasses, always caught up in a book. I drew pictures and read books through recess, lunch, dinner, and at bedtime I'd duck under the covers with a book and flashlight. Story-telling was how I came to imagine the world, so it wasn't a big leap for me to major in English Lit in college, and to minor in art.

In 1994, I was 22 and very excited by my readings on international development and sustainability. I went to Laos to work with a non-profit NGO, supporting primary health care, cholera and malaria prevention, income development and literacy, among other initiatives. We also assisted in humanitarian aid and disaster relief. As an artist, my work continues to deal with issues that I began to be aware of during this time in Asia: survival, human vulnerability, ambition, collapse and innovation.

What led you to change direction and study Ceramics at Sheridan?

After three and a half years in Laos, I had a Generation X moment and realized I was spending too many long days working at my computer in a tastefully grey office cubicle. After work, I would step out of my air-conditioned building into the tropical heat, and see people fully engaged in physical work all around me. There were farmers planting rice, cooks at their roadside stands. I was especially drawn to people making things by hand. I spent a lot of time watching people weaving colourful silk textiles, bending bamboo/rattan into furniture and beating earthenware clay into pottery. When I was in the process of moving back to Canada, I went to NCECA, the North American ceramics conference, and asked every Canadian I could find: “Where should I go to become a potter?” Their response was loud and clear: Sheridan College.