Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design
Degree: Crafts and Design - Ceramics
Year of graduation: 1974
Vince Bowen has owned and operated Rockrose Pottery in Markdale, Ontario (near Owen Sound) since 1986. A well-respected craftsman, Vince has exhibited and sold his work at art shows and cultural events throughout Grey Bruce County. He regularly donates his work to support Sheridan fundraising events.
While studying at the Ontario College of Art in 1968, Vince took a side course in pottery and immediately fell in love with clay. He enrolled at Sheridan College as it already had a good reputation for ceramic arts,” says Vince. “It was one of the best decisions of my life.”
Thanks to what Vince calls Sheridan’s advanced attitude toward arts education at the time, he was able to devote his studies almost entirely to creating clay sculpture, his primary interest. “The type of work we were allowed to make was almost unlimited. It was a very free atmosphere with many top-level crafts people around to feed our creativity.”
“The techniques I learned then have helped me tremendously throughout the years,” says Vince. After graduation, he spent three years as the Ceramic Technician at the college, before setting up a studio in 1978 with 1978 grad Kate McLaren.
Based on his other great joy – gardening – Vince earned a diploma in horticulture from the University of Guelph in 2000, and subsequently formed a landscaping company. “At times, the added pressure of running two companies has been hard but it has allowed me to work on more sculptural clay objects, bringing me back to my beginnings,” he says.
Despite the obstacles, he is gratified to see his business going strong after 34 years. "The acknowledgement from my peers and the public for my technical achievements is also rewarding,” says Vince, whose hand-carving work has garnered several awards recently. Incorporating photography into clay and working with coloured inlaid porcelain are other techniques he has used to great effect over the past few years.
One barrier that has been reduced for today’s artists is that of market access, reflects Vince. “With the advent of the digital world, there is little to stop artists from marketing their work around the globe.”
Technically, the biggest advances have come from the way kilns are built and fired, he adds. Many of the old techniques are still used every day but with a whole host of new tools and materials. “Regardless of the techniques artists use, however, the love they put into their work will always show in the final results.”