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Susan Macpherson


My work in clay feels like a natural extension of my lengthy dance career. I remember one of my ceramic teachers at George Brown, Debby Black, observing that the qualities she found in my pieces included “movement and elegance”. I found myself thinking: “Good; my dance life has simply morphed into a new form”.


I started working in clay in 1975, when I was already well established in an extensive concert dance career. My first clay teacher was Jane Agnew, who was then teaching at George Brown College. When I closed my solo performing career in 1986, I returned to George Brown for three years, receiving an honours ceramic certificate. Upon graduation in 1989, the class had a final show of work at the Gardiner Museum Shop. My work sold at that show, and the shop kept me on as one of their clay artists; they sold my porcelain work for several years.

In the 80s and 90s, I participated in 16 different group shows, a solo show at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa (1991), and solo shows in my studio as part of the “Roundup” art studio tours (1991 and ’92) and Toronto Arts Week (1994).


In the 1990s, as I was not making much of a living from my clay work, I returned to the dance milieu, first as a teacher and then Artistic Associate at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre. My clay work took a back seat although I kept my hand in; since 2006 I have attended regular weekend workshops with the noted ceramic artist Susan Low-Beer.


When the covid pandemic took hold, I began doing my work for the School from home, and I have found the time to return to my clay workshop. I have been able to finally finish a great many pieces that had been sitting on my shelves, fired, but with no surface treatment. I’ve also been able to make a growing number of new pieces, firing them in my kiln which had been unused for several years. I’m thrilled to be creating again, and as I’m scheduled to finally “retire” from my work at the dance school in 2021, I look forward to a new lease on my creative life!

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