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The Secret Garden - 1001 Pots Val David

This year I was lucky enough to be in the Laurentians during the summer while the 1001 Pots exhibition was in full swing. It is a yearly exhibition, sale and celebration of ceramic art that primarily includes artists from all over Quebec. Val David, the village in which 1001 Pots originates, becomes a bustling centre for about a month with traffic jams on the main strip and where the cafes are filled with art lovers that come from all over. It is the place for ceramic lovers of all types--the variety is diverse and accomplished. Whether you are interested in functional, decorative, or even sculptural, 1001 Pots has it all in a lovely outdoor setting. Ceramic demonstrations are ongoing and there is an onsite tea shop and indoor gallery.

But the most surprising and unexpected thing about 1001 Pots is the secret garden as I call it. Behind the gallery building quite a distance away from the main action of 1001 Pots is an modest, unassuming sign pointing you in the direction of " Jardin de Silice".

I followed the sign only to discover the most inspiring site of installation/ceramic art I have yet to see anywhere else. Translated, the Jardin de Silice means the Silica Garden but is so much more than what the title suggests. There are "hallways" of broken ceramics housed within a huge ironwork armature that evokes a sense of a building intertwined with branches and plants and nature itself. If I ever had that "zen" moment of discovery, this garden is the real thing. The "hallways" containing thousands of broken ceramics create memories of what could have been... you feel that each broken piece of ceramic has a story behind it. The garden is a living entity and continues to accumulate broken pieces of ceramics--artists from all over have contributed to the project. When you think you have seen it all, including the magnificent stand alone scultpures in the main open area, you finally come to the massive rock installation with the water misting above it, all enclosed in a surprisingly intimate space. The rocks are enclosed in a striking room/space created out of ironwork that is reminiscent of Richard Serra's huge sculptures. Val David is lucky to have such a world class tribute to the work and world of ceramics in the heart of its village.You can check out more details and photos on 1001 Pots in a previous post of mine titled "Anatomy of a Teacup: The Marriage of Ceramics and Business". I have also included an article from the Montreal Gazette that speaks to the Garden de Silice and the calibre of its work. A truly inspiring experience that speaks to the world class ceramic talent in this country.

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