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Leighann Chalykoff

Creating by the River

Leighann hosted an interactive wheel-throwing pottery demonstration all weekend at Riverside Park

I am creating a series of ceramic vessels inspired by the Yukon River. The river has always been a source of fascination for me, both beautiful and terrifying. It’s full of contradictions—its colours, its beauty, its wildness, and its danger. It brings fresh water and supports life in the Yukon, but it’s also wild and frigid and deadly.

Tangibly, the river is made up of layers: the riverbed, the water, the surface, and its reflections. There are things that are seen and things that are hidden. It’s always moving and changing. And, metaphorically, there are layers as well—layers of history, occupation and how it has been used for sustenance, transportation, commerce, and recreation. Through this project, I would like to examine those layers too. I am experimenting with altered forms, which means stamping the clay with things like leaves and rocks and cutting thrown pieces into new and interesting shapes.

Leighann Chalykoff is an emerging ceramic artist. Ceramics—created with clay and water that’s baked with fire—is an artform closely connected to the natural world, and over the past few years Leighann has been building a body of work that is tied into the natural world. It includes Yukon animals and birds, Yukon plants, and Northern phenomena, such as aurora. Overall, Leighann believes in creating content that promotes engagement, encourages diverse voices, and benefits the community. She is part of Clay Tree Studio, she volunteers as a Ceramic Technician at Arts Underground, and she has attended numerous ceramics conferences, workshops, and events. She was the Jenni House Artist in Residence in June 2020.