Artists have natural inspiration
Unusual, but beautiful exhibit at heritage museum

by Nancy Gardiner
Northern News Services

NNSL (May 28/97) - A cross-section of styles incorporating landscapes into pottery and weaving pieces is featured at the Northern Prince of Wales Heritage Museum until late June.

The artistry of Sondra MacLeod and Della Lewis are on display.

Lewis says her pieces incorporate different forms and techniques she's put together over her 21 years of working with clay. She's spent the last 33 years living in Iqaluit, Cape Dorset, Igloolik and, since 1974, Yellowknife.

"I've drawn inspiration from varying landscapes and fused them into my work. In this respect, the aesthetic quality of my work reflects skies, landscapes, ice forms and tundra lichens," she says.

Some of her more unusual pieces were on display, including clay rattles and pottery drums that really work.

"It would be an impossible task for me to consolidate all of my work into one small show. Instead, the educator in me decided to exhibit a selection of work that not only identifies my own evolution as a potter, but also to demonstrate many possibilities inherent in working with the medium of clay.

Sondra MacLeod met Lewis 13 years earlier at an exhibit in Yellowknife, when she first came here.

MacLeod enjoyed Lewis' work at a special guild display last year and asked her to join her in an exhibit.

With several commissioned pieces, including one called "Secret Garden" for the College of Family Physicians in Ontario, MacLeod knows her craft intimately.

She started out doing cloth-weaving as a hobby when her children were young. Then she went to her home-town Nova Scotia School of Art and Design and takes it more seriously now.

"I bought tons of New Zealand fleece and dyed it," she says. MacLeod uses chemical dyes and has experience with spinning muskox wool.

Her design work is done in watercolors.

She has taken the example of Lewis' work, and woven her pots into tapestries. MacLeod takes the autumn colors as well and has spun a wonderful tapestry, mimicking the fall leaves' colors.

Both women have many other works in their first joint display as well.