For Ella Valge-Saar, creating art is about connecting with your environment.
Take one look at her beautiful yet functional ceramics, and you’ll immediately feel close to the jagged peaks and rushing rivers of the Bow Watershed.
As the 2017 recipient of the RISE Emerging Artist Program, Valge-Saar displayed her works at artsPlace in a captivating exhibit called River Work. The ceramic vessels, she says, were influenced by perspectives related to the Bow Valley – its place as a home and source of sustenance, and the history and culture it has inspired.
“I came out of the RISE program feeling very successful and inspired,” says Valge-Saar, adding it gave her an opportunity to learn more about showing art in a gallery, selling and marketing work, and presenting her ideas to a community that has influenced her work. “I have never had such a long time, and so many resources and support, to develop ideas and artwork for a project,” she says. “It has motivated me to continue working on ideas for future show proposals.”
The RISE program also provides emerging artists with guidance and mentorship from an established Bow Valley artist. Valge-Saar says her experience working closely with accomplished ceramics artist Priscilla Janes was perhaps the most positive aspect of the program. “She was very helpful and supportive,” she says, “and provided constructive feedback that shaped my approaches and vision greatly.”
About Ella Valge-Saar
Ella has lived in the front ranges of the Rockies for most of her life, between the prairies and peaks. She began her education in Biology and then transitioned to a BFA in Ceramics at Alberta College of Art and Design, focusing on creating functional pottery which incorporates found minerals. She balances studio time with working as a forestry fieldworker in the woods of western Canada, where her experiences and observations of our human relationship with our surrounding ecology has shaped her art.
The RISE Emerging Artist Program offers Alberta emerging artists the opportunity to educate, exhibit, sell, and promote their artistic practice within the Bow Valley while pairing them with a mentor and local art professional.