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Entering the divine

How a Canning, N.S. artist found her calling in horsehair pottery

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Photo contributed by Elizabeth Brownrigg

Art is where work meets love, and Elizabeth Brownrigg is exactly where she’s supposed to be. The painter, sculptor, and pottery artist from Canning, N.S. says Mother Nature inspires her unique ceramic pieces using clay and horsehair.

Brownrigg started painting as a child, following in her grandmother’s footsteps. But by adulthood, caring for her family and working in an office left little time to devote to her passion. Throughout those difficult years, she searched for her true identity.

“I feel art saved me,” says Brownrigg. “I didn’t know what I was searching for until I picked up clay … It felt like I found the piece of me that was missing.”

Several years ago, during a workshop, Brownrigg felt a pull to try something different. Her research led her to horsehair finishes, her most popular pieces.

When the hair touches the pot, it curls and moves in its own way, guaranteeing no two pieces are identical. Brownrigg crafts vases of all shapes and sizes, lamps, pendant lights, and wall sconces. She will exhibit her latest creations at the Interior Design Show in Toronto in January 2020, including wall tiles and vessel sinks.

Amid the creative process, she says she loses all sense of time. “It’s like entering into another realm. There are times when a piece of sculpture is completed, I take a step back and get emotional, because I can’t believe I have made it happen.”

Brownrigg dabbles in other media, but clay is her favourite. “Clay is such a forgiving and yet a temperamental medium that pushes me as an artist,” she says. “Clay allows me to create various designs, add textures, carve, or even add multiple layers into the design.”

We all have several layers of ourselves and she says she’s peeling back one layer at a time through her art. She wants each piece to have a distinct personality so it speaks to the person who buys it.

Recently, Brownrigg changed her company name from Gypsy Potter Studio to DaVine DaZine.

“I am the vessel that creates the works of art, but they don’t come from me,” she says. “I am blessed from above to have this gift, hence the DaVine.” It represents her granddaughter’s name Davina which means beloved, and angel. DaZine is a word play on design. She hopes Davina will take up pottery when she grows up.

Brownrigg says finding her true personality is the most priceless gift she has ever received. She hopes her art will inspire those who have a love of art or aspire to tap into their own creativity.

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