Ceramics artist and avid traveller coming to HSAD
By Angelica Ingram
Nov. 22, 2016
Michael Flaherty isn’t your average ceramics artist.
Born in Newfoundland, Flaherty has lived in many of Canada’s 10 provinces and has crossed North America by bicycle.
An artist who likes to explore the outside, repair bikes and live adventurously, Flaherty is bringing his unique style to Haliburton at the end of this month to teach at the Haliburton School of Art and Design and give a talk titled Off The Beaten Path.
He is a graduate of Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and the University of Regina and has taught at many post-secondary institutions. He will be making his third appearance at HSAD this fall.
A self-proclaimed vagabond, Flaherty spent a few years travelling from studio to studio, school to school and job to job, he said.
“I have been travelling and working and studying for a long time and then a couple of years ago I decided I wanted a bit of a change of pace and I moved to a small town, as we say in Newfoundland, around the bay, and set up my pottery business,” he said.
His pottery career took off in the last few years, following a focus on experimental ceramics and sculpture.
He will be teaching students enrolled in the ceramic certificate program at HSAD from Nov. 28 to Dec. 9.
“Students get to kind of hash out some ideas, pick a project that they’re interested in working on and then complete it during those two weeks,” he said.
Flaherty thoroughly enjoys teaching because of the interaction with the students and exchanges that take place.
“I enjoy the discussion,” he said. “I think the learning process goes both ways when you’re a teacher.
You’re not just a teacher you’re also a student, and I learn a lot from my students ... my students are always thoughtful and challenging and interesting people to spend a little bit of time with.”
Aside from art, Flaherty has a wide range of interests, that include politics and activism, humour and parody.
He has long been drawn to the outdoors and to travel.
“I did an art project in 2007 where I bicycled across North America and I stopped in art galleries to offer my services as a bicycle repairman to the public, so people could just stop at the art gallery and bring their bike in,” he said. “That was one project of mine where travel was intrinsically part of the art piece.”
Flaherty has exhibited his work in galleries across North America.
His talk will focus on the artwork he has created during the past decade, which he describes as “unconventional.”
“It’s mostly ceramics but some other sorts of performance and intervention art as well,” he said. “A lot of it’s really to do with the outdoors and exploration, so Off The Beaten Path.”
Off The Beaten Path will take place in the Great Hall at HSAD on Nov. 30 at 7 p.m.