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Don Hutchinson: From Form to Fantasy

Don Hutchinson's ceramics range from functional bowls and vases to decorative owls and other birds.

Step into a world of ceramics where functional mugs, bowls, wine carafes, and platters meet fantastical birds and creatures. In From Form to Fantasy, over thirty-five artworks by Surrey-based potter Don Hutchinson are on display. This survey exhibition reveals the incredible range of Hutchinson’s work from his beginnings as a production potter in the late 1960s through to his recent one-of-a-kind sculptures. All ages will be delighted by his mastery of clay, humour, and storytelling.

Imagination is central to Hutchinson’s work, particularly in his sculptures. Among the intriguing pieces you’ll see are a shaman transforming into a kayak and a boat transporting two birds—one black, one white, which represent day and night. Hutchinson has always liked mythology and says, “I invent creatures to explain phenomena.” Frogs, herons (his favourite bird), and owls are other animals you’ll see in the show—including an owl sculpture called The Professor that he calls a self-portrait.

Exhibition Catalogue

To learn more about Don Hutchinson and his work, read our companion publication, which includes a full length essay by renowned ceramics expert and curator Carol Mayer, as well as a list of works with annotations by the artist himself.

Physical copies of this catalogue are also available to order from Surrey Art Gallery. Please email us at artgallery@surrey.ca or phone us at 604-501-5566 to inquire about availability.

About the Artist

Don Hutchinson has been a potter for fifty years. He studied at the Vancouver School of Art before working in production in various studios, including his own in South Surrey and, most recently, one he shared with Bob Kingsmill on Granville Island.

Unlike most potters, Hutchinson sources his materials himself. In 1980, he won a Canada Council grant to research raw minerals in British Columbia for glazes. This work led to a publication of a training manual called Processing Minerals for Ceramic Glazes:  A Potter's Journal that has been used by ceramic artists across Canada, England, South Africa, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.

Hutchinson taught at Langara College for three decades where he influenced many emerging young artists. He continues to engage with other artists in our community, encouraging their own journeys into exploring ceramics. Hutchinson received a Surrey Civic Treasure award in 2014. He officially retired from pottery two years ago and is now taking up drawing from where he lives in White Rock.

Curator: Brian Foreman
Origin of Exhibition: Surrey Art Gallery

Image credits from left to right: Don Hutchinson, The Professor (2007), soda fired stoneware. Photo by Ken Mayer.
Don Hutchinson, Moon Owls (2004), stoneware. Photo by Ken Mayer.