Davis Bay potter Laurie Rolland is about to receive three letters after her name: R.C.A.-the mark of an artistic honour.
At the end of May, she will receive a diploma that confers membership in a prestigious group of visual artists, the Royal Canadian Academy of Art. The venerable institution, that includes such artists as architect Arthur Erickson, painter Toni Onley and filmmaker Atom Egoyan, has been conferring distinctions on Canada's artists for 124 years. Since 1880, the R.C.A. has honoured excellence in the areas of painting, sculpture, architecture, design, and photography. A fellow ceramicist, an instructor at the University of Waterloo, nominated Rolland. "We had been aware of one another's work," says Rolland, "although she produces sculptural work while I make vessels." When the R.C.A. member offered to nominate her, Rolland was told to send a resume, 10 images of recent work, as well as images of work during her mid-career. A 14-person jury studied her slides and catalogues from various exhibitions.
"It was unanimous, they tell me. I feel very honoured," she says. Rolland will receive her diploma on May 29 at a special President's dinner in Vancouver during the 124th general assembly of the organization. Recently, Rolland has sent some of her work to a London, Ont. gallery for an exhibit called A Natural Progression. She will also join other potters as part of a World Tea Party exhibit at the Art Gallery of Victoria, opening on June 25.
Along with the tea art, teatime rituals and tasting, the gallery will show historical and contemporary tea ware. Though much of Rolland's work is purely aesthetic in design, she will send them a functional teapot. In August, her work will appear at a solo show in a Vancouver gallery called Portfolio. Locally, Rolland shows some of her pottery in the Gift of the Eagle in Gibsons and she also sells from her home studio by appointment.