2021 craftLAIR Residents

Jesse Fraser

Sept 23 - Nov 7

Currently living in Kjipuktuk (Halifax), Jessie Fraser is a craft oriented visual artist working predominantly in the medium of fibre. Her practice considers how photographs, literature and cloth may be combined, to investigate the affective potential of woven cloth and text in site-sensitive installations. Fraser completed an MFA in 2019 at the Alberta University of the Arts in Craft Media. She has participated in multiple residencies and has exhibited work in a number of venues throughout Alberta and Nova Scotia; including group shows at VivianeArt and Stride Gallery. Image, text and textiles, along with photographic and weaving processes are used as sites of intuitive and emotional investigation. Using time as both a process and a material, Jessie’s practice is the process of weaving. She weaves not only with thread but also with historic narratives and atmospheric feeling.


Kate Grey

Katherine [Kate] Grey is a Nova Scotian ceramic artist and potter based in Kjipuktuk/Halifax. She/Her Raised in Calgary but born in North Vancouver Grey moved to Nova Scotia in 2013 and obtained a BFA in Ceramics and a minor in Art History in the spring of 2016.

During her LAIR Craft stay she will be building ceramic hair tool sculptures, video recording short performance clips in the space and projecting those videos onto her ceramic pieces. Certain videos will touch on personal lived experiences and others are meant to conjure emotional sensations regarding hair stories. Using digital media such as image projection and video she explores a means of digital display along with clay and ceramic made objects and their historical modes of display. In combining the digital and the tangible, Grey considers a conversation of media versus material. Ceramics is an old technology and merging it with digital technology is a way to celebrate and critique both simultaneously. Most of the pieces Grey creates begin with themes of identity, femininity, memory, fem-nostalgia, psychology and objectivity. Her aim in the works is to create a visual language of ceramics and media. Grey is one of the three clay based artists operating out of the Wonderneath Art Society’s ceramic studio in the North end. Her partner, Kaashif Ghanie, and herself own and operate a pottery company out of their studio in Wonderneath called KG Ceramics. Grey is a pottery instructor and teaches out of her studio and at the Centre for Craft.

Mel Doiron

Mel Doiron lives and works in her home city of Halifax, Nova Scotia. She graduated from NSCAD University in 2018 with a major in Ceramics. Throughout her time at NSCAD and beyond Mel has worn many hats working as a studio assistant, clay mixer, pottery instructor, ceramic intern, and gallery assistant. She has been fortunate to attended residencies at The Women’s Studio Workshop in Rosendale, NY, Medalta Potteries in Medicine Hat, AB, and work as a studio assistant to Joan Bruneau at Nova Terra Cotta. All of these experiences have helped shape her practice and how she works with and thinks about clay.


Clay is a fascinating material. When exposed to air it becomes dry, fragile, and brittle. With water it dissolves into mud. When subject to intense heat it becomes hard as stone, and the shards can last forever. My fascination with this material and the contradicting characteristics it can embody inspires the project that I will undertake during this residency.

The CraftLair will be transformed into an exhibition space with an ever changing work-in-progress. A water dripping mechanism suspended from the ceiling will drip water onto pots and slowly wash away their unfired clay surface. The display will be changed and rearranged over the course of a month, with pots being added, moved, and taken away. I will experiment with different configurations, playing with ways in which water can be used to alter the surface. Once a piece is deemed complete it will be fired, marking and end to this ephemeral stage and making it permanent.

2020 craftLAIR Residents

Andrea Tsang Jackson

Sept 4 - Nov 8

Andrea Tsang Jackson is an emerging textile artist, quilt designer, author and educator based in Halifax, Canada. After working in various design fields and settings ranging from architecture to museums, the quilting medium called to her as a way to explore place, belonging, and agency. She holds a Master of Architecture from McGill University and a Master of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She was the 2017 Artist-in-Residence at the Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. In 2016, she was awarded the Etsy Canada Award for New Talent.

Tsang Jackson’s work takes the traditional craft medium of quilting and applies it to a contemporary context, often using bright hues and bold graphics. She abstracts intentionally accessible imagery, inviting points of connection from the viewer to spark discussion and inquiry. She strives to push the limits of the quilting medium by exploring scale and dimension and by moving traditionally domestic objects into the public realm.

Carley Mullally

March 19 - May 17

Carley Mullally is a Halifax-based textile artist and researcher originally from New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. With an interest in collaboration, she has worked with artists and designers across disciplines to create projects for sustainable product design, architecture, medical use and fashion. Her work has been shown at the Hong Kong Medical Museum, Hong Kong; the ArcInTex Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland and at the Anna Leonowens Gallery in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Inspired by her upbringing throughout the three Maritime provinces, Carley has been working with both traditional and unconventional ideas of rope-making and boat craft by not only creating ropes – but also the equipment used to make them. During the Craft LAIR she will be setting up rope twisting and braiding devices for the public to engage with, and will document the process of self-discovery in order to inform new designs and design methodologies.

Mullally received her BFA in Textiles and Fashion from NSCAD University, before moving to London, England to pursue her Masters in Woven Textiles from the Royal College of Art. Since graduating with her MA in 2018, she has been teaching in both the textiles and fashion departments at NSCAD University, and has held workshops at the Struts Gallery in Sackville, New Brunswick, the LaHave Weaving Studio in Lunenburg and to a cub scouts troop in her home of Pictou County.

Krista Grunsky

January 23 - March 15

Krista Grunsky is a Halifax based ceramicist whose work consists of primarily slip casting and hand building techniques. She received her BFA from NSCAD University in 2018. She currently resides in Halifax, working in her home studio.

“I am interested in the malleability of collaging and rearranging ceramic forms in a defined space. Using techniques of slip casting and hand building, I create ceramic duplicates of objects such as bricks, rocks, bits, bottles, shelves, packing peanuts, and puddles. The singular objects are integrated into groupings based on colour, line, and form. There is constant recycling and regrouping as I explore possible dialogue between components. This allows for an impermanent act of making until an assumed point of completion occurs such as documentation or public viewing. This notion of provisionality allows me to find movement within the static nature of ceramics.

My work takes inspiration from ubiquitous architectural and industrial material. I look at facades existing in my surroundings and introduce them into my work through patterned glazed surfaces, cast textures, and loose hand-built representations. Looking at functional ceramics as well as sculptural, I am interested in finding a space of making that bridges functional, nonfunctional, and multifunctional.” — Krista Grunsky

Melissa Strachan-Boutin

July 16 - Aug 30

Melissa Strachan-Boutin was born and raised on the prairies of Saskatchewan and now residing on the South Shore of Nova Scotia in rural Shelburne. Melissa has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Regina and holds a Visual Arts Certificate from NSCAD University.

Artist Statement
As a ceramic-based artist, I use slow and contemplative hand-building techniques to create both functional and sculptural objects. Hand-building allows me to capture my fingerprints and provides a sense of tenderness and emotional potency. While retaining a foundation that is often delicate and deeply personal, I aim to infuse whimsy and lightheartedness into my practice. My connection to the natural environment is at the core of my work. From here I explore further trauma, healing, and interconnectedness and combinations thereof. Creating with clay gives me a sense of groundedness and space for contemplation and while I am primarily a ceramic artist I also create using other mediums with a particular fondness for textiles.

Nick Rosin

May 21 - July 12

Nicholas Rosin is a Halifax based illustrator and Jewellery engraver. Rosin graduated from NSCAD University in 2015 and has remained active in the local craft community through participating in craft fairs, teaching, and as artist in residency.

Rosin’s artistic influences stem from the spontaneity and public statement of street art. He is currently exploring the larger and bolder line aesthetics of graffiti lettering, characters, and iconography. Through the use of collage, the artist aims to expand his illustrative universe for a new body of work during the Craft LAIR Residency.

2019 craftLAIR Residents

Gillian Maradyn-Jowsey

Mar 7 - May 5

Gillian Maradyn-Jowsey is a ceramic artist and designer, originally from Aylmer Quebec, and currently living in Lunenburg, NS.  She graduated from NSCAD University in 2017 with a BFA in ceramics, and is currently participating in Craft LAIR at the Mary Black Gallery, as well as the year-long NSCAD Lunenburg Community Residency.  Maradyn-Jowsey divides her time between continuing to grow her ceramic-based practice and engaging with the community by facilitating art-based workshops.  Often her practice is invigorated by meaningful creative exchange and collaboration.  She creates functional and sculptural art grounded in her interest in craft and design for everyday living.

“My multi-disciplinary ceramic-based art practice curiously resides at the intersection between whimsical contours and crisp design.  It fuses the formal concerns of mid century modern design and architecture with the slumpy eclecticism of DIY craft culture.  My process is fuelled by my delight for exploring materials  and foraging for pattern, texture, and colour.  These aesthetic influences trickle into all facets of my ceramic based practice.  Through clay, I record mish-mash mark making with handbuilding; I pinch, squeeze, and smooth surfaces into forms which tenuously masquerade as both functional and sculptural objects.While design aesthetics formally guide my artistic decisions, the work relies on the visual language of contemporary art to express absurd and dreamy living spaces.”
~ Gillian Maradyn-Jowsey

Julian Covey

September 19 - November 3

Julian Covey is a Halifax based ceramic artist. He was born in Sydney, Nova Scotia and has spent much of his life in Montreal. He completed his ceramics education at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 2018 and he maintains both sculptural and utilitarian ceramic practices. Beyond the studio, Julian works as a technician for Blaauw Kilns, often teaches classes and is currently the president of the board of directors of Visual Arts Nova Scotia. He is passionate about ceramic art and its ability to record and communicate complex concepts through material culture.

Using the Craft LAIR as a public studio, Julian will create a series of abstract biomorphic slipcast porcelain sculptures. This work expands on the work and methodology he developed for his graduation exhibition at the Anna Leonowens Gallery in 2018. The models for each of these objects will be made using both hand and digital fabrication processes and the final works will be airbrushed and treated with a high-gloss glaze.

Merle Harley

Jan 17 - Mar 3

Merle Harley is an interdisciplinary queer artist who creates knitting, weaving, book projects, videos pieces and built structures. Merle recently finished a residency at CFAT electronics lab exploring the links between the history of computers and the textile industry, where they disrupted the usual use of the lab by filling it with yarn and playing around with coding, soft circuits and e-textiles. Merle is a 2014 graduate of NSCAD University and a 2016 graduate of the Gonzago Institute certificate program. They are currently living in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia as part of the NSCAD Lunenburg Community Residency and creating a body of work based around interviews with local members of the LGBTQ+ community about their experiences. Using information from these interviews, Merle will craft a series of booklets and textile works. Merle has exhibited work across Canada and beyond with an ongoing dedication to their artistic practice and is an active member of the community art scene in Lunenburg, Halifax and Toronto. Merle also has extensive experience facilitating workshops and coordinating community art programs such as Art Bikers, Wonder’neath, Jumblies and Shadowland Theatre.

“For the past year I have been conducting interviews and visiting different locations to meet LGBTQ+ people and hear their stories about what it is like living within rural areas of Nova Scotia. I have been told many stories that include: local myths, scandals, personal stories, locations of queer meeting spots, slang, communication methods, love stories, rumours, radical acts, rebellion, and soft stories of care. With this knowledge and inspiration, I will incorporate visual details representing these stories into the textile based sculptures.” – Merle Harley

Tyshan Wright

July 4 - August 25

Tyshan Wright hails from the historic Maroon Town of Accompong in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica. A “Keeper Of The Heritage” (Jamaica Gleaner, 2010) and traditional maker of Jamaican Maroon instruments and cultural objects, his work explores intersections between traditional and contemporary craft. Working primarily with wood and natural forest products, Wright creates mixed media representations of Maroon sacred objects. Since moving to Canada two years ago his artwork has been acquired by the Nova Scotia Art Bank, commissioned by the Art Gallery of Ontario, exhibited at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, and presented at galleries in Nova Scotia, Ontario, and New Brunswick.

“The Maroons’ most sacred objects include a series of traditional drums, and a carved cows horn called an abeng. Traditionally these instruments are used in celebration and ceremony, and for centuries they have played a central role in Maroon culture and spirituality. But when Jamaican Maroons were exiled to Nova Scotia in 1796, they were denied these ceremonial objects. And so I want to bring these sacred objects to Nova Scotia, and connect this important part of Maroon culture to the Canadian narrative.”
– Tyshan Wright

2018 craftLAIR Residents

Julie Wagner

Mar 22 - May 13

Opening Thursday March 22 at 6pm, emerging artist Julie Wagner is showing an interactive ceramic installation entitled “Respire” in the Craft LAIR next to the Mary E. Black Gallery from March 23 – May 13, 2018. This work was generously supported by Arts Nova Scotia.

Julie Wagner is a Halifax artist who earned her BFA with a major in ceramics at NSCAD University in 2014.  Julie likes to locate herself near the water, whether it was at her studio in Lunenburg by the beautiful harbour or more recently, during her time in the South of France at A.I.R. Vallauris.  The ocean and other aspects of the natural world constantly influences form, colour and surface texture in Julie’s ceramic sculptures.

Julie is currently back in Halifax and is a resident of the airCRAFT Emerging Artist Residency at the NSCCD. During Julie’s time in residence and exhibited in Respire, she has been exploring our sensory connection to the natural world. She is looking to stimulate senses through sound and touch in hopes to remove oneself from the stresses of everyday life, transcending to a new environment of peace and calm.

She is fascinated by how we learn about the world through our senses. Julie attempts to evoke intrigue and desire through the seductive quality of touch. She is drawn to the meditative qualities of a repetitive motion. It is through the process of making a form over and over, that her mind becomes clear. This calming quality is often portrayed in Julie’s work as her forms can bring peace and a sense of reassurance. Through active movement of form and surface, along with the soothing process through which Julie’s work is built, her forms express a sense of breath.

Kate Ward

May 18 - July 8

Launching on Thursday, May 17 at 6pm interdisciplinary artist Kate Ward will be exploring space and time during her Craft LAIR residency at the Centre for Craft Nova Scotia from May 18 – July 8, 2018. Her practice engages with issues of public space and social engagement in contemporary cultures, creating ephemeral, transitory experiences and spaces in which her audience is invited to engage with, and contemplate. In this residency Ward will create modes of exchange, questioning value by facilitating moments in which the audience must negotiate between symbolic objects when removed from familiar contexts.


Open Studio: Wednesdays from 1-5pm

Marks of time, Saturday June 23, 1-4pm
Inviting active participation from the community Ward’s intention is to record on video and camera a large piece of clay that is passed from hand to hand. Each pair of hands will grip the clay, leaving behind an impression of the grip. The end result being a documentation of the passing of time: a collection of grips, and a short film on the transformation of the clay and the memories it retains from its journey. FREE.

Stitches in Time, Wednesday June 20, 12-2pm
Embroidered and repaired textiles embrace the beauty in an object’s impermanence and imperfection, making a feature of the repair is an alternative to the art of invisible mending. Drop in to learn Sashiko stitching combined with layers of cloth to breathe new life into your favourite items of clothing. Bring your clothes needing repair and some embroidery thread or get a sampler kit for $10.

Call to RSVP to events: 902-492-2522

Kristina Vermeulen

Jan 25 - Mar 18

Kristina Vermeulen is an interdisciplinary artist currently based in Eastern Passage, N.S. She received her BFA in Fine Arts from NSCAD University in 2007. Having grown up on a hog farm in the Annapolis Valley, much of her work has been heavily influenced on exploring the rural experience and the routine nature of raising livestock.

Though her earlier work was based in mixed media drawing and printmaking, much of her current work is focused on fibre and textile arts. Common to her practice is a central theme of working in multiples and creating work using highly repetitive processes.

Meryl Cook

Nov 8 - Dec 21

Meryl Cook is a writer, fibre artist, and former homeopath in Dartmouth. Her mediums are rug hooking, spinning and journaling. The main themes of Meryl Cook’s work are self-kindness, moving forward one loop at a time and fibre art as healing. She is the author of two books, One Loop at a Time, a story of rug hooking, healing and creativity, (December 2016) and One Loop at a Time, The Creativity Workbook (November 2017). Since 2016, Meryl has been teaching Hook a Healing Mat and Healing Image Design workshops across Canada, in the U.S. and at the Centre for Craft. 21 of Meryl’s healing mats were a special One Loop at a Time exhibit at Sauder Village Rug Hooking Week in Ohio in 2018.

Meryl will be sharing her introspective process of creativity as a vehicle for self care. She will be working on a number of new projects including a new healing mat called Layers of Love. It is a large Chakra piece about the cord of love that connects us to our children. As a new spinner, Meryl will be working on her goal of creating art yarns to include in this rug hooking project. Other new work includes continuing with her Wild Woman series (think Wild Woman in Willow Tree Pose, Wild Woman Dancing, Wild Woman Sisterhood.


Open Studio: Tuesdays, Thursdays & Fridays 11am -3pm (and by appointment)

Wild Woman Circle on Sunday November 25 from 1 – 3 pm

Join Meryl for an afternoon of all things fibre and becoming a wild woman. Meryl’s Wild Woman mats will be on display and she has a few surprises planned. Feel free to bring a project or a piece of writing you are working on. Writers, fibre artists and all welcome.

Public Artist Talk Sunday December 9 at 2 pm

The theme of the event will be self-kindness and moving forward one loop at a time. Participants will have an opportunity to journal responses (using writing and/or sketching) to one or two of Meryl’s healing mats.