Biography: Brenda Danbrook has spent years teaching and creating pottery, and experimenting with functional and decorative ceramics she describes as “confident, considered, elegant forms.” Her exploration of soda glazes offered her “the unpredictability and exhilaration of continual discovery.” She owns and operates a pottery studio in Opal, Alberta.
Born in Drumheller, Danbrook took workshops across Alberta while teaching for various agencies including the Edmonton Potters Guild (2003 – 2009). She studied at the Australian National University with time at the Pottery Workshop and Experimental Factory in Jingdezhen, China (2007), and earned a Diploma of Art with High Distinction (2009), the same year she made the Dean’s Honours List at Red Deer College. After a residency at the Strathnairn Art Association in Canberra (2010), she achieved a B.F.A. with Distinction from the Alberta College of Art + Design (2013).
One of her exhibitions, Marginalia, speaks to her relationship with her schizophrenic and devoutly Christian father. His Bible contained numerous handwritten annotations intended to instruct Danbrook and her sister after his death in 2012, a posthumous commentary she calls “both disturbing and comforting.” Passages from the Tanakh such as “You shall break them with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel” (Psalms 2:9) and “They know not, nor do they discern; for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their minds, so that they cannot understand” (Isaiah 44:18) narrate Marginalia with varying levels of literalism and irony. Danbrook says of one her Marginalia works that the “beautiful, innocent, precious, fragile cup… represents me… and how I felt trapped inside the clutches of grief after [my father’s] passing.” Some of Danbrook’s work is more whimsical, including the exhibition Coalescence, which contains ceramic tableware decorated with silk-screened prints whose patterns she designed by repeatedly impressing sections of antique photographs.
Danbrook has mounted exhibitions inside and outside Canada. Many private and corporate collections embrace her work, including that of the Canadian Consulate in Australia. Danbrook has received numerous awards and grants, including scholarships named in honour of Illingworth Kerr and Louise McKinney.