Rachel Saunders is a local artist and maker, internationally recognized for her work with ceramics in particular.
In the past year, Rachel has been featured in Coveteur, Vogue Italia, and Harper's Bazaar. As such, Rachel has played a crucial role in putting the city of Victoria itself on the world map.
Perhaps the true mark of an important artist, Rachel's woman vase was ripped off by Urban Outfitters, and when I jokingly suggested she should pursue them legally, she responded - "I have no copyright to the female form, Graham".
/Where are you from originally Rachel?
Born on Saltspring Island. Raised on a farm on this island a little North of here.
/What brought you to Victoria?
Osmosis, I guess.
/Tell us a bit about how Rachel Saunders Ceramics came to be, if you will.
I left Victoria to go work in LA and have a cool big-city job, and hated it. I decided what I really wanted was to come back and work for myself making things with my hands. I loved how versatile and functional clay as a medium could be, and I started teaching myself the art of ceramics in different studios throughout the city. In a totally naive and ignorant manner I began selling my first pieces, and it totally took off. It was a ‘right time, right place’ kinda thing, and somehow 4 crazy years have rolled by with it just getting better and better.
/You seem to have artistic sensibilities that extend beyond ceramics, as products, alone - might we see you explore these in the future?
Well, above everything what I am most interested in is change-making and creating a better life for all here on this weird planet. My ceramics have given me a really wonderful platform and have connected me so much, and I know it’s leading into something so much bigger than myself. But I am not there yet. For the meantime I am continuously exploring sustainability in craft, and building community through collaborative projects.
/You seem like someone with a multitude of options, what keeps you in Victoria?
The quality of life, first and foremost. The air and trees and sea make my cup runneth over. It’s very important for me to live in an environment that gives me everything I need and allows me to show up in the best way I can for myself and others. I could be in New York or LA but then I’d be so caught up in traffic or the hustle that I’d be too tired to do all the other things I’m working on. I do go crazy if I don’t take small trips away to new places frequently, but I’m a sensitive person and I need a safe, comfortable, and beautiful place to retreat back to. Plus the community here is seriously supportive and wonderful.
/Anything in particular inspiring you lately?
Watching Aretha Franklin sweat through a Pucci suit while recording her gospel album in 'Amazing Grace' was a very spiritual and inspiring experience I recently had. In the studio I've been listening a lot to the 80’s group ‘Woo’ which has lent some perfect sculpting melodies. I am also very inspired by the spring flowers in the city, exploring new levels of radical self-acceptance, and my new old Mercedes named Lucy.
Shop our collection of Rachel's work - HERE.