A recent donation to the District of Sechelt’s public art collection is now on display in the municipal hall reception area. Wrapped Boat (2019) by local ceramic artist Laurie Rolland was generously gifted to Sechelt by arts supporter Jenni Cottrell. The artwork is a hand-built ceramic sculpture made of stoneware clay and fired in oxidation. The piece takes the form of a rowboat that has been wrapped tightly with thick bands or straps. The work is meant to symbolize a feminine vessel of transportation and the passage to the other world. It sits delicately atop a stand handmade by local woodworker and boat builder Larry Westlake. “This piece is an excellent example of the unique hand-built ceramic vessels that Laurie Rolland is known for, and we are honoured to add this to our collection,” remarked Mayor Siegers upon receipt of the gift. This is the first ceramic piece in Sechelt’s public art collection.
Laurie Rolland has made her living as a ceramic artist since graduating from Sheridan College of Arts & Design in Ontario in 1978. She currently works from a studio in Davis Bay. Rolland has received numerous awards and arts grants, and she has been a juror for various potters’ guilds and for the Ontario Arts Council. Over her decades-long career, she has exhibited nationally and internationally in both juried and invitational exhibitions. In 2004, Rolland was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (RCA); the RCA recognizes Canadian visual artists who have demonstrated excellence and honours in their achievements. In addition to the Sechelt collection, Rolland’s work can be found in numerous private, corporate and public collections, including the Canadian High Commissioner’s residence in London England, the Canadian Embassy in Rome, and the Canadian Clay and Glass Museum.
Rolland’s Wrapped Boat is the 20th addition to Sechelt’s growing public art collection. The first artwork in the collection was a painting titled Sechelt Waterfront (1902) by Henry J, DeForest. DeForest’s painting was gifted to the Village of Sechelt in November of 1956 by the Whitaker family, to mark the occasion of the opening of municipal hall. More recently, Sechelt has commissioned works for inclusion into the collection. There are paintings displayed inside Municipal Hall and the Sechelt Community Archives, as well as sculptures and murals outdoors. In addition to the permanent collection, Sechelt has commissioned a number of temporary artworks that decorate utility boxes around the community.