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A&E column: New art exhibit features clay sculpture

The latest from Cowichan’s arts and entertainment community
A show of pottery by Susan Whitham is on display at Excellent Frameworks in Duncan until the end of August, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Excellent Frameworks)

Excellent Frameworks in Duncan has a new show on until the end of the month, with a special artist reception happening this Saturday, Aug. 20.

Formation Series: an excursion in clay is a solo exhibition by Susan Whitham.

Whitham is a Cowichan Valley artist, who was born and trained in the U.S. She has now lived in Duncan and worked from her home studio for the last 15 years.

“These clay sculptures are essentially a culmination of my experiences on the planet,” Whitham said in a press release. “I am fascinated and drawn to landscapes and seascapes. These sculptures embody all my hikes, treks, local walks, and snorkeling opportunities. All my feelings, concerns, triumphs, and failures live amongst the spaces of the sculptures. They are about connection with one’s surroundings and they are intensely personal, providing solace, discovery, and release.

“It is an ongoing series of work; the formation theme began in college some 44 years ago, an ongoing relationship via clay,” she continued. “I create without question, typically reflecting upon them after the pieces start to evolve. I marvel at the majesty in the mountains, the strength and softness in rock formations and under sea cliffs with their own mystery in the deep. I often find solace and trepidation in the landscape, a comfort in the vastness of beauty and realization of the danger that is inherent in every landscape. I never tire of the edges that lean into the ocean or edge up to the sky.”

Saturday’s reception runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and everyone is welcome.

Excellent Frameworks is located at 115 Kenneth St., Duncan.


Larry Amstutz, an author who grew up in the Cowichan Valley, recently released an autobiography, Finding My Groove — Life, Love & Lyrics.

It’s all about following your dreams.

“Following your dream gives you the freedom to try anything else in your lifetime,” says a press release for the book. “Aspiring to be a radio DJ at 12 years old; at 19 the author realized his dream only to leave broadcasting a relatively short time later. The heartbreaking decision to leave his dream career puts him on a 40-year path towards “finding his groove” and contentment.

The book, published by Friesen Press, “takes you on a journey across Canada and across time. People yearn to fulfill their dreams and yet don’t give themselves permission to do so. Through a conversational style and personal stories, the author demonstrates that it is OK to chase that dream; giving yourself permission to try and fail, to live and learn, and to love, be heartbroken and love again.”

The book is available to roder from most major online book retailers, including Friesen Press Bookstore and Amazon. The eBook is available for Kindle, iBooks, Kobo, Nook and GooglePlay.


We got a note at the Citizen this week that Reel Alternatives, the film series that raises money for Cowichan Hospice, is going to be back this fall.

Films will shown at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre each month, after two years of the series being on hold due to COVID-19.

Stay tuned for more information as plans get firmed up.