About the artist
Daumante Stirbyte (Dauma) was born and raised in Lithuania.
She moved to Ireland in 2007 and graduated from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin in 2016 with a BDes(Hons) in Craft Design, specializing in ceramics.
Dauma was a long-term international artist in residence at the London Clay Art Centre (ON) from July 2017 to August 2020, where she assisted the studio technicians and worked as an instructor.
Since moving to Canada she's participated in numerous group shows and exhibitions across Ontario. Her piece ‘Inflorescence’ was named Best in Show at Fusion’s 2018 Emerging Artist exhibition (ON). She participated in the Unity Project organized event UpwithArt in 2018, 2019, 2022, and 2023 - a fundraiser for the relief of homelessness. Dauma has also exhibited her work at the Gardiner Museum Shop in Toronto as a featured artist for September 2019, and again in 2022 - with her show Some Place Else.
She's currently represented by The Benz Gallery (London, ON), Wallspace Gallery (Ottawa, ON), and The Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery (Waterloo, ON). Dauma now works from her home studio in London, ON.
At the heart of my work lies escapism - clay gives me the freedom to create a universe of my own, a world full of strange things that perhaps don’t fit in anywhere else.
Growing up I hid in books about ghosts and aliens and mythical creatures. I hid in video games, in music, in quiet lonely places. Running away to imaginary worlds felt safe and comforting. I spent a large part of my childhood on my grandparents’ farms, surrounded by all kinds of animals and plants - I often use this love of nature as a drive. I find the insect world exceptionally fascinating and inspiring, but I’m very much interested in all things botanical too. I love to create conceptually driven, peculiar characters with rich surfaces that quietly tell a story of their own.
How does our past influence our present? What moments do you hold near and dear, and what moments haunt you? Each of our individual realities are created by a series of unique circumstances that influence how we relate and respond to one another. Those who loved us shaped our world as much as those who hurt us. There has always been a lot of uneasiness in my world, a lot of anxiety and fear. I’ve struggled for many years not knowing there is a different reality ‘out there’, that life doesn’t have to be so dreadful.
Through clay, I attempt to express my point of view; my perception of day-to-day moments, and the memories I carry. Lost between the past, present, and future, I stumble to make sense of it all and heal. The tactile quality of clay enables me to explore these themes - to try better understand myself, and the world around me.
This is how I reconnect and hold on to the sense of childlike playfulness and curiosity. The pieces I create, and the act of making in and of itself, also serve as a form of escapism. There is comfort in saying things without any words.
My work is a collection of reflections and reactions to mundane, extraordinary, and everything in between.
About my process
I often take notes and jot down ideas on sticky notes, paper scraps, and on my phone throughout the day - and then transfer them into my notebook. I draw quick little sketches, fully realized pieces, or sometimes I will go back and forth between drawing and building. I collect various images of shapes, textures, colors, and anything else I find inspiring. I keep these in my notebook as well as hang them up in the studio.
My building process consists of fundamental hand-building techniques like coiling, slabs, and pinching. Sometimes I create and use my own press and slip molds, especially when I'm working with multiples. Sometimes, I build solid and hollow out - it very much depends on the specific project I'm working on.
The clay I choose often depends on my project. I've worked with multiple stoneware clays, paper clay, and porcelain, however, my favorite to work with at the moment is PSH 909 cone 6 porcelain. It fires very white and so all my underglaze/glaze colors really pop!
Most of my work is fired three times - first is bisque (cone 04), then glaze (cone 5-6), and lastly a luster firing (018). I use an electric Euclin kiln.