About the artist
Daumante Stirbyte (Dauma) was born and raised in Lithuania but moved to Ireland in 2007. She 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 taken part 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 took part in the Unity Project organized event UpwithArt in both 2018 and 2019 - a silent auction fundraiser for the relief of homelessness. Dauma has also exhibited her work at the Gardiner Museum in Toronto as a featured artist for the month of September in 2019.
She's currently represented by The Benz Gallery (London, ON), Gardiner Museum (Toronto, ON) and Wallspace Gallery in Ottawa (ON).
Dauma now works from her recently set up home studio in London, with two furry assistants - Ruby and Rae.
My work serves as a form of escapism to me - I’m not interested in replicating or portraying things that already exist. 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. Channeling my own feelings of always being a misfit, the creatures I make instill a sense of curiosity and wonder in the viewer. They’re familiar, yet uncomfortable and foreign at the same time.
I spent a large part of my childhood in my grandparents’ farms, surrounded by all kinds of animals and plants, and so I 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'm also fascinated with natural history museums and the way various specimens are displayed. The idea of a living creature being preserved, stuck in time, and in a way, getting to live on forever is ethereal.
I research my subject matter extensively; the work evolves and grows through sketching and experimentation with various clay bodies and surfaces. I use age-old techniques of coiling, pinching and slabs that we are all so familiar with - to create conceptually driven, peculiar characters that quietly tell a story of their own.
Lately, I’ve been working on pushing the boundaries of this surreal little world of mine even further, to include deeper personal narratives and bring more figurative concepts into life.
About my process
Every project and idea starts in 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 hanging them up in the studio.
As I mentioned already, my building process consists of fundamental hand-building techniques like coiling, slabs, pinching. Sometimes I create and use my own press and slip molds. Especially if I'm working with multiples.
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.
Below is a sneak peek into my kiln, a few of my favorite tools, and my small Beetle mold.