About the Artist
Hi, I’m Stephanie Bergman. I was an artist as a child, became a scientist in adulthood and now I’ve become an artist again.
Here’s my story:
I began my creative process when I was little, growing up with a mother who was an artist and my father, an engineer. Childhood was spent dreaming and creating masterpieces in the kitchen with crayons and coloured molding clay. I learned from an early age to see form and texture and to appreciate nature. When I was 10 or 11, I was blessed to have the opportunity to take pottery classes at the local community centre: that was my first experience with clay. In university I joined the pottery club and continued playing with mud, self taught, and tried to throw pots on the wheel.
I took biology and specialized in Ecology, the study of the interwoven relationships of the animals and plants in nature. I became a physiotherapist, and worked 21 years in the field, working with my hands, helping bodies find their equilibrium. Now I’ve evolved my life again, and am moving into being an artist as my main focus, with so many of my past experiences joining together in the work I now create. This time I have a mentor, Tanis Humeny, an experienced potter from Shawnigan Lake who has taught me everything technical about ceramics as well as allowing me to use her slab roller and kiln.
My love of natural spaces on our west coast has been shaped by many experiences. My parents took my sisters and I on ocean adventures each summer in their small sail boat, cruising the Gulf Islands on the south coast of British Columbia. I became attuned to my place among the wild things while exploring beaches and tide pools, fishing and ‘crabbing’ and snorkelling in the shallows. As I grew older, friends and I would rent kayaks and paddle the Broken Islands Group and Deer Group archipelagos on the more rugged west coast of Vancouver Island. I’ve had many encounters with the creatures there and feel mesmerised each time they show themselves to me. I have met a small pod of pacific white sided dolphins whose playfulness and curiosity matched mine. My sister and I followed an orca with our row boat as teenagers one summer. We were blown away by its majesty and size and imagined the life of this king of the ocean, an apex species.
I have swum with a harbour seal while collecting seaweed samples for a university ecology class. We harvested food from the sea, rock fish, clams, oysters, salmon, and crabs. A few years ago, my brother-in-law and I pulled up the prawn trap to find a wee octopus, the size of his hand, in the trap with the prawns. As we threw it back, it squirted a black cloud of ink and raced away into the depths. The kelp beds on the coast are the underwater forests that are home to the many sea creatures that I use for my subjects, crabs, rockfish, seals, and the kelp forest itself.
My goal is to bring nature to you, to have you hold a little piece of it in your hand or wear it over your heart, to remember our connection with the wild places and our part within it.