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Kingston ceramicist Marney McDiarmid creates a new type of captivating vessel in The Garden Growing On Within Us

Artist Statement

We all need a place to put things - metaphorically or physically, emotions or objects. The box operates as a symbol of this need to hold on to what is most precious or frightening as the garden grows on within us, always altering the landscape.

My previous ceramic work consisted primarily of semi-functional bowls. In these pieces I sought to create a sense of story by positioning densely patterned slabs alongside one another. I used found objects, organic materials, drawing, text, stamps, photo transfer and custom decals to mark each slab and the juxtaposition of pattern, image and texture offered up an open narrative to the viewer.

These boxes are something different. The pieces are constructed out of porcelain and then serve as a blank canvas for lush, graphic imagery inspired by concepts of growth, decay and regeneration. A garden can overtake you, nourish you, or provide a place to hide. The knob of each box is an elaborately crafted finial that evokes a playful other worldliness, alluding to a place that is yet to be discovered.


Marney McDiarmid is a self-taught potter with an MA in Oral History and an “all but dissertation” PhD in Cultural Studies. Since the mid 1990s she has been creating densely patterned hand built pieces out of porcelain. Marney maintains an active studio practice and enjoys teaching at guilds, colleges, and private workshops.

She has exhibited work at Wall Space Gallery (Ottawa, ON), the Ontario Craft Gallery (Toronto, ON), the View Gallery (Old Forge, NY), Jonathan Bancroft-Snell (London, ON) and has been featured in the National Post and in Lark Books’ 500 Prints on Clay.