Derek Kasper was first introduced to ceramics and art via a romance with a potter at the University of Regina back in the early 1970’s. His passion for making things soon branched out into artistic woodworking and then into building, which turned into a career. On returning to Victoria in 1989 his long dormant passion for ceramic art finally had an outlet, the Arts Centre at Cedar Hill. Many fine teachers and many passionate students fanned his love for working with clay at Cedar Hill where he now offers the occasional class as an official “teacher” in the ceramics studio.
Workshops at Metchosin International Summer School of the Arts and through the South Vancouver Island Potters Guild have honed his skills and deepened his knowledge of the technical aspects of creating large ceramic work. His skill in fine woodworking is integral to the creation of armatures and support structures critical to his main body of current work, which can be described as ‘hand-built and textured faceted forms’.
He has been part of many local shows over the last several years and was the recipient of an Award of Excellence at the Sooke Fine Arts Show in 2014, for a cubical jar titled “Hope Container”, created from the joining of 6 large textured bowls along curving mitres. This work and “Container for the Flaming Words”, a very large octagonal jar is characterized by puffed and expanding shapes as if full to overflowing. In October of 2015 at the Sidney Fine Arts show he received an Honourable Mention in the 3d category for a sculptural jar named “Mother’s Memory”. This work incorporated many textures created from doilies made by his mother and grandmother more than 75 years ago that transformed from crisp and structured to random and chaotic. He was recently awarded ‘Best 3D’ in the Art Victoria Now show held in the Atrium in Victoria for a large wave-textured bowl titled “Tranquil Waves, Above”. 2021 finds Derek with two pieces in the Sooke Fine Arts Show again, with two very large sculptural bowl forms.
His latest forms have been inspired by thoughts of cosmic forces spiraling out from the origins of the universe, of space and time. Ideas being flung out from the center, trajectories somewhat uncertain, but governed by gravity and the desire to break free, sometimes in equal measure.
He recently noted that throughout his creative life he has been fascinated by the idea of combining and re-combining a single shape to make something entirely different. Texture and shadow and the interplay of light over surfaces to first hide, and then reveal, meaning, are of great interest to him and will no doubt be key elements in works that are fairly jostling to be made. Derek is currently represented by the Avenue Gallery on Oak Bay Avenue, where some larger works are available. He sells his work at various shows during the year, such as the South Vancouver Island Potters Guild show and sale in June, and the Arts Centre at Cedar Hill show in November.