The three worlds of Ronald Boersen

Vessel representing Israel by Ronald Boeren.| Photo courtesy of Ronald Boersen.

“Pottery is my moment of creating peace,” says Ronald Boersen.

The artist has clay all over his pants, but he’s okay with it; it’s his preferred method of wiping his hands, despite always keeping two towels beside him when he’s working. Moulding clay has become his form of meditation, even when things aren’t going his way and he’s throwing clay against the wall of his home. It serves as his escape.

Boeren’s ceramics will be on display until April 24 at Leigh Square Community Arts Village.

Three homes, three worlds

Half Dominican and half Dutch, Boersen was born in Holland, moved to Israel and now lives in Coquitlam. His three homes are the basis of his exhibit, flow in transitions, between 3 worlds, currently being displayed at the Leigh Square Community Arts Village in Coquitlam.

His work is a reflection of the three worlds he’s lived in. He features three vessels representing Holland, Israel and Canada within the exhibit.

“It’s funny, every decade of my life tells a different story,” he says.

Boersen remembers pottery being all around him as a child. He was fascinated by the dolls representing street merchants sold in Dominican Republic.

After taking a workshop on pottery and loving it, pottery has been a part of Boersen’s life. He transitioned from being a student to a teacher, passing down his skills to students of his own.

Boersen finds inspiration in the materials he uses, infusing different coloured clays together to create patterns and imagery of the sceneries he’s seen in life. The colours he uses are native to where he’s been.

From music to ceramics

“My life has turned out to be the opposite of what I thought it would be,” says Boersen.

From the age of six, Boersen has had a love of music. He began his music career at the age of 12, playing the viola which eventually lead him to ‘the pit,’ where the orchestra is positioned. As often as eight times a week, he performed the viola in shows such as The Lion King, My Fair Lady and Les Misérables.

While playing for Les Misérables, Boersen injured his shoulders, neck and back and had to stop playing. It took him a year to recover, however, he hasn’t played the instrument professionally since. Within that year, he got married to his husband Ofer Marmur and moved to Israel to be with him.

Boersen’s husband was offered a job in Canada when his professor, without Marmur knowing, recommended Marmur for a position at Simon Fraser University. Moving to Canada has been on Boersen’s bucket list since he visited 15 years ago. The couple accepted and made the move.

After settling in, Boersen went around to different art centres and introduced himself. When the Leigh Square Community Arts Village was looking for a new Artist in Residence, they contacted him.

“Pottery is my antidote to music,” says Boersen. “It gives me balance.”

His pieces illustrate his surroundings. It’s a reminder of how beautiful Canada’s mountains, lakes and landscape are.

Boersen incorporates water, land and the four seasons into his work, reflecting the changing colours of autumn and exposing the earth that’s underneath. His pieces are both aesthetic and functional, his mugs have his signature texture, his bowls look like they’ve been painted and his vases swirl different colours together to create patterns. Every item is different and every item has a meaning.

Boersen remembers his teachers telling him to make his work honest and personal. That’s what he’s tried to do with this exhibit.

“I’m an architect that doesn’t design houses,” says Boersen.

For more information, please visit www.portcoquitlam.ca/recreation/leigh-square-community-arts-village/artist-in-residence.

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